Thursday, May 30, 2019



A Panel From the Holy Doors of Saint Peter Basilica in Rome

Notice that the blood of Jesus in this bronze panel drips down on the good thief and the bad thief. The only difference is that the bad thief turns away from Jesus while the good thief looks toward him.
       This is also the story of Peter and Judas. Both betrayed Jesus, but Peter repented and came back. Judas gave up in despair.  

Paul's Letter to the Romans, 5:6-10 
For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath. Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life.

The Good News

We may reject God's love for us, but God never quits loving us no matter what! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019




Fr Ron and friends,

What a pleasure it was to renew acquaintances once again with so many wonderful people acquainted with our mission here on St Vincent and the Grenadines. To have met them at such a memorable event as the celebration of your 75th birthday party was truly special. I felt privileged to have been numbered among such august company and to have received a personal invitation from Mrs Brown - what a delightful and charming lady. Tim Tomes’ organizational ability certainly made it all go smoothly.

From start to finish, my visit was unforgettable from my aspects. Although only my second visit to Louisville, I was conscious as we drove to the Cathedral on Sunday that I would likely meet many familiar faces encountered in my previous trip. I was not disappointed. Sharing brunch afterwards with the Owings family, along with Dr Kelty and yourself, was the perfect start to my mini-break. Meeting the Burch family that evening was an outstanding delight. Not only did it embrace the hospitality and the cuisine extended by Greg and Teri, but it also included the captivating canine reception offered by two lovably pets.

To have shared time with Fr Gray and Pat Patterson was a bonus. To be in their company and to be regaled with stories and reminiscences was a pleasure indeed. I look forward to the next encounter knowing it will be a genuine delight to share in further laughter.

To know that an afternoon at Churchill Downs has already been scheduled for the next visit is indeed appealing after the experience there last Friday. Bishop Gerard is thrilled to know that he is included to accompany Fr. Clark, Dr Kelty, yourself and myself next year. Perhaps on our next attendance there, we can pool our ‘talents’, down a few mint juleps and enjoy the experience irrespective of whether we win, place or show!

Without doubt, and as inferred above, the highlight of the visit was to have attended your party. To have listened to so many in attendance relate incidents and anecdotes about you was revealing. It is obvious that you have earned the heartfelt respect and warm appreciation of so many of your community and supporters. I have no doubt that their shared narrations were a wholesome and unambiguous response to what they have both witnessed as well as experienced from their encounters with you over the years as both a priest and a friend. It is easy for me to identify with all of this as I have run into similar sentiments about you and your magnanimous involvement here on St Vincent.

After another whirlwind visit to Louisville, I was quickly thrown into the thick of things on my arrival back in St Vincent. I drove straight to the old orphanage to discuss with the builder, the quotation for its renovation as a home for the upcoming arrival of the Redemptorist missionary priests. He is reviewing some of the costs and will revert shortly. With the Papal Nuncio visit finishing on Thursday, I hope to have some indication later in the week of our requirements net of possible international grant aid assistance. Aware that we joked about our ages having exceeded the three quarter century mark and its possible knock-on debilitating consequences, I have every confidence that with your involvement in part of this significant renovation project, it can be achieved long before we are classified as two old timers heading over the hill !

Let me conclude by thanking you again for opening your apartment to me during my stay - I have been made so welcome to the extent that it’s like I am coming to visit family. In the name of Bishop County and the people of the Diocese of Kingstown, SVG, let me thank you for the generous donations to our struggling island church that were given so generously on the occasion of your 75th birthday.

With much gratitude,


Sunday, May 26, 2019


Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
John 14:23-29

Fear has been a very powerful force in my life, such a powerful force that I was driven to write a book about how I have dealt with it so I could lay it all out once and for all and take a good look at it. It was published last September. It was entitled Between Courage and Cowardice: Choosing to Hard Things for Your Own Good. It is an autobiography that traces the personal battle that I have waged against the fears that have dominated my life from age six to the present time and how I have, or have not, chosen to stand up to them.  It is a book that I had always wanted to write, but one I was actually afraid to write.  I almost gave up on it several times in the process. It was like getting lost in tall weeds. To get it done, I had to once again stand up to my own fear and cowardice and not let them talk me out of it.  

Looking back over my life in such an intense way, I realize that even today I am still battling my fears.  Finding myself standing between courage and cowardice all the time, I still need to push myself to choose doing the hard thing, rather than the easy thing, for my own good. It still happens after all these years. I get on a plane by myself heading out to some far-flung diocese to face hundreds of priests and bishops and realize that I am overcome with fear and doubt – fear of rejection and doubt about my capabilities.

Even though I haven’t had a disaster yet, on the contrary appreciative acceptance, I have the need to talk myself up and my demons down every time I take off on another speaking trip.  I can still remember being paralyzed by the same fear and doubt before opening the box my first published book arrived in – fear of rejection and doubt about my ability.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

I have come to believe that many people never become all they can be because of two things. (1) They are intimidated by the judging voices of others. (2) They are intimidated by their own self-doubting voice.  Both voices say basically the same thing. “Who are you to do such and such? Who do you think you are, anyway?   If these demons are not slain, we will end up “settling” for a life marked by dullness. Angelina Jolie said this, "If you ask people what they've always wanted to do, most people haven't done it. That breaks my heart."

I have learned the hard way that the secret to a rich and full life is to face your fears, stand up to your own cowardice and do hard things for your own good. What I have learned from years of doing that is that you end up amazed at the great things that can happen to you, if you do!

Another thing I have learned is that it takes an amazing amount of concentration of the will to overcome embedded negative messages from childhood, but with dedicated practice it is indeed possible to overcome even emotional abuse and psychological neglect.  I believe I am where I am today because of my determination to not allow fear and doubt control me. I am very happy that, with God’s grace and the help of good friends, I have been somewhat successful! 

The third thing I have learned is that there is wisdom out there about overcoming fear and self-doubt that others can share with us. As you know, I collect motivational quotes and I regularly share some of my favorites on this subject on my blog and in my homilies in hopes that you can learn from them as well.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

Fear probably defeats more people than any other one thing in the world. I once read that F-E-A-R stands for “fantasy events appearing real.” I read somewhere that, statistically, about 90% of the things we worry about never happen, so Jesus was right, “fear is useless, what is needed is trust.” How we handle fear determines whether we experience adventure or whether we are limited by the fear of it. Without scary, we don’t get to be brave!

I would say that my life has been enriched every time I have gotten up the guts to look fear in the face and say “No, you are not going to run my life! I may fail, I may get hurt, I may be laughed at, but again I might not, so be gone!”

Fellow believers! These words are spoken to all of us today by Jesus himself. "Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” So I say to you, “Do not listen to the discounting voices of those who do not believe in you! Do not listen to that discounting voice in your own head that does not believe in you! Tell them both to shut up and listen instead to God’s encouraging voice in your own heart – that tiny whispering voice that gets drowned out by the noise of the world – that tiny whispering voice that you may not be able to hear because of the noisy, negative self-talk that goes on in your own head – that tiny whispering voice of God who is telling you not to fear, but to be strong! Take it from one who has been there! God has great plans for you – he wants to take you to places you cannot even imagine for yourself! Do not let fear hold you back from becoming who you really are and all that you can be!”

Henry Ford may have said it so well when he said, “Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both right!”

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.