Saturday, June 9, 2018



Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, Florida, on his Harley-Davidson, blessing some new police officers at their graduation!

Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland, Ohio, scuba diving in the Caribbean - a favorite pass-time!  

Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, Marc Trudeau (seated), is a former dentist! 

Thursday, June 7, 2018



On Tuesday night, I picked up Inge and Birgit, blood sisters, from near Stuttgart, Germany, at the airport. They have been touring parts of eastern Canada and the United States. 

I met Inge at Taize, France, around 1975 when I used to go there almost every summer between 1971-1976. I have visited her and her parents, Helmut and Anny, in Germany and they have visited me several times here in the United States: Monticello, Calvary and here in Louisville when I was pastor of the Cathedral. 
I met Birgit when I visited her family, but this is her first trip to Kentucky. 
Sadly, both Helmut and Anny have passed away, but they always spoke with great affection about their trips to Kentucky.  
It was a highlight of their lives, I am told. They always talked about it in such detail to people who would listen. 

Birgit is a children's social worker and Inge is a retired school teacher. 

In front of my garage at the condo!

Breakfast at Panera's first morning! 

Inge and I in front of the pool at my condo complex! 
I haven't used it in years! Gained too much weight, I guess!

Father Oyler visited Inge and her parents in Germany after meeting here in 
Louisville when several of us priests had cottages on Lake Hurricane near Boston, Kentucky. It is amazing how many graves we visited of people they got to know over the years. 
Looking at his tombstone, we noticed that it was his birthday

Father David Stoltz visited Inge, Birgit and their parents with me on one of my trips to Germany. They, too, met at Lake Hurricane when they visited me in the United States. 
Amazingly enough, it was Father David Stoltz's birthday as well! 

They met Archbishop Kelly when they stayed at the Cathedral Rectory when they visited me after I  moved from Calvary to Louisville. 

Before that, they visited me in Monticello when I was stationed there. While they were in Monticello, I took them to Somerset to meet my German friends, Agnes and Gerhard Abbing, who are buried in Saint Michael Cemetery right behind my condo. We stopped by their graves, as well. 

Talking on the deck with a little afternoon tea - before a swim in the pool! 

My turn to cook - salmon, rice, corn on the cob, tomato and fresh mozzarello salad, ice cream, wine and beer.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


For most of my life I have been embarrassed by my childhood pictures. In this, my first grade school picture, all I could see were defects: ears and teeth that were too big and a home-made shirt sewn together by my dear mother who did the very best she could with what she had! For most of my life, I could not look at this picture without feeling shame.

Today, I want to apologize to that little boy for being ashamed of him. Today I see an innocent little country boy with bright eyes trying to manage a smile. Today I see a sweet  child who seems to see something far off that he finds curiously fascinating.  Today, I see a brave little boy trying to hold it together.

This is the first time I have shown this picture to the public. 
Today, I want to pat that little boy on the back, give him a big hug and tell him how brave he has been.  


Sunday, June 3, 2018



                                    (On the night before he died,) Jesus   
                                    took  bread, said the blessing, broke
                                    it,  gave it to them, and  said, “Take
                                    it, this is my body.”
                                                                               Mark 16

Several years ago, a young couple decided to accept the challenge to homestead in the great northwest of Canada. They went deep into the wilderness and staked out a homestead, cut down trees and built a cabin. They were days from their nearest neighbors. They had studied survivor skills carefully and developed all the necessary skills to be nearly self-sufficient, except for a trip to the nearest town once a year which took several days to complete. After a few years, they were blessed with two children, ages 5 and 6.        
One day the father left for one of the necessary multi-day trips to get supplies. He was only gone for two days when the young mother was bitten by a huge rattlesnake. She soon realized that there was no hope for her survival as the venom entered her blood system. As she looked at her two children, she wondered what might happen to them till their father got home. She immediately lept to her feet, pulled down all the flour she had in her cabinets and began to make bread, thinking to herself, ‘If they have bread, they will live. If they have bread they will make it till their father gets home. If they have bread, they will be OK.”   As she became weaker and weaker, she locked the doors of the cabin, placed the bread on the table, laid down and died.

On the night before he died, Jesus did the same thing for us. At his last supper, looking around at his disciples, Jesus took bread and gave it to them saying, “eat this bread in my memory until I return.” Like the frontier mother I just talked about, Jesus thought to himself, “If they have this bread, they will be OK. If they have this bread they will survive.”  Before he died, he left bread on the table as a sign of his love and care for us” not just bread, but bread transformed into himself. To help us make it in the world today, we will eat that bread again today in his memory and we will keep eating until till he returns in glory.

