Saturday, September 15, 2018


Fergal is here! Fergal is here! 
Welcome, Fergal! 

Related image

Fergal Redmond

When was the date of your birth? 27/11/1943

Where were you born? Monaghan - 4 miles from the border with Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom)

How many siblings? 4 sisters (Alice alive) and two bothers (Nigel alive) - both younger than me

What did your father and mother do for a living? My mother was a house wife all of her life - died at the age of 96. My father was a civil servant (Revenue Commissioners) - died at age of 64.

Where did you go to school? Went to secondary school (minor seminary) as a boarder (200 miles from home - a very long distance in the 1960's). Attended major seminary (African Mission Society) for 4 years.

When did you get married? What was her name? Married Catherine in 1970 - she died in April 2014

Where did you work? Worked as a CPA mainly within industry

Where did you live? Moved to the West coast of Ireland overlooking Galway Bay - an area where the Gaelic language was predominantly spoken

How many children? Names?. Mary was our only child who is now married to Tommy with two sons, Euan and Cai. She also lives about two miles from my home.

How long was your wife Catherine sick and how long did you care for her? Catherine was diagnosed with encephalitis, a rare but serious disease, in 2008. From its onset she became depended on a wheel chair. Needing full time care, I gave up my job to look after her. She was further diagnosed with esophageal cancer 18 months before she died

How did you get involved in SVG? Martin, my friend who has been in SVG for ten years contacted me within 6 months after Catherine died and invited me out. I turned the offer down on grounds of old age! Months later he came home to Ireland for his brother's funeral and made contact with me again in Nov 2014 - a very persistent negotiator. I arrived here in March 2015.

What is the best part of being in SVG? The climate, the food, the enticing sea with swimming possible all year are all major factors, but its the people who are responsible for my extended stay here. The Irish are reputed for their Cead mile failte (a thousand welcomes), but they could learn a lot from the "Vinceys"

What is the hardest part?. I miss Mary my daughter a lot. It was a real treat and something special when she came out to visit me after my first six months here. It was the first opportunity that we had to have a memorable heart to heart chat about the role of Catherine in our lives - mother and wife. But it is a comfort to know that Mary is enjoying her own family with Tommy and two special little boys who came late in life. Skype is fantastic, but in many ways it is a poor second to the experience of the warmth of a family embrace that needs no words.

Plato the Greek Philosopher and Fergal the Irish CPA

A little afternoon coffee on my condo deck. 

"Selfie" photo of two "wild and crazy guys" from the islands! 

Breakfast with my good friend and mission supporter, Greg Burch. 

With Denise, administrator of SOS (Supplies Over Seas), and Tim Tomes, a staff member at SOS and a great helper in SVG projects. 

A leprechaun in the "land of the giants" with Karen and Tim of SOS

Can you believe all the surplus medical supplies that SOS saves, sorts and sends out? It is one of the best charity organizations I know - and its right here in Louisville! 

After an hour or two tracking down bargains at J C Penny's, there's nothing like a touch of ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. 

Fergal with Buren and Tammy Coats of Greg Coats Cars and Trucks

Some more of the staff at Greg Coats Cars and Trucks

Fergal could not help getting his photo taken with this antique
car. He even recruited a Mrs. Murphy to join him. 

Fergal with Greg and Tammy Coats.

Enjoying a couple of gin and tonics at the Red Lobster. 

Waiting on the porch of the Saint Frances of Rome parish office this morning for the funeral of Patricia Tafel Kirchdorfer, a wonderful supporter of our island missions. 


Island "baby dolls" were given out to guests at the
"Fergal Party" at Father Knott's condo on Saturday night. 

They will remind the guests to pray for the mission work we do together in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 

Fergal with chef Tim Schoenbachler 

Fergal getting the ice for the party. 

Fergal with Phyllis and Jan, who helped with serving the food. 

Guests Doreen Ovca and Lulu Lenihan 

Guests Elaine, Jim, Karen and Tim 

Guests Paul, Debbie, John and Sue

In the middle are Bill and Beth Kolodey.
Beth taught the kids computers in SVG this last summer. 

Guests George and Carolyn Ritsert, great supporters of SVG. 

My long-time friend Jeff Wethington and his friend Carmyn. 

