An Encouraging Word – Looking back with gratitude

Father J. Ronald Knott

Father J. Ronald Knott

We acknowledge this with all gratitude. Acts 24:3

I am an introvert, often mistaken for an extrovert. In other words, I function quite well out in the world, interacting with people and giving willingly what I can offer, but I get my energy from withdrawing into silence and being alone. As a result, I am often overwhelmed, but I am never lonely.

When I am in the fever of trying to accomplish my many goals, I often find myself obsessing about what is missing and what is not right. When I am alone and have time to hear myself think, I am often overcome with feelings of being abundantly blessed — especially in the last 25 years. Those feelings seem to fall into two categories: 1) the people who know me and 2) the opportunities and experiences I have had.

I feel so blessed to have the love and support of my family, even when I do not see them for several months in a row. I have been fortunate enough to work in the home mission, the “Catholic Holy Land” of Kentucky and the city of Louisville.

The people of the parishes I have served, especially the people in Meade, Marion and Jefferson counties continue to amaze me with their constant affirmation and affection. Besides serving in parishes, I had the honor of teaching in the seminary, doing campus ministry at a university and lately expanding into mission work in the Caribbean.

I have been honored to have the chance to work for the United Church of Christ as a camp ground minister in Crater Lake National Park. I was blessed by the Presbyterian Church USA with a full doctor of ministry scholarship in “parish revitalization.”

I was lucky enough to spend a week each summer for five years with thousands of youth from all over the world in Taize, France. I have worked with hundreds of international seminarians and priests from dozens of countries.

I have been lucky enough to conduct over 85 parish missions, 100 priest retreats in nine countries and publish several books. I had the honor of teaching a sociology course at the University of Kentucky’s Somerset Community College and have my own radio program in Monticello.

I have relished posting homilies, photos of my work in the foreign missions, humorous cartoons and various bits of trivia on my new blog (listed below) that is now up to 87,000 views.

Most of all, I feel so honored to have been given the opportunity of writing a weekly column for this paper, The Record, for the last 15 years, a column that reached several thousand readers each week here in the Archdiocese of Louisville, readers who regularly share them in their places of employment and with relatives and friends in other states.

As this column ends next week, I think of a little book by Dr. Seuss that Deacon Robert and Bonnie Dever gave me years ago — “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” — and I am overcome with gratitude.

To read more from Father Knott, visit his blog: FatherKnott.com.

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