Friday, July 7, 2017




When you plan anything in the islands, setbacks are inevitable. 

Beth Kolodey, local teacher of computers to kids in the Jefferson County School system, and I had our plane tickets and were ready to leave for St. Vincent and the Grenadines on July 17 to conduct computer camps for kids on St. Vincent and Union islands. She recently had foot surgery, but was set on going anyway.

The major problem was not her foot cast, but the fact that the shipping container with the computers inside is behind schedule and will not arrive until later in that week - probably about the time we were scheduled to leave. It was held up in Jamaica when it had to be transferred to a second ship. No computers, no computer camp.

Everyone involved was disappointed, but all agreed that it would be better to postpone the camps, rather than be there under stress wondering and waiting to see if they would get there. Even if the container arrived during our last days there, it still would have to go through the customs process.

Since there are many issues around the renovation of the Pastoral Centre that need to be resolved in person, I have decided to proceed on my own.

Maybe this will be a "good thing" after all! Beth's foot will be mended, will know for sure the computers will be there and tested and maybe we can find another teacher to go with Beth and assist her next time.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017



My dream is to upgrade the Diocese of Kingstown Pastoral Center so that it will be a comfortable and workable place to receive retired adult volunteers in our CATHOLIC SECOND WIND program and  to be an inviting place for diocesan retreats. 
We are slowly working our way through the various areas of the building. SAINT JAMES CHAPEL,  CATHOLIC SECOND WIND headquarters and the upstairs kitchen are coming together quite nicely. 
Next, we hoped to focus on the guest rooms. We have had some amazing progress in the last three weeks. 

named after one of the
in honor of a loved one. 

$7,000.00 EACH

Saint John Room
renovated honor of........... 

 Saint Michael Room
renovated honor of........

Assumption of Mary Room
renovated by Rea and Tom Clark in honor of Marea Gardner

Our Lady Queen of the Universe Room
renovated by Patricia Kirchdorfer in honor of H. Norbert Kirchdorfer, Jr.; Laura T. Barnum and Michael D. Tafel.

Corpus Christi Room
renovated by Martha McMahon in honor of Jefferson T. McMahon and Edward O'Brien IV. 

Holy Family Room
renovated by Father Ronald Knott in honor of Fergal Redmond and Martin Folan, Full-time Volunteers from Ireland. 

Saint Benedict Room
renovated by Gardner Foundation in honor of PENDING

We are so close! Let's get it done so that we can start receiving retired professional volunteers (priests, bishops and lay people) who want to help with the needs of the island missions!

One of the ceiling fans with missing blades - all of them!

A throw pillow with a hole and a large rip in it.

This old recliner doesn't really recline anymore. It is propped up against a wall to keep it from unfolding. It needs to be discarded.

A dismal room with ugly old drapes, minimal beds and what appears to be an old office desk chair.

An old school desk serves as a bedside table. There is no reading lamp.

This old recliner is ripped and needs to be sent to the dumpster.

With your gift of $7,000, we hope to do something like this with each room: an updated private bathroom, painted walls, drapes, lamps, air conditioning, new furniture and furnishings.

designer - Tim Schoenbachler, Louisville, Kentucky

You will be remembered in the Pastoral Centre Masses by Bishop County and guests in your room will be invited to pray for you and your intentions. 



If this is not something you can afford, talk to someone who can. Make the case for me and see what happens. 

There are many ways to help the missions. One of my friends simply takes me to the airport and picks me up to help with the expenses of my mission trips. Another had a yard sale to help. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Whoever receives you receives me.
Matthew 10

Hospitality, in the Bible, is not merely about being nice to people. It’s about survival in a harsh, often deadly, landscape. Without public accommodations of any kind, travelers were at the total mercy of strangers, on whom they depended for water, food and housing. If you could not depend on the kindness of strangers in that desert climate, especially back then, you’d be in a heap of trouble.    

