Columbia April 2021

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A legacy of faith, love and protection


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Columbia APRIL 2021





Departments 3

For the greater glory of God The challenges of the past year have given us a deeper appreciation of fraternity, faith and charity.

By Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly

4 Learning the faith, living the faith By his death and resurrection, Christ has purchased our redemption and freed us from our sins. By Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori

PLUS: Catholic Man of the Month


A statue of Mary from St. Addai Church in Karamles, Iraq, is displayed during the papal Mass in Erbil on March 7. The statue was found with its head and hands cut off when the town was liberated from Islamic State militants in 2016.


Healing in a Land of Martyrs

Pope Francis visits war-torn Iraq in unprecedented apostolic journey. By Cecilia Hadley


Knights of Columbus News New Supreme Officers Appointed • ‘KnightCast’ Series for Members Debuts • Order Releases Two New Documentaries • Supreme Knight Addresses Members, Looks to Future of the Order

26 Knights in Action Reports from councils and assemblies, representing the four pillars of the Faith in Action program model

‘A Symbol of Hope’

The Christian community of Qaraqosh welcomes Pope Francis to its newly restored church.


Pope Francis prays for victims of war in Mosul on March 7. He stands in front of a cross fashioned from the charred pews of St. Addai Church in Karamles, which was desecrated and burned by Islamic State militants in 2014.

By Tom Westcott


Return to Karamles

More than half of the town’s families, forced to flee by ISIS, have moved back. By Tom Westcott

TOP: CNS photo/Paul Haring — ON THE COVER: Vatican Media

PLUS: Chaldean Knights Bring Hope

to Hundreds of Families in Iraq By Jim Graves


Breath of Life

The Knights of Columbus supplies oxygen for COVID-19 patients in remote regions of Brazil and Peru. By Columbia staff


On a Mission from God

Knights share their experiences bringing Christ to campus as FOCUS missionaries.

Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See. This means that an applicant or member accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church. Copyright © 2021 All rights reserved

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The Witness of Love IT IS REMARKABLE that words like “love,” “truth” and “freedom” — universally understood to be fundamental aspects of human existence — can be used with such different, even opposite, meanings. For example, what popular culture typically exalts as love often looks more like mutual self-absorption than an authentic gift of self. Truth in the postmodern era, meanwhile, has come to mean whatever people want it to mean: You live “your truth,” and I’ll live mine. Finally, the secular understanding of freedom is commonly reduced to the multiplication of options, and it frequently manifests itself as slavery to sin. Yet, we believe that Jesus Christ, who himself is “the way and the truth and the life” ( Jn 14:6), came to save us from our sins, reconcile us to the Father, and open for us a new life of grace through his death and resurrection. This is the Good News that we celebrate in the Paschal Mystery, especially during Holy Week and the Easter season. And it has radical, practical implications: It means that, as Christians and as Knights, we ought to live — and love — differently. During the Last Supper, on the very night he was betrayed and handed himself over for our salvation, Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” ( Jn 13:34-35). When properly understood through this Christian lens, the founding principles of the Knights of Columbus — charity, unity and

fraternity — take on a profound meaning, and they challenge us to a deeper love. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, discussing the theological virtue of charity, reads, “The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself ” (1825). This kind of love is at the heart of initiatives such as Leave No Neighbor Behind, and it also moves us to respond to the needs of our “neighbors” far away. This issue of Columbia, for example, highlights the Order’s ongoing aid to persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq, in light of the recent visit of Pope Francis there (see pages 8-15), and it features the Knights’ response to an urgent need of Indigenous communities in the Amazon affected by the pandemic (see page 16). But as is so often the case, the strongest witness of faith, hope and charity can be seen among the people and communities whom the Order serves. During his journey in Iraq, Pope Francis was especially moved by the testimonies given by a local priest and a mother in Qaraqosh (see page 11). Despite the profound suffering they and their loved ones endured at the hands of ISIS, they did not harbor resentment or a desire for revenge; instead, they spoke of blessings and forgiveness. We too are called, indeed commanded, by Christ to exemplify such love in our daily lives, and to thereby transform the world. B Alton J. Pelowski, Editor

Featured Resource: The Face of Mercy A documentary film produced by the Knights of Columbus in 2016, during the Year of Mercy, chronicles the dramatic impact of the message of Divine Mercy in our time. Narrated by Jim Caviezel, The Face of Mercy discusses the visions of God’s mercy received by St. Faustina Kowalska and the role St. John Paul II played in spreading this message. Interviews feature individuals who have been touched by Divine Mercy, including the late NYPD detective Steven McDonald. The one-hour film is available for streaming on Amazon and Apple iTunes, and the DVD can be purchased at 2


Columbia PUBLISHER Knights of Columbus SUPREME OFFICERS Patrick E. Kelly Supreme Knight Most Rev. William E. Lori, S.T.D. Supreme Chaplain Paul G. O’Sullivan Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick T. Mason Supreme Secretary Ronald F. Schwarz Supreme Treasurer John A. Marrella Supreme Advocate EDITORIAL Alton J. Pelowski Editor Andrew J. Matt Managing Editor Cecilia Hadley Senior Editor Margaret B. Kelly Associate Editor

Blessed Michael McGivney (1852-90) – Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Intercede for Us. HOW TO REACH US COLUMBIA 1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326 Address changes 203-752-4210, option #3 Columbia inquiries 203-752-4398 K of C Customer Service 1-800-380-9995

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Lessons Learned The challenges of the past year have given us a deeper appreciation of fraternity, faith and charity

