Friday, January 5, 2018



My least favorite island airline is LIAT - Leeward Island Air Transport. The locals, because of its unreliable schedules, call it LIAT Leaving Islands at Any Time!

My new favorite island hopper is SVG AIRLINES. It is much smaller, and a bit more expensive, but more friendly, helpful and reliable, The only problem, you might have to make two to three island 15 minute stops getting to where you are going.

The inside a SVG AIRLINE plane holds about 20 people. The cockpit is wide open. Their idea of security is much more relaxed than ours!

On my trip in, I had a direct SVG AIR flight from Barbados to Union for two nights and then on to the new airport on St. Vincent Island.

On my way back to Barbados to catch my American Airline home, we made a stop in
Canouan Island.

We made another stop in Union Island before heading to Barbados. I had been on Union Island the first two nights of this trip so it was like backtracking a bit even though I never got off the plane.

American Airlines flies directly from Miami to Barbados and Trinidad and directly from Charlotte to Saint Lucia. Charlotte is a much easier airport to manage customs. Miami is usually a nightmare no matter how you cut the cake. Saint. Lucia has a local airport at one end of the island and the international airport at the other end with an hour and fifteen minute taxi ride - a strange set up to say the least.
On my next trip, I am flying from Louisville to Charlotte to Saint Lucia and back. I won't have time to go over the St. Vincent. I will be leading the priest retreat for the priests of the Archdiocese of Castries, Saint Lucia. We had to cancel it last September because of the hurricanes.
It should be an easy trip because it is American Airlines all the way!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Archdiocese of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
"You are back to your home country again!" 
December 27, 2017

Incoming Archbishop Jason Gordon greets retiring Archbishop Joseph Harris C.Ss.P. 

Archbishop Jason Gordon seated on the archbishop's chair in his cathedral, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain, Trinidad. 

Archbishop Jason preaching for the first time as Archbishop of Port of Spain. . 

Archbishop Jason likes to preach spontaneously from the center isle. 

Some of the neighboring bishops and archbishops of the Caribbean. Bishop County of St. Vincent is second from the left. Cardinal Felix is in red in the center. 

Archbishop Jason meeting some of the local dignitaries. The white cassock is worn by many bishops in hot climates, instead of the black we normally see in the US.


Thanks for the invitation, but I had just come back from the Caribbean a week earlier! I will see you here in Louisville on your next trip up to Saint Meinrad Seminary or when I fly through Trinidad on my way to St. Vincent - which ever comes first.  As you said, "I got you into this and I'm not finished with you yet!" I'll leave the light on! Your room here in Louisville will be ready!  Have your guest room ready in Trinidad if I have to spend the night, coming or going! 


Tuesday, January 2, 2018


but I have realized recently that I have actually been guilty of rewarding the bad behavior of some. 


Without switching to punishing them for their bad behavior, I realize now that I need to at least quit rewarding it!


It is hard to admit publicly, but I may have been misguided in some of my compassion. 

a. I have excused people when they are late without their even bothering to inform me, when they very easily could. I have encouraged them to think and act as if their time is more important than mine. 

b. I have given waiters excellent tips even for poor service.

c. I have allowed people to take presents from me, over and over again, without as much as a thank you. That's not good for them

d. I have supported people even in their bad life choices, thinking that my support would inspire them to change. Most of the time, it didn't. They repeated it, while others around them have mimicked it.   

e. I have overlooked selfish, rude and ungrateful behaviors and have even come back, at times, for more of it because I did not want them to feel bad if I confronted it. 

f. I sometimes overpay people who show up late, leave early and do a shoddy job.

g. I have excused some people for walking all over me and overlooked their nasty comments and behaviors, assuming that their feelings were more important than mine.   

h. I have found myself explaining myself endlessly to get their approval for my not giving them my approval. Sometimes, I have even ended up apologizing for not rewarding them for their bad behavior. 

I have come to understand that I have been rescuing them from feeling the pain resulting from their own bad choices, thereby enabling them to keep repeating their destructive pattern of use, abuse and bad example. 

The hateful thing to do would be to punish them for their bad behavior, but I have come to conclusion that the most loving thing to do is to allow them to feel the painful results of what they choose to do - not short-circuit their learning process by rewarding their bad behavior.  I have learned that a cool "no response" is the best response in many such cases. 