Fergal and I attended Mass at the Cathedral this Sunday morning.
I presided at this Mass and introduced him at the end of Mass. 
Half of the parishioners claimed to have at least half Irish blood. 
We visited Father John Quinn's grave in the undercroft. He was an associate pastor at the old Saint Louis Cathedral that stood on the same spot as today's Cathedral of the Assumption. He was part of the great Irish immigration to Louisville in the 1850s. 

Fergal with Cathedral parishioner Carroll Blondel of Trinidad.
Trinidad is the next island country west of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines where Fergal and I volunteer. 

Friday, September 14, 2018



I had two posts recently focusing on our local Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and the Little Sisters of the Poor. Today I want to focus on some Sisters down in the islands where I volunteer. 

Another shipment of school supplies and snacks on their way to the Sisters today. 
Thank God I had Fergal to help me pack, load and unload these ten  boxes to take to the airport. 


(in brown)

Administrator of Bread of Life Home for Children

Administrator of Saint Benedict Day Nursery and Children's Home

The residents of Saint Benedict Home for Children are certainly proud of the toys we sent down last Christmas!

Second Grade Teacher at Saint Mary's School
and Liturgical Guitarist at Saint Benedict Parish

Catholic School Teachers

Some of the local Cluny Sisters at the Consecration of Bishop County in SVG

Sister Martha

Sister Jacinta

Sister Augustine

Some of their fellow Cluny Sisters celebrating their anniversaries  in another diocese. 

Pray for these heroic women, both in the islands, here at home and around the world.
They don't know what the word "retirement" means. Many of them are still working in their eighties and nineties! They just adjust to new jobs over and over again! They are amazing women! They inspire me to "keep on keeping on" in my own retirement. 
I would like to dedicate one of my favorite quotes to them because it is really about them. 

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little cod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." 
George Bernard Shaw

May God bless our Sisters, both near and far! 

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Patricia Anne Tafel Kirchdorfer 

Patricia Anne Tafel Kirchdorfer

Patricia Anne Tafel Kirchdorfer Obituary

Louisville - Patricia Anne Tafel Kirchdorfer, 94, of Louisville, passed away peacefully on September 12, 2018.

Patricia'a life was marked by great devotion to her family. Her beautiful and strong spirit, graciousness and unwavering faith touched everyone who knew her. Patricia was born February 15, 1924 in Louisville, the daughter of Mary and Paul Tafel. She enjoyed a wonderful Kenwood Hill and Cherokee Gardens childhood with her two sisters and three brothers. After meeting the love of her life, Henry Norbert Kirchdorfer, the couple married on May 29, 1954. Their strong union, blessed with four children, continued for 53 years.

Patricia was an avid tennis player and golfer. She loved gardening and hosting parties. Patricia attended the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Julliard in New York City. She played the harp in the Louisville Symphony Orchestra.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Henry Norbert Kirchdorfer; brother, Paul Tafel, Jr.; sister, Betsy Steele; sister, Mary Doherty Barnum; brother, Jack Andrews Tafel; daughter, Taffy Kirchdorfer, and son, Norbert "Bert" Kirchdorfer.

Her memory will be treasured by her children: daughter, Mary Katharine Kirchdorfer; daughter, Anne Kirchdorfer Lach (John); of Alexandria, OH. and her brother William D. Tafel, Sr.

The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to the staff at the Episcopal Church Home, Dr. Jane Cornett, and Father Ronald Knott.

Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. on Friday, September 14, 2018 at Pearson's, 149 Breckenridge Lane. Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Saint Frances of Rome Church, 2119 Payne Street. A private burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Patricia's name to Maryhurst, 1015 Dorsey Lane, Louisville, KY. 40223, St. Bartholomew Church, SVG Mission, C/O1271 Parkway Gardens Court, Louisville, KY. 40217, or to the .

With her friend, Ben Few, at The Episcopal Church Home.

I took my friends from Germany to visit her this last summer.

Last fall, I took my friend Archbishop Jason Gordon of Trinidad to visit her.

Admiring her own photo and the photo of her Dad at the dedication of the Saint Simeon Residences at Saint Meinrad Seminary - one of her generous projects.

Christmas Day lunch , two years ago, at the Episcopal Church Home.

