Saturday, July 25, 2020


It's nice without words, but if you need the words, here's another version.

Leonard Cohen

Now, I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah Hallelujah
HallelujahYour faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah Hallelujah
HallelujahYou say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Thursday, July 23, 2020


This is the nineteenth in a series of periodic reflections on the "ordinary things" that many people do on a regular basis without much thought. During this pandemic, I am developing a need to "rage, rage" against hast and laziness and replace it with care and attention. My hope is to become personally more intentional about doing ordinary things with care and focused attention, while inspiring others to maybe do the same.

By accident, I erased the original post when
I tried to edit it. I have tried to reconstruct it
as best as I could.


Jesus got into a boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep.They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?”
Matthew 8

For Whom the Bell Tolls
John Donne 

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

I have got to start restricting myself to the amount of TV news I watch! All day, every day, it's one "breaking news" story after the next, giving us the number of "new COVID cases," the latest "number of deaths" and how many "overflow morgues" have been set up! 

I am not one to panic, normally, but with that kind of information coming into my psyche every day, I am beginning to "lose it." I use to imagine that I would die in my own bed, on clean sheets, propped up on pillows, with adoring relatives and friends listening to my farewell speech while writing it all down for posterity. When I let my mind run wild, I have begun to imagine that I could be one of those patients, with tubes down my throat, parked in a crowed hospital hallway, with doctors and nurses too busy to even notice. As a result, I have my "end of life" papers laying out for easy access in an emergency. 

I am still hoping that I can escape this COVID-19 virus, but if I can't I can only hope I don't end up in one of those busy hospital hallways, hooked to tubes, with no one with time enough to help me. Of course, I have always hoped I'd win the lottery, but that hasn't happened! On the other hand, I guess, since I have not been infected yet, I have already won the lottery for that matter! If I do end up like that, I am beginning to think I may ask them to give me some good drugs and send me home to die in peace! 

Jesus was right, "fear is useless, what is needed is trust." I need to quit watching so much "breaking news" and put my focus on other people - especially the ones who are actually suffering in this pandemic, not just those of us who are afraid of suffering. 

“The Peace of Wild Things”

Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. 
I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought 
of grief. I come into the presence of still water. 
And I feel above me the day-blind stars 
waiting with their light. For a time 
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


This is the eighteenth in a series of periodic reflections on the "ordinary things" that many people do on a regular basis without much thought. During this pandemic, I am developing a need to "rage, rage" against hast and laziness and replace it with care and attention. My hope is to become personally more intentional about doing ordinary things with care and focused attention, while inspiring others to maybe do the same.

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
Matthew 5:29

We all do it! We are constantly watching other people in the privacy of our own minds, but have you ever watched how you watch? Have you ever thought about what you are thinking about the people you are looking at? 

Have you ever noticed yourself judging, evaluating, measuring or even lusting after them in your heart? "She's way too fat! She must eat everything in sight!" "That is the ugliest tattoo I have ever seen! It must be homemade!" "Why in the world would anyone that old be dressing like that?" "She really is beautiful, but she has a nasty disposition!" "He must work out everyday to have a body like that! Too bad his teeth are crooked and rotten!" "My God! Where did she get that outfit? Walmart?" "Wow! If I were going bald, I don't think I would wear a hairpiece if I couldn't afford a better one than that! It looks like a dead cat sitting on his head!" "I think if I were that fat, I would not wear such tight clothes!" "I wonder where they got the money to buy a car like that? Probably from selling drugs or borrowing the money on extended credit!

To be honest, I have to admit that I have caught myself engaged in judging, evaluating and measuring people! Doing those things is a bad habit that I am intentionally trying to correct. I am still "people watching," but I am trying to do it with a different outlook. I bless them! I try to think of all they are probably dealing with and I wish them well and pray that they will thrive and flourish in life!

The other evening, I watched the sidewalk along Eastern Parkway in front of my condo. There was a woman walking up the hill to the bus stop. I imagined she was a worker at the nursing home down the street on her way home. I imagined her being exhausted from a bus ride that morning and a long day of changing adult diapers at the nursing home. I imagined her having another long bus ride home, cooking supper for her family, doing laundry and maybe even having to face an abusive husband and the care of several dependent children. I wished her well! I sent all the positive energy I could muster. I prayed that God would take care of her, that she had friends who could encourage her and that she would have health good enough to sustain her. 

One afternoon last week, I looked out at the sidewalk. I saw a couple of teenagers walking, talking and laughing with each other. They were quite loud about it. Instead of being irritated at their noise, I wished them all the happiness they could handle. I prayed they would be successful in life, protected from drug abuse, poverty and disease. I hoped they would live a long life and grow up to be excellent parents and contributing citizens. 

