Tuesday, April 18, 2023


I announced a couple of years ago that I had finished my work in the Caribbean Missions of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Because of COVID and their volcano eruption, I decided to end my trips down there so as to focus on building the Saint Theresa Family Life Center up here in my home parish which, for the most part, is now 99% successfully completed.  

One of the most effective projects we were able to sponsor in my years in the Caribbean Missions was sending several youth to World Youth Day in Poland. It was truly "life changing" for those who went. Many of them had never been off their island, flown on an airplane, seen a Pope from a distance or imagined meeting so many young Catholics. 

I know from my own early years as a priest just how "life changing" such events can be for young adults when I made four trips to Taize, France, where I got to meet thousands of young adults from all over the world during a similar religious experience. (That's me below standing among international students in Taize, France, fifty some years ago.) 


JULY 26-31, 2023 in LISBON, PORTUGAL

I was asked a month or two ago if I could help sponsor a few young adults from my beloved island nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines who wanted to go to this year's World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal. Even though I thought I had moved on from "island ministry," I weakened. Myself and three friends have so far worked toward sponsoring four young people from SVG. 

FATHER ALANDO - Cathedral Rector SVG - partially-sponsored

KIMBERLEY - Works in the SVG Catholic Pastoral Centre Finance Office - fully sponsored

TADU - Youngest Son of the SVG Catholic Pastoral Center's Cook - fully sponsored

JELANI - SVG Diocesan Cathedral Musician -  fully sponsored

Because of the poverty in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, there are other youth who would like to go, but can only dream of being able to go to such a "life changing and personally uplifting" religious event. 

If you would like to join the four of us in helping with this amazing missionary effort and maybe sending one or two more island youth to World Youth Day 2023 (July 26-31), let me know. The cost is a minimum of $2,100.00 each, but any part of that would help. That includes fees, food, lodging and airfare from St. Vincent to the neighboring country of Saint Lucia, then on to London (England) and then on to Lisbon (Portugal) and then back home after their 6 day religious experience. It's a deal! They are certainly getting "a lot of bang for our bucks." It will be a life-changing, eye opening religious experience for some deserving youth who usually never have a chance for such opportunities. I am excited for them. I am helping to financially support this effort personally because I was one of them back in the 1970s when some generous people helped me go to youth gatherings in Taize, France! 


St. Bartholomew Church SVG Mission Fund
(The Diocese of Kingstown SVG has a bank account at St. Bartholomew Church in Miramar, FL for US tax purposes.)

I can make deposits in their account at any local TRUIST BANK. I have some of their deposit slips.

Rev. Ronald Knott
1271 Parkway Gardens Court #106
Louisville, KY 40217

Sunday, April 16, 2023


“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the 
nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
John 20:19-31

One of the things that happens when you read the Bible on a regular basis, like I am required to do, is that even familiar passages are always speaking to you in new ways. It happened again a couple of years ago when I read a text from the Gospel of Matthew, 28:16-20, that I had read many times. It was the story right before Jesus' ascention into heaven. That was the first time I noticed the words, “When the eleven remaining disciples saw Jesus after his resurrection, they worshiped even as they doubted.”

“They worshiped Jesus even when they doubted?” That’s pretty much the opposite of what we do. When we doubt, we quit worshiping. We assume that worshiping is only for believers. People, in our experience, who doubt quit worshiping! So why would these disciples worship Jesus, if they had doubts about Him? Why would the writer even include their doubts in the story?

The first thing many people assume about faith is that doubt is the opposite of faith. Not true! Honest doubt is not the opposite of faith. There is faith even in honest doubt.  Honest doubt is actually an integral part of faith. When Matthew tells us that the disciples “worshipped even when they doubted,” he wants us to know this basic principle: honest doubt was part of the faith, even for those who were closest to Jesus.

The Easter stories that we have been reading are a mixture of faith and doubt. The disciples are presented as very skeptical about Mary Magdalen’s report about seeing Jesus alive on that first Easter Sunday. Thomas, flat-out refused to believe until he saw Jesus with his own eyes and touched Jesus with his own hands.  On the road to Emmaus, other disciples were astounded by the report of Jesus being seen alive and did not recognize him walking right beside them on the road. Even after many reports, even after having seen him themselves, they worshipped, even as they doubted. Yes, the message is simple: faith is never black and white, all or nothing, but always mixed with a good measure of healthy doubt.  Doubt does not necessarily mean you don’t have faith. Doubt probably means that you do have faith!

“They worshiped, even as they doubted.”  The bigger question than whether doubt is part of faith, is what do you do when you doubt. Many, when they doubt, think they should absent themselves from prayer and worship until faith returns or becomes strong again. They say to themselves, “It is hypocritical for me to pretend to believe when I really don’t believe. When I start believing again, when my faith is strong again, then it will make sense for me to start praying and worshipping again.” That may sound good, even reasonable, but that’s not how it works! The story of the doubting St. Thomas has a lot to teach us. Thomas says in today's gospel, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Even in his doubt, Thomas did was pretty much the opposite of what we do when we have doubts. He kept going back to the community. When we doubt, we quit joining the community. We assume that joining the faith community is only for those who believe, for those without doubt. People, in our experience, who doubt quit joining the worshiping community! Not St. Thomas! He kept joining them, even when he doubted, until he believed!

As the doubting disciples teach us today, what really works is for us to worship even when we doubt, to worship until we believe.  Like a coal, pulled away from a heap of burning coals, that soon loses its heat, a doubter separated from the community of believers soon loses even more of his faith. A faith community strengthens faith and a doubting community strengthens doubt.

“They worshipped, even as they doubted.”  This may be yet another version of the great truth: “fake it till you make it.” Even though Alcoholics Anonymous made that idea famous, it actually goes back to the ancient Roman poet, Ovid who said, “Pretend to what is not, and then you’ll become in truth, what you are pretending to be.”  The great philosopher William James put it this way, “Act as if and the mind will produce your desire.” The idea is, if you take something that feels impossible, or at least completely unnatural, and pretend that it is the easiest, most natural things on the world for you to be doing, eventually, it will become as easy as you have been pretending it to be!

I practice this often in my own life. (1) As many of you know from me talking about my history, I grew up pretty much crippled by bashfulness. Bashful people find it painful to be in public situations. To cope, they are driven to avoid public situations as much as possible. This is a sure way to keep bashfulness going. The solution is to get out in public as much as possible, faking confidence, until one day you wake up and find out that you are no longer bashful.  The only way out of the fear of public speaking is to “fake it till you make it,” to do public speaking until you are no longer afraid to speak in front of crowds.  You cannot think your way out of bashfulness, you have to act your way out of bashfulness. (2) When I was sent to southeastern Kentucky as a newly ordained priest against my will, somehow I was able to open my mind to “faking it till I made it.” I decided, since I did not get what I wanted, I would act as if I wanted what I got until I was able to really want what I got. It worked. Those ten years were wonderful years in many, many ways. I “acted as if” it was a great assignment until it actually became a great assignment.        

"They worshiped, even as they doubted.”  My friends, all of us have a good measure of doubt, even as we believe. The secret to making sure that the scales do not tip too far to the doubt side, is to keep joining the community like St. Thomas, to act as if we believe until we believe, to pray our way out of doubt, to worship until we “feel like worshiping.” So, when you are tempted to drop out because “I don’t get anything out of it” or “I’m not into it today,” that is when you really need to get into it, that is when you really need to act as if you are getting something out of it until you get something out of it.  Yes, even believers sometimes have to “fake it till they make it.”