Thursday, October 3, 2019


Help Us Find Some More Good Used Laptops! 

Get yourself a new one for Christmas and we'll take your old one in good condition. 
Even better, sponsor a new one for our kids computer camp 2020. 

We have collected fifteen laptops for use down in the Caribbean Missions, but as you an see from the photos below, those interested in learning out-number our available laptops. 

Our volunteers on the island of Canouan in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines last summer

To learn faster, each student needs to have a computer to herself. Looking at someone else use a computer is not the same as having one to use yourself. 

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Parish on the island of Canouan

Let's try to get fifteen more used laptops before next summer! 
Ask around! Put the word out! Help some poor kids learn and connect to the world! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019



Archbishop Jason Gordon, Archbishop of Port of Spain

The Country of Trinidad and Tobago

Port of Spain, Trinidad

When I retired, Archbishop Gordon got me started volunteering in the Caribbean mission when he was the Bishop of Barbados and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. When the two dioceses were separated and Bishop Gordon was Bishop of Barbados and Bishop County became Bishop of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, I continued mostly in Saint Vincent because the needs were greater. Now Bishop Gordon is Archbishop of Trinidad and Tobago. Surely, you know by now - I am still helping him where I can! 

On his way to and from Saint Meinrad, Archbishop Gordon is staying at my house as he has done several times in the past. I am close to the airport. 

I wish I could have gotten more. 

Archbishop Gordon and I concelebrated the noon Mass at the Cathedral. Some people dropped by my condo in the evening. 

Mr. and Mrs Vincenzo Gabrielli

Mr. and Mrs. Hammond

Caryl Blondel (Cathedral parishioner from Trinidad), Jim and Jamie Broome.

George and Carolyn Ritsert 

Don and Rose Marie Williams

Dr. and Mrs. Paul Kelty

The Korphages (Doug and his mother) 

Jan, Tim and Phyllis who helped with the hors'd'ouvres. Bill Kolodey helped with the drinks. 

Sunday, September 29, 2019


There was a rich man covered with purple
and fine linen who dined sumptuously every day.
Lying at his gate was a poor man covered with
sores who longed for the rich man’s table scraps.
Luke 16

Did you know that “doing nothing” can actually be illegal? Many countries, but not the United States, have “Good Samaritan Laws” that legally require citizens to assist injured people and people in distress. Failure to offer assistance in France can be punished by up to 5 years in prison or 100,000 Euros. This is actually the case of the photographers at the scene of Princess Diana’s fatal car accident. They were investigated for violation of the French Good Samaritan Law, for their failure to offer assistance. 

Did you know that “doing nothing” can also be sinful as well.  This is actually the case in today’s beautiful gospel story about a very rich man and a very poor man. Before we look at the sin here, a sin of omission, let’s look at this wonderful story in detail because it is the details that are so stark and shocking.

The rich man has no name, even though he has traditionally been called “Dives,” meaning “rich” in Latin.  Dives, in today’s language, lived in a gated mansion, ate gourmet food every day and dressed in Armani suits. Lazarus, we are told, oozing with open sores, was dumped in front of Dives’ mansion. From there, this poor man could see loads of food being carried in and out of the mansion, just inside the gates. Poor Lazarus did not hope to share in that food. He simply longed for the opportunity to eat from the big baskets of scraps being loaded into the dumpster, but they were not even offered to him. Rich people back then wiped their hands, not on napkins, but chunks of bread that were simply thrown away. Too weak from hunger to fight them off, alley dogs came and licked Lazarus’ open sores.      
Dives was filthy rich, but that was not his sin. Dives ate gourmet food every day and dressed in Armani suits, but that was not his sin. Dives did not even order his security guards to have Lazarus removed from around the gate! Dives did not verbally or physically abuse poor Lazarus! There is no indication whatsoever that Dives was evil. He didn’t do anything harmful to Lazarus. But that seems to be the point of the whole parable: the rich man did nothing wrong, he simply did nothing. His sin is that he didn’t even see Lazarus, and because he didn’t even see him, he did nothing!  He was complacent! He was so absorbed in living his own cushy life that he didn’t even see the suffering right in front of him.

