Thursday, February 15, 2018


Saint Barnabas Campus
3042 Hikes Lane
Louisville, Kentucky

I have offered this Parish Mission in several areas of our diocese, in the Owensboro Diocese and in the Diocese of Venice (Florida), but I was asked to do it one more time here in Louisville. 
It is my pleasure to invite you, if you have never attended this Parish Mission, to come out this Lent and pray with some fellow believers, sing your heart out with my gospel music group, REFLECTIONS, and listen to some challenging preaching. 

A very special welcome to those Catholics who might have drifted away these past few years. Throughout my priesthood, I have made it my specialty to reach out to you and welcome you.
There will be no pressure, but Lent is a great time to "begin again."  







Come all three nights, if you can!
If not, come the ones you can! 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018



Ash Wednesday 
Valentine's Day 

What to do? Simple! 
Give her candy and tell her not to eat it! 


Something Serious About Lent

Let us climb the Lord's mountain that he may instruct
us in his ways so that we may walk in his paths.

Tomorrow, we begin the holy season of Lent - an annual retreat when we "climb the Lord's mountain" in order that God may "instruct us in his ways so that we may walk in his paths."   "Climbing the Lord's mountain" is a metaphor for simply trying to rise above the pace of ordinary living to refocus our attention and intensify our efforts on "walking his paths" more faithfully.  To do that we especially focus on the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

PRAYER -  Most of us tend to think of prayer as words we say to persuade God to do something he is not already doing.  While it is true that we are invited to ask God for favors, the real essence of prayer is to ask God to change us so that we will want what he wants. After all, all God really wants is our good, anyway!  Our Lenten prayer, then, is basically about our changing so that we will want what God wants rather than the other way around.

Going to daily Mass or saying the Rosary is always good, but that does not work for everybody. If you have a hard time adding more prayer time to your schedule, try carving out that time by turning off the radio on your way to work. If you find it hard to concentrate, try praying for the people in the cars around you. Try getting up a half hour earlier than everybody else and sitting quietly with a cup of coffee. "Where there is a will, there is a way!" 

FASTING - Often many of us eat, not because we are hungry, but because we are trying to fill an emotional void in our lives. When we fast, when we cut back on eating, we are invited to feel the pain we want to avoid. Feeling it, we can identify it. Identifying it, we can address it rather than numb it with food.

It is a perversion of Lent to confuse fasting with dieting. Dieting is selfish. Fasting is other centered. Be it your daily Starbucks or that second beer, monitor your feelings when you "deprive" yourself Study your reactions and let them give you some important insights into your self.

ALMSGIVING - When we hear the word "almsgiving," most of us immediately think of "giving something to charity."  What we do in almsgiving is not as important as why we do it. Almsgiving can be selfish. It can make us feel righteous. What it is meant to do, really, is raise our awareness of our connectedness to others. It helps us remember that we are all in this together. "No man is an island." "We are our brother's keeper."

Ash Wednesday has a way of sneaking up on us. Let's us receive ashes as an outward sign that we are willing to to go on retreat! 

sent by Desmond from SVG

Something Not so Serious 

New Pastor - Old Pastor

Sunday, February 11, 2018


If you will it, you can make me clean!
Mark 1

When I was working at Bellarmine University, we regularly encountered homesickness, especially during the first semester. Even though many try to hide it, homesickness is a common feeling that most college students experience at some point if they are living away from home for the first time. Some students feel more homesick than others and everyone misses different things.  Some might feel homesick from missing a girlfriend or boyfriend, parents, siblings, pets or good friends. Another might feel homesick for familiar and comfortable surroundings like their own bed or bedroom or even the mall where they used to hang out with friends. Others might feel homesick for familiar routines or mama's cooking.

Familiar surroundings, routines and people provide people with a sense of security and comfort. People may describe their feelings as deep sadness, depression, frustration, anger or hopelessness.  If they have additional stress in their lives - like a divorce, a serious illness or a death in the family - homesickness can be more intense.  Most people, when they go through loss or change, feel especially attached to things that bring them comfort and miss them more when they are not around them.  