Another day, I saw a young girl, over-weight, tattooed, nose pierced and green-dyed hair. She had squeezed into some skin-tight pants - or at least she tried to! At first, I thought to myself, "how pathetic!" Then I realized that she was probably a very lonely soul, desperately wanting to fit in and wanting to be trendy like "other girls." I imagined her being teased, laughed at and verbally abused by cruel peers. I sent her a spiritual hug and asked God to protect her, help her find peace of mind and let her know that she was valuable in his eyes...and hopefully in the eyes of some significant others. 

Last week, I became outraged at the people who were gathering in large close groups, without masks, and risking not only their health, but the health of those they would come in contact with later on! At first, I was becoming angrier and angrier by the moment. I think I even called them "selfish dumb-asses" under my breath! Then I stopped and tried to think of them as simply "ignorant" and "not knowing any better!" I prayed they would be protected and I prayed that those they would come into contact with would be protected as well! I prayed that God would help them "wake up" and realize how much pain they could bring to themselves and those they love - maybe even to their parents and grandparents! 

In a world where selfish, rude, crude and crass behavior is becoming a norm, the practice of "blessing people" is becoming harder and harder to do. We may not be able to change other people's public behavior, but we can try to change ours - choosing not to become mean and nasty in our responses. If we can't change them, at least we don't have to join them! 

Sunday, July 19, 2020


"Father Roy" Arrived in the Islands Yesterday

Father Rayappa Pasala
(Father Ray) 

"Father Ray" is the pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Chappell, Nebraska, in the Diocese of Grand Island. He also serves St. Gall Church in Lisco and Saint Elizabeth Church in Oshkosh. 

I met Father Ray when I led the Priest Convocation last year. After mentioning my work in the Caribbean Missions of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, he became interested. 

Father Ray arrived in the Diocese of Grand Island, Nebraska, on February 3, 2015 on a religious worker visa. He will complete five years this coming June. It is a visa requirement that he leave the US for a while before he can re-enter the US to keep serving in the Diocese of Grand Island. He will serve his time outside the US in the Diocese of Kingstown in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 

On his return to Nebraska, the Bishop of Grand Island wants him to study Spanish in Mexico for a few months so he can minister to the Spanish speaking communities. 


I arrived at the Diocese of Grand Island from India on Feb 3, 2015 with R1(Religious Worker VISA). I complete serving my priestly ministry in the Grand Island diocese for 5years in coming June 10, 2020. Most Reverend Joseph G. Hanefeldt, Bishop of Grand Island pleased to appoint me as a Pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Chappell City, with St. Gall Catholic Church in Lisco, and St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Oshkosh. My assignment as a Pastor was effective July 1, 2017. It’s immigration requirement that I get out of U.S. for 12 months after serving the diocese for 5 years complete, and then return to the Diocese of Grand Island in June 2021. I will hand over the Parishes to my successor in the first week of June 2020 and planning to continue my priestly ministry with you in your diocese of St. Vincent. I am ready with all the copies of My Visa, Passport, and appointment letters in Grand Island diocese. At your kind response and willingness I will mail to your address all my documents and paperwork.

I am checking with you my Lord whether I have a placement in your diocese for 10 months initially and then help you out later for 10 years also from 2026-2036. Kindly do the needful thing for me to come over to you and work with you in your diocese. I hear many good news from your diocese from Reverend Fr. Ron, (Fr. J Ronald Knott), he visited our Grand Island diocese for a Priest - workshop at North Platte for couple days last year. He did a wonderful job at the workshop and we were grateful for his talks. Great speaker and simple priest. I am planning to be with you. I am ready to serve my priestly ministry wherever you want me to do. My neighbor priest Fr. Michael McDermott, Pastor at Sidney Parish also told me many good things about your diocese. Sidney is 30 miles away from my Parish Chappell. He visited your Cathedral at St. Vincent and he knows the Pastor there. Fr. Mike also told me he met you at your home. I need to apply for a Religious worker Visa from U.S.A to enter St. Vincent.

Most Rev. Joseph G. Hanefeldt, Bishop of Grand Island arranged for me two months Spanish course in Mexico, probably May and June months, 2021 on my return to Grand Island diocese. My contact address is 1049 2nd St, PO Box 586, Chappell, NE 69129-0586 Mobile: +1 3083909796. Email: Thanking you in anticipation. Merry Christmas my Lord. I hold you up in my prayers. Thank you.

Yours Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. PASALA Rayappa