Saturday, June 10, 2023


10:00 am - 2:00 pm

20 rockers have been placed on the new porch for rest, chatting and prayer.

           A few of the @100 visitors at the Open House
                                Some of the volunteers serving refreshments at the Open House.

Confirmation Retreat 2023 for the youth of St. Theresa and St. Mary Magdalene Parishes.

Mom's and Muffins event on  Mothers' Day 2023

There are 7 display case exhibits in our new museum as well as several more historic photo canvasses.  
The Sisters of Charity's exhibit is shown above. 97 Sisters of Charity served St. Theresa Parish over 123 years. 
Father Augustus Tolton's exhibit (above), our soon-to-be-saint, whose family members were formed in the Catholic faith at St. Theresa Church are featured in two back-to-back display cases.   

One of the six exhibits in the Hallway Gallery of historic photographs: pastors, Sisters, parish religious vocations, school children and families. There are over150 canvases total on both sides of the central hallway. Paper Gallery Guides for visitors are available at both ends of the hallway to help them know who is in the photographs. 

Father Patrick MacNicholas was pastor of St. Theresa for 20 years (1850-1870). He oversaw the building of the present St. Theresa Church and the former St. Theresa Academy.   As important as he is to the history of St. Theresa, there are no known photographs of him in existence.  He deserves to have one of the  parish buildings named after him.

Father Felix Johnson, the other great builder at St. Theresa, was pastor for 23 years (1937-1960). 
He oversaw the building of the "new cemetery," the "parish hall," the "new rectory" (below), the "new convent" and the "new St. Theresa/Cross Roads School."  Johnson Hall is named after him. 
The old rectory has been totally remodeled, inside and out, as a Guest House for visiting priests, Sisters and lay people who might want a quiet retreat location. It can also serve as lodging for those making presentations in the new Family Life Center and fill-in priests for weekend Masses. 

A new deck was built on the backside of the Guest House. Mark Knott, brother of Father Ronald Knott and owner of Knott's Supply Company in Rhodelia, oversaw the renovation of the new Guest House and was its major donor.   
                                                                   Entry to Guest House

                                 One of the two bedrooms (without the drapes installed yet). 




Thursday, June 8, 2023


Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him. 
Sirach 15:17

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is credited with one of my favorite quotes: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”  

It sums up the tremendous power we have — the power to choose our response in any given situation. The first time I consciously made this choice and learned this lesson was back in 1970 — the year I was ordained. I had just made my priestly “promise of obedience” to the bishop two weeks earlier. 

When the priest personnel board called to tell me that I was being sent to Somerset, Kentucky, I panicked. I had my heart set on a nice cushy suburban parish here in Louisville and the last place I wanted to go was to the “home missions.” 

To no avail, I pleaded, begged and cried in an effort to get them to change their minds. Angrily, I packed my car, bought a map and headed south. Half way down there, I decided to change my mind about going. Since I did not get what I wanted, I consciously decided to want what I got. 

To paraphrase Sir Ranulph Fiennes, “There are no bad assignments, only bad attitudes.” That choice made the difference between the 10 wonderful years I had and the 10 miserable ones I could have had. 

Over the years, the lesson I learned at the beginning of my ministry has served me well. It has become a spiritual practice I have tried to intentionally cultivate over the last 42-and-a-half years. At the beginning of a new year, this lesson is something I want to remember and share with you. To do so, I have turned to my collection of quotes, my treasure trove of collected wisdom. 

“If you don’t think every day is a good day, just try missing one.” (Cavett Robert) 

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” (Hugh Downs) 

“You’re not going to make me have a bad day. If there’s oxygen on earth and I’m breathing, it’s going to be a good day.” (Cotton Fitzsimmons) 

“If you have nothing to be grateful for, check your pulse.” (Unknown) 

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” (William James) 

“I cannot change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails.” (Unknown). 

“The last of the human freedoms is the ability to choose how we will respond to any given situation.” (Viktor Frankl)

Attitude is everything. I remember handing out little cards to the workmen who did the restoration work on our cathedral. It was called “The Bricklayers.” It says, “When three bricklayers were asked what they were doing, the first man answered gruffly “I’m laying bricks.” The second man replied with resignation, “I’m putting up a wall.” The third man said enthusiastically, “I’m building a cathedral.” 

A reprint for my For the Record column
January 17, 2013

Sunday, June 4, 2023


Today is the Feast of the Holy Trinity. It is traditional for many preachers to begin their homilies with the statement that the Holy Trinity is a mystery and then talk for twenty minutes proving to people that it is still a mystery. Today, I have decided to do something different starting with those wonderful words from today's gospel.