Dives is like “the complacent” in our first reading today - lying on ivory couches, eating lamb chops and tenderloin, drinking fine wines and dabbing themselves in expensive perfumes while the people around them starved - that the Prophet Amos condemned in the first reading.

Let me be clear on one thing. This gospel is not condemning wealth. Besides, you don’t have to be rich to be blind to the suffering of those around you. Jesus did not condemn wealth. He taught, rather, that “to whom much is given, much will be required.” The richer you are, the more responsibility you have, but that does not let those of us who are neither rich nor poor off the hook! We all have a responsibility to notice the suffering around us. The sin here then, is not wealth, but the blindness that goes with being totally self-focused.

The first step to helping those around us who suffer is to notice them. We cannot do something about the poor and suffering without compassion for the poor and suffering and we cannot have compassion for the poor and suffering without first noticing them.

When I worked at Bellarmine University, we offered yearly opportunities to notice the poor and suffering up close. There were some who have had their eyes opened in a dramatic way on trips to Guatemala and Appalachia. For some these trips have been life changing. Others have volunteered to work in places like nursing homes for the very old and places like the Home the Innocents for the very young. We called them “consciousness raising” experiences. I have finally gotten to the point after four years where I can now send professional level volunteers to the Caribbean Missions. Our first group of five went down this past July – a doctor, a nurse, a computer teacher and two other young adults. Some have been involved in the renovation of the diocesan pastoral center in the Diocese of Kingstown and the purchase a couple of needed vehicles. Some helped us send seven youth to world youth day. Others are involved in sending school supplies, surplus medical supplies, Christmas toys and used liturgical furnishings. I have been down thirteen times since I retired. Archbishop Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago, here with us today, when he was bishop of Barbados and Saint Vincent is the very man who got me started. These experiences help wake us up and help us take notice, something Dives was unable to do until after he died. There he met poor Lazarus whom he never even saw sitting at his gate and regretted his blindness after it was too late. 

Just as poor Lazarus longed to eat the leftovers from Dives table, but nobody made and effort to get them to him, there are some people and organizations in this town who do make sure that our leftovers are not wasted. These efforts began with noticing. Kentucky Harvest was started by a man who noticed that grocery stores and bakeries were throwing away perfectly good though outdated food, while many were hungry. That organization has spread to other cities. On one trip to Florida, I helped a local man of some wealth pick up flawed oranges from a citrus grove to take to homeless shelters.  The dining hall downstairs staffed by its many volunteers, has fed thousands and thousands over the years by collecting leftover food from restaurants and food companies. They will be feeding them again after this Mass. That whole operation began when a few people started noticing the poor and the waste and brought them together in a brilliant solution. At Nord’s Bakery on Preston, the people from the Franciscan Shelter House pick up day-old doughnuts to feed the hungry. I have always been impressed by the generosity of the Nord’s as well as the generosity of those who come to pick up the day-old doughnuts and serve them to the hungry.  We have sent ten tons of surplus medical supplies to Saint Vincent from Supplies Over Seas because somebody noticed the waste and teams of volunteers help get it to needed areas.         
Friends, the message today is simple: true Christianity is not just about avoiding evil, but more about doing good.  In the eyes of Jesus, failure to do good is often just as sinful and doing evil. At the beginning of Mass, we confessed to “what we have done” and “what we have failed to do.” In another passage, Jesus tells the parable of judgment when people stand before God and ask, “Lord, when did I see you hungry?” Jesus answers them, “As long as you failed to do it to one of these, you failed to do it to me.”  Maybe our biggest sin is not the evil we do to others, but the good we fail to do for them.  Before we can do that, we have to look beyond the ends of our own noses, beyond what’s going on in our own lives, and notice the people around us and what is going on in their lives.