I have come to realize that behind my "Mr. Nice Guy" mask may be a coward who is addicted to being liked. I have come to realize that my "Mr. Nice Guy" act may actually be helping them become comfortable in engaging in even more bad behavior.

I will not punish them, but from here on I refuse to reward their bad behavior or give them the impression that I sanction it by my belief in unconditional love. They have my love, but I will not continue to bless everything they do. From now on, I will step back and let them feel the pain they have created for themselves and quit trying to rescue them from the affects of their own bad choices, whether they like me or not. I realize that doing this is the most loving thing I can do for them. 

If they ignore sound advice and insist on making bad choices, then I need to let them live with the consequences! I may not like their choices and I may not be able to stop them for making those choices, but I will not make it easier for them to keep hurting themselves by smiling and applauding when they do make bad choices.

Monday, January 1, 2018




I am dedicated to keep reinventing myself as long as I can.

I will keep living on purpose, not thoughtlessly, wastefully or cowardly!


With God's help, I am open to doing things I have never imagined doing.

No matter how severe the storms, I know that I am safe and they will eventually pass. 

I used this hymn at my first Mass.
I have sung this hymn on all forty-seven anniversaries.
I will sing it again for the forty-eighth anniversary this coming May.

I can choose safety and familiarity and shrivel up emotionally and spiritually or I get out into the fray and the storm and live a life of exhilaration, excitement and engagement. .

Fear is a factor, but it must never be allowed to run my life.
It must be stood up to and talked down.

Fear of failure does not mean I will actually fail. Fear is just a response that can be overridden.

Mediocrity, as a response to fear, should never be an option for me.

My early life has prepared me for the ministry that God has given me!

I have proven that I am stronger than I feel and more courageous than I thought.

My mortality is a fact, but today I choose to live the very best I can.
I have made contingent plans for dying, but till then, I will keep making plans for living.

My life keeps getting better and better with God's help and with my intentional efforts.

I was born to be a pioneer, an entrepreneur and a builder. When I acknowledge that, and proceed without fear, great things happen.

I will never give in and never give up as long as I am  alive.

I am filled with gratitude and wonder at how blessed I have been. Who could have imagined?

I open my hands and heart for more, but I also remember that
to whom much is given, much will be required. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017


Cathedral of the Assumption
12:00 pm Mass
December 31, 2017

Husbands  love  your  wives. He stores  up  riches
who  reveres  his   mother.  Whoever  honors   his
father  atones for  sins.  Parents  do  not  nag  your
children. Children, take care of your parents when
they are old.

Christmas is a special time to reconnect and recommit as a family. The Saturday before Christmas, all six of my brothers and sisters and four brother-in-laws got together for a home Mass and dinner – no gift giving. We have been doing it for many years. Because of some health issues in the group, this year we added the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. As a single person with no family of my own, it is my way of connecting to a sense of family. Like always, we had a great time laughing and talking and telling the same old stories from growing up years. Several of them pointed out how lucky we are just to be able to get together. Some families we know cannot even get together because of divorces, hard feelings and old grudges. If they do get together, the getting together is strained and uncomfortable.

As a person who is still a member of a family, but who does not have a family of his own, I pay attention to families. I take notice. The thing that I see most is that having a family brings both joy and pain. Those who try it have my deepest admiration. Not having a family of my own, I realize that I miss out on both the joy and the pain.

Several times, as I flip though the channels, I have been compelled to stop and watch one of those live birth experiences that you see once in a while. I am not ashamed to admit that I usually get choked up and watery-eyed when I watch new parents at the moment of birth. While I am proud that it can move me so much, I am very aware that what those new parents are experiencing is a thousand times more intense. It is a joy that I will never know.

When I was on vacation on a beach in Mexico a few years ago, I was amazed at how many young couples were in the hotel with one, two and three young babies and toddlers in single, double and even triple strollers. Weighted down with diaper bags and stuffed animals, they struggled to keep their brood together. Totally relaxed, with a margarita in hand, I was secretly relieved, if not a bit guilty, that a vacation like their’s is something I will never know……at least I hope not!

