Thursday, February 8, 2018



Institute For Priests and Presbyterates
Ongoing Formation for Individual Priests and Whole Presbyterates

One of many post-seminary ongoing formation programs

One of over 100 Presbyteral Convocations in 9 Countries

Teaching the Deacon Transition-Out-of-Seminary Class

Text Books for Seminarians and Priests

A Teaching Kitchen With Dining Room and Living Room

A Residence for the Retired Priest Programs

A Campus Coffee Shop

Leading a yearly discussion between international priests and international seminarians in our WORLD PRIEST program. 

The Restoration of Monte Cassino 
partnering with Jim Patterson II

Tuesday, February 6, 2018



MAY 11, 2002

On May 11, 2002, Mr. Michael Wimsatt graduated from Bellarmine University where I was serving as a Campus Minister. Here we are after the Baccalaureate Mass at Saint Agnes Church, across the street from Bellarmine University. 

I said to this young man, who had not thought very much about going to the seminary at this point (and besides he was from the Owensboro Diocese), "Someday you will be taking my place!" 

Sixteen years later, he is both Pastor of the Cathedral of the Assumption and Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Louisville - two of my old jobs at once!

How's that for a "prophetic statement?"

Dr. J. McGowen, former President of Bellarmine, said to me on the steps of the Cathedral when I was pastor there, "Someday you will be working at Bellarmine." I laughed because it had never crossed my mind for a second.

A year after I left my position as pastor of the Cathedral, I found myself the Campus Ministry priest at Bellarmine, where I stayed for seventeen years!

How's that for a "prophetic statement."   

Sunday, February 4, 2018


    "Half an hour's meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. 
    Then a full hour is needed."

    Saint Francis de Sales

    Rising very early before dawn, he left and
    went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
    Mark 1:29-39

    When I was a young boy, we lived across the road from my grandparents. We simply ran back and forth all day, as if we had a home and a branch office across the road. One of the things I remember clearly is going in the front door of their house after dark, knowing they would be sitting side-by-side in the dark in their rocking chairs. 

    They sat down in their rocking chairs after supper and, even though the sun had gone down and it had gotten dark, they didn’t bother to turn on a lamp. They just sat there in silence, rocking. I always knew where my grandfather was sitting because I could see the red dot of his unfiltered Camel cigarette glowing in the dark.  It never crossed my mind whether they thought my arrival was a nuisance or a relief. I guess I thought I was doing them a favor barging in uninvited and relieving them of the quiet!

    I read somewhere that couples who can enjoy their time together in silence will always stay together. A child, however, probably cannot imagine anyone enjoying silence.

    Today we read about Jesus getting up early in the morning to go off by himself for some silent prayer. Notice some of the things it says right before he got up early, before dawn, to be by himself in silence. “Everybody was looking for him.” “The whole town was gathered at the door.” “They brought to him all who were sick or possessed.” “He cured many of the sick and drove out their demons.” After all that, it says he rests, prays for direction and then moves on to another town to minister to the people there.

    This is the pace and pattern of Jesus’ ministry – frantic activity, withdrawal and rest, prayer for clarity and then back to work!  We see it here and we see it again and again in his ministry. In chapter six, after an especially busy time, it says that Jesus took his apostles to a deserted place to rest and pray before going back to work. It says, “People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat!”

    For many people today, this kind of silence can be downright scary. There is a term for it – sadatephobia - fear of silence. This “fear of silence” was relatively unheard of fifty years ago, but today psychotherapists are seeing large numbers of individuals with can't handle silence and they believe the numbers will continue to rise in the coming decades.Many experts believe that technology has given rise to the constant need for sound, therefore producing a greater number of people suffering from sadatephobia.  