Bread has always been a sign of God’s care. The Bible is filled with “bread stories,” all signs of God’s tremendous love, care and concern for his people. (1) One cannot forget that strange “bread from heaven,” called “manna,” that seemed to fall out of the sky each morning as the Israelites crossed the desert between Egypt and the Promised Land. (2) When Elijah the prophet was depressed and wanted to sit down and give up, God provided him with fresh bread. This bread gave him the strength to keep walking for forty days and forty nights. (3) The widow of Zeraphat, down to her last handful of meal and a few drops of oil, had to choose between feeding herself or offering hospitality to a holy man of God. Ignoring her own needs, she chose to be generous and God rewarded her with bread that never ran out. (4) Elisha the prophet was fed by a man with twenty loaves and through the intercession of Elisha that twenty loaves fed 100 men. Yes, bread has always been a sign of God’s abiding love and care for his people. We will be reading some of those stories over the next few weeks.

But the greatest bread story of all is recounted in our gospel today, the story of the Last Supper. Like the young woman who went to the kitchen and baked bread before her death so that her children might live, Jesus on the night he was betrayed gathered his disciples (then and now) around this table and left us this bread so that we might live, so that we won’t forget, so that we can face the things we have to face, week after week.

From the beginning, the disciples of Jesus have gathered around bread and wine and recalled these words of Jesus. We will carry on that tradition again today.  What we do here today is known by several different names: the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Breaking of Bread and the Mass.

What do the words “this is my body and this is my blood” mean?  Roman Catholics have always believed, or should believe, that these words of Jesus are literally true: the very body and blood of Jesus are received when the Eucharist is celebrated and shared in.  Other groups that share this view are the Eastern Orthodox, as well as some Lutherans and Anglicans. One of the most tragic things about modern day Catholics is that over 60% no longer believe this teaching, but believe the view of most Protestants. Most Protestants believe that the bread and wine only remind us of Jesus and all that he did for us and that we only receive Jesus in a spiritual way, but he is not present in the bread and wine. 

The teaching that “this is my body and this is my blood” has always been hard to believe and often denied. John’s gospel tells us that when Jesus taught his disciples that “unless they eat his body and drink his blood you will not have my life within you” many broke away and no longer followed him. No wonder our Church is in crisis when only 40% of Catholics now believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Even though we celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday of the year, the Church celebrates a special feast in honor of the Body and Blood of Jesus so that we can be called back to the basic teachings handed down to us about this great sacrament. It might be good to hear a few of those basic teachings.

(1) Both Scripture and Tradition teach us that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist. (2) The Eucharist is the heart and summit of the Church’s life. (3) When a validly ordained priest recalls the words of Jesus over bread and wine, they actually become the Body and Blood of Christ. (4) When one receives the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist the bond between Jesus and other believers is strengthened. (5) The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is “bread for the journey and strength for the trip.” It strengthens each believer on his path of discipleship.

St. Justin the Martyr summarized our Catholic teaching about 100 years after the death of Jesus when he wrote this description of an early Eucharist. He describes a celebration of the Eucharist following a Baptism. It is essentially the same as what we will do again today. Remember this was about 1850 years ago!!!!! 1850 years ago!!!!

After we have thus washed the one who has believed and assented, we lead him to where those who are called brethren are gathered, offering prayers in common.

Then there is brought to the presider of the assembly bread and wine.  He gives thanks at some length. When the prayers of thanksgiving are completed, all the people present call out their assent, saying: “Amen!”  Then those who are called deacons give to each one present to partake of the Eucharistic bread and wine, and to those who are absent they carry a portion.

We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been baptized and is thereby living as Christ has enjoined us. For not as common bread nor common drink, do we receive these. The food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, is both the flesh and blood of that incarnated Jesus. (Remember! This is 1850 years ago!)  The apostles, in the Memoirs which they produced, which are called Gospels, have thus passed on that which was enjoined on them.

Afterwards we continually remind each other of these things. And those who have possessions come to the aid of those who are poor; and we are always at one with each other.  

The Church has many problems and limitations, but for the life of me, I don’t think I could ever go off and leave the Eucharist! Through thick and thin, at great sacrifice, this most precious gift has been handed down to us to hand on to the next generation! It is “bread for the journey and strength for the trip.”