Photo by Laura Barisonzi

By Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly

I WISH YOU a blessed Easter! It is the high point of the liturgical calendar and a time of new beginnings, when we remember that our resurrected Lord has come to make “all things new.” This hope is real for us all right now, as we see signs that the pandemic is beginning to recede. As a Church, and as an Order, the past year has been one of great challenge. Just over one year ago, our churches were closing, our councils were canceling events, and our countries and communities were entering lockdown. I vividly recall Pope Francis’ solitary address in St. Peter’s Square on March 27, 2020. Where thousands of faithful would normally have stood, the Holy Father’s voice echoed in the empty square. That image of Pope Francis speaks to the lessons of the past year, as the pandemic has shown us the importance of friendship, of faith and of service. The first lesson is that Christian life is not one of individualism. We are made to live in communion with one another. When we are together, we can draw out the best in each other, as iron sharpens iron. It is excellent to see council meetings and activities picking back up. Though we have adapted to virtual meetings and events, there is no substitute for being together in person. A second lesson is this: The pandemic has reminded us how much we need the sacraments. Restrictions were undertaken in the interest of physical health, but they often did so at the cost of spiritual health. Our parishes are places where we encounter Christ, and we rejoice to see them reopening and parishioners returning to the sacraments once again. Finally, the pandemic has powerfully reinforced our call to service, as men and as Knights. In March of last year, the Order launched our pandemic response initiative, Leave No Neighbor Behind. In a matter

of days, councils the world over embraced this effort. We supported our brother Knights and their families, helping each other through economic hardships, the loss of loved ones and the loss of communal life. We supported our parishes, standing beside our priests as they continued to preach the Good News amid pandemic restrictions. We supported our communities and fed the hungry — providing meals to struggling families and supporting food banks worldwide. And we held blood drives to meet urgent needs and protect the health of our neighbors. As Pope Francis said, while standing alone in St. Peter’s Square: “We have realized that we are on the same boat … all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.” At every stage, we have answered the call to serve our neighbors in need. We have set an example of charity, unity and fraternity in the communities and countries where we are present — and beyond. Just recently, for example, the Order provided lifesaving oxygen to remote regions of Brazil and Peru that have been hit hard by the pandemic. We should be proud of what we’ve done over the past year. But challenges remain, and we must draw on the lessons we’ve learned. With a greater appreciation of our need for fraternity, let us redouble our commitment to our councils and each other. With an even deeper love for the sacraments, let us devote our strength to renewing our parishes. With knowledge of how fragile life can be, let us put our charitable work at the service of the most vulnerable, both near and far. It is my great hope and prayer this Easter that we will emerge from this crisis stronger — as a Church and an Order. May Blessed Michael McGivney and St. Joseph lend us their strength. Vivat Jesus!

‘We have answered the call to serve our neighbors in need. We have set an example of charity, unity and fraternity in the communities and countries where we are present — and beyond.’

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The Divine Cancel Culture By his death and resurrection, Christ has purchased our redemption and freed us from our sins By Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori

IN RECENT YEARS, “cancel culture” has

gained a lot of traction. Celebrities, corporations and others deemed culturally offensive are called out, shamed and shunned. Perhaps the most common venue for cancel culture is social media, but its effects are not merely virtual; they are very real. Many victims of cancel culture lose their reputations and their jobs. Corporations in the crosshairs of cancel culture can find themselves bankrupt, and academics who dare to disagree can lose tenure. Social media giants cancel accounts and publications considered out of line. More than a few commentators across the political spectrum have warned that cancel culture threatens freedom of expression, including academic freedom. Moreover, cancel culture shows no mercy. It hurls bitter and even obscene invectives at those whose ideas and values do not conform to secular orthodoxy. Once it takes aim at a person or an institution, the goal is utter obliteration or unconditional surrender. Perceived flaws nullify any good that a person or institution has done in the past. There is no dialogue, no common ground, no chance to explain or redeem oneself, no way back to respectability. Clearly, this is a dangerous path for our society, and its anger and harshness have infected relationships across the globe. Happily, though, there is such a thing as a good cancel culture. It does not originate on social media or the airwaves. Rather, the good cancel culture comes from the heart of God: It is the stunning truth that God, in his mercy and love, has canceled our sins. St. Paul puts it this way: “And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us … nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:13-14, RSV). Indeed, we celebrate this “divine



cancel culture” with special solemnity and joy throughout Holy Week and Easter. How does the “divine cancel culture” differ from its secular counterpart? The two could not be more different. First, God loves and respects every person, even those who have rejected his love, whereas today’s cancel culture reviles those who dare to disagree. God “wills every person to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4), whereas cancel culture seeks to destroy those it deems unworthy. God sent his only Son to preach the Good News, to heal us and rescue us from sin and death, whereas cancel culture stirs up condemnation, sometimes anonymously, against its targets. God in his mercy invites us to turn from our sins in order to enter into a relationship of love with him, a relationship in which he speaks to our hearts, whereas cancel culture rejects true dialogue and evokes fear, not love. Most important of all, the “divine cancel culture” seeks only to obliterate our sins so that we might flourish in the eyes of God, whereas the secular cancel culture seeks to destroy reputations and livelihoods. The “divine cancel culture” goes still further. While the secular cancel culture urges that so-called “offenders” be subject to recriminations and payback, the divine cancel culture urges us to cancel the debts that others owe to us. Our Lord taught us to say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Mt 6:12). Consider, too, the parable of the servant whose master forgave him his debts but who, in turn, would not forgive a much smaller debt owed him by a fellow servant (Mt 18:21-35). If God has forgiven us our trespasses “according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7), so too must we be ready to cancel, to forgive, the offenses of others against us. Thus do we live up to our principles of charity, unity and fraternity! B

‘God in his mercy invites us to turn from our sins in order to enter into a relationship of love with him, a relationship in which he speaks to our hearts.’