A few years ago, about 10:00 at night I realized that I had not eaten supper. The closest fast food restaurant to my house is a White Castle about two blocks away. I ordered three hamburgers and a diet coke and sat down to watch a fascinating show that only happens late at night in a White Castle.  No sooner than I sat down than a distressed young mother with a toddler came in and asked the women behind the counter to call the police. Her “boy friend” had locked them out of the car and was threatening them in the parking lot. She paced back and forth, one minute trying to appease her whining child who needed to go to bed and the other minute peeking out the window to see if he was still out there. Sadly, like many abused women are wont to do, she went back to him before the police got there. A few minutes later, a wild-looking young woman, probably bi-polar, came in and ordered some cheese fries and ate them standing in the middle of the floor, spilling some of them and stepping on them, while muttering to herself. Before she finished, an older woman, her distressed mother came in telling her that she had been combing the neighborhood looking for her to take her home. She apologized to all of us and finally coaxed her into the car and left. As I left that night, I realized once again how many things some families have to deal with. Anyone who is trying to hold a family together has by deepest admiration.

Today is the Feast of the Holy Family. It is not the easiest feast to preach about.  In a world where family life is a painful experience for so many, I have always shied away from those romanticized and idealized sermons that I grew up with. They certainly did not describe my experience. Because my family was not like the “Holy Family” they talked about, I always left church feeling defective as a family. My religion teachers of the past were so driven to hold up the “holy family” as a model for all families that they may have read the stories in the bible about the “holy family” with rose colored glasses, ending up with a religious version of a 1950s TV family. Because their reading of the stories was so idealized, by the 1960’s, people began to reject it and even laugh at it as totally unrealistic and impossible.

A few years ago, I came to realize that maybe the real “holy family” is more like today’s families than we have traditionally become accustomed to think.  The facts show that the “holy family” was not that sugary little family that we use to hear about.

We only have a few stories about Jesus’ childhood and the family from Nazareth, and none of them would be what you would call nice and sweet.

(1) The family started out with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy.  Mary and Joseph were engaged, but not yet married when Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph came within a hair of divorcing Mary, but backed off because of a message from God in a dream. (2) When it came town for Jesus to be born, Mary and Joseph were called out of town for a census. Away from home, Mary and Joseph end up having to deliver their baby in a barn, right there in a stall. (3) When Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple for his circumcision, they were so poor that they had to make an offering to the temple of two common old pigeons, instead of the traditional, more expensive, doves. (4) No sooner than they settled down in Nazareth than a maniac king tried his best to kill all the Jewish children he could get his hands on. To protect Jesus from that fate, Mary, Joseph crossed the border, becoming refugees in a foreign country, until the coast was clear back home. (5) When Jesus was twelve years old, he got lost on a trip to the big city, Jerusalem. His panic-striken parents spent a few hellish days till they found him. (6) On one occasion, hearing some of the things he was preaching, his family came to do an intervention on him because they really thought he had lost his mind. (7) A symbol of all sorrowing mothers, Mary finally had to witness her son, stripped and beaten, being executed as a common criminal.

No, this holy family was no “goody-two shoes” family that I had idealized as a child. This family had problems, big problems, but they managed to remain faithful to each other and to God through it all. I think this family has a better chance of being a model if we simply accept the fact that they were like us in so many ways. 

This feast does offer an opportunity to say a few words about family life. The problems are easy to list, the solutions are not so easy to come by. The most obvious fact facing us is that families have changed. There is no use pretending they haven’t or wishing they hadn’t. They have! Instead of pretending or wishing, we need to develop new ways to help and support modern families, including single parent families, blended families, adoptive families and the many other varieties of new families.

Families and couples cannot take anything for granted. The forces against family life are hard at work. Families must be intentional about being family if they have any hope at all to work against the forces that are trying to pull them apart.  To let things slide in marriages or families is to invite disaster. Families need all the support the community and church can give.

The readings today give us an impressive list of “family values,” values that can guide and strengthen even modern families in all their marvelous varieties: honoring your father and mother, taking care of them in their old age, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, obedience, patience, forgiveness, peace, thankfulness and love, to name a few.  Family is not something that we can take for granted. It is something that must be wanted and worked for. Whatever family you have been given or whatever substitute family you have pieced together, may the Holy Family bless you abundantly in 2018!