Saturday, October 28, 2017



As most of my readers know, I have been buying bargain toys for the island kids over the last month. 
Yesterday UPS delivered one of the boxes to my door. I took it to the kitchen and put it on the counter. As I was looking for a knife to open the box, I heard the distinct muffled sound of a child talking. I look outside. Nothing. I thought it might be coming from the radio. It was off. As I looked around, I could hear a child singing. As I listened more carefully, I realized it was coming from the box on the counter. When I opened the box, I realized that one of the buttons on the speaking and singing toy had been triggered by the movement. As I pulled the packaging back, there was a purple dog staring up at me singing "It's a beautiful day!" 

There is so much to love about the Christmas season, even when you start wondering if you are beginning to hear voices! 

Friday, October 27, 2017



Bishop Jason Gordon, who got me involved in the Caribbean missions has been chosen by Pope Francis to be the next Archbishop of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 

He is actually going back to his own country of birth. 

He was originally the Bishop of Bridgetown, Barbados, and Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Last year, Pope Francis divided his responsibilities and gave the Diocese of Kingstown  to Bishop Gerard County, while he kept the Diocese of Bridgetown. Pope Francis has now promoted him to be Archbishop of Trinidad and Tobago.  

This means changes for me as well. He helped me establish two chapters of my CATHOLIC SECOND WIND GUILD, one in Barbados and one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I do not know what this will mean for my connection to Barbados going forward since I do not know yet who the next bishop will be or whether he will be interested in continuing. I suspect he will want the help. 

I also stayed several times at Bishop Gordon's house in Barbados as I was passing through on my way down to St.Vincent. He always stayed at my house when he visited his seminarian at St. Meinrad Seminary over in Indiana, as he will next week. 

However, knowing Archbishop Elect Gordon, I suspect he will want me to open a third chapter in Trinidad and Tobago or transfer the old Barbados chapter to Trinidad and Tobago. Time will tell. I will keep you posted. 

He is scheduled to visit the last couple of days of October and first couple of days of November. There will be a post about that visit coming shortly.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017



Look at my little friend Daniel's small tongue wagging as he opens his present last year.
His tongue is really going to stick out when he sees what he is getting this year! I got him something very special this year.

Santa (Fergal Redmond) left today for a visit home to Ireland. He will be back around December 1 in plenty of time to hand out our toys.

Since I will assist Santa in handing out the toys, I have invested in an elf hat. Now I just have to not back out wearing it at the last minute. To give me courage, I got a hat for each kid at a bargain price of $0.50



Toys for the Island Childrens' Homes
St. Benedict Home for Children
Bread of Life Home for Children
(I'll get to help Santa hand them out when I am down there December 11-19.) 
and a little money for
the Annual Diocesan Childrens' Parties on 
St. Vincent and four of the outer islands. 

I hope to send all the toys down by November 6 so they will be there for sure when I arrive the week of December 11
By then the Prime Minister of that country will have declared his annual import tax amnesty on toys coming into the island.  
No, I am serious. There actually is an annual import tax amnesty on toys at Christmas time!  

Many of the kids at St. Benedict Home for Children are severely handicapped and cannot use their limbs well so soft toys with simple musical push buttons are popular. 

These Disney backpacks, regularly $19.95  cost me $4.95 on the "clearance" rack.
I bought ten - five appropriate for the girls and five appropriate for the boys. A nice woman behind me in line at TARGET handed me a $20.00 bill when I told her where they were going!

I never pay full price. Here are just a few of my other bargains. 

Another bargain! Got three! She even looks like most  of the beautiful wide eyed brown-skinned girls on the islands.

I got a real deal on these so I bought three for the kids to share.

For some of the severely handicapped children,  toys like this are very popular.

What little boy would not like to put this together 25 ways!

This is going to make some little girl very happy!

Something for an older boy to share with a friend at the Bread of Life Home where
many tend to be fully functional.

I got five large $19.95 Teddy Bears for $7.95 each. Many of the "special needs" kids love plush toys.

Sister Nyra Ann suggested some of these because they are educational.

This will be a hit for sure. Everyone in the Caribbean loves soccer!