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Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge

Catholic Man of the Month

A monthly reflection and practical challenge from Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori

FATHER JOE was not discouraged by obstacles when it came to serving the Church. “Don’t worry, nothing will be all right!” he liked to joke about the challenges of missionary work. The only thing that mattered was to trust in God’s grace — to be, as he often said, a “pencil in our Lord’s hands.” Growing up in Grand Rapids, Mich., in a poor but devout family, Joseph Walijewski felt called to the priesthood from a young age. He struggled academically, however, and had difficulty finding a bishop who would sponsor him. But he persisted and was eventually accepted by the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis. Before his ordination in 1950, one of his teachers predicted, “Joe Walijewski may not be the most intelligent priest, but he will be a holy priest.” In 1956, Father Joe received permission from his bishop to move to South America, fulfilling a long-held desire to serve as a missionary. For most of the next 50 years, he established parishes, constructed churches and found creative ways to care for the poor — first in Bolivia and later in Peru.

FROM TOP: Courtesy of the Father Joseph Walijewski Legacy Guild — CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz — CNS photo/Vatican Media

While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” (Gospel for April 18, Lk 24:36-39) After Jesus rose from the dead, the apostles were confused and afraid. But showing them his wounds, Jesus proved his identity. Whenever we find ourselves confused or fearful, let us remember that Christ is risen, and “by his wounds we were healed” (Is 53:5). If Christ had not suffered and died, he could not have risen from the dead: without Good Friday; there would be no Easter Sunday. May we unite our suffering to Christ’s, rejoice always in his resurrection and base our lives on his peace and presence among us.

Father Joseph Walijewski (1924-2006)

Liturgical Calendar

One of Father Joe’s most ambitious projects began after St. John Paul II’s visit to Peru in 1985. The pope donated $50,000 to the Archdiocese of Lima, and Father Joe was given the funds to build Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II, a home for orphaned and abandoned children. Father Joe directed the home, which is located in the city of Lurín, for more than 15 years. He celebrated Mass for the children there just two days before he died on April 11, 2006. Thousands of people attended his wake and funeral. Father Joseph Walijewski’s cause for canonization was opened by the Diocese of La Crosse in 2013. B

Holy Father’s Monthly Prayer Intention

April 1 Thursday of Holy Week (Holy Thursday)

Challenge: This month, ideally on Good Friday, I challenge you to visit your local parish and pray the Stations of the Cross. Second, I challenge you to participate in the Faith in Action Good Friday Family Promotion program to aid your fellow parishioners in remembering Christ’s passion, in anticipation of his resurrection.

April 2 Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday) April 3 Holy Saturday April 4 Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord April 11 Sunday of Divine Mercy April 29 St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

We pray for those who risk their lives while fighting for fundamental rights under dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and even in democracies in crisis. APRIL 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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ON MARCH 8 , the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors appointed two new Supreme Officers.

Paul G. O’Sullivan will serve as deputy supreme knight, filling the position vacated by Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly. A member of the Order since 1974, Deputy Supreme Knight O’Sullivan has extensive fraternal experience through his leadership of Foxboro-Sharon (Mass.) Council 6063 and service to the Massachusetts State Council as new council development director and membership director. He served as state deputy of Massachusetts from 2016 to 2018 and has served on the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors since August 2020. Deputy Supreme Knight O’Sullivan had a long career as a lawyer in the insurance industry. He and his wife, Susan, have two adult children. Patrick T. Mason was elected supreme secretary to fill the vacancy left by former Supreme Secretary Michael O’Connor’s retirement from Knights of Columbus leadership in February. Supreme Secretary Mason served as state deputy of New Mexico from 2016 to 2018 and was elected to the board of directors in 2017. An attorney who has represented the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Missionaries of Charity, the Diocese of Gallup and the Navajo Nation, Mason joined the Supreme Council staff in 2020 as an assistant supreme secretary. He is a member of the Osage Nation, and he and his wife, Rachel, have five young children. B 6

‘KnightCast’ Series for Members Debuts AN EXCLUSIVE new video series to

help Knights grow in the faith and stay informed about the work of the Order debuted Feb. 25. The first episode largely focused on Past Supreme Knight Carl Anderson’s 20-year tenure, which concluded three days later. Anderson shared stories and reflections about the Order’s work over the past two decades, including its responses to crises from 9/11 to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that meeting with three popes and with political leaders was memorable, but not as memorable as personal experiences of the Knights’ impact. “Putting a little girl in a wheelchair, and she looks up at you and says, ‘You’re my angel’ — you always remember that,” he said. “It’s also what makes you get up every morning and work

Above: Members of Father Clair Tipping Council 9235 volunteer at Knights Table in Brampton, Ontario. The nonprofit, which serves meals to those in need, received support during the pandemic through the Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative. • Right: Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly and Past Supreme Knight Carl Anderson stand with a statue of Blessed Michael McGivney at the Knights of Columbus headquarters in New Haven, Conn., on Anderson’s last workday in office.

even that much harder.” Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly, who took office March 1, praised Anderson’s leadership and also discussed the Order’s future. KnightCast is hosted by Jonathan Reyes, senior vice president for communications and strategic partnerships. The second episode, released March 25, featured interviews with Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund; Super Bowl champion Matt Birk; and Daniel Schachle, a K of C general agent and the father of the child miraculously healed through the intercession of Father McGivney. Members can sign up to watch the series on demand at knightcast. B

LOWER LEFT: Photo by Mike Ross — BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo by Aaron Joseph — LOWER RIGHT: Photo by Bruce Ladouceur/Light Imaging

New Supreme Officers Appointed

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Order Releases Two New Documentaries

Supreme Knight Addresses Members, Looks to Future of the Order SUPREME KNIGHT Patrick Kelly

THE KNIGHTS of Columbus

recently released two documentary films, to air on Catholic television networks and streaming for free online.