Being hospitable to strangers also brought blessings to the one offering hospitality. Strangers, dropping by your tent, brought a welcome break from the tedious isolation in which many lived from year to year. It was good to hear news from far off places, experience great adventures at least second-hand and to be exposed to new and interesting ideas and peoples.
Hospitality was not only necessary on a practical level and a welcomed break in a tedious existence, it became, over time, a Jewish religious tradition as well. On the part of the traveler, to experience the free and generous hospitality of strangers, was seen as similar to the free and generous giving of God himself, who asks for nothing in return.  On the part of the one doing the welcoming, over time, people came to believe that to welcome guests with hospitality, was to welcome, if not God himself, at least messengers from God.  

In our first reading today, a woman of influence fixed up a little room on the top floor of her home with a bed, table, chair and lamp for the prophet Elisha who would pass through her town quite often. She would have dinner fixed for him so her and her elderly husband could dine with him. For her generous hospitality, she was rewarded with a baby son even though she had, in the past, not been able to have one. 

As the Letter to the Hebrews, referring to Abraham and Sarah, puts it, “People have entertained angels, unaware.”  As you know, Abraham and Sarah welcomed three strangers who turned out to be angels, messengers from God.  Their hospitality was rewarded with the announcement that they would soon become first-time parents in their old age.

On the other hand, to refuse hospitality even to one’s enemy or to abuse one’s guests in your care was considered a mortal sin, a violation of a most sacred duty.  That’s what the Sodom and Gemorrah story was really all about. Most of the time, people cite it as a condemnation of a forced sexual sin when in reality the sin was not so much a specific forced sex act as it was a sin against hospitality, the mistreatment of guests in your care.  The mistreatment of a guest in your care was the more sinful act in that story.

Jesus teaches his followers that whoever received them were actually receiving Jesus himself and his heavenly Father as well. He goes on to say, "Whoever receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward." Even a cup of cold water given to a disciple, because he is a disciple, will be rewarded. 

Benedictine monks and nuns are famous for carrying over this sacred tradition into the Christian tradition. Their motto is “Receive all guests as you would Christ himself.” Especially in medieval Europe, monasteries and convents were safe and very inexpensive places for the poor to stay when they traveled. Even today, most monasteries have guest houses where people can stay for a donation. And if you don’t think God still rewards those who are hospitable in his name, let me remind you of the two elderly ladies from Indianapolis who left Saint Meinrad Archabbey several million dollars “because the monks always made us feel welcomed.” Thanks to these ladies, the tradition of Benedictine hospitality will continue for years to come.

Hospitality is a practical way to express love for one’s neighbor. Just as hospitality was a serious moral obligation toward friend and foe for the Jewish people of old, practical gestures of welcome and assistance is a serious moral obligation toward friend and foe for those of us who follow Jesus.  It is just as serious as, and cannot be separated, from the love we should have for God. In fact, St. John says “If you say you love God and do not help your neighbor, you are a liar!”

Hospitality for the Christian, then, is not optional. It is probably not a good idea today to welcome street people to stay overnight in your home, but there are ways, even in our culture, to express hospitality. It could be as simple as the way you talk about immigrants. It could be as simple as cooking a meal for an elderly neighbor. It could be as complicated as volunteering to work for Hospice or Catholic Charities refugee services or the Cathedral lunch program. I am trying to practice hospitality by "doing my thing" down in the Caribbean missions.Yes, I am open to help in my mission work down there, but it could be as simple as the way you treat the workers behind the counter at McDonald or people who bag your groceries. It can be as complicated as baby sitting for the young couple next door who need a night out together or mowing your neighbors grass while they are on vacation.

Where there is a will there is a way. If you have a hospitable heart, you will find practical and safe ways to practice hospitality. And, less we forget, God promises to reward even insignificant acts of hospitality. Even the giving of a cup of cold water to a thirsty person will not go unrewarded. You will definitely be rewarded in the next life, but who knows, maybe a few acts of kindness to two old ladies will get a mention in their will to the tune of a million or two!

Personally, I don't need a baby, but I am open to option two!