Friday, May 18, 2018


Assumption Council 4473
Progress Boulevard 
Louisville, Kentucky 

Last night, I was invited to address a dinner meeting of the Knights of Columbus on my work in the Caribbean Missions. 

I told them about how I got involved as part of my retirement planning, especially my founding of the Catholic Second Wind Guild for retired priests, bishops and lay professionals who want to donate their time, talent and treasure in building up the Church in a struggling area of the world. 

I was able to report on the vision, the accomplishments and the dreams of Catholic Second Wind to date in its two Chapters: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados. 

Father John Deitrich, long-time Chaplain, and myself. 

A partnership of the local bishop, retired U.S. priests, retired/active executive level business leaders and their associates
who want to share their time, talents, resources and connections doing shared ministry in creative new ways
that are both life-giving for them in their retirement years and beneficial to the mission of the Church by tackling targeted mission needs and projects.

A SECOND WIND - a phenomenon in distance running whereby an athlete who is too out of breath and tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance.  

A GUILD –  Traditionally, a guild was a group of artisans and craftsmen engaged in the same occupation who would associate themselves together for protection, mutual aid and service. These guilds performed other services for their members as well as the community at large. Medieval guilds:
      provided funeral expenses for poorer members and aid to survivors;
      provided dowries for poor girls;
      covered members with a type of health insurance and provisions for care of the sick;
      built chapels;
      donated windows to local churches or cathedrals;
      frequently helped in the actual construction of the churches;
      watched over the morals of the members; were important for their contribution to emergence of lay education.


    … would be headquartered in the R C Pastoral Centre of the Diocese of Kingstown, SVG, the renovation of which being its first project. 
    … would require that the Pastoral Centre be renovated so that The Second Wind Guild would have a workable and comfortable headquarters from which to plan and implement its future projects.
    … would, to this end, unleash a team of retired specialists to design a new layout and implementation plan based on present uses and identified new uses for the future to present to the bishop for approval and implementation.  Special attention would be given to plumbing, electricity, cooling systems, kitchen lay-out, chapel, furniture and bedding. Once the Centre is renovated, it would be a simple, attractive, useful, workable, efficient, clean and comfortable diocesan headquarters for the chancery, bishop’s residence, guest rooms, diocesan meeting spaces for ministry development and spiritual retreats.
    … would be coordinated initially by Father Ronald Knott, retired priest of Louisville, Kentucky, under the leadership of Bishop County. In the renovation, Father Knott would be designated a small office/room in the renovated Pastoral Centre out of which to operate. Even though designated for this purpose, it could serve as the bishop’s guestroom when not in use. 
    … could be a source of part-time ministry by specific retired priests and bishops looking for such opportunities. After initial contact with The Second Wind Guild and a preliminary screening, retired priests or bishops willing to volunteer would be introduced to the bishop for further screening and assignment by the Bishop of Kingstown. They could serve as formation specialists, relief for priests needing vacations or time off, temporal pastoral assignments, retreat masters and the like. The Catholic Second Wind Guild could organize an orientation program for volunteers to better help them understand and acclimate to island culture. These orientation programs would be conducted by the Bishop and local clergy in the newly renovated Pastoral Centre itself. The Second Wind Guild could also arrange periodic support meetings, short retreats or prayer days for volunteer and local clergy.  
    … would consider targeted projects identified by Bishop County and his advisors for exploration, feasibility and possible implementation. After studying the feasibility, assembling the right team, raising the resources and being accepted by the Catholic Second Wind Guild, the implementation could start under the auspices of Bishop County and in partnership with local personnel. 
    … would move slowly but deliberately from one project to the next. Each project could possibly require assembling a different Second Wind Guild team, depending on its nature and scope. Nothing would prevent two small projects from being worked on at the same time. 
    … could, in the future, include the “soup kitchen project,” away from the Cathedral, on property already purchased or even the big project of a Community Center, previously imagined by the Diocese of Kingstown. Success breeds confidence and more success.  
    … would not be a legal entity or hold accounts of its own. All gifts would go directly to the Diocese of Kingstown through St. Bartholomew Church in Florida or any other arrangement made by the Diocese of Kingstown for receiving tax-deductible gifts.
    … would, with the approval of Bishop County, begin immediately recruiting a team of experts to come down together to do a study of the Pastoral Centre and its needs, as well as a study of the availability of local talent and resources to implement such a renovation.  Once a study has been completed, the team would come down again to make a presentation to the Diocese of Kingstown that could lead to implementation. 

