Saturday, April 24, 2021


Father Emil Kapaun

The Rachel Maddow Show – "Impossible" from Rocco Palmo on Vimeo.

On Divine Mercy Sunday, April 11, Ray Kapaun, nephew of Fr. Emil Kapaun, and the Kapaun family informed the Catholic Diocese of Wichita that the remains of Fr. Kapaun will be returned home to Kansas.

After engaging in discussions with the diocese, the Kapaun family decided that interring the remains of Fr. Kapaun in a crypt inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception would not only provide a safe and secure location for them, but would also allow opportunities for Catholics and many others inspired by Fr. Kapaun’s life to be able to visit and venerate this priest, whose cause for sainthood progresses. In 1993, Fr. Emil Kapaun was named a “Servant of God”, which signified that his cause for canonization could begin. Fr. Kapaun’s placement in the Cathedral will be a temporary location in the event that the Church recognize him as a saint in the future, in which case a dedicated shrine or chapel might be erected to hold his remains and commemorate his life.

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita is currently working with the family, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting agency (DPAA), and the Congregation for Saints in Rome to decide on a time frame for Fr. Kapaun’s return. The diocese will continue to keep you apprised as it moves forward during the next several months and develops a plan for his homecoming and related liturgical events.

For more information on Fr. Kapaun’s story and Cause for Canonization please visit

Wednesday, April 21, 2021


Moments before leaving the house for the Cathedral to be ordained a priest.
May 16, 1970

May 17, 1970

I wanted to celebrate fifty years of ministry as a priest last May, but because of COVID raging, I felt that it was better to cancel and postpone any celebration to see how things would be this year. While we are still not completely in the clear with COVID, many more people could have their vaccinations by then. So I think it might be OK to schedule a simple celebration at the Cathedral here in Louisville and a simple celebration at my home parish of Saint Theresa down in Rhodelia. We will follow the COVID safety guidelines.  I am hoping that "outside" options will be available for any receptions - if available and the weather cooperates. At that, I asked that they be simple. 



May 16, 2021

9:30 am   



May 23, 2021

10:30 am



Tuesday, April 20, 2021




As part of my work in the Caribbean Missions,  I have been helping Archbishop Jason Gordon, Archbishop of Port of Spain in the country of Trinidad and Tobago. Mr. Timothy Schoenbachler and I have been helping him publish some of his homilies. This is our fourth  and fifth book. 

Teach Us To Pray

Meditations in the Upper Room

Birthing the Word of God

Homilies I: Food For Our Journey

Homilies II: Food For Our Journey 

Archbishop Gordon is the former bishop of the countries of Barbados and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He is the bishop who got me involved in the Caribbean Missions. I met him at Saint Meinrad Seminary in 2015 when I was about to retire. He stays at my house when he visits Saint Meinrad Seminary each year. 

Archbishop Gordon's books are published under the auspices of my little publishing company, Sophronismos Press here in Louisville, and sold internationally online at Amazon Books. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021



He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

Luke 24:45 

It goes to show you that you’re never too old to learn something new! I have been preaching the Easter readings for 52 years and this year I noticed something that I had never noticed before in the stories about Jesus appearing to his disciple after the resurrection. I have always noticed the fact that the disciples came to recognize Jesus in the “breaking of bread,” even though that is mentioned only once. This year, for the first time, I noticed that the last chapter of Luke mentions three times that the disciples came to recognize Jesus in the “sharing of Scripture.” (1) On the road to Emmaus, the texts says “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.” (2) After they reach Emmaus and Jesus vanishes from their sight, the disciples are reported as saying to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us.” (3) When the disciples arrive back to Jerusalem. Jesus appears to them again and the text says “he opened their minds to understand what the scriptures said about him.”

Like the disciples in today’s gospel, when I was about 33 years old, I had an experience that “opened my mind to understand the Scriptures like the disciples had in today’s gospel reading. Until then, I was a regular Sunday Mass attender. I had listened to Scripture readings in school and every Sunday in church all my life. In seminary, I heard Scripture read many times a day, listened to hundreds of homilies and took several seminary Scripture classes. After seminary, I had been preaching for eight years as a deacon and priest when I had this mind-opening Scripture experience. I thought my mind was “open to understanding the Scriptures.” I thought I was beginning to understand the scriptures pretty well. I knew I had learned some things about Jesus, but the day of the experience that I want to share with you, I came to realize that I had learned a lot of facts about Jesus, but I really did not know Jesus all that well! My life-changing experience truly “opened my mind to understand the scriptures.” My heart started to “burn within me” when I read them.

“My mind was opened to understand the scriptures” in a very vivid dream forty-three years ago – a dream that I have mentioned several times in my preaching here in this Cathedral. In that dream I was on top of a small mountain. It had no trees or bushes or rocks. It had only very short green grass like a golf green. I was sitting in a folding lawn chair and God was sitting in one next to me. We were sitting side-by-side facing the setting sun without speaking. We were both smoking cheap King Edward cigars! I knew it was God, but I was afraid to look over. We just puffed on our cigars and watched the sun set on the horizon. Finally, God leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Ron, isn’t this wonderful!”

