Saturday, April 13, 2024


Two Juveniles Charged In Church Vandalism

Two juveniles are facing charges after a burglary and vandalizing of property at St. Theresa of Avila Catholic Church in Rhodelia.

On Tuesday (4/9), deputies and detectives from the Meade County Sheriff’s Office responded to the church about a vandalism complaint.

Deputies met with church staff who were able to provide video of two juvenile subjects on the property vandalizing the exterior of the buildings. Deputies entered the church building and observed extensive damage to the inside. It appeared the juveniles had dispersed several fire extinguishers inside the church and destroyed numerous religious artifacts. The juveniles spread holy oil over the floor of the building destroying the carpet and turned the cross upside down on the altar. The damage to the church and Parish Hall is estimated at this time to be well over $10,000.

Detectives processed the scene at the facilities and collected numerous items of evidence. Deputies also took notice and processed additional damage to headstones at the cemetery across from St Theresa Church that were damaged the previous day.

Detectives were able to identify two juvenile suspects who are in custody at this time.

The suspects are being charged with Burglary in the Second Degree and Criminal Mischief in the First Degree. The investigation will be turned over to the County Attorney and Commonwealth Attorneys Office for prosecution.


Thank God, they did not enter the new St. Theresa Family Life Center (old Cross Roads grade school) that we had just completed renovating several months back. However, our new security cameras that I had insisted on installing caught them on the videos. Neither did they enter the new Guest House (old rectory). They also did extensive damage in the Parish Hall. However, they did destroy several old tombstones in the old St. Theresa Cemetery including pushing over the headstone of Matilda Hurd Chisley that I had just recently had cleaned and reset. It was not broken completely, thank God, and is already being reset. 

Matilda is the grandmother of the Venerable Augustus Tolton who was the first black Catholic priest ordained in the US and will hopefully soon be declared a saint by the Pope. Both Matilda and her daughter Martha Jane (mother of Augustus Tolton) were enslaved members of St. Theresa Parish. Martha Jane was moved to Missouri at age 17 by her "owner." Augustus Tolton was born enslaved until his mother escaped with him and his siblings from Missouri to the free state of Illinois as a child. Father Augustus Tolton attended seminary and was ordained in Rome because no US seminary would accept a black seminarian at that time!   






Tuesday, April 9, 2024


FEAR = Fantasy Events Appearing Real

I heard years ago that over 90% of the things we fear never happen! That's sounds to me like fear is basically a useless emotion that consumes a lot of our time. When afraid, we have three choices: be brave, be a fool or be a coward - that is (a) proceed to do what needs to be done, (b) deny that anything is dangerous or (c) be scared of everything. As a believer, I have always found this prayer very wise advice. 

Do not look forward in fear,
rather look forward with full hope.
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things,
and when you cannot stand it any longer,
He will carry you in His arms.
Do not fear what might happen tomorrow;
the same good God who cares for you today
will take care of you then and every day of your life.
He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace and put aside
all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

St. Francis de Sales

Sunday, April 7, 2024



The community of believers was of one heart and mind.
Acts 2:32-35 

Hardly and Easter goes by that I don’t remember family “picture taking” from childhood, especially on Easter Sunday morning when we were all decked out in our finest new “Easter clothes.” Back then we got new clothes twice a year – when school started and Easter – so it was a big deal.

In those days, people would never think of going to church without being all dressed up. Most women wore hats and gloves and carried purses.  Most men wore coats and ties. Boys wore ironed shirts, shiny shoes and even ties sometime. Girls wore dresses and hats and carried purses.

On Easter, however, we went all out. There are innumerable photos in our family album to prove it. I especially remember my brother and I all lined up, with and without our Easter baskets, looking very frozen in uncomfortable shoes, bow ties and slickly combed hair. It seemed that we took turns taking pictures of each other – often Mom and the girls in one picture and Dad and the boys in another. We were always smiling, even if it looked forced sometimes. Our clothes were always pressed with an iron.  Our hair was always combed. We always stood there smiling into a blazing sun and trying to look our very best.

It is what the pictures didn’t show that is worth mentioning today. We have no shots of the screaming, yelling and name-calling that went into getting ready. We have no shots of my Dad in one of his rages. We had no shots of my mother, looking haggard and worn, late at night, ironing all those clothes by hand for six kids, herself and my Dad, who never did learn how to take care of his own clothes. We have no shots of any of the pain and struggles that we went through as a family back then. If you just look at our Easter snapshots, you would think we were the Walton’s on “mood altering drugs!” Snapshots never tell the whole story! They are only “snapshots” – moments in time!

Such in the case today with the first reading! It is one snapshot of the church during its infancy. If you read only that passage, by itself, you would have to conclude that the church has gone to hell in a hand basket since then! In reality, it is like the “Easter pictures” of my childhood.  It only tells part of the truth. 

In the beginning, the church did have some days when its members seemed to be “of one heart and one mind,” some days when “many signs and wonders were done,” and some days when “they enjoyed the favor of all the people.” If we just read this one reading and looked around the church today, we would have to conclude that the church’s original luster and beauty has indeed faded. However, if you continued to read on in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, you would start reading what Paul Harvey called “the rest of the story” and the “rest of the story” would sound very much like the church today.

Thank God that "the rest of the story" stories are included in the Scriptures. It helps us not to idealize the church in its beginnings and be discouraged by its weaknesses today. 

In today's gospel, we read about the doubt of Thomas who refused to believe until he saw and touched Jesus' wounds personally. We read about a bunch of people walking away from Jesus because they could not believe his teaching on being the "bread of life." We read about some of Jesus' family who showed up while he was preaching to take him home because they thought he was "out of his mind." We read about James and John, the "climbers," who made a move behind the other apostles' back to get the best positions in Jesus' new kingdom. Then there is the betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter and the total abandonment by all the apostles at the crucifixion except John an some women.  

If we kept reading on past the Acts of the Apostles reading today, we would quickly read about Ananias, and his wife Sapphira, who made a pledge to give the proceeds of the sale of some of their property to the church.  Later, with his wife knowledge, they held back part of the pledge and even lied about it.  Caught in the lie, they both dropped dead. If we kept reading, we would read about the future Saint Paul hunting down Christians and having them killed and even holding the coats of those who stoned St. Stephen to death. If we kept reading, we would read about Paul and Barnabas having such a falling out that they could not work together and having to go their separate ways. If we kept reading, we would read about Peter acting one way around Jewish believers and another way around Gentile believers, resulting in his being called “two-faced” by Paul. If we kept reading, we would hear about Greek and Jewish widows arguing over their fair share and apostles with “too much to do.”

There are many beautiful snapshots of the early Church in the Acts of the Apostles, but they are balanced by some snapshots of the ugly side of the early church as well.  Just as Jesus was fully human and fully divine at the same time, his body, the church, may be of divine origin, but it is also full of real human beings and human weaknesses!  In spite of this, Jesus has promised to be with the church till the end of time and has promised that even the power of hell shall not prevail against it. Therefore, hang in there and hang on! If the church was supposed to be perfect, we would never have been invited to join - and, with us as members, that church would no longer be perfect!

Pope Francis washing the feet of men prisoners on Holy Thursday previously. 

   Pope Francis washing the feet of women prisoners this year on Holy Thursday.