    My problem is the opposite. I am among a few who suffer from a condition called “misophonia,” "hatred of noise" (also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome,) in which negative emotions, thoughts, and physical reactions are triggered by specific sounds. Fingernails on a blackboard is only one of many sounds that send people like me up the wall. Several years ago, because of a NIGHTLINE program about people who suffer from misophonia, I finally realized that there are many of us who “manage” this condition by avoiding occasions where certain sounds will occur. Watching that program, I literally came out of my chair yelling, “I’m not the only one! I am not just imagining this!” The condition was only recognized by the medical community around the year 2000. Even my doctors were skeptical. Most had never heard of it. Now it's talked about a lot. Amazon has over a dozen books on the subject of misophonia, the hatred of noise. 

    For many more people, not just the young anymore, it is impossible to sit in a quiet room for even a few minutes without noise - smart phones, head phones, blaring  music on the car radio, having the TV on even when no one is watching it or even the noise of traffic blaring around them. Newer restaurants, I believe, are deliberately designed to encourage noise. As a result, a parallel market for gadgets that drown out noise is also booming: noise cancelling earbuds, white noise machines, noise reducing triple pane windows and the like. 

    I have suspected for a long time now that there is, as well, a connection between the noise level of today's world and the loss of our sense of the divine.  Simply put, it seems to me that the world is so noisy today that even God can’t get a word in edgewise! As the old Chinese proverb puts it, “Outside noisy, inside empty.”

    There is a beautiful moment in the Bible when the prophet Elijah feels God’s presence. The Scriptures say that a powerful wind tore the mountains apart, but God was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. It was the whisper of God. God doesn’t yell, he whispers. Maybe that is why we can’t hear him all that well these days.

    Silence today is looked on as odd, something to be avoided at all cost. In reality, it may be dangerous to do without it. “We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly - spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.” (Susan L. Taylor). 
    The noisy world of social media, constantly being bombarded with external stimulation, seems to be having a detrimental impact especially on the young. Teens’ use of electronic devices including smartphones for at least five hours daily more than doubled, from 8 percent in 2009 to 19 percent in 2015. These teens were 70 percent more likely to have suicidal thoughts or actions than those who reported one hour of daily use.
    In 2015, 36 percent of all teens reported feeling desperately sad or hopeless, or thinking about, planning or attempting suicide, up from 32 percent in 2009. For girls, the rates were higher — 45 percent in 2015 versus 40 percent in 2009.

    In 2009, 58 percent of 12th-grade girls used social media every day or nearly every day; by 2015, 87 percent used social media every day or nearly every day. They were 14 percent more likely to be depressed than those who used social media less frequently. All that information is two years old. By now it is probably even worse.

    Besides avoiding quiet at all costs, several years ago we dumped the idea that we need to honor the third commandment that tells us that we should stop every seventh day to rest and pray. Thinking that the whole idea of regular day of rest was outdated, thinking that we know better than God, we created the endless-loop workweek. Now we are dealing with the results of such arrogance: stress related diseases, alienation among spouses and children and the rise of the drug culture to kill the pain and to help us sleep. Thinking that the whole idea of a regular day of prayer was outdated, thinking that we can do without God’s guidance and input, we replaced regular prayer time with recreation, shopping, more work and, yes, noise, noise, noise. God only knows how many Catholics skipped Mass this Sunday to get things set-up for the Super Bowl, an annual “holy day” of screaming and yelling! Those of us who could care less and would rather be a hundred mils away from all of it, are looked down on as “pathetic introverts.” 

    Is it a sin not to observe the Sabbath, not to rest and pray with the community once a week, like they used to say it was many years ago? After thinking about it to some length, I believe it is! Does it hurt God not to observe the Sabbath? Yes, but only because God loves us and not resting and praying hurts us! God gave us the third commandment, not because he needs our worship and he needs rest, but because we need to express our gratitude and we need to rest, because we need to quieten down and listen for God’s direction in prayer before we go back into our frantic lives on Monday and because we need to spend some quiet “down time,” on a regular basis, with our families and friends. When I was a kid, Sundays were about going to church, having a big family dinner and visiting relatives - that was it! Maybe we weren't so dumb after all! 

    The world tells us that the secret to success is to do more and more. God tells us that the secret to success is to sometimes do less. Who are you listening to?