Thursday, January 27, 2022


Between 1971 - 1976, I had five opportunities to travel by car, and with a backpack and tent, through the Alps of Austria, Switzerland, southern Germany and northern Italy. I was there mostly during five summers but one more time by train during the winter snows. I will never forget the sights, sounds, foods, smells and cleanliness of those little towns and villages. 

Here is an extended visual tour of the Alps and its villages with music. The Alps have to be the most beautiful place I have ever visited. I am so happy I got the opportunity to do that when I was young. This video brings back so many of those memories even today. 

The video is over three hours long. If you don't have time, you don't have to watch the video all the way through in one sitting, just listen to the music and glance over every once in a while.  Imagine yourself driving through those mountain villages. I guarantee you'll want to go see them for yourself! 

For full effect, be sure to expand the video to "full screen" or even run it through your TV if you are set up to do that! 



Tuesday, January 25, 2022



More and more people believe the lie that the path to healing our country is through electing a "superman" or "superwoman" who can "fix it all" for us. This is so deadly dangerous because it opens us up to following more and more narcissistic, self-focused and manipulative cult leaders and trusting them to "tell us what the truth is" and to "do our thinking for us!" 

More and more people in our Church seem to believe one of two lies.  (a) They believe the lie that the path to our healing is returning in fear to some irretrievable past where God can be controlled and preserved in a glass museum case and not be out there uncontrollably roaming the streets of today's world. (b) They believe the lie that because others have failed to live up to the Church's ideals and disciplines, they are thereby relieved of any personal responsibility to live up to them as well.   


Sunday, January 23, 2022


Sunday, January 23, 2022

"Tradition is about protecting the fire, not preserving the ashes."
Pope John XXIII

There is still a whole lot of good things going on in our world, our country, our churches and our families, but I am scared to death of a "disease" that in invading our world, our country, our churches and our families! No, it’s not COVID. It is much more deadly! It has left the big cities and is now affecting small rural communities like this one! It’s a personality disorder, a condition or an attitude called “narcissism!” “Narcissism” is a word we all need to become familiar with because it is infecting even more people than COVID and the only cure for it are in the words of Saint Paul in our second reading today.

“Narcissism” is the term used to describe excessive vanity and self-centeredness. The condition is named after a mythological Greek youth named Narcissus, a handsome young hunter, who became overly infatuated with his own reflection in a lake. He did not realize at first that it was his own reflection, but when he did, he died out of grief for having fallen in love with no one but himself.

Narcissistic personalities are characterized by unwarranted feelings of self-importance. All they are interested in is: me! me! me! My needs! My wants! My freedom! My rights! My time! My opinions! Narcissists expect to be recognized as superior and special, without necessarily being able to show any superior accomplishments. They exhibit a sense of entitlement, demonstrate grandiosity in their beliefs and behaviors and display a strong need for admiration. Narcissists believe in their inflated self-importance and leads them to a hatred and disgust for those they feel are inferior. Narcissistic children like to bully other young children.

Some believe that our culture’s present narcissism epidemic, the fixation on indulging and exalting oneself, can be traced to the heyday of the self-esteem movement that baby boomer parents, teachers and media gurus promoted several years ago. Children were incessantly told things like: “Love yourself first” and “Believe that you are the best.” Rather than stoking healthy self-confidence, as was their intent, such messages may be responsible for a decline in the work ethic and a growth in feelings of entitlement and inflated egos. Cell phone “selfies” are one of the most obvious trademarks of a new selfish generation.

When narcissistic people talk about church attendance, they usually say things like “I don’t go because I don’t get anything out of it!” “I, I, I, me, me me!” When they say things like that, they put themselves in the center of the picture. It’s all about me! Church attendance is really about giving, not getting. We don’t go to Church to “get.” (1) We go to give - to give God worship and praise! (2) We go to learn - to learn how to give to and serve others, not just to “get” something for ourselves.

When narcissistic people talk about marriage, they talk about what it will do for them. They are like the woman in the Guinness Book of Records who had been married fifteen times. When she was asked about it, she said, “All I ever wanted was someone to love me!” No wonder she failed! The people who marry successfully get married to be love-givers, not love-getters! As Jesus said, “It is in giving that one receives!” Receiving is not a goal, but a by-product, of the marriage or ordination commitment. Narcissistic priests and marriage partners are always doomed to fail. For both priests and married partners, it is not about us, it is about those we are called to serve!