Her burial plot is below the big patch of daisies and between the two grave stones. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018



                                           Father Stanley Rother’s Story

On May 25, 1963, Stanley Rother, a farmer from Okarche, Oklahoma, was ordained for his home diocese of Oklahoma City-Tulsa. Having flunked out of the area seminary due to his difficulty with Latin, Fr. Rother finally accepted an invitation to attend Mount St. Mary Seminary in Maryland, where he finished his studies and was approved for ordination.
After serving in his local diocese for five years, Fr. Rother joined five priests, three religious sisters, and three laypersons to staff a Guatemalan mission in Santiago Atitlán serving the Tz’utujil people. The Oklahoma City diocese heard the call of Pope John XXIII to send missionaries to foreign lands, especially Central America. These twelve individuals felt the call, and with their bishop’s approval, left the comforts of the United States to live and work in Guatemala.
By 1975, Fr. Rother was alone at his parish in Santiago Atitlán, the others having returned home for various reasons. He served the Tz’utujil people for 13 years and won their hearts and souls. Ever the farmer, and always unpretentious and mild mannered, Fr. Rother experimented with various crops as well as fulfilling his heavy pastoral duties which included as many as five Masses in four different locations on a given Sunday and as many as 1,000 baptisms a year.
Guatemala’s civil war reached the highlands and Lake Atitlán by 1980. Government troops camped on the parish farm and Fr. Rother witnessed the assassination of a number of his parishioners, including the parish deacon.
Warned of imminent danger, Fr. Rother returned to the United States for three months early in 1981, to visit with his family and friends. Against the advice of his family and the local bishop, Fr. Rother returned to Atitlán to be with his people. He remembered a Sisters’ community who had fled the country and later tried to return but the people asked, “Where were you when we needed you?”
On the evening of July 28, three masked men entered the rectory and shot Fr. Rother to death. His beloved parishioners mourned him repeatedly crying, “They have killed our priest.”
Pope Francis declared Stanley Rother a martyr on December 2, 2016. He was beatified in Oklahoma City on September 23, 2017.

Sunday, September 9, 2018



My brothers and sisters, show no partiality
as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes
comes into your assembly,
and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in,
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please, ”
while you say to the poor one, “Stand there, ” or “Sit at my feet, ”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil designs?
James 2:1-5

I was fascinated by our second reading today, fascinated enough to spend some quality time reflecting on it. Four groups of people readily came to mind: (1) the mentally ill people who have shown up here during Mass on Sunday, (2) the street people who often confront us for a handout on the sidewalk in front of the Cathedral before Mass, (3) those young people who stand with a cardboard sign now almost daily at the entrance to the Kroger parking lot where I live ostensibly wanting financial help and (4) the poor people down in the islands where I volunteer. 

I am not usually at a loss for words, but many times I become a bundle of conflicting emotions. Do I let them disrupt Masses and maybe put one of you in danger? Do I let them beg on the sidewalk? Do I hand them money? Do I just ignore them? If I do want to help, what is the best way to help? I don’t want to contribute to an alcohol or drug problem. I do not want to enable people who are just not motivated to find work, but I also do not want to pass someone up who is really in need of help. I came to the same conclusion that I always come to and that is there is no easy answer.  I know that Jesus requires us to do something, but do what and how?

I am very proud of this congregation in the way it welcomes the rich and the poor to be members. I still remember two days, in particular, when I was proud to be your pastor. One day, when we were just beginning this restoration project, the doorbell rang and there stood a street person that I had seen almost every day in the bologna sandwich line.  My immediate reaction was to prepare myself by biting my tongue in preparation to firmly remind him it was not “time” for the bologna sandwich distribution. “Father,” he said, “I want to make a donation to the renovation of our Cathedral. I noticed he had said “our Cathedral.” With that he opened his hand and gave me $2.00 in change. I did not want to take it, but I did not want to rob him of an opportunity to be generous, just because he was poor.

Another day, I came over here a little late for noon Mass on a weekday. I was in a hurry to get vested, but down the main isle came a bag lady waving her hands to get my attention. I remember talking to myself. “Damn! I don’t have time for this! I’ll tell her to go over for a bologna sandwich after Mass with the other street people.” She interrupted my self-talk with these words. “Father! Where is the “poor box?” I want to give this to the poor! With that she opened her dirty hand to show me a few coins!” I felt so ashamed, but grateful she didn’t give me time to open my big mouth and stick my foot into it!

Another time, after the renovation was finished, I was over in the Galleria eating lunch after noon Mass. Two street people were seated next to my table. They did not recognize me, but they got up and started to leave when one of them said to the other, “Come on! I want to show you our Cathedral!” “Our” Cathedral! I was so proud that the people here were so welcoming that he would know that he, too,  belonged here! 