TOP RIGHT: Photo by Tamino Petelinšek

St. Junípero Serra, the Franciscan friar known as the Apostle of California, founded a series of missions that would eventually become many of the state’s great cities. At a time when his legacy has been called into question, a 28-minute film titled St. Junípero Serra: A Man of God, A Mission of Love gives a clear picture of his holy life and courageous work, including his defense of Indigenous people from the abuses of the Spanish colonial government. Visit Armed with the Faith: The Knights of Columbus and the Military traces the Order’s close relationship with the armed forces since its early days. The 41-minute film combines stories of heroic Knights in military service with a broad view of K of C support for service members’ material and spiritual needs — from World War I recreation huts to the Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage — in fulfillment of the Order’s principle of patriotism. Visit B

addressed the Order in a video message March 1, the day he took office. He thanked his brother Knights for their witness and pledged to support them in the work of fulfilling Blessed Michael McGivney’s vision in difficult times. “For nearly 140 years, we have been inviting men to become the disciples of Christ and men of virtue whose witness can change our communities,” Supreme Knight Kelly said. “As supreme knight, my goal is to help us deepen and widen the Order’s impact — to empower you to do more good, for more people, in more places.” Visiting with local councils — as travel becomes more possible amid the pandemic — is a top goal of his first year, the supreme knight said. “The strength of our Order is our councils and the work you do at the local level,” he affirmed. “Thank you for saying yes to being a Knight, for carrying the vision of Father McGivney into your community.” Supreme Knight Kelly also spoke of the challenges the Order faces and the need to address them directly, saying, “These times demand that we be bold and daring, that we meet the challenges before us head on.” Several weeks earlier, the supreme knight addressed state deputies on Feb. 16 and general agents on Feb. 22. In those remarks — the first since his election by the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors Feb. 5 — he underscored the challenges of membership growth, a hostile culture and an increasingly competitive business marketplace. “We must think about the postCOVID world,” he told state deputies. “I will strive to get our councils back in action and to help our pastors get their people back in the pews. The stronger the parish, the stronger the council — and we will strengthen both.”

Citing attacks on the right to life and religious liberty, Supreme Knight Kelly said, “United, we can strengthen the Church and renew our culture. The Knights of Columbus has long been known as the strong right arm of the Church. With our combined and united strength, we will be a firm yet gentle guide, always pointing the way to unity in truth.” Finally, the supreme knight noted that while the past year presented undeniable obstacles, the Order’s insurance force has shown resilience and creativity — finding virtual solutions to effectively serve members and their families. “Blessed Michael McGivney himself tasked us with protecting families,” Supreme Knight Kelly told the general agents. “You advance this mission every day.” Despite the challenges ahead, the supreme knight said he is confident that the greatest achievements of the Knights of Columbus are yet to come. “The Order was made for the moment we are in — as a Church, in our families and as men,” he said. “I am humbled and grateful to take on this new role. And I am excited to work with you to lead us toward greater charity, unity and fraternity. Now is the time for courage and faith, in memory of those who came before, and for the sake of those who will yet join. The challenges we face require nothing less.” B APRIL 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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Healing in a Land of Martyrs Pope Francis visits war-torn Iraq in unprecedented apostolic journey By Cecilia Hadley 8

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The flag of Iraqi Kurdistan is seen as Pope Francis greets the crowd before celebrating Mass at Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil. The Knights of Columbus financially supported the Mass, which took place March 7, at the conclusion of the pope’s historic trip to Iraq.

CNS photo/Paul Haring


ope Francis brought a message of peace and hope to the long-suffering people of Iraq, particularly its persecuted Christian communities, during his historic trip there March 5-8. The apostolic journey — the first ever by a pope to Iraq — received financial support from the Knights of Columbus as part of the Order’s ongoing work for the Church in the Middle East. On March 5, Pope Francis visited Baghdad’s Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation, where 48 people were martyred during a 2010 terrorist attack. There, the pope met with bishops, priests, religious and others, and urged them to

remain steadfast in their joyful proclamation of the Gospel. “May your witness, matured through adversity and strengthened by the blood of martyrs, be a shining light in Iraq and beyond, in order to proclaim the greatness of the Lord,” he said. The next day, the Holy Father visited the Chaldean Catholic Cathedral of St. Joseph, also in Baghdad, where he celebrated Mass for the first time in the rite of the Chaldean Church. Pope Francis also met with civic authorities and leaders representing various religions, speaking repeatedly about the need for fraternity among peoples and praying for the victims of violence. APRIL 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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Above: Pope Francis celebrates Mass at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad on March 6. • Below: The Holy Father participates in a memorial prayer service for the victims of war at Hosh al-Bieaa, the church square, in Mosul on March 7. The four Christian churches surrounding the square were damaged or destroyed by the Islamic State during its control of the city from 2014 to 2017.

