Friday, October 16, 2020


This video shows the consecration of Bishop Gerard County, the present Bishop of the Diocese of Kingstown, SVG. It was held at the Community College and was attended by many of the Catholics of the islands of SVG, Bishops of the Caribbean, the local government and denominational officials and international visitors. I am among the concelebrating priests and my presence was announced among visiting "dignitaries."  It is a long video, but it gives you a glimpse of the Catholic Church at its best in the country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. See how they "do it" in the Caribbean! 

This is a short video of the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Kingstown SVG. 

This is a short video of one of the seventeen churches making up seven parishes in the country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint John's Church in the town of Mesopotamia. 

I led the Holy Week Services there a few years ago. It was a Holy Week I will always remember. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020




You can be unique, one-of-a-kind, distinctive, even old, and still be beautiful - like those rocks below.  

Much of my life, I have suffered from our western culture's prejudice about what is beautiful and acceptable.  I have felt ashamed that I was "too skinny," that I was "from the country," that my ears were "too big" and on and on. I always felt measured against somebody's conception of what was "perfect," "beautiful" and "acceptable." 

This is my first grade school photo. Until very recently I was ashamed for anyone to see it. I remember being ashamed of having my picture taken at that age. When I look at him now, I see emotional pain in his eyes. I see shame. I see sadness. I still remember the pain of being him. 

I got over my shame! I didn't have a name for it, but I got over having to be "perfect" in someone else's eyes. I finally realized that I did not have the problem, but those who shamed me did! I recently had that photo enlarged so I could see better that innocent little boy with the large curious eyes, so I could talk to him, apologize to him, encourage him and tell him how proud I am of him just for surviving! 

I now have a name and a vision for getting over it - wabi-sabi. It is a Japanese idea of beauty that says that things can be beautiful, not because they are perfect, symmetrical and have a fine finish, but because they are imperfect, unique and one-of-a-kind. 

Take the elderly, for example. In Japan the elderly are treated with the greatest respect and are considered beautiful, not because their bodies are Hollywood youthful, but because of their uniqueness, experience, wisdom and because their time is fleeting. Accepting these facts opens the door to the realistic appreciation of a deeper beauty. 

We see this happening in our current fascination with collecting antiques. We wouldn't think of removing the patena on an old piece of furniture or sanding out the flaws! To do that is to "ruin" it. We see it again in the growing fascination with websites like where people want to see where they came from and own their pasts. No matter how humble it was, no matter where they came from,  they are proud of it - proud of how far they have come. 

I read a story that, until our western values were imposed on them, many Native Americans treated gay and lesbian people in their tribes with elevated respect and reverence because they were different. They were considered "special" because they were different. They often served as medicine people, healers, shaman and ceremonial leaders. Today, many tribes are recovering their original thinking about LBGT people. Today, some tribes call them "Two Spirit" people and are again celebrating them. 

I didn't have a name for it, but I do now - wabi-sabi. Because of my own very early experiences, I have been given a soft heart for the marginal, the left-out, the passed-over and the rejected in my ministry, whether it was at the Cathedral of the Assumption when I welcomed marginal and rejected Catholics or down in the Caribbean missions where I try to uplift and empower poor, minority Catholics who could use some help.    

Behind much of the violence we have towards others can be traced back to plain old fear - a fear of difference. When we fear something we don't understand, we tend to attack it, demean it and even try to eliminate it - sometimes even in ourselves. 

We cannot allow a sterile definition of "beauty" and "perfection" to become a weapon against "reality." Reality is truth. "Barbie doll" and "Marlboro Man" definitions of "beauty" and "perfection" are based on a lie. 