I got three of these "retro" radios at a real deal: red, black and teal. Add some ear buds, a bunch of extra batteries and an electrical outlet adapter for the islands and you've got great gifts for some of the older kids.  This red one is for a teenage girl who loves music and can play the steel drums and a bit of guitar.

If you are interested in helping me with these Christmas projects, please send your tax-deductible check 

Rev. Ronald Knott
1271 Parkway Gardens Court
Louisville, KY 40217 

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.
Matthew 22

I have a little history lesson for those of you who know a bit about the history of education in Kentucky. While I was in the fifth grade, around 1955 I believe, our parish school became a public school. The nuns who taught us stayed on as teachers, but since their salary came from the public school system and since we have the separation of church and state in this country, the courts said that we could no longer be a religious school if we wanted to keep getting state tax funds. The court case actually came from a court case involving my parish in central Kentucky where I was the pastor before coming here to be pastor of the Cathedral. . 

We changed our name from Saint Theresa School to Cross Roads School. The nuns had to quit teaching religion, making religious references and remove all religious symbols from the building. They were allowed to keep wearing their religious habits. Even though we officially became “Cross Roads School,” “Saint Theresa School,” chiseled in stone over the doors,” was never removed. It remains today even though the school has long since closed.

We were allowed, for several years after that, to be released one hour a week to go to the church next door for religious instructions. Religious instruction had to be optional and off site.

This arrangement had its benefits: the parish did not have to come up with the money to pay teachers, we still got religious instruction and the county paid the Sisters of Charity rent on the school building since they owned it. Even though this change had its benefits, it was painful. I can still remember the day that I saw one of the nuns standing by the water fountain as the janitor took the big crucifix down and handed it to her to be taken away. That day, at the age of ten, I learned my first life lesson on the advantages and disadvantages of the separation of church and state. 

Today’s Scripture passage shows us the relationship between faith life and civil life. Jesus and his followers were Jews living in a country occupied by the Roman Empire. Their religion was tolerated by the Roman government, but they were obliged to pay taxes to the Emperor. The Jewish people resented paying civil taxes because they wanted to be a Jewish state with God as their king. Taxes and control were sore spots for the government, as well as the Jewish people. This delicate balance was always in danger of boiling over into conflict, just as it is today. There are always “church and state issues” before the Supreme Court: prayer in public schools, religious symbols on state and federal property and host of other situations.

It was in this volatile environment that Jesus was confronted with a loaded question. The question sounds harmless on the surface, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?,” but it was a cleverly framed question to embarrass Jesus in front of his fans, a trick question to trap Jesus in his speech. It was get-even time for his critics, or at least they thought. If he said it was OK to pay taxes to Rome, those who wanted a Jewish state would turn against Jesus. If he said it was not OK to pay taxes to Rome, the Roman government would arrest him and take him to jail. Jesus out-witted them with his wise and insightful answer, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” The first Letter of Peter puts it this way, “Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

This advice is as good today as it was then. Every Christian has dual citizenship. He is a citizen of the country in which he lives and he is also a citizen of heaven. There are times when the state ought to stay out of church matters and there are times when the church ought to stay out of state matters.

It was a tricky balance then. It is a tricky balance now. History teaches us that we have run off both sides of the road. There are disaster stories where governments have made religion illegal and just as many, if not more disaster stories of religions taking over government. Even in a country like ours, we have those who think the government is infringing on rights of religion and we have those who think that religion is getting too involved in government.

History, I believe, has taught us the wisdom of the separation of church and state. As fragile as it is, it is the only way religious freedom can be insured for the masses who hold a variety of religious beliefs. Our own constitutional principle of the separation of church and state guarantees freedom of religion as well as freedom from religion. Believers are free to practice their religion and non-believers are free not to practice any religion if they choose. It is a good arrangement, an arrangement that seems to work in today’s multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religion world, something I hope both secular humanists and the Christian right remembers in their power struggle. As Catholics, we need to be reminded from time to time that we have been both victims, as well as perpetrators, when it comes to religious freedom. As Catholics, we need to remember as well that our faith has been strongest when we have been under persecution and weakest when we have been in the privileged position.