CNS photos/Paul Haring

“In today’s world, which often forgets or presents distorted images of the Most High, believers are called to bear witness to his goodness, to show his paternity through our fraternity,” the pope said March 6, addressing Muslim, Yazidi and other religious leaders at the ancient site of Ur, believed to be the birthplace of Abraham. Pope Francis then traveled north to the Nineveh Plains region, which in 2014 was seized by Islamic State militants, forcing some 120,000 Christians to flee for their lives. His first stop on March 7 was to the city of Mosul, where he offered a prayer amid the rubble of four Christian churches destroyed by ISIS. The pope then visited nearby Qaraqosh, home to one of Iraq’s largest Christian populations, where cheering crowds lined the city’s streets. He spoke at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, a Syriac church that was desecrated by ISIS and restored with assistance from the Knights of Columbus (see page 11). The Order also contributed $100,000 for the finale of the papal visit — a Mass that gathered 10,000 people to Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, on Sunday evening, March 7. Erbil remains home to thousands of the Christians displaced from the Nineveh Plains, and many projects of the Chaldean archdiocese there have received support from the Knights in recent years (see page 12). “Support of persecuted minorities in the Middle East has been a major initiative of the Knights of Columbus since 2014,” Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly explained. “We are proud to support the Holy Father’s outreach to the people of Iraq, and I urge Catholics everywhere to continue to pray in solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters there and throughout the world.” In his homily during the culminating Mass in Erbil, Pope Francis thanked those gathered for their shining witness of faith, mercy and solidarity with the poor and suffering. “Today, I can see firsthand that the Church in Iraq is alive,” he said, “that Christ is alive and at work in this, his holy and faithful people!” CECILIA HADLEY is senior editor of Columbia. 10

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The Christian community of Qaraqosh welcomes Pope Francis to its newly restored church By Tom Westcott

Photo by Aid to the Church in Need/A. Gage


s Pope Francis flew into Qaraqosh, Iraq, on March 7, his eye was drawn to the town’s highest point: the figure of Our Lady atop the bell tower of the Church of the Immaculate Conception — recently restored with support from the Knights of Columbus. “As I arrived on the helicopter, I saw the statue of Mary,” the pope told the audience gathered at the church to meet him. “To her I entrusted the rebirth of this city.” The Holy Father devoted March 7, the last full day of his pilgrimage in Iraq, to visiting cities and churches ravaged by ISIS in the Nineveh Plains region, the ancestral home of some of the country’s largest Catholic communities. After a morning prayer service in the ruins of Mosul, he arrived in Qaraqosh, also known as Baghdeda in Aramaic. The city once boasted 50,000 inhabitants, 90% of whom were Christian. To date, about half of its former citizens have returned, and many of them lined the streets to greet the pope as he made his way to the Syriac Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, known locally as Al-Tahira Church. There he was welcomed by a joyful congregation led by Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch. Patriarch Younan, a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus, delivered remarks in which he recounted the grim history of the region under ISIS. Al-Tahira, “the largest Christian shrine in Iraq, built by parishioners, was like many other churches profaned and half

A 13-foot statue of Mary crowns the tower of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh, Iraq. A donation of more than $400,000 from the Knights helped the Syriac Catholic Archdiocese of Mosul restore the church in time for Pope Francis’ visit in March.

burned down by jihadi terrorists,” he explained. The church was used as a military base by ISIS fighters, who covered the walls in graffiti and shot its statues for target practice. Patriarch Younan thanked the charitable organizations, including the Knights, that helped rebuild the church. Pope Francis then listened to two testimonies from survivors of the Aug. 6, 2014, invasion by Islamic State militants. Father Ammar Yako, vicar general of the Syriac Catholic Archdiocese of Mosul, spoke about how he stayed behind, helping the last to leave their homes before he finally joined the more than 100,000 Christians fleeing to Iraqi Kurdistan. And though Qaraqosh’s Christians endured three painful years as refugees, Father Yako said that they were “not cursed years, but years of blessing. … The Lord did not abandon us: It was a miracle to bring life back into this city.” Doha Sabah Abdallah, a resident of Qaraqosh, also spoke about that fateful day in 2014 when she heard a mortar shell and ran out of the house. The shell, fired by approaching militants, killed her son and two cousins. “My faith tells me that my children are in the arms of Jesus Christ our Lord,” Abdallah said. “And we, the survivors, try APRIL 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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Order Stands in Solidarity With Christians in Iraq


A child plays outside the entrance of McGivney House, a 140-unit apartment building for impoverished young Christian families in Erbil, in February. 12

Father Ammar Yako, who oversaw the reconstruction of Immaculate Conception Church in Qaraqosh, stands amid destroyed statues in a burned and bullet-riddled section of the church that preserves the memory of the years of persecution under ISIS.

to forgive the aggressor, because our Master Jesus has forgiven his executioners.” In his remarks, Pope Francis spoke of the hope that comes from faith in Christ. “Our gathering here today shows that terrorism and death never have the last word,” he said. “The last word belongs to God and to his Son, the conqueror of sin and death. Even amid the ravages of terrorism and war, we can see, with the eyes of faith, the triumph of life over death.” He added: “One thing that Doha said moved me deeply. … Forgiveness; that is a key word.” He repeated this point the next day, during his in-flight press conference on his way back to Rome: “What touched me most was the testimony of a mother in Qaraqosh. … To forgive one’s enemies — this is the pure Gospel.” Before departing, the Holy Father left a message, written in Italian, in the church’s book of honor: “From this destroyed and rebuilt church, a symbol of hope for Qaraqosh and all of Iraq, I invoke from God, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the gift of peace.” BBB