What Makes You Different (Makes You Beautiful)
Backstreet Boys

You don't run with the crowd
You go your own way
You don't play after dark
You light up my day
Got your own kind of style
That sets you apart
Baby, that's why you captured my heart
I know sometimes you feel like you don't fit in
And this world doesn't know what you have within
When I look at you, I see something rare
A rose that can grow anywhere (grow anywhere)
And there's no one I know that can compare
What makes you different (alright) makes you beautiful (alright)
What's there inside you (alright) shines through to me
In your eyes I see, all the love I'll ever need
You're all I need, oh girl
What makes you different, makes you beautiful to me
Hey, yeah yeah yeah
You got something so real
You touched me so deep (touched me so deep)
See, material things
Don't matter to me
So come as you are
You've got nothing to prove
You won me with all that you do
And I want to take this chance to say to you
What makes you different (alright, yeah yeah) makes you beautiful (alright)
What's there inside you (alright) shines through to me
In your eyes I see, all the love I'll ever need
You're all I need, oh girl
What makes you different, makes you beautiful
You don't know (you don't know) how you touched my life (touched my life)
Oh, in so many ways (so many ways) I just can't describe
You taught me what love is supposed to be
You saw the little things that make you beautiful to me (so beautiful)
Oh yeah, yeah
What makes you, what makes you different (what makes) makes you beautiful (to me)
What's there inside you (there shines) shines through to me
In your eyes I see, all the love I'll ever need
You're all I need, oh girl
What makes you different
Makes you beautiful to me
Everything you do is beautiful (so beautiful)
Love you give shines right through me (shines right through to me)
Everything you do is beautiful
Ooh, you're beautiful to me (to me)

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Steven R Diamond / Howard Dorough / Andreas Michael Carlsson




Tuesday, October 13, 2020


 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord gives power to the faint,
abundant strength to the weak.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar on eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.”

Isaiah 40:28-31

OK! I have to say it! I am sick of this damned pandemic! I feel demoralized, frustrated, worn down and exhausted by it. I'm even sicker of the fact that my being sick of it is not doing one damned thing to change it! 

I understand that fact, but bear with me and let me just "let off some steam" for a minute. Screaming doesn't change much, but it does relieve the pressure inside the screamer! 

I have been keeping my head down, a privilege that only a retired person like myself has, but I am really tired of it. I am trying to take it out, in a healthy way, on my treadmill. Lately, however, I am even beginning to feel like a hamster in a cage on that stupid treadmill.  

Reading the news, it seems that other people are going the other way. They are taking it out on other people. Some are taking it out on each other at home in a growing number of reported cases of  domestic violence - spouse and child abuse.  

Others are so sick of what's going on in our country that they are taking to the streets, some peacefully and some violently. Some are so tired of waiting for change that they have quit caring if the promised light at the end of the tunnel ever comes, they are just sick of the tunnel. Others are sick and tired of others always being sick and tired and are fighting back. 

The longer this pandemic goes on (and it seems not to be letting up), the more frustrated and violent some people are becoming.  Others of us are just becoming more demoralized, frustrated, worn down and exhausted. Both situations worry me and make me feel like we am living in a pressure cooker with the burner turned to "high." 

We are in a very dangerous situation. This pandemic did not cause the other problems we are experiencing. It revealed them, exacerbated them and unleashed them. I am praying that cooler heads will prevail, but frankly I am worried that that might not be the case much longer. I hope that I am wrong.  

If you feel demoralized, frustrated, worn down and exhausted by this pandemic, you are not alone. We may not be able to stop it, but there is one thing we can do for certain and that is resist the temptation to make it worse. We need to find our peaceful center, our inmost calm, when we feel like we are losing it. We need to go back to that place where we can bask in God's love rather than wallow in our misery. To do that, we may need to restrict the amount of news we watch, get some exercise, play some calming music, go out into nature, read an inspiring book and find a good quiet place to pray. 

This pandemic has one important lesson to teach us and that lesson is this: we are not in charge! Maybe that's why so many act out in violence. They can not stand the thought that they are not in charge so they try to act as if they were! 

Monday, October 12, 2020




Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.