An Encouraging Word – Out of sight, out of mind

Father J. Ronald Knott

Father J. Ronald Knott

Can anything good come out of Nazareth? John 1:46

Because of my own rural roots and because of my first three assignments (Somerset, Monticello and Calvary, Ky.), I have a soft spot in my heart for the parishes outside the city of Louisville. They sometimes, true or not, feel overlooked and neglected by the diocese.

When I was a trustee on the J. Graham Brown Foundation, I regularly spoke up in support of grants down in the forgotten parts of the state. I remember one nice grant that was given to the former St. Catharine College in Springfield, Ky., because I spoke up and made a case for its approval.

I also remember shocking a bunch of people in “Little St. Joe” near Raywick, Ky., by accepting an invitation to say Mass and preach at their community center festival several years ago,
I still recall hearing a story about a confirmation class in Bardstown. I have no idea whether it is true or not, but it makes my point.

To see if they were well trained for that sacrament, one of the kids was asked to name the pope, the bishop and the pastor. When he was asked who the bishop was, the candidate answered, “Flaget.” Bishop Flaget was the first bishop of our diocese and the last to live in Bardstown. Louisville may forget about places like Bardstown sometimes, but places like Bardstown can also forget about places like Louisville!

With all the priest retreats I do around the world, I don’t get to do as many parish missions as I used to. When I can accept, I tend to favor ones outside Jefferson County because they do not have as many opportunities to access those kinds of events as parishes in the city.

These days, to maximize attendance and to minimize expenses, I am suggesting that parishes go together to sponsor a parish mission and open them up to non-practicing Catholics, people of other churches and people of no church at all.

Last fall, I had an amazing county-wide parish mission down in my home county of Meade. All four of the Catholic parishes were invited, non-practicing Catholics, members of other churches or no church at all were invited.

There was an amazing turn out and lots of energy. We used Gospel music to make everyone feel at home. I think it made the Catholics down there proud.

Not too long after that, I did a one-day multi-parish mission up in Sellersburg, Ind. I have agreed to do three more in 2017 — one at the Cathedral of the Assumption here in Louisville March 6 and 7; another in St. Agnes Church in Naples, Fla., March 20, 21 and 22, and in Marion and its surrounding counties in Lebanon, Ky., March 27, 28 and 29.

The one that intrigues me most is the one at St. Augustine Church in Lebanon, down in the Marion County area.

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

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