TOP: Photo by Lorenzo Meloni — BOTTOM: Photo by Marcin Jończyk

hen the Knights of Columbus established its Christian Refugee Relief Fund in August 2014, the future of Christianity in the Middle East hung in the balance. Since then, land claimed by ISIS has been reclaimed and Christians in Iraq have, with cautious hope, started to rebuild their churches, homes and lives. Through it all, the Knights of Columbus has been a steadfast ally through campaigns to promote prayer and raise awareness, the advancement of public policy in defense of victims of religious persecution, and more than $25 million in aid for Christians at risk. Many of the initiatives in Iraq supported by the K of C Christian Refugee Relief Fund have related to urgent humanitarian needs such as food and medical care. But the Order has also invested in rebuilding infrastructure — assisting in the construction of McGivney House, a 140unit apartment building for young Iraqi families, and the 20-unit Pope Francis Venerable Care Home for elderly residents; contributing to the restoration of the largest church in Qaraqosh (see page 11); and helping families return to the predominantly Christian town of Karamles (see page 14), among other projects. More recently, the Knights of Columbus has funded several projects at the Catholic University of Erbil (CUE), including a Center for Cultural Preservation and Property Rights and the construction of three additional buildings. It has likewise assisted a new nonprofit to advocate for Christian minorities, the Institute of Ancient and Threatened Christianity, located at CUE. During his visit to Qaraqosh on March 7, Pope Francis acknowledged that the Church in Iraq still faces difficult challenges: “How much has been torn down! How much needs to be rebuilt!” But he also urged the community to have hope — a hope based on faith, the witness of their forefathers and the solidarity of their brothers and sisters in Christ. “You are not alone!” Pope Francis said. “The entire Church is close to you, with prayers and concrete charity.” B

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Photos by Vatican Media

Above: Pope Francis greets the congregation as he walks down the nave of the church with Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan of the Syriac Catholic Church of Antioch. • Left: Doha Sabah Abdallah, whose son was one of the first ISIS casualties in Qaraqosh, speaks with the pope through an interpreter after giving her testimony.

The fact that Al-Tahiri Church was restored in time for the Holy Father’s visit is akin to a miracle. By the time Qaraqosh was liberated in 2016, the structure was a burnedout shell. Father Yako, who oversaw the reconstruction efforts, explained that restoration of the church was put on a back burner after senior churchmen decided to prioritize rebuilding homes, to encourage families displaced by ISIS to return home. Reconstruction began at the end of 2019, but funding came up short. “Even with other support, we didn’t have enough to finish everything,” said Father Yako. “When we asked the Knights of Columbus to help us, they were very generous.” A $440,000 donation was directed into Phase Three works, which focused on rebuilding exterior sections of the damaged building, including reinforcing foundations, building supporting walls, reconstructing the bell tower

and building a new external gate. The COVID-19 pandemic halted progress for several months in the spring of 2020, and then work continued sporadically, when pandemic regulations allowed. News of the papal visit, however, prompted enthusiastic efforts toward early completion. Vatican delegations were skeptical that it could be finished in time. But when those officials entered the church the day before the visit, Father Yako said, the transformation made them ask, “Is this the same church?” One of the exterior projects funded by the Knights was forging and erecting a new metal cross on the dome of the church because, as Father Yako said, “Wherever ISIS saw a cross, they destroyed it and, if they couldn’t destroy it, they broke it.” The external gate, through which Pope Francis entered, was also funded by the Order. The beautiful structure is adorned with sayings of saints about the Virgin Mary, written in the Assyrian language, which is close to Aramaic, the language of Jesus. But the reconstruction of the bell tower, crowned by the Blessed Mother, was the most significant project for the community. “The tower was very, very important for the local people,” Father Yako explained. “This church tower became a symbol of the town.” B APRIL 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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RETURN TO KARAMLES More than half of the town’s families, forced to flee by ISIS, have moved back


utside of the Christian-majority village of Karamles — where the Knights of Columbus has contributed $2 million toward reconstruction efforts since 2017 — people cheered and waved as Pope Francis passed by in his motorcade en route to Erbil on March 7. Although the pope did not stop in the northern Iraqi town, a cross created from the burned pews of Karamles’ St. Addai Church stood prominently behind him earlier that morning in Mosul. And later that day, Pope Francis prayed before a partially restored statue of the Virgin Mary from St. Addai while celebrating Mass in Erbil. Two days after Karamles was liberated from ISIS in late 2016, Father Thabet Habib Yousif, St. Addai’s pastor, discovered the Marian statue with its head and hands cut off, on the floor of the charred church. Since then, the Chaldean Catholic priest has been coordinating the town’s reconstruction efforts in concert with the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee, a coalition of local churches and charitable organizations, including the Knights of Columbus, working 14

together to resettle predominantly Christian towns in the region. “When the financial support from the Knights of Columbus arrived, we were able to expand our work,” Father Thabet said, noting that the Iraqi government provided no funds. “With this and other donations, we have now reconstructed more than 500 houses in Karamles.” Although 30% of the town’s population moved abroad, and many internally displaced persons remain in Erbil, approximately 450 of the 820 families that fled the town have returned. Sfook Younis, a farmer, moved his family into their rebuilt home just over a year ago, after the birth of his second son, Jonas. “We would like to thank the Knights of Columbus for all they’ve done in Karamles,” he said. “Without them, it would have been very, very hard for us to come back. This reconstruction would have taken all profits from several years of harvest.” Younis was able to use what little money he had to fix his tractor, which ISIS had stolen and damaged, and resume his livelihood. Agriculture and carpentry previously provided

TOP: Photo by Lorenzo Meloni — INSET: Courtesy of the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil

