Friday, September 29, 2017


St. Vincent and the Grenadines


I have decided that I may have been talking more about the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines than the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. more about the needs of its people than and about the character of its people. As a result, I have decided that I am going to periodically "showcase" some of its outstanding individuals with my own "Hero of the Month" award.


When was the date of your birth? 27/11/1943

Where were you born? Monaghan - 4 miles from the border with Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom)

How many siblings? 4 sisters (Alice alive) and two bothers (Nigel alive) - both younger than me

What did your father and mother do for a living? My mother was a house wife all of her life - died at the age of 96. My father was a civil servant (Revenue Commissioners) - died at age of 64.

Where did you go to school? Went to secondary school (minor seminary) as a boarder (200 miles from home - a very long distance in the 1960's). Attended major seminary (African Mission Society) for 4 years.

When did you get married? What was her name? Married Catherine in 1970 - she died in April 2014

Where did you work? Worked as a CPA mainly within industry

Where did you live? Moved to the West coast of Ireland overlooking Galway Bay - an area where the Gaelic language was predominantly spoken

How many children? Names?. Mary was our only child who is now married to Tommy with two sons, Euan and Cai. She also lives about two miles from my home.

How long was your wife Catherine sick and how long did you care for her? Catherine was diagnosed with encephalitis, a rare but serious disease, in 2008. From its onset she became depended on a wheel chair. Needing full time care, I gave up my job to look after her. She was further diagnosed with esophageal cancer 18 months before she died

How did you get involved in SVG? Martin, my friend who has been in SVG for ten years contacted me within 6 months after Catherine died and invited me out. I turned the offer down on grounds of old age! Months later he came home to Ireland for his brother's funeral and made contact with me again in Nov 2014 - a very persistent negotiator. I arrived here in March 2015.

What is the best part of being in SVG? The climate, the food, the enticing sea with swimming possible all year are all major factors, but its the people who are responsible for my extended stay here. The Irish are reputed for their Cead mile failte (a thousand welcomes), but they could learn a lot from the "Vinceys"

What is the hardest part?. I miss Mary my daughter a lot. It was a real treat and something special when she came out to visit me after my first six months here. It was the first opportunity that we had to have a memorable heart to heart chat about the role of Catherine in our lives - mother and wife. But it is a comfort to know that Mary is enjoying her own family with Tommy and two special little boys who came late in life. Skype is fantastic, but in many ways it is a poor second to the experience of the warmth of a family embrace that needs no words.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017




  • Bishop County's Home

Catholic Chancery of the Diocese of Kingstown

Diocesan Retreat Center

Catholic Second Wind Guild Headquarters


You would never know from the street that this was the Catholic Chancery for the Diocese of Kingstown, the Bishop's Residence and the Diocesan Retreat House. 

designer - Tim Schoenbachler, Louisville, Kentucky



Money is always an issue, so we attempted to do something worthy, but simple. We are building basically a incised concrete pad, with a treated lumber pergola and cross, concrete flower beds, lights and wooden benches. We are reusing the old fountain that used to stand empty in one of the dining room corners and a routed letter sign for over the main entry.  The plantings are indigenous island plants. It would serve as an outdoor waiting area, informal meeting space or a place for the staff to relax during their coffee breaks. Most of all we wanted people to know that it was the Catholic Chancery, a Diocesan Retreat Center and the Bishop's home.   

Someday, we envision adding a security camera and a system to unlock the iron gates from the secretary's desk.  

For $25,000, this could be a major, highly visible giving opportunity for an individual, a family, a club or a parish to honor some one, to celebrate a major anniversary event or just to become a visible presence in a mission diocese. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017



I was the first resident pastor.

First Confirmation by Archbishop Thomas McDonough. Most of the parish was confirmed that day.

It really looked good today when I drove in. Even the hemlock tree on the right, that I planted many years ago was taller than the church!
The church was built by LAMP, Louisville Archdiocese Mission Promoters around 1967. It was served from Somerset originally. I was its regular tender from 1970-1975. I moved into the basement in 1975 and stayed till 1980. I became the first Catholic priest to live in Wayne County. I also took care of Good Shepherd Mission in Whitley City in McCreary County. It was staffed by several Sister of St. Joseph from Connecticut.

The sign from about 40 years ago is still there! The cross had to be replaced recently , but not bad for 40 years! It is made of old railroad ties.

My parting gift to the parish is this outdoor picnic shelter. The name they gave it was their idea!!!!!

The bishop of Lexington was the celebrant. Next to me, under the cross is Father John Birk who followed me as pastor. After us, St. Peter became part of the Lexington Diocese.

When I started in 1970, there were about 12 parishioners, mostly children. Now there are almost that many in the choir. We had no musicians back then, much less a piano! We got the organ, behind the piano, toward the end, but nobody could play it.

Sandy Bertram, one of the twelve parishioners when I arrived, was a child back then.
That's her - third from the left, front row, in the Conformation picture above.

A table full faithful women members of St. Peter Church for my days.
Linda, Jerry, Ellen and Martha.

R. J Martin, speaking to his wife Linda, were active parishioners in 1975. R. J. just recently retired from mowing the grass. That's 40 plus years of church grass mowing!

The head table with the bishop, a deacon and four priests. Clericalism is not dead in Monticello yet!

I started with 12 parishioners. We grew to about 90. Today they have about 60 families.
About a third of the parish is Latino/Hispanic. They also have Vietnamese and Filipino parishioners.
This is one half of the room at the reception.

This is a terrible picture, but it shows the other half of the room. The table in the front is filled with Sisters who have served in Monticello. There were at least eight Sisters there, including six Sisters of the Holy Union, along with Sister Rose Perry SCN and Sister Joan Wilson SCN.  Several more could not come because of age or distance.
Several communities of Sisters have served in the parish. They are the real under-sung heroes of the parish's fifty year history! When I was there, three Sisters of Notre Dame from Connecticut served with me. Some Sister of St. Joseph from Connecticut served over in Whitley City. Some Sisters of Charity of Nazareth came down from Somerset for some programs.