Thursday, June 29, 2017


July 17 - July 26

Soon maybe for some of you can meet them too! 


- operate two computer camps for kids
- check on the Pastoral Centre renovation progress and resolve outstanding issues
- celebrate the arrival of the our 40'  shipping container of medical supplies and chapel furnishings
- celebrate Sunday Mass on the island of Union
- see the new airport for the first time
- meet with the SVG Minister of Health and others
- hopefully hear from the seven youth we sent to World Youth Day
- have a few gin and tonics on the deck with Fergal

Bishop Gerard County

Some of the priests, Sisters and lay leaders of the Diocese of Kingstown. 

Some of the SVG Catholic youth.

Fergal and Martin, fellow volunteers from Ireland, take some free time at a soccer game.

Bishop County (left)  on retreat with his priests.

Fathers Edmundo and Rex, from the Philippines, serve on three of  the outer islands.

Fr. Peter and Fr. Boniface, from Nigeria, pastor three churches on the main island of St. Vincent.

Father Richard and Daphne Paynter. Father Richard is a former Anglican priest who is now a Catholic priest. Daphne is the bishop's secretary.

Collitta (Pastoral Centre cook) and her sons.

Pam (Pastoral Centre housekeeper) does my laundry, something I have to do myself when I am home. .

....and many, many more!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Life may not always be a bowl of cherries, but.........

...I want to be the kind of priest that when my feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, he's up!" 

Sunday, June 25, 2017



Cathedral of the Assumption Homily
June 25, 2017

Fear no one. And do not be afraid. So do not be afraid.
Matthew 10

When I was younger, it seemed that fear was always running my life. Fear manifested itself in a variety of ways. I was afraid of not being smart enough, not looking good enough and not performing well enough. As a child, I lived in fear of verbal and physical abuse. I was afraid of what might happen next: the next week, the next day, even the next hour. I was even afraid of God telling me that I was not good enough. Fear was the constant of my life. Getting to know God and learning to trust him, not counseling, helped me get over it.

Fear no one. And do not be afraid. So do not be afraid.

The words “do not be afraid” occur at least six times in the gospel of Matthew. It is obvious to me that Matthew is addressing the words of his gospel to a bunch of scared people, and indeed he was! He is writing to encourage people who felt their world was falling apart. He was writing for Jews who had become converts to Christianity. The Judaism they grew up with was stable and traditional, black and white, woven into the fabric of everyday life. They had left the security of all that to follow Jesus. To follow Jesus, was to invite having your world turned upside down, having to keep yourself together amidst constant change, always trying to figure out what was happening, how to keep your faith and even having to muster up the courage to die for your faith, which was always a possibility. Life in the church, for them, was described as “being in a boat, out on a lake, after dark, in a storm.” Jesus says to that church:

Fear no one. And do not be afraid. So do not be afraid. 

This gospel not only tells us “do not be afraid,” but also tells us why we do not have to be afraid. We don’t have to be afraid of anything, if we are not afraid of God. Since we do no have to be afraid of God, we do not have to fear anyone or anything. 

To live a life without fear, you have to first of all “get” this one basic message of the gospels: God loves us, without condition, no matter what we do or fail to do, not after we shape up, but all the time! To live a life without fear means you have to believe in God enough to trust him with your life. This gospel tells us that since we are so valuable in God’s eyes and God loves us this much, down to the hairs on our heads, we can let go of our fears. We are in good hands. In the end, things are going to turn our OK. All set-backs are merely temporary. Good will win out in the end, not maybe, but will win when all is said and done. We will live happily ever after, not because of what we can do to make it happen, but because of what God has done to make it happen. 

Fear no one. And do not be afraid. So do not be afraid.

There are a lot of fear-filled people in the church these days: people who are afraid of dying, afraid of living, afraid of failing, afraid of losing their loved ones, afraid of being alone, afraid of losing their jobs, afraid of not making ends meet, afraid of abusive spouses or parents, even afraid of God. Living in fear is no way to live. As this gospel teaches us, living in fear is not the way God wants us to live. Jesus says in another place, “Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.”

I have learned several things about fear over the years. Let me share a couple of them. (1) First of all, studies have proven that well over 90% of all the things we worry about never happen and we usually have no control over what does happen. Fear is a waste of time because fear is based on what might happen. F-e-a-r stands for “fantasy events appearing real.” (2) Even if something bad happens, usually it happens so that something good might happen. I have a saying that I really believe in: breakdown is a sure sign of a breakthrough. 

When I was newly ordained, I was afraid of being sent to the missions. Well, I was sent to the missions and it turned out to be a great assignment after all. I was afraid my mother would die first and I would have to deal with my angry father. Well, my mother did die first and that in itself opened up an opportunity to be reconciled with my Dad before he died. When the Cathedral cracked and almost feel to the ground during the renovation, I was afraid the biggest disaster of the diocese was about to happen under my watch, but we were all over the news for four weeks, which gave us a chance to explain to the public what we were trying to do and help flowed in from everywhere. After having all 17 of my major ideas for the Vocation Office ignored, I was afraid that I had wasted 7 years of my life. Just when I was about to give up, that year, the Lilly Foundation gave St. Meinrad almost $2,000,000 so that those ideas could be implemented, not only in Louisville, but across the country. 

Yes, what this scripture teaches us and what I have learned over the years is this: when you do your best and turn it over to God, you don’t have to be afraid. Even so-called disasters can be the opening to something just as good or better, if you move to that place in your heart, where you can “let go and let God.” Maybe that cancer diagnosis will wake you up spiritually and help you realize what is truly important in life. Maybe that relationship that didn’t work out will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. Maybe losing your job will be the opening for finding an even better job. Maybe all this sexual abuse scandal will help wake up the whole world and lead to more protection for children. Maybe all these parish closings will lead to some changes in the church that we need to make, but have never had to make. Maybe lay people will begin to take more responsibility for their own faith communities. Yes, I believe that “breakdowns can be a sure signs of breakthroughs,” so there is no need to be afraid, just a need to remain faithful and trust God to take us where we need to go as a church. 

The message today is simple: a good and loving God is in charge, so there is no need to be afraid of anyone or anything. No matter what we may have to go through in the short run, in the end, things are going to be OK.