Thursday, August 2, 2018



Fergal Redmond is a real "find" for the Diocese of Kingstown in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. A retired Certified Public Accountant, he became an unpaid full-time volunteer after his wife died. We both arrived about the same time. I would say that the diocese down there would be in a real bind without him! 

He is practically the bishop's right hand man! He keeps a keen eye on the donations I send down, but he does a lot more than "keep books" for the diocese. He does a "million" things well. 

I know that my involvement, even though not full time like his, would be a whole lot harder without him to turn to for information, assistance and a good laugh!  I have so much fun with him! 

I am so happy that he has accepted my invitation to come to Kentucky. I not only want him to see Kentucky, and he not only wants to go to Gethsemani Abbey while he is here, I want him to have a real vacation. He deserves it! 

With "frequent flyer miles" on American Airlines, I bought him a round-trip ticket from Barbados to Louisville for September 10 - September 20. 

If you want to meet him, let me know!

Here he is in his office working the phones. I would bet he is there at his desk 10 hours a day on many days! It seems that everybody down there wants something from Fergal! 

He had a health scare last year while he was home visiting his daughter in Ireland. There he is doing diocesan business from Ireland on his i-pad in a Irish hospital waiting for some test results! 

We both are known to enjoy a good gin and tonic on the deck at the end of a hard day of ministry!

Fergal regularly plays Santa Claus for the island kids. He had to miss last year because of his health scare which kept him home in Ireland, but we are both ready to be Santa (him) and his Elf (me) this coming Christmas!

Here he is enjoying breakfast with Martin Folan (another widower volunteer from Ireland) and Father Tom Clark from Louisville who went down with me year before last. 

Des (Pastoral Centre manager), Bishop County, myself and Fergal enjoying a farewell pizza dinner at the end of my last trip down last June. 

Fergal, being inducted into a Lay Dominican Group by Dominican Archbishop Rives from Saint Lucia, former Bishop of Kingstown SVG. 

Irish volunteers, Fergal and Martin, enjoying a local rugby game in Saint Vincent. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


"The fotos of the computer kids are great. Please tell the teacher I admire her immensely, so beautiful and encouraging."

"Very Educational!" "I would definitely recommend it." "It was awesome!'
"The program helped me a lot!" "The teacher was great!" "I wish it could have been longer!" "It was a let of fun!" "The teacher was the very best. She was nice!" 


see previous post  on 7-26-18 for more

Kirt Morris, Beth Kolodey and Shanda Boyea

Sunday, July 29, 2018





                                       THE HOMILY

There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and 
two fish; but what good are these for so many?
John 6:1-13

What really happened that afternoon a long time ago when a young boy’s five loaves and two fish were shared with five thousand and all went home fed, with plenty left over? Something so wonderful happened that day that the story of it has come down to us in all four gospels. It is one of our most regular readings throughout the year. What really happened?

Maybe it was a literal miracle of multiplication. Maybe those five loaves and two fish were miraculously and instantly turned into hundreds of loaves and hundreds of fish by Jesus by simply waving his hands over them. That’s how many of us have always understood it.

Maybe it was just a spiritual miracle like we do every Sunday here in the Eucharist. Maybe everybody came forward to receive a crumb and a pinch from the five loaves and two fish from those in charge of its distribution (like you do from Eucharistic ministers) and everybody went home spiritually fed that day.

However, there is still another explanation, one that is a little less mysterious, another explanation that is a little more ordinary, but miraculous nonetheless. Let’s lay aside our traditional understanding and prejudices for a moment and take a closer look at the details of this story for a possible better understanding of what actually happened.

It is highly doubtful that a crowd that big would have left on a nine-mile hike without making preparation – a few maybe, but certainly not five thousand people.  There are two reasons I can think of that would have prevented them from not being prepared. (1) There were no stores and restaurants lining the roads back then like we have today. (2) Jews were very particular about their food. It had to be kosher. No Jew would think of leaving home without his bottle-shaped basket with its truss of hay for sleeping and its kosher food for eating.

Probably what happened was that people kept what they had hidden from such a hungry crowd, lest there not be enough for themselves. It was only when Jesus took the young boy’s five barley loaves and two sardines, blessed them and broke them and began to pass them around that a willingness to share was triggered in the crowd. When this example of sharing spread through the crowd, people pulled out what they had and began to share it. As a result, everybody had their fill and there was a lot left over. I favor this explanation for several reasons

First, we need to remember that one of the things that Jesus rejected when it was offered to him by the devil when he was in the desert discerning the direction of his ministry was magically producing bread to feed hungry people. The devil suggested that Jesus turn rocks into bread. Jesus could, not doubt, have done that but he rejected it. Rather, he knew that if people would just change their minds about shortages and share the resources of the world, there would be no need for such “rocks into bread” magic.