    … could, in the future if this model is successful, pick and train other retired leaders and experts to start additional Chapters of the Catholic Second Wind Guild in other dioceses recommended by the Antilles Episcopal Conference.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


May 16, 1970

Waiting for the first step to priesthood - tonsure (a ceremonial haircut) - in First Theology 1966
That's me on the far right.  Monks had most of their hair shaved off except for a small band above the ears called a "carona" of "crown." Diocesan priests just had snippets of hair cut out in the shape of a cross. For diocesan priest, this practice was dropped after Vatican Council II.
By the way, another practice was dropped, all of us in my class were ordained Exorcists before the diaconate and priesthood. Yes, I am technically an ordained Exorcist. Don't call me! 

Ordination Invitation

A reflective moment before going into the Cathedral for ordination to the priesthood. 

First Mass

I was the first Catholic priest to live in Wayne County. Kentucky. I was pastor of Saint Peter Church in Monticello and served its mission of Good Shepherd Chapel in Whitley City, Kentucky. 

One of my five trips to Taize, France, when I was a volunteer chaplain at Somerset Community College in southern Kentucky. 

Doctor of Ministry in Parish Revitalization - McCormick Presbyterian Seminary in Chicago. 

This music team used to travel with me to do Parish Missions around the diocese and in southern Indiana.  Two members of the group have died since this photo was taken - the two to my right - Stewart and Larry.   

 His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (Lhamo Dondrub), myself

and  Archbishop Kelly in our Cathedral. 

Melanie Prejean Sullivan worked together for fourteen years as Bellarmine Chaplians. 

Honorary Doctorate from Bellarmine University. 

Teaching one of the Deacon Classes about the transition out of the seminary. 

This Teaching Kitchen, Dining Room and Living Room at Saint Meinrad Seminary was one of my projects. Together, they are called the Saint John Vianney Center. 

My silent partner in mission work in the Caribbean. 

Teaching international priests and seminarians how to acclimate to American culture.
Building JACK'S COFFEE SHOP was one of my projects. 

Distinguished Alumnus at Saint Meinrad Seminary

Leading the annual monastic retreat at Saint Meinrad Archabbey

Remodeling a special floor for the retired priest program was another of my projects. 

I led over 100 priest convocations/retreats/study days in ten countries.

With Cardinal Collins of Toronto for four of his priest retreats. 

Leading the priest retreat in Vancouver, Canada.

Saint Lucia Priest Study Days with Archbishop Rivas OP

Speaking to the Antilles Bishop Conference in Trinidad.

I taught a class to seminarians in the island country of Trinidad.

Preaching in the Cathedral in Kingstown, SVG and baptizing one of seven babies (below) 

My fellow volunteers from Ireland, Fergal Redmond and Martin Folan.

Archbishop Gordon, now of Trinidad, got me started in the Caribbean missions. 

The Pastoral Centre in Kingstown (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)  where I have my Catholic Second Wind Guild headquarters. 

Caribbean Mission trip Number Nine

Teaching deacon prospects in the islands. 

I worked with Jim Patterson II to remodel Monte Cassino at Saint Meinrad Archabbey. 

How Can I Keep From Singing?
My life goes on in endless song

Above earth's lamentations,

I hear the real, though far-off hymn

That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife

I hear it's music ringing,

It sounds an echo in my soul.

How can I keep from singing?
While though the tempest loudly roars,

I hear the truth, it liveth.

And though the darkness 'round me close,

Songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm,

While to that rock I'm clinging.

Since love is lord of heaven and earth

How can I keep from singing?
When tyrants tremble sick with fear

And hear their death knell ringing,

When friends rejoice both far and near

How can I keep from singing?

