Friday, May 3, 2019



Father Boniface, a priest from Nigeria, blessed Easter baskets and handed them out the Sunday after Easter. There was a delay because the ferry boat that was to take them from Saint Vincent to the islands of Mayreau, Union and Canouan caught fire. Thank God our Easter baskets had not yet been loaded onto the boat. 

If you want to know why I do what I do, just look at the faces of those children. You might have seen those expressions years ago in our own country when kids got very little candy or nice presents throughout the year, but you don't see it often these days. You can see quiet, eager anticipation and wonder  before they get their baskets and appreciative, almost unbelieving awe, after they get the chance to examine them. 

Look at the expression on that boy's face! Priceless! 

"Thanks so much for making these Easter baskets possible, Father Ron. It was a joyous and wonderful experience to watch them being distributed on Mayreau. The children's faces do indeed tell the tale." 

from Nancy on the island of Mayreau

The green banner says, "We love you Father Ron! Thank you"

Thanks to all of you who helped with this project! God bless you! You helped make a difference in these children's lives! 

Thursday, May 2, 2019



Bishops, Priests and Deacons

April 30 - May 1, 2019 

Claiming Our Responsible Freedom as Individual Priests and Deacons

Rev. J. Ronald Knott

It was a great two days with some wonderful bishops, priests and deacons. However,  it got off to a rough start because of yet another air travel disaster. 
O'Hare Airport in Chicago was practically shut down because of a storm on Monday morning which caused us to be delayed from even taking off from Louisville. We sat on the tarmac for an hour. I thought that I would miss my flight out of Chicago to Omaha only to find out that the flight was cancelled for mechanical problems. I was put on a flight for that evening which meant that I had to spend seven hours in the O'Hare Terminal. I tried to get on an earlier flight, but I was number 7 of 37 people on the stand-by list. I didn't have a chance because the airport was packed with delayed passengers going in every direction. 
I finally got on the 7:08 flight to Omaha arriving at 9:30 pm.
Father Josh picked me up after spending most of the day killing time in Omaha before a four-hour drive back to his parish in North Platte. 
Even though it was getting late, we set out on the four-hour drive, only to be caught in a blinding snow-storm about an hour from the parish, With speeding semi-trucks whizzing past us, we crawled the rest of the way back to the parish, getting there at 2:30 am! 
I have never seen snow coming down at us like that - wet clumps
hitting our windshield in streaks like arrows for miles and miles! 
After a short night, the program was back on schedule! 

I got home safely last night without a hitch in spite of the four-hour trip back to the airport. Getting there on time was very very close. I got through security at the Omaha airport as the plane was loading for Chicago! Chicago to Louisville was a piece of cake! 

If you are tempted to envy me for all the travels I "get to do," don't! It was one of the most stressful travel days of the last couple of years and I have seen some doozies! 

The Priests and Deacons Beginning To Gather
Saint Patrick Church
North Platte, Nebraska

Father Josh Brown, Pastor and Ongoing Formation Director

Various Shots of the Two Day Program. Some were actual students of mine from my Saint Meinrad days, many knew people I knew and I  think I made some new friends. 
The Knights of Columbus and their wives served us cocktails and a delicious prime rib dinner with wine on the last evening.

Present Bishop Hanefeldt is on the far left. Former Bishop Dendinger is second on the right. 

Bishop Henefeldt presided and preached the closing Mass. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019



Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt
Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Island, Nebraska

Bishops, Priests and Deacons
April 30 - May 1, 2019 

Claiming Our Responsible Freedom as Individual Priests and Deacons
Rev. J. Ronald Knott

“No one can replace us in the responsible freedom we have as individual priests.”
Pastores Dabo Vobis #69

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
9:00 AM                     Donuts, coffee, gathering

10:00 AM                   Morning Prayer

10:20 — 11:30 AM    When the Things You Gave Your Life to Fall Apart 
11:30                           Mass in Church  
12:15                           Lunch
1:00 — 1:15 PM         Daytime Prayer

1:15 — 2:15 PM         There is No Rescue Party Out Looking for Us So Quit  
                                    Whining and Put on Your Big Boy Pants! It’s Time for
                                    Serious Priesting!            
2:15 — 2:45 PM         Break (30 min)
2:45 — 3:45 PM         Put the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First Before Assisting
3:45 --- 4:00 PM         Break
4:00 — 4:45 PM         Q&A (15 min) Followed by Evening Prayer
4:45 — 6:00 PM         Social hour

