Friday, May 5, 2017


An Important St. Vincent and the Grenadines Event

Recently, the Diocese of Kingstown  re-opened and re-dedicated their "soup kitchen" to feed the poor. It was a labor of love that took a lot of effort and faith.  The weather is such that you don't need walls!


Msgr. Michael Stewart (left)  and Bishop Gerard County (center) listen to the speakers.

Bishop County blesses the structure with Holy Water.

God Bless All Those Who Made This Project Possible! 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017




Bishop Warfel presiding at Tuesday morning Mass.

Bishop Warfel making a few comments before one of my prtesentations.

Monday, May 1, 2017




Diocese of Great Falls - Billings, Montana
Rev. Ronald Knott
May 1-5, 2017

Bishop Michael William Warfel

Billings, Montana

I have led over one hundred priest retreats in eight countries, but this one promises to be a unique experience.
I am very much looking forward to it.

No, this is not a regional gathering of Montana priests! However, I do have some boots and a cowboy hat somewhere in my closet. I am thinking about dusting them off and wearing them out there on the plane. In preparation for this priest retreat, I am reading a little book entitled:

Don't Squat With Yer Spurs On
A Cowboy's Guide to Life
Texas Bix Bender

Like cowboys, most of the priests work alone and are responsible for many miles of open country.
Running a parish is sometimes not unlike herding cattle.

3% of Yellowstone National Park is situated in this diocese.

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Rev. Ronald Knott
April 30, 2017

With eyes downcast and hopes dashed,
two disciples headed out of town for the
town of Emmaus, discussing among
themselves all the things that had just
   Luke 24

This story, by the way, is the story that was read at my first mass. Forty-seven years later, it still speaks to me in a powerful way. It still reminds me that things are not always as bad as they may appear on the surface. In fact, it is yet another version of the same "empty tomb" story we read on Easter Sunday - a big breakdown is often the surest sign of a big breakthrough.

In this story, it is Sunday evening and two disciples are walking away from Jerusalem, dragging their feet in a depression, toward a small town called Emmaus. Some commentators believe they may have been a married couple - Cleophas and his unnamed wife.  Jesus had died a humiliating death just two days ago. Earlier that very morning, some women had returned from the tomb, claiming that the tomb was empty, that they had seen some angels who had told them that Jesus was alive. Obviously, these two either had not heard this "good news" or had dismissed those reports as just the wishful thinking of distraught women friends.

“We had hoped,” they told the mysterious stranger, “that Jesus was going to be the Messiah, but obviously we were duped. It did not pan out as we had expected. We were hoping and now we have no hope. We just had to get away from the whole scene. We are disappointed. We were badly misled. We are angry. We don’t have any idea what to do next, but we certainly not going to be taken in again by this latest bit of crazy news. “Hurt once, shame on you. Hurt twice, shame on me.”

This story symbolizes all people who have had their hopes blown away.   Just as our church has been doing for the last several years since the explosion of the sexual abuse scandal, these two demoralized disciples pour out their despair, their anger, their sadness and their resentment. This mysterious stranger listens and then begins to review the scriptures, reminding them that God has always intervened to save his people when they hit bottom.

As they walk along, Jesus goes over story after story from the scriptures and shows them how God had always come to their rescue and could even overcome the death of their master. As these two demoralized disciples listened, Jesus made his case. The fire in their hearts, that had all but died out, was fanned into flame again. Little by little, their eyes were opened until they recognized, in the breaking of the bread, that this stranger was indeed Jesus himself. Having left the gathered disciples back in Jerusalem a few hours earlier, they hastened back to rejoin the faith community who had their own stories of restored hope to share.

In many ways, we,as a church are still in a depression. We are still sharing our anger, resentment and sadness at all that has happened to us in the last few years.  In the midst of all these dashed hopes, we, 21st  century disciples, gather again to share the scriptures and break the bread,  hoping that we will recognize the presence of Jesus and have our faith renewed and our hope restored.  Renewed by this Easter faith, maybe some of those who have left our faith community will, like these two disciples, someday soon get up and come back to rejoin our faith community again. When they do, they may be surprised to find out that more than 150,000 new members each year have joined us across the country, through baptism and profession of faith.