By Tom Westcott

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Chaldean Knights Bring Hope to Hundreds of Families in Iraq By Jim Graves


Photo by Lorenzo Meloni

Opposite page, top: The village of Karamles on the Nineveh Plain of Iraq is seen from the hill above the Monastery of St. Barbara. After the Islamic State captured Karamles in 2014, militants used the monastery as a base for military operations. • Opposite page, inset: Father Thabet Habib Yousif views the damage to his parish, St. Addai, two days after the town was liberated in late 2016. • Above: Sfook Younis stands with his sons, Jonas and Ghadir, in Karamles in March. The family’s home, destroyed by Islamic State militants, was rebuilt with help from the Knights, and Younis has been able to resume his work as a farmer.

much local employment, he said, adding, “Work opportunities would bring more people back here.” For Sanaa al-Qastoma, a 51-year-old widow, the funds provided by the Knights of Columbus to rebuild her home have made an incalculable difference, as her three sons had nothing left after spending their modest savings on her cancer treatment. “Our house was completely burned, and we had no money because we had spent everything on doctors,” she explained. Qastoma still makes weekly two-hour car trips to Iraqi Kurdistan for treatment, but she said moving back into her own home had an almost immediate positive effect on her physical and mental health. Although many buildings remain burned and gravestones in the village cemetery lie smashed, life in Karamles, with its everyday challenges, is gradually returning to normal. And while scars of ISIS remain, its residents see Pope Francis’ visit — and the ongoing K of C support — as signs that they are not forgotten. B TOM WESTCOTT is a British freelance journalist based in the Middle East.

hen Noori Barka first saw images of Pope Francis meeting with Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on March 6, he couldn’t believe his eyes. “I never thought I’d see a pope welcomed by Iraqi leaders,” said Barka, who is a past grand knight of Mar Toma Council 10981 and president of a biotechnology company in El Cajon, Calif. Barka emigrated from Iraq in 1980 when the Christian population stood at 1.4 million. Today, fewer than 300,000 Christians remain. The exodus that began during the 2003 Iraq war accelerated rapidly in 2014, when Islamic State militants swept into the region, targeting Christians and other religious minorities for genocide. “Most who had the resources fled,” Barka said, “but those who could not were forced to endure abysmal poverty with few opportunities to work and no government social security safety net.” This extreme suffering spurred Barka and some of his brother Knights of Council 10981 to found Hope for Iraqi Christians (HFIC) in 2014. Scores of council members then joined the effort to raise awareness and funds for those in need. To date, the nonprofit has donated $2.6 million to families in Iraq, a number of them connected to the large Chaldean community in El Cajon. “Our brother Knights were very motivated, and the whole council became involved in the preparation of our first event, which raised $615,000,” Barka said. “They continue to support our mission to this day.” Dr. John Kasawa, a member of Council 10981 and founding member of HFIC, noted, “Lots of organization goes into ensuring that 100% of the donations go directly into the hands of the most needy.” HFIC currently sends $35,000 per month to assist 390 Iraqi Christian families through its Adopt-a-Family program. Donors are asked to pledge $100 a month to support a particular family. As part of the program, they receive the family’s contact information so they can communicate and see the impact of their donation. “For most of our families, this is all the monthly income they receive,” explained Kasawa, who is a family physician. HFIC has also sent large shipments of shoes, school supplies and other items, and has helped with specific needs. Recently, a parish priest in Iraq contacted Barka, requesting urgent assistance. The generator providing power for a village of 120 families had stopped working. Barka explained the situation at his council meeting. “In one hour, I had the $16,000 needed to buy a generator,” Barka said. “I sent it with a note that said, ‘From the Knights.’” For more information, visit B JIM GRAVES is a freelance journalist based in Newport Beach, Calif. APRIL 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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BREATH OF LIFE The Knights of Columbus supplies oxygen for COVID-19 patients in remote regions of Brazil and Peru By Columbia staff


Right: Bishop Giovanni Cefai of the Territorial Prelature of Santiago Apóstol de Huancané in Peru (center) stands with health care workers from the province of Puno, Feb. 26, after blessing oxygen cylinders donated by the Knights of Columbus. 16


Photo by ACI Prensa

hen a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit Manaus, Brazil, in January, the situation became grim. The health care system in the city was overwhelmed, and thousands of patients were dying, in need of supplemental oxygen to help them breathe. With hospitals full, many people tried frantically to secure oxygen to care for family members at home. Father Charles Cunha da Silva, a priest in Manaus, recalled seeing the face of one young man carrying an empty oxygen cylinder that he was trying to fill. “His eyes said it all,” said Father da Silva, treasurer of the Archdiocese of Manaus. “It was the look of someone who was desperate.” Archbishop Leonardo Steiner of Manaus shared that desperation with the world Jan. 15, releasing a video in which he pleaded, “For the love of God, send us oxygen!” Then-Supreme Knight Carl Anderson responded immediately after hearing the plea, setting in motion the complicated logistical mission of delivering supplies to the city, deep in the Amazon. “In solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Amazon, we could not fail to act,” Anderson said. The initiative, which has also aided a region of southeastern Peru in a similar crisis, expanded in March to include the construction of a plant in northwestern Peru that will condense and concentrate oxygen. Altogether, the Order committed $400,000 to aid the largely Indigenous populations of these regions. “Breathing is so fundamental that we often take it for granted, and now we see men, women and children literally desperate

