Saturday, May 2, 2020


After surviving fifty years of this, I really need to celebrate!

May 17, 1970

It looks like I am going to have to delay the celebration of my 50th anniversary of priesthood ordination originally planned for May 17 in Louisville and May 24 in Rhodelia. 


Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville
 September 20, 2020, at 9:30 am

Saint Theresa Church in Rhodelia
 September 27, 2020, at 10:30 am

In the meantime, I have an amazing  little story for you that came about as I was planning that celebration. 

At my First Mass, there was a very large banner that my mother and my Aunt Eula sewed hanging on the right side of the church. It pictured the gospel of the day, Jesus at the table at Emmaus with two disciples he had met on the road the evening of that first Easter Sunday. The gospel says that "they recognized him in the breaking of the bread." That banner is pictured below at the top right of the photograph. 

Saint Theresa Church - May 17, 1970

As I was thinking about celebrating my 50th priesthood ordination. I thought it would be a good idea to use that banner again. However, I had no idea whether it still existed, much less where it might be. The last time I saw it was fifty years ago. 

I knew that we made some big banners when I was at St. Mildred in Somerset during my first assignment there beginning in 1970. I could not remember if I had brought it with me to Somerset or not! I thought to myself that even if I took it down there, I was pretty sure that after 50 years, it would not still be around, but I decided to ask.  

I contacted Tammy Cranfill, a friend and parishioner at Saint Mildred, to see if by any chance she remembered seeing it. I sent my First Mass picture (above) to show her what it looked like.  I was almost sure it was a futile request. She told me she would look, but she thought that they had gotten rid of all the old banners years ago.  

In a day or two, I got an e-mail saying that she had found it! She boxed it up and sent it to me. When I opened the box, I realized that I had not seen it for almost 50 years! The fact that my mother and aunt had sewed it, made it even more important to me. Here is what it looks like today unfurled on the floor! 
By the way, I also found the red vestment (see it at the top of this page) my mother made for my First Mass on Pentecost Sunday 1970. It was in a box in my garage!  I haven't worn it since my First Mass so I hope I can still fit into it! 

Friday, May 1, 2020


Enough social distancing! 
Enough solitary confinement! 
Enough sheltering in place!  




What keeps me going is remembering how good I have it! My only problem is boredom and routine.  It isn't even a problem, it's merely an aggravation. 

I am not going hungry. 
I don't have a family to support! 
I don't have to file for unemployment! 
I don't have a chronic disease! 
I am not stuck in a house with people I cannot stand to be around! 
I have no big outstanding bills. 
I am still getting my Social Security check.
I have food, heat/air-conditioning, water, a cell phone, a computer and transportation if I need it. 
I don't have aging and sick parents to worry about! 
I can do laundry when needed. 
I have garbage pick-up. 
I can afford my medicine so far.  
I have people who care about me. 


I Started to Run Low on Face Masks...

...So I Decided to Grow My Own White Face Mask!

I am sure it will scare off any stray virus in the area and just think how much I will save on Clorox alone! 

Speaking of Clorox, I also found a much more effective disinfectant than Clorox. It tastes better too, especially with a splash of lime juice, a disinfectant in its own right! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020



I have found it interesting, even curious, how many times some people have referred to "social distancing," "isolating" and "sheltering in place" as if they were afflictions that must be bravely endured for now. In their prejudice, they constantly imply that they have absolutely no value other than protecting oneself from a contagious disease.  I could not disagree more. They can offer valuable opportunities often unavailable in ordinary busy-filled living. 

I, on the other hand, have found these current responses to the pandemic valuable opportunities for soul-searching, self-discovery, consciousness raising and personal priority-evaluation.  Of course, I am only about 6 weeks into this, so maybe in another 6 weeks I might be "screaming uncle!" To "cry uncle," for those who never grew up on a rough playground as a kid, is to admit defeat and/or plead for mercy in a physical contest of some kind. However, at this point in the unfolding drama, and from the perspective of a true introvert, this forced isolation is a welcome chance to do some very serious reflection. 
                                 consciousness raising
                           personal priority-evaluation

As you reflect on these questions, be as honest 
with yourself as possible. Do not give a knee-jerk
answer saying what you think you should say. There
is no need to share your answers. It is for your
reflection only. It might help you see into yourself,
understand yourself, a little more. 

1. Who is the most important person in your life (not who is 
     supposed to be) ?
2. Why are they most important to you?

3. What is the most important material possession in your life?
4. Why is it most important to you?

5. What has been the most important event in your life?
6. Why is it so important to you?

7 When have you been at the highest point of your life? 
8. Why was/is it such a high point? 

9. Where has the most important location in your life been?
10. What made it so important to you?  

11. What in the future do you most worry about?
12. Why do you worry about that in particular

13. What is more important to you, your financial security or 

      your reputation
14. Why is one more important to you than the other? 