My experience on Sunday in front of the church greeting you for Mass has not always been so “lovely.” I have been called more obscene names out there than any place in my life when I have told people that lunch would be served downstairs after the noon Mass. We have an obligation to try to help them, but we do not have to have them dictate how we are to do it. I believe it would be unwise to hand out money to large numbers of people on the side walk for many reasons, the safety of our families being one. I take their heat and do not demean them, no matter what they call me. I believe we have to be prudent in how we help them. We have a very nice social service program set up here at the Cathedral that is financed, supported and staffed by an army of generous donors and volunteers.

The same is true of the mentally ill who come into church. We welcome people to sit wherever they wish, no matter how they are shabbily they are dressed, as long as they do not act out! We have to protect the rest of the people from some possibly dangerous mental behaviors. I have had a knife pulled on me by a poor schizophrenic over a homily, right here, over a homily welcoming gay and divorced Catholic members. I have had to practically drag another woman down the main isle to the back, who had taken over the altar platform to scream from the Book of Revelations.  I could tell you story after story from my 14 year pastorate here. Our motto, when I was here, was “all are welcome.” Later I had to add, “All are welcome does not mean anything goes!”  I felt an obligation to welcome all people, but also to protect those who did come here.

I am totally at a loss how to help the growing number of young healthy-looking young adults, sometimes couples, standing at intersections with cardboard signs asking for help. From all appearances, they look healthy enough, but I learned a long time ago that you cannot judge a book by its cover. It especially aggravates me that Kroger cannot hire enough people to keep their shelves stocked and I see these young adults begging right in front of the store! I was even more confused about what to do when someone pointed out to me that they could probably work, but they could not pass the drug test. I certainly do not want to support a drug habit. I did help a young Hispanic family (father, mother and four small kids) the other day in the Kroger parking lot. I do not usually hand out money, but I do have a rule that I will not treat them cruelly, or call them names, even if I decide I cannot help.

Surely most of you know by now that, in my retirement years, I am volunteering in the Caribbean missions – particularly in the poor country of Saint Vincent. In helping down there, I am trying to be as smart as I can in how I help. I have made it clear at the end of Masses at the Cathedral and on the radio down there that I am helping to strengthen the institutions that help the many, rather than a few individuals: schools, hospitals, orphanages, nursing homes and the diocese. I have also tried to make it clear that I do not want to make them dependent on my help, but to try to help them find ways of making themselves independent. One of the examples involves buying a boat motor for a priest with three islands and no way to get there except hitching rides of commercial vessels. He had a parishioner who has a boat. My charity bought the motor with the understanding that the man with the boat could fish to make a living if he took the priest to his islands when he needed to go and that a percentage of his fishing income would go into a fund to replace the motor. We also air-conditioned a meeting room at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre so that they could rent it out, with the understanding that a percentage of the rent would go toward maintaining and someday replacing the air-conditioners.

We have also done things to “pull people up.” We have sent several young people to World Youth Day. We have offered a computer camp for poor kids. We have updated the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, We have recently purchased a van for the orphanages and a needed car for the bishop. We just sent down 13 big boxes of school supplies and hope to offer a number of scholarships to Catholic schools. The tuition is only about $156 a year

Helping the poor is not as simple as it sounds! Let me end by sharing a few principles  to keep in mind - ones I have tried to live by. (1) Helping the poor is not an option in the Christian faith.  We start by noticing. It is so easy to turn away, turn off any news about it and try not to see it. (2) After you notice, you have to care. Caring begins with the realization that there by the grace of God go I! (3) Be smart about the way you help the poor. Being naive and throwing a dollar at it, might relieve your guilt and make you feel good for the moment, but it probably does neither you nor them any good really. Support reputable social service programs like the Cathedral Soup Kitchen and an international charity with a good reputation - like mine! I like to support programs that lift the poor out of poverty rather than pass out Band Aids. Helping the schools in the islands makes more sense to me than handing out cash. (4) Get personally involved. That's what I am doing in my retirement in the poor country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Parishioners here take trips to Haiti. Look for people to help. Don't just wait till you see them on the side of the road. (5) If you can do nothing, at least be kind to the poor. Do not call them names, demean them or judge them by the way they look. You could be terribly wrong! You just might be demeaning Jesus in disguise. When in serious doubt, when my judgment could go either way, I usually go with helping, just in case! In the end, I would rather be a sucker than a tightwad! 

The Homeless Jesus
Sculpture in Front of the Vancouver Cathedral
(notice the holes in the feet)