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Meanwhile, 50 more oxygen tanks, plus 15 oxygen concentrators, were on their way to the Territorial Prelature of Santiago Apóstol de Huancané in southeastern Peru. The Supreme Council learned of the need there while planning aid to Manaus. Puno, the province where the prelature is located, had seen nearly 25,000 coronavirus cases and 650 deaths by mid-March, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. The cylinders arrived in Huancané on Feb. 23 and were soon delivered to medical authorities after being blessed by Bishop Giovanni Cefai. “Words really fail me to thank our brother Knights of Columbus,” said Bishop Cefai, a member of the Missionary Society of St. Paul. “I don’t know how to express what is going on in both my mind and heart, because each oxygen tank represents a patient breathing, thanks be to God, pulling away from death and breathing life.” The bishop stressed, “If we save just one life, all the effort is worth it.” One life saved by the K of C donation is that of Elvira Claros. Her daughter, Lourdes Machicao Claros, came to Bishop Cefai in tears, asking him to help her obtain an oxygen concentrator to save her mother. The entire family had come down with COVID-19, but her mother was the most affected and required a concentrator to survive. “If we hadn’t gotten it, my mom would have been laid to rest, but now she’s fine, thanks to the concentrator,” said Machicao, a nurse in Puno. “Now she’s recovering satisfactorily. I am deeply grateful for this and to this organization

Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Manaus

for this basic necessity,” Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly said. “The Knights’ principle of charity impels us to act and provide resources necessary for our brothers and sisters in Christ to live through this global crisis.” The first part of the donation — nearly $250,000 worth of oxygen tanks, as well as oxygen concentrators — arrived in hard-hit areas of Brazil and Peru in February. More than 200 oxygen tanks donated by the Knights reached the city of Manaus, the capital of the Amazonas region of Brazil, Feb. 15 after a weeklong journey up the Amazon River. Archbishop Steiner conveyed his deep gratitude to the Knights when they arrived. “God bless you … and from the bottom of my heart thank you very much,” he said, adding, “Pray for us that we can face this difficult time, and that we don’t stop being a presence of a consoling, Samaritan Church.” The archdiocese gave most of the supplies to smaller municipalities in the region, including Manaquiri, Presidente Figueiredo and Rio Preto da Eva, where the need was even more acute. “The surrounding areas had a hard time, because there were no beds, no equipment, no oxygen, and there was no one to speak for us,” explained Aila Carla da Costa Bernardino, health secretary of Rio Preto da Eva, which is 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Manaus. “You see someone asking for help, asking not to let them die, and there’s nothing you can do. … When I received the call from [the archdiocese] saying that we were going to receive the donation of 10 cylinders, it was of great importance, and brought much happiness.”


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FROM TOP: Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg via Getty Images — CNS photo/Bruno Kelly, Reuters — Photo by ACI Prensa/ Diego López Marina

that had the courage and willingness to donate and save lives.” The head of the Huancané Healthcare Network affirmed the crucial role that oxygen plays in treating COVID-19. “In this pandemic, oxygen therapy is a vital treatment to sustain patients in critical condition and so they don’t have to be intubated,” explained Dr. Henry Núñez García, a surgeon. The final phase of the K of C initiative is now helping the Archdiocese of Piura, Peru, establish a reliable supply of this valuable medical resource. A commitment of $146,000 has allowed the archdiocese to begin construction of at least one new plant to concentrate oxygen. A plant scheduled to be completed in May is expected to fill nearly 50 10m3 oxygen tanks daily. Peru has the second-highest COVID-19 case-fatality ratio in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. As of midMarch, the country had recorded 48,484 COVID-19 deaths from 1,394,571 cases, a fatality rate of 3.5% — almost twice the rate seen in the United States. Statistics tell part of the story, but as Bishop Cefai reminded the doctors and other health care workers who attended the blessing of the oxygen delivery in late February, “Patients are not numbers; they are people.” He added, “Love them, because maybe some of them will die in your arms. Accompany them humanely and put into action this human value which we had almost forgotten before the pandemic began.” B Diego López Marina of ACI Prensa/Catholic News Agency contributed to this story.

Opposite page: Archbishop Leonardo Steiner stands with Aila Carla da Costa Bernardino, secretary of health for the municipality of Rio Preto da Eva, following a mid-February delivery of oxygen to Manaus, Brazil. • From top: A worker wearing personal protective equipment digs a grave for a COVID-19 victim at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus on Jan. 19. • Osmar Magalhaes is cared for at home by his daughter Karoline in January due to the shortage of oxygen in Manaus’ public health system. • A volunteer unpacks one of the oxygen concentrators donated by the Knights of Columbus to the Territorial Prelature of Santiago Apóstol de Huancané in Peru. APRIL 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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On a Mission from God


li Kresta decided to become a campus missionary because of what he saw — or didn’t see — in the pews at church. Home from college during his senior year at Harvard University, he went to daily Mass, and it hit him how few young people were there. “My heart cried out for them,” recalled Kresta, a member of Archbishop Drossaerts Council 2490 in El Campo, Texas. He felt called to share with his peers what he had experienced in his own life: the love of God and the fullness of faith. Soon after he graduated, he was back on campus as a missionary with the Fellowship of the Catholic University Students, or FOCUS. FOCUS was founded in 1998 by Curtis Martin, a member of Archbishop Fulton Sheen Council 7502 in Northglenn, Colo. The college years, he knew, were a time when young people are thinking about and seeking answers to big questions. Martin recognized an opportunity, and a critical need, for evangelization. The organization, which started with two missionaries at one college, has grown exponentially and now places about 800 campus missionaries, usually

in teams of four, at 180 locations. The FOCUS missionaries, most of whom are recent college graduates