When narcissistic young people talk about what to do with their lives, they usually ask themselves “what do I want to do or what do I want to be” that will make me happy? The real question is not what do we want to do, but what is God calling us to do and be” that will lead us to happiness? Jesus was right, “Those who seek to save their lives will lose them, while those who seek to give their lives away, will save them.” Albert Schweitzer was right when he said, and narcissistic people will never get it, “The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found out how to serve.”

Pope Francis talks a lot about a “self-referential church,” in other words, a narcissistic church. He says that when the Church does not look beyond itself, when it is always focused on itself, it gets sick. The Church is the moon and Christ is the sun. The Church exists to reflect the light of Christ to the world, not absorb it for itself

What is the cure for all this rampant selfishness called “narcissism?’ We certainly don’t need to run off the other side of the road! The other extreme to narcissism is self-deprecation: putting oneself down or the minimization and devaluation of oneself. Humility is about accepting the truth about who we are, without exaggerating it or minimizing it. “Humility” comes from the Latin “humus,” meaning “earth.” “Humility” means “grounded.” A truly “humble” person, truly in touch with his strengths and weaknesses, neither inflates his worth nor devalues it. Humility is ultimately about truth. As Mary said in her Magnificat, “God lifts up the lowly from their manure heaps and pulls the powerful down from their thrones.”

We are back to the oldest sins in the world, the sin of Adam and Eve and the sin of Cain and Abel. Adam and Eve fell for the snake’s lie that they could be little gods. Cain and Able thought they could escape being responsible for each other.

What is the cure for these old sins that are back in spades and spreading like a disease through our country, churches and families? It’s the realization that we are interdependent. We are not little independent Gods out there on our own. We are dependent on each other and we are responsible for each other. We are one body with many parts. We have been given a variety of gifts, not just for our own good, but to share with others for the good of the community! God has entrusted gifts to us to be used! When we do not use our gifts, even deny we have them, we neither serve God nor the people we are called to serve. Jesus told us that we are the light of the world and our light is not to be hidden, but to be shared with the rest of the world.

Dear friends! This community has a long history of humble sharing and caring. There are stories that would make you cry about how people in this community have heroically cared and shared with each other. We need to remember those stories, retell those stories, collect those stories and teach those stories to your children. Most of all, we need to create more stories of heroic sharing and caring. We need to wake up and realize that we are beginning to lose that trait of caring and sharing. We are letting narcissism eat at the hearts and souls of our families, our parishes and our communities. We need to wake up to it, stand up to it and refuse to put up with it! We need to recognize narcissism when we see it and put a stop to it now - starting with ourselves first!

We have a proud history of caring, sharing and unity building in this community. Saint Paul even sounds like he is talking about our history in today’s second reading!

Now the body is not a single part, but many. We are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.”
I Corinthians 12:12

We can’t go back, but we can go forward. We can revive and resurrect the virtues of our forefathers and foremothers in a new way. They invested all they had in passing those old virtues on to us, now we need to do what we can to pass them on to the next generation. A new day requires new ways.

This is the driving idea behind the new St. Theresa Family Life Center that St. Mary’s and St. Theresa will share. It will be a place where the virtues and values of our ancestors will be taught and shared today in a new way. If I have anything to do with it, this will not be some half-baked, flash-in-the pan effort. It will be a first-class operation dedicated to strengthening our young families, empowering our singles and caring for our seniors. We are well on our way. We have some more to go to make sure we have enough funds to staff and operate it once it is done. The Family Life Center will soon be a place where your gifts and talents will be identified, nurtured, encouraged and used to strengthen the family life of this community.

If we don’t do this, with all that has been invested in us, we will have failed our ancestors and the priests and Sisters who came here in the 1800s and we will have squandered their investments in us. They are not coming back. Missionaries eventually move on after they have done their jobs. Waiting for an new infusion of priests and Sisters to return would be like leaving the runway lights on for Amelia Earhart! The priests and Sisters of the past came to Kentucky to start the first parishes, schools, orphanages, old age homes and hospitals. They were successful. Now there are many parishes, schools, childcare institutions, old age homes and hospitals. They have passed the baton to us. Let’s not stumble and drop it now. Our new Family Life Center will offer us a unique opportunity to recover the strong family virtues of the people who went before us! Let’s help each other do this! New and creative projects don’t always have to come out of Jefferson County! Let's show them what Meade County Catholics can do when they work together like they always have! Let's do all we can to make sure our families remain strong. It's really up to us and time is running out! There is no rescue party out looking for us! We simply have to help ourselves this time!