It occurred to me as I was writing this homily that I have experienced homesick - even in my own home – especially when I am sick! I remember one time in particular when I had been without power for a week, my new computer had crashed completely and was unusable for two weeks and I had a terrible sinus infection that made me sicker than I have been for a long, long time. I yearned to have my old life back. I wanted things to be like they used to be - hard work and all!

When I first read the story of the poor leper in today's gospel, I immediately thought of the physical suffering that goes with leprosy - lethargy, pain in the joints, oozing sores with a terrible stench, muscle wasting, loss of fingers or toes - even whole limbs - but the way this leper makes his request tells me that what he is suffering from homesickness, even more than his disease.  He wanted his old life back.

I say that because lepers were banned from the community. They were shunned, isolated and made to live alone in caves or cemeteries - anywhere away from the community. Lepers were not allowed to touch anyone or even speak to them. Lepers were required to cover their mouths and noses, wear ripped clothes, uncover their heads and warn people when they were around by calling out, "Unclean! Unclean!" so that people would have time to run away from them. They weren't even allowed to go to church. Lepers, then, not only had to bear physical pain and social isolation, they also felt cut off from God as well. People even told them their disease was a punishmenet from God for some sin they had committed!

The reason this man asks Jesus to be made clean was not just about a cure for his disease, but his restoration back into his family and normal society. He wanted to be cured, not just so that he would feel better physically, but so he could go home and be with his wife, his children, his relatives, his friends, his people and his religious community. In other words, he wanted to have his old life back.

Even though it was forbidden by religious law for a leper to speak to a healthy person, this leper obviously trusts Jesus enough to approach him and speak to him.  In response, it says that Jesus was moved with pity, reached out and touched him and spoke to him with love. Those actions alone connected him to the community again. But Jesus also knew that only a cure of his disease, officially recognized by the temple priests, would allow him to be totally restored to his community so he cures him of his leprosy right then and there and told him to show himself to the priests of the temple.

Have you ever been shunned, snubbed, teased, passed up, avoided, made fun of, excluded or marginalized by others because of a mistake you made, a place you are from, a physical handicap or a sexual orientation? Have you ever had to live in isolation because of a disease - cut off from friends or regular routine? Have you ever been an immigrant snubbed by neighbors, discounted on the evening news and cut off from relatives? Have you ever been in any situation where you feel all alone and disconnected from those around you?

Do you remember how wonderful it felt when someone noticed you, spoke to you, reached out to you and helped you reconnect to normalcy again? Have you ever been sick for a long time, in isolation, and away from home? We have all heard the horror stories when isolated, teased and avoided and cruelly marginalized high school students have been driven to bring guns to school and massacre others. If a few people had reached out to them, included them and brought them into the community, it might have been prevented.

I am not able to cure people, but I have been able to be part of the miracle of restoring people to the community. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for marginalized Catholics - those on the edges of the church. I am pround to say that I was doing it long before Pope Francis was elected Pope! I have made it my specialty as a priest to talk to them, include them and bring them into the celebration of God's love. Those gestures have been almost miraculous in some cases. This has been especially true in confession when a person comes in with self-loathing and guilty over a mistake they have made. To be able to say a kind word, rather than a sharp rebuke, an assurance of God's love rather than a stinging condemnation, in those situations are almost miraculous. I remember hearing an elderly womn’s confession a few weeks before she died. It was right here in this Cathedral. After 60 years of not going to confession and filled with guilt, I helped her “let it go” with all the kindness and compqassion I could muster. Her last words to me, as she was leaving the confessional were these. “I have never had anyone to speak that nice to me!”

The bottom line of this gospel is that we all have the power to heal the broken-hearted, the marginalized and the rejected of this world - be it a young person with a difficult personality or physical abnormality or an elderly person living alone and neglected by their families - by doing what Jesus did. He restored that connection by allowing them to approach him and by speaking to them with kindness. Before you can do that, however, you must look beyond your own self and take notice of the people around you.  Try it! You might be the one who makes a real difference in someone's life this week!  Maybe you can make that difference today in this very church! You just might “heal” them with your kind words!