6:00 PM                     Dinner followed by free evening


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

7:30 AM                     Mass in the Church

8:15 AM                     donuts, coffee, gathering

9:00 —                       Morning Prayer

9:30 — 10:30 AM      The Jonah Complex: The Convenience and Selfishness of
                                    Playing Small
10:30 — 10:45 AM    Break (30 min)
10:45 — 11:45 AM    The Show Must Go On: We Don’t Have the Luxury of
                                    Coming Unglued.
12:00 noon                  Lunch & Depart

Sunday, April 28, 2019


Born at Home
Delivered and Baptized by My Grandmother
@ 10:30 am 
April 28, 1944  

That Makes me 75 Years Old Today!  

I am still trying to live this out! 
With God's help, I will try and try and try as long as I can! 
Some people see me as "driven," even a bit "crazy," but I am going to live as intensely as I can until I die! 
My hope is to "burn out," rather than "rust out!" 

At this point in my life, I can assume with confidence that there are a lot more days behind me than in front of me! 
But that's OK because no matter what, when it's all said and done, the top of my tombstone will summarize it all for me - in granite, no less! 



(Using some ideas from my recent Parish Missions)

An Unshakable Peaceful Center

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked where the disciples were,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, "Peace be with you."
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
John 20:19-31

Are you kidding me? “Peace be with you?” After all they had been through in the last few days, he shows up from the dead and wishes his huddled-together followers “peace?” With all that’s happening in our world and our church these days, those words sound a bit like an invitation to denial! “Panic!” is more like it! Some of what I share with you today, I shared at my two recent Parish Missions. 

Do you ever get the feeling that the whole bloomin' world – the church included - isn't working all that well anymore and nobody seems to have the foggiest notion of how to really fix it? Me too - and I have felt it for a long time! The Rudyard Kipling poem “If” puts words to my feelings. 

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken,
twisted, or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
and stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
to serve you long after they are gone,
and so hold on when there is nothing in you
except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

I spent twelve long years in the seminary preparing for ordination to the priesthood, only to see the bottom appear to drop out about the time I got there. When I was ordained in 1970, priests and nuns were leaving in a steady stream, many life-long Catholics were no longer going to church and young people, even the graduates of our expensive Catholic School system, were not even bothering to receive the Sacraments. 

In 1970, I was worried about my future, but not discouraged enough to quit. With my eyes wide open, I made the deliberate decision to stand my ground and stay put, realizing that I would be serving the Church in one of the most tumultuous periods in recent Church history. I knew in my heart of hearts that my years as a priest would be more like shooting the rapids of the Colorado River than lounging peacefully in a canoe on a serene mountain lake. I had a pretty good hunch as to what I was getting myself into! At least I knew enough that it was not going to be easy! I knew it was going to be a rough ride! I chose to do it anyway, even though I might not have realized just how chaotic it would become. 

For instance, I could not foresee that I would be sent, very soon after ordination, to the home missions to live by myself for five years in a church basement with no windows, to two tiny parishes of less than 25 members total, and without enough income to even pay my monthly salary – which was about $200 a month back then! I did not foresee being thrown own of my first ministerial meeting down there simply because I was a Catholic. I did not foresee being terrorized by the thought of the Ku Klux Klan blocking the road while driving a dark mountain road at night because we had started the first Catholic Church in one of those counties and welcomed African Americans from the local Job Corps. 

I could not foresee that I would be stalked by a schizophrenic and have a knife pulled on me when I was pastor of our Cathedral for welcoming marginal Catholics back to church. I could not foresee an anonymously written “white paper” being circulated throughout Louisville condemning me and Archbishop Kelly, calling us about every name in the book for our efforts to bring the Cathedral back to life. I could not foresee that half of the twelve classmates with whom I was ordained for Louisville would leave the priesthood after a few years and a few of my seminary classmates from other dioceses would be removed from priesthood because of child abuse accusations. 

I could not foresee a damnable sexual abuse scandal coming to light that would drive me, for the first time, nearly to the point of quitting. I may have gone through with leaving the priesthood if I had not taken a three month “leave” to pull myself back together. I spent one of those months by myself, walking almost all day every day on a cold deserted Florida beach, praying and thinking about what to do next. I left there resolved yet again to tough it out. After that, it got even worse and worse by the year. One of my best friends was removed from the priesthood during those years. I didn’t see it coming! 