Sunday, May 13, 2018



You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.
You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.
Acts of the Apostles 1

What we celebrate today is the "handing over" of his ministry to his disciples by Jesus so that it can be carried out by them once he is gone. It is handed over with a promise – a promise to "be with them always, even to the end of the world." Before he leaves them, he tells them to "take my message out to the whole world” and “to never forget that you will forever have my help in doing it.”

That small band of disciples did go out and as we look at the world today, 2,000 years later, we can see the results of their efforts. Even they would be shocked by their own success. Christianity today is the largest religious group on the planet - about 2.1 billion believers in every country in the world. Half of all the Christians in the world are Roman Catholics who make up one-sixth of the world population.

In this country, the Christian faith was brought by the Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries. After it was established here, Americans sent missionaries to places like China, Korea, Japan, India, African and all over central and south America in the 20th century. Guess what? Those missionaries were successful. Many of those places where we sent missionaries are now sending missionaries back to us. Over one third of all priests now working in this country were born outside the United States, as well as the ordinations taking places this spring in the United States. The largest number are coming from Columbia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland and Vietnam. This is typical all over the country. In the future, your parish priest could come from about anywhere in the world. The new pastor at my home parish down in Meade County is from India. We are indeed becoming more "catholic" as a church, meaning "universal." 8% of those ordained this year became Catholic later in life. 5% came from out of the military 70 percent of them served as altar servers in their parishes. 50 percent of them served as lectors. Over 51% of them were discouraged from considering the priesthood. Just think how the numbers might change if more were encouraged!

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.
You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.

Even within the parish, the Church says, in Canon 528, that it is the job of the pastor "to see that the word of God is announced to all those living in the parish....and with the help of the Christian faithful to bring the gospel message to those who have ceased practicing the faith or those who do not profess the true faith." 

The first thing to note here is that the responsibility of announcing the word of God to all falls not just on priests, but all the Christian faithful. We were all baptized to be missionaries!

The second thing to note here is that the we have a responsibility to announce the word of God to everyone living within the parish boundaries: faithful Catholics, inactive Catholics, other believers and those who profess no religion!

Most priests and parishioners spend a majority of their time ministering to faithful Catholics - those who show up on Sunday and volunteer within parish programs.  In fact, one of the saddest things about the priest shortage is that there is less and less time to reach out to the other groups that are part of our responsibility. In fact, it is impossible with the priests we have to reach out to these other groups without the help of the Christian faithful.

Personally, I have specialized with one group or another depending on my assignment. In other words, I have been a missionary, in one way or another, throughout my 49 years of my ministry as a deacon and priest. When I arrived in Monticello and Whitley City in 1975, as a home missionary, I had less than ten Catholics in those two missions combined. I spent most of my time reaching out to those with no church and to people of other faiths.

While stationed in Calvary, outside Lebanon, which was almost 100% Catholic, I spent my time strengthening the faith of life-time Catholics.

During my time as pastor of the Cathedral in downtown Louisville, I spent most of my time reaching out to "fallen away" and "disaffected" Catholics.  Some left because they had been hurt, some left because of church teaching, some left because they felt ignored and some left because they were simply flat out bored by what was being offered. Hundreds returned to the Church because of our outreach. Through our major interfaith program, thousands more became more familiar with what we as Catholics believe and thousands of Catholics became more familiar with what their neighbor believe.

As chaplain at Bellarmine University for fourteen years, I tried to inspire the Catholic students to freely and consciously choose for themselves the Catholic faith that was handed to them by their families.

In my retirement, I have begun working in the foreign missions, trying to strengthen the organizations that present the faith, strengthen the faith and pass on the faith in economically poor island countries where the church struggles as a minority.

On this feast of the ascension of our Lord into heaven, we are reminded once again that "just as Jesus was sent by his Father to preach the gospel, so now are we went to do the same," not just some of us, but all of us!  The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that through our baptisms all of us are missionaries. It goes on to say that those who are ordained and those who are married have a added obligation in this matter.  Marriage partners have a special obligation to lead each other and their children to holiness. In fact, parents are the primary evangelizers of their children. Priests have a special obligation to empower all the baptized to be evangelizers to the world!