Thursday, August 1, 2019



II Corinthians 9:67

When I retired and started the Catholic Second Wind Guild, my main goal was to "re-create myself" by repeating something I have been doing intentionally most of my life - deliberately putting myself in a new situation where I could grow and change, while trying to help others in the process! I thought maybe other retired priests, bishops, deacons and lay professionals might also like to join me in offering their talents, resources and connections to the Caribbean missions. 

I had no idea when I started the Catholic Second Wind Guild that it would not only help me, other retirees and the people down in the Caribbean missions, but also help those who would be helping us! I am amazed at people when they say things like, "Thank you for giving me an opportunity to help!" Now that my first "gang of five" has been down there and had such a positive experience, I expect others will want to go down so that they too can experience the same "delight in the giving" that the last five volunteers experienced! 

"Thanks for letting us help!" I have heard it from the five volunteers. I heard it from those who have given me toys for the orphans, used medical supplies for the clinics and hospitals and school supplies, used laptops and harmonicas for the kids down there. I have heard it from cash donors and attendees at my Parish Missions and priest retreats.  I have heard it from the Cathedral parishioners and the three communities of Sisters who gave me their surplus church furnishings. 

I have been gathering so much stuff for the islands over the last few years, that is wasted up here and so needed down there, that someone called me "Father Sanford and Son" the other day! There was one period this summer I could not get my car in the garage! It's happening again!

I can not believe that so many people are actually thanking me for the opportunity to give! I guess they know that it will not be going to some anonymous international charity with a high paid executive, but to people in need that I have actually met and gotten to know! 

Here is a quote that has guided me in this venture and many ventures before. I keep seeing it come true again and again. It's truly amazing to watch! 

"The moment one definitely commits oneself, 
then Providence moves too. 
All sorts of things occur that would never otherwise
have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision, 
raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen 
incidents and meetings and material assistance which
no man could have dreamed would come his way."

William H. Murray

At seventy-five years of age, I am amazed that there are things that still amaze me! Yes, God does have a way of mysteriously showing up with help when we seriously commit to helping others. For this, I am truly amazed and forever grateful! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019


A Pat Patterson Idea
He is, himself, a harmonica player. 

Pat acquired over 100 HOHNER harmonicas for the kids down in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 

Joe Sheridan, himself a harmonica player, being presented with 100 harmonicas by our recent volunteers. Joe, who lives in Saint Vincent and plays the harmonica with the Cathedral choir, agreed to teach the kids in Kingstown SVG

Joe playing the harmonica and guitar at the same time at a Cathedral Mass. 

Here he is teaching the first group at the Cathedral Summer Camp

Sunday, July 28, 2019



Lord, teach us to pray!
Luke 11:1

What we have here is a gold mine – a gold mine of basic teaching on prayer. With so many contrasting beliefs about prayer going on in the minds of Catholics, it might be a good idea to listen closely what Jesus has to say about prayer as he teaches his disciples, as well as us, in this gospel.  

The first thing Jesus teaches us about prayer is the kind of God we pray to!  If you believe that God is distant, cold, moody and disinterested in the human race, you will approach that kind of God in one way. If you believe that God is gracious, interested and loving toward us, you will approach that kind of God in another way. It is important to know what God is actually like, instead of what you imagine him to be!

Jesus teaches his disciples in this gospel to call God abba. Abba is the word a son or daughter would use at the time of Jesus to address their beloved biological fathers. It is a term of closeness. Just as you can tell what kind of a relationship a person has with his or her father by the name he uses to address him, we are told what kind of God we have, by being told to call him abba. Like any good father, who wants the best for his beloved children, our God is our abba who already wants the best for us. 

The second thing Jesus teaches us about prayer is that God does not need to be buttered up, nagged, bribed or bought because he already wants us to have what is best for us. Some of the parables are comparisons and some are contrasts. The parable that Jesus uses here is a parable of contrast. Jesus tells us that we do not have to be like a persistent neighbor who has to beg again and again for what he needs or like that whining, nagging, persistent widow before a cold-hearted judge. Our God wants to give us the best before we ask or whether we ask.  

The third thing Jesus teaches us about prayer is that God will not give us things that only look good to us.  Even the best parent in the world would not let his child have a bottle of Drano just because his child cries for it, God will not let us have something we want if it is not really good for us! Sometimes our God actually protects us from harm by not giving us what we ask.  

If this is who God is and this is how God operates, then God doesn’t need to do the changing, we do! We need to do the changing so that we will want what God wants for us!  The bottom line in this teaching on prayer is that when we pray, we need to pray that God will change us and open us up o receive what he wants to give us, rather than approaching God in an attempt to change him!  For this reason, Mary’s “be it done to me according to your word” should be a model for our prayer because God is always loving and always generous toward us.

There is one man in Scripture, in particular, who has been a role model for prayer in my own life and that man is King Solomon.  Given an opportunity by God to ask for anything, he does not ask for things that would benefit him personally, wealth or fame or the life of his enemies, but simply for the ability to be a good king for his people.

Like Solomon, my prayer has gotten simpler and simpler over the years. Once I discovered that God is gracious, already on my side and will not give me things that simply look good to me, I have come to believe that the best prayer for me would be to stop a few times a day and simple ask, “God help me be a good priest.”  Anything more, I believe, would be unnecessary. 

Those who would like to learn to pray, try this for a few weeks. Just stop and ask God, as often as possible, “God help me be a good student, friend, spouse, doctor, patient, teacher (or whatever you are)!” To be able to do that, you must believe that God is already gracious, already on your side, and already wants to give you what is best for you!  With this kind of prayer, you will be able to relax and be at peace with whatever happens, knowing that God is directing your life down the right path whether you can see it at the time or not!  

Finally, let’s not forget that asking for more is not the best way to pray anyway. The best way to pray is to offer God gratitude for all that he has already given us. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you,” is even better than “Give me! Give me! Give me!” That, my friends, is what we will do today around this altar.  We will celebrate the Eucharist. The very word “eucharist” means “thanksgiving.”