"God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. God did not send 
his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might 
be saved through him.
John 3:16-18

"God so loved the world that he sent his only Son not to condemn the world, but to save it?" "To love, not to condemn, but to save?" In light of those words, I am going to do two things today. (1) I am going to say a bit about what we are told that God sees as he looks down on us. (2) I am going to say a bit about what I see looking out at you!


What God sees looking down on us is summarized in today's gospel. "God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. God did not send  his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." Those words are a re-affirmation of the words recorded in the Book of Genesis. "God created mankind in his image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." "God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good." 

(1) The first thing today's gospel teaches us is that it was God who loved us first and sent his Son because he loved us. (2) The second thing today's gospel shows us is that God is not acting for his own sake, but for our sake, not to satisfy his desire for power, not to bring a universe to heel, but to satisfy his urge to love.  God is presented to us as a Father who cannot be happy until his wandering children have come home to him. (3) The third thing today's gospel shows us is the width of God's love. It is not a single nation that he loves. It is not only the people who love him that he loves. It is not only the people who love him back that he loves. He loves the whole world! He loves the unlovable and the unlovely. He loves the one who loves God and the one who never thinks of God. He loves the one who basks in the love of God and the one who spurns the love of God. As St. Augustine put it, "God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love."  God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but because he wanted to show that he loved it! Because he loved us so much, he wanted to save us from our own self-destruction!

Because people do not seem to understand the concept of "the unconditional love of God for us," they keep reverting to their "sinners in the hands of an angry God" theology which promotes a stern, angry, unforgiving God, rather than a gentle, loving and forgiving God. So many so-called "believers" still think that if the "unconditional love of God for us" is preached convincingly then people will start doing anything they want to do and all hell will break loose! They believe that preaching the "fear of God" is the only way to motivate them to change and keep them in check! That's sad indeed and it's wrong! The truth of the matter is that God looks down on us with great love - always has and always will!     


As I look out at the congregations of St. Frances of Rome and St. Leonard every weekend, I don't just see a crowd! I see you! I see individuals! In a sea of mostly gray hair, some individuals stand out: young families with small children, immigrants, widows and widowers, special needs children, struggling youth, racial minorities, old people with canes and walkers and even military personnel sometimes.  


I pray especially for those married couples in church with 1,2,3,4 or more kids in tow. They have given up their own comfort and convenience and have committed themselves to becoming servants of their children for several years. They provide them with food, shelter, health care, entertainment, education and protection. They cook for them. They do their laundry, cut their hair or take them to the barber shop, shop for their clothes, meet with their teachers, wash and maintain the family car and teach them how to use technology properly. They take them to endless sports events, make costumes for Halloween and take them Trick or Treating, help them with their homework, serve on boards and committees, take them to the doctor, fund extra-curricular activities, bake cakes, muffins and cookies on demand for school and parish events, volunteer at church, look after their own elderly parents, celebrate their birthdays, decorate the house for holidays, help them with Sacramental Preparation, get things repaired and try to keep things running smoothly around the house. 

I pray especially for the older parishioners, especially widows, widowers and those who are single either by choice, circumstance or divorce. I pray for the immigrants who still struggle to adapt and find their way. I pray for the sick, the home-bound and those in institutions like prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and the military.  

As I look out and see immigrants, I am reminded to pray for them and my many friends in other countries around the world. Because I was lucky enough to lead over 150 priest convocations in 10 countries and because I was lucky enough to establish the "World Priest" program at St. Meinrad serving priests and seminarians from several more countries serving in the US, I know people from around the world and hear from many of them especially around the holidays. I intentionally and regularly pray for them and their families especially that they will be spared the cruelty of anti-immigrant words, deeds and policies.    

I pray with a special intensity for youth and young adults, especially those who are bullied, those confused about their sexual identity, those who have been abused, those with low self-esteem, those who are lonely, those battling addictions, those who suffer from debilitating physical conditions including obesity and those who risk life and limbs serving in the military.  I pray that they will choose to embrace the church especially when they grow into adulthood and settle down.  


I pray for my own ability to inspire people to be better disciples through my words from the pulpit, through my efforts to give them the best quality service I can give them and through my example as a friendly and compassionate person at the door when they arrive and leave Mass.   

I pray especially for my own good health. So far, so good! I am lucky. Realizing that I am lucky, I also pray that if I do have some serious health issues coming up, I will somehow be able to model for others how to handle pain and suffering with as much poise and grace as possible like I have witnessed many of them handling.   

Besides my past blessings and present good health, I pray with deepest gratitude for my faith, my vocation and what I already have materially. I do not pray for a bigger house, a newer car, a better job, a better family, another vacation or even for more income. I find myself "satisfied" with what I already have and for the people who already love me. I pray that you do too! 

"God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. God did not send
his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might
be saved through him.