I am still mad at the sick priests who have hurt children, hurt my church and brought shame on the 95% of us priests who have done good work and given ourselves to the service of others for many, many years. 

I am still mad at some bishops for being ignorant, cowardly, misguided by so-called “treatment specialists” or clueless, especially those who chose to protect the institution over innocent children. 

I am still mad that so many people still do not understand that this problem exists, not just in the church, but also in families, in schools, in sports programs, in the entertainment industry, in politics and in other churches. Even though we failed miserably in handling it, the Catholic Church did not invent this problem and it is still being hidden in other institutions and churches! 

I am still mad that we priests let you lay people, in your goodness, put us on pedestals and treat us with respect without us ever having to earn it. We took your goodness for granted which created a climate of clericalism where these crimes were kept hidden to avoid “giving scandal.” 

Regardless of all that, I have made this decision: nobody is going to take my church away from me no matter what they did or didn’t do! I am so determined, like the French Scientist priest Teilhard de Chardin, to “stay to the end, with a smile if possible,” that last fall I had my tombstone installed up in Saint Theresa Cemetery, in the priest section, with my name carved in stone - FATHER James Ronald Knott! I’ll be damned if I go back at this point in my life and have “Father” chisel off that tombstone! No matter what, if it’s left up to me, I am here to stay! 

From here on, I will not bury my head in the sand, but I have decided that I am going to place most of my focus on positive things - the things I have the power to change, instead of wallowing in sadness. I will do what I can to effect such positive changes, but I am going to ignore what I cannot change – and if I can’t ignore it at least I will try not to allow it to drag me down because I have decided that nobody is going to take my church away from me no matter what they did or didn’t do!

Like me, all of you have heard hundreds of “good” reasons to give up on the church, blame others for its problems, withhold financial support, even punish those who are not guilty and drop out in self-righteous disgust. Like you, I have been tempted to respond that way to some of the problems in the church today, but just as I refuse to give up my United States citizenship because of the stupidity and moral weaknesses of our politicians and many of our citizens, I will not leave my church because of its sometimes cowardly leadership, because of a few perverted clergy or because of its often sinful members. It may not be easy to stay and fight evil, but I know I can be a whole lot more effective from the inside than standing outside the church and barking at it from a distance. No matter what, know this! Nobody is going to take my church away from me no matter what they did or didn’t do! I am here to stay! 

If you need a reason to leave, go ahead and take your pick. There have always been hundreds of so-called “good” reasons to leave. It is not always true of everybody, but I sometimes wonder whether those who look for reasons to leave, rather than reasons to stay, are not many times the same people who were never really committed anyway. Leaving in a huff probably makes them feel less guilty about their own lack of commitment to the mission of Christ and their own mediocre investment in his Body, the Church. They seem to say, “I would stay in the church and my faith would be strong, if you people would just be perfect!” Give me a break! To those who need others to be perfect so they can feel better about themselves, I quote President Theodore Roosevelt. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming….

In other words, if you’re not willing to get in the ring with me to fix things, then move to your safe corner, get out of my face with your self-righteous and self-preserving blame of others! We must stand our ground, fix this damned mess, whether we caused it or not, and resist the urge to deny it or run from it! As Jesus promised, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against us!”

My aim is to refocus on those basic decisions that we will need to make in order build a solid center that will help us weather this storm – and any storm for that matter! Whether your kids have quit going to church after all your investment in religious education, whether your spouse has been unfaithful to you after years of marriage, whether the bank foreclosed on your business after slaving for years to keep it going, whether you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness after trying your best to stay healthy, I want to help you discover your solid center from where you can weather any storm life throws at you! 

I want to inspire you to become one of those trees growing along a river bank that the Prophet Jeremiah talked about when he said: “Those who trust and hope in the Lord, are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” I also want to inspire you to say to yourself what Saint Paul said to the Corinthians. “We are pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken: struck down, but not destroyed!” 

Peace is not the absence of tension and problems and chaos, it the result of knowing how it’s all going to turn out! No doubt about it, when all is said and done, evil will be defeated! That’s why we can have an inmost calm that no storm can shake!