One of my favorite ways to explain the message of Easter is an image I discovered many years ago.  In that image, the church is pictured as a gigantic egg. We woke up a couple of years ago to realize that this egg was covered with fine cracks. Each month the cracks have seemed to get bigger and bigger. Some people have simply walked away from it as  they would a hopeless case. Others have been hysterically running around with ropes and tape and ladders trying to glue it all back together.

There is another response we can make! We can stand back and let it hatch! Easter reminds us that the church is not falling apart, but giving birth. The church is not dying, it is being reborn and renewed. There is not rebirth and renewal without pain. 

The Easter message is both simple and profound: in the long run, no matter what you are facing (cancer, addiction, divorce or even the loss of a loved one), there is absolutely no reason to lose hope when one puts one's trust in the man who conquered even death to rise again! He promised us, in the process, that good will ultimately triumph over evil when all is said and done!  

I will end by quoting the words of one of those old gospel songs I heard a few weeks ago, entitled “Joy Comes in the Morning”
If you’ve knelt beside the rubble of an aching broken heart,
When the things you gave your life to fell apart,
You’re not the first to be acquainted with sorrow, grief or pain,
But the Master promised sunshine after rain.

Hold on my child! Hold on my child!
Weeping only lasts for the night.
Hold on my child! Hold on my child!
The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight!

I could give you hundreds of examples of how "breakdowns" have become "breakthroughs" in my own life. Here are a few. I am sure you could add some of your own. 

One of the best days of my priesthood was the day the diocese told me there was no money for continued education when I went to the home missions down in the southern part of the state as a newly ordained priest with no knowledge of evangelization, Bible belt culture or how to start a church. It made me turn to the Presbyterian Church for help. They gave me a full scholarship, not for a little program or two, but for a Doctor of Ministry degree in Parish Revitalization. That degree led me to becoming pastor of this Cathedral several years later and propelled me from being a country pastor to working some of the most influential people in Louisville, as well as some of the most wounded people of our church. 

I was very depressed that my mother died of breast cancer at age 58 and thought it so unfair. I had plans to spoil her after my father died. Even that turned out to be an occasion of blessings. It cleared the way for me to be reconciled with my father after 37 years, something that may not have happened if things had occurred in the order I had hoped.  

It may sound strange, but one of the best things that ever happened while we were renovating this Cathedral was the day the walls cracked and almost fell to the ground. It brought our project to the attention to the whole community in a way we could never have made happen ourselves. 

One of the best things that happened to me after I left here was to have all seventeen of my ideas for the Vocation Office basically yawned at by the diocese. I shook the dust off and went to St. Meinrad where the Lilly Endowment gave us almost $2,000,000 to implement my ideas and propelled me into speaking in over 100 dioceses in 9 countries about those ideas. I will be in Montana next week and Vancouver two weeks after that and the island of St. Lucia in September to name a few.

While I was able to develop this very successful international program for priests during those ten years at St. Meinrad, the ending was not smooth because of one personality. Because I was forced to let go of my last dream there, I have been able to develop that dream much faster and even more successfully on my own. It is called the CATHOLIC SECOND WIND GUILD, a program for retiring priests, bishops and professional lay people. I am about to make my 7th trip soon. 

Yes, it is true, that it is darkest right before the dawn, that there is always a great breakdown before a great breakthrough and that there is no resurrection without a death!  That's why real Christians never give up! No matter what happens! Remember, it is often the last key on the ring that opens the door!     
Hold on my child! Hold on my child!
Weeping only lasts for the night.
Hold on my child! Hold on my child!
The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight!

Never give up too soon! It's often the last key on the ring that opens the door!