I woke from the dream at that point and the world looked forever different to me. All of the spiritual and psychological chains that were holding me back had melted away. I felt a lightness in my heart that I had never felt before. I felt for the first time that it was OK to be me. I began to fully understand what it meant to be “created in the image and likeness of God.” Instead of always obsessing about all the “sin messages” of the Bible, I started to notice all the “unconditional love messages.” I felt that I was that lost sheep that Jesus embraced and carried on his shoulders and I that prodigal son who made it home to an unexpected warm welcome. I felt that I could succeed and that I could do some good things. For the first time in my life, I felt that I was good enough for God just the way I was.

This experience was the beginning of a new way of preaching. Instead of looking for sins to condemn, I started looking for goodness to affirm. I believe that the years following the dream prepared me to offer a clear message of “good news” that appealed to so many alienated Catholics which led to the rapid and consistent growth of this very Cathedral parish a few years later. That’s why my column in The Record and my blog is called “An Encouraging Word.”

As a preacher who has taken his job very seriously, one of my heroes is the Prophet Jeremiah. Here is what he said about his own preaching. “When I found your words, I devoured them. They became my joy and the happiness of my heart. They are like a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones, I grow weary holding them in!” Another preacher hero of mine is Saint Gregory the Great who said, “The preacher must dip his pen into the blood of his own heart if he is to reach the ears of his hearers.” He was so right, friends, serious preaching is a lot like giving blood!

One of my very favorite stories about preaching comes from the First Book of Samuel. It tells of the story of old Eli (whose name, by the way, means “uncertain”) and young Samuel. Eli is an old temple priest who lived during a religiously bleak time in Israel – in many ways like today’s Church. Many of the temple priests were corrupt and there seemed to be a shortage of good priests willing to speak convincingly about the Lord.  Old Eli, however, carries on his priestly duties in spite of the bad times. He is assisted by a young man named Samuel. We are told that Samuel, like many young people of his day, was not familiar with the Lord. It was, however, precisely during such a terrible state of affairs that God calls this young man, Samuel, to be his spokesman.

This wonderful story is, in some ways, a funny story. The old priest Eli and the young Samuel are asleep in the Temple. Young Samuel keeps waking up thinking he hears someone calling his name. He presumes it is the old priest Eli, so he gets out of bed and goes into the other room and says, “You called?” He does this twice and twice Eli tells him “No! I wasn’t calling you!, Go back to sleep!” When the young Samuel hears the voice a third time and goes to awaken the old priest, Eli realizes that it must be the Lord who was calling him.  Old Eli then tells young Samuel, “If you hear the voice again, tell the voice “Speak, your servant is listening.”  This time Samuel answers the call just as Eli had instructed him. He says to God, “Speak, for your servant is listening!”  God then takes Samuel and gradually turns him into a great prophet, a powerful and effective spokesman.

As a preacher, I love the closing line. It says that God "did  not permit any word of Samuel's to be without effect.” Any serious preacher would love to know that his words hit the target and have lasting effects! 

Many of my words have probably not hit the mark, but I have given preaching my best. I am so serious about doing my best in the pulpits that were entrusted to me, that when I am laid out in my casket, I want to be holding a copy of this book in my hands. When I shared that wish with the Archbishop of Winnipeg (Canada) and his priests a few years ago, I was shocked when he presented me with a huge copy of the Canadian Lectionary for my casket as I boarded the plane! I keep it with my funeral plans.

I pray all the time that more and more people’s minds will be opened to understand the Scriptures. I could suggest that you enroll in Bible Study classes and some of you might answer that call, but I know that most of you do not have that luxury so let me make one simple suggestion. Make better use of your time while you are here. We read three passages of Scripture every Sunday and over a three year period we read most of the important passages of the Bible. Prepare yourself to listen! Get you own paper back Lectionary or access the USCCB DAILY READINGS on the internet and read and reread the readings of the day before you get here. If you can do it before you get here, come a few minutes early and bring your Lectionary with you, Read it so many times that when it is read aloud, you are so familiar with it that you know what it is about. Don’t make the lectors and homilists do all your work for you! If you do this, then you will not miss out totally even if you can’t hear the lector or the homily is pitiful! Before you can “understand the Scriptures” you have to “open your minds” to it. You have to plow the ground of your mind so that the seeds of the Scripture will fall on fertile, plowed ground, not concrete! What I am talking about is a discipline! Like any discipline, it requires commitment, attention and repetition. It works if you stick to it. After a while, you can say with the Prophet Jeremiah, “When I found your words, I devoured them. They became my joy and the happiness of my heart.”