15. Do you worry about God's judgement of you?  

16. If you do worry or don't worry, why or why not

17. If you had to sum up your life in four words or less, what would they be?


Tuesday, April 28, 2020



Denial helped for maybe a day, but sooner or later I had to face the facts. 
The other day I wrote an e-mail to someone saying that I was turning 67! 
It wasn't till the next day that I realized that I should have typed "turning 76," not 67! 
I tried denial, but it didn't work! I had to go back and correct my e-mail.  


April 28, 1944

Sunday, April 26, 2020


With eyes downcast and hopes dashed,
two disciples headed out of town for the
town of Emmaus, discussing among
themselves all the things that had just
   Luke 24

This story, by the way, is the story that was read at my first mass. Forty-one years later, it still speaks to me in a powerful way. It still reminds me that things are not always as bad as they may appear on the surface. In fact, it is yet another version of the same "empty tomb" story we read on Easter Sunday - a big breakdown is often the surest sign of a big breakthrough.

In this story, it is Sunday evening and two disciples are walking away from Jerusalem, dragging their feet in a depression, toward a small town called Emmaus. Some commentators believe they may have been a married couple - Cleophas and his unnamed wife.  Jesus had died a humiliating death just two days ago. Earlier that very morning, some women had returned from the tomb, claiming that the tomb was empty, that they had seen some angels who had told them that Jesus was alive. Obviously, these two either had not heard this "good news" or had dismissed those reports as just the wishful thinking of distraught women friends.

“We had hoped,” they told the mysterious stranger, “that Jesus was going to be the Messiah, but obviously we were duped. It did not pan out as we had expected. We were hoping and now we have no hope. We just had to get away from the whole scene. We are disappointed. We were badly misled. We are angry. We don’t have any idea what to do next, but we certainly not going to be taken in again by this latest bit of crazy news. “Hurt once, shame on you. Hurt twice, shame on me.”

This story symbolizes all people who have had their hopes blown away.   Just as our church has been doing for the last several years, these two demoralized disciples pour out their despair, their anger, their sadness and their resentment. This mysterious stranger listens and then begins to review the scriptures, reminding them that God has always intervened to save his people when they hit bottom.

As they walk along, Jesus goes over story after story from the scriptures and shows them how God had always come to their rescue and could even overcome the death of their master. As these two demoralized disciples listened, Jesus made his case. The fire in their hearts, that had all but died out, was fanned into flame again. Little by little, their eyes were opened until they recognized, in the breaking of the bread, that this stranger was indeed Jesus himself. Having left the gathered disciples back in Jerusalem a few hours earlier, they hastened back to rejoin the faith community who had their own stories of restored hope to share.

We, as a church are still in a depression. We are still sharing our anger, resentment and sadness at all that has happened to us in the last few years.  But this Easter, in the midst of all these dashed hopes, we, 21st  century disciples, gather again to share the scriptures and break the bread,  hoping that we will recognize the presence of Jesus and have our faith renewed and our hope restored.  Renewed by this Easter faith, maybe some of those who have left our faith community will, like these two disciples, someday soon get up and come back to rejoin our faith community again. When they do, they may be surprised to find out that typically more than 150,000 new members a year join us across the country, through baptism and profession of faith.

One of my favorite ways to explain the message of Easter is an image I discovered many years ago.  In that image, the church is pictured as a gigantic egg. We woke up a couple of years ago to realize that this egg was covered with fine cracks. Each month the cracks have seemed to get bigger and bigger. Some people have simply walked away from it as  they would a hopeless case. Others have been hysterically running around with ropes and tape and ladders trying to glue it all back together.

There is another response we can make! We can stand back and let it hatch! Easter reminds us that the church is not falling apart, but giving birth. The church is not dying, it is being reborn and renewed. There is no rebirth and renewal without pain.  The sounds of giving birth and dying are sounds of pain and they are easily mistaken, one for the other. 

The Easter message is both simple and profound: in the long run, no matter what you are facing (cancer, addiction, divorce or even the loss of a loved one), there is absolutely no reason to lose hope when one puts one's trust in the one who conquered even death to rise again! He promised us, in the process, that good will ultimately triumph over evil when all is said and done!  

I will end by quoting the words of one of those old gospel songs that we used to sing in my "parish missions," one I included last Sunday, entitled “Joy Comes in the Morning”
If you’ve knelt beside the rubble of an aching broken heart,
When the things you gave your life to fell apart,
You’re not the first to be acquainted with sorrow, grief or pain,
But the Master promised sunshine after rain.

Hold on my child! Hold on my child!
Weeping only lasts for the night.
Hold on my child! Hold on my child!
The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight!
Yes, it is true, it is darkest right before the dawn, there is always a great breakdown before a great breakthrough and there is no resurrection without a death!  That's why real Christians never give up! No matter what happens! Never! This is especially good to remember as we go through this dreadful pandemic!  "Hold on my child, hold on!"