Second, if it were just about Jesus’ power to miraculously produce bread and fish from thin air, then we might be amazed and even admire the power that Jesus had, but we could not pull off such events ourselves. No, this is a miracle alright, but it is a miracle of sharing. It is something we can do even today. The best example I can think of is a church pot luck dinner. I have seen this miracle take place hundreds of times at those pot luck dinners. Families arrive, each with their bowl of beans or their basket of fried chicken or their carton of potato salad or their bag of buns or their lemon pie or their pot of green beans --- on and on! They put all those little bowls and baskets of food on a long table. The pastor says a blessing over all of it. People line up and fill their plates. When it is all over, everybody is stuffed and there is usually plenty left over to take to the shut-ins.

We are used to calling this miracle the “multiplication of the loaves” even though the story never mentions the word “multiplication” in referring to the loaves. I believe it should more accurately be called the “miracle of sharing.” If we do, we don’t have to stop at admiring it as a historical event from years ago, we can repeat it today!

At the risk of talking about it too much, many of you know that I am volunteering down in the Caribbean missions in my retirement. I am seeing this miracle repeat itself right in front of my eyes. I am witnessing how much good can come from my own experience of people sharing “just five loaves and two fish.”

Last year, we sent down a 40’ shipping container of surplus medical supplies collected by a local organization of volunteers called S.O. S. – Supplies Over Seas. They come from our regional hospitals – items that would have gone into the landfill because of our laws and rules about expiration dates and cross contamination.  S.O.S. has tons of it in their warehouse over on Arlington Avenue near Saint Francis of Rome. They give it away for free, but charge processing costs and shipping by truck, train and ship to poor areas of the world. Typically, poor countries get close to a half-million dollars worth of perfectly usable medical supplies for a pittance.

I was down in the Caribbean missions on my tenth trip a few weeks ago. While I was there, I toured their new hospital in the very north end of the island. It was built by an international charity. It will officially open in November. As we went from room to room, there they were, the medical supplies that we had loaded into that 40’ shipping container here in Louisville last year! They considered it a miracle and so did I. It made me proud, but I was also blown away by the fact there is so much waste in one country and so much need in the other. The volunteers at S.O.S. are working miracles every month, right here is Louisville, by sharing our medical waste with those who are overjoyed to have it.

One of the other things I am doing is to try help the school children and orphans. In fact, we had a computer camp for very poor kids last week that will continue into this week. They are using the re-conditioned and used computers that I sent down last year. A public school “kids’ computer teacher” from here in Louisville is down there right now teaching computers to kids. The country does not have a welfare system like ours so people either do without or depend on people willing to help them. I have been especially focused on two orphanages run by two older Carmelite Sisters. Sister Zita is 80 and Sister Nyra Anne is not far behind. Lately, however I have expanded to help the kids in the Catholic schools on the island.

One of the needs I discovered was a need for school supplies – even down to pencils and pens. Businesses down there do not give away free pens like they do here, so to have a pen they need to spend a couple of dollars. Even the Bishop’s Pastoral Centre always has a pen shortage when I am down there. One day, I noticed that I had used pens in almost every drawer in my house. I have also noticed that hundreds of them are left on the tables after the priest retreats I lead across the US and Canada. I decided to clear out my desk drawers and my kitchen drawers and my night stands. I have started gathering them up from the tables after my priest retreats. Then a couple of weeks ago, I got the bright idea that I would announce a “used ball point pen drive” on my blog. The first responder was a woman in Elizabethtown who found 32 laying around her house. I got a box of used pens from North Carolina and a $100 check. A big box of them with business logos are on their way from Florida. I got over 200 of them from a former Cathedral parishioner. I have several promises from people here in Louisville who are gathering them up. I believe that I am in the middle of a “used ball point pen miracle.” To us they pile up in our “junk drawers,” but to the school kids down in the islands, they will become  “miraculous school supplies” because a bunch of people came forward and offered their version of “just five loaves and two small fish.”

As I read and re-read the story in today’s gospel, I hope and pray that this gospel comes alive for you and you have your own experience of the “miracle” that comes when you share “even a little bit.”

"On the whole, resources are likely to come
to you in greater abundance when you are
generous and inclusive and engage people in 
you passion for life."

from one of my favorite books

The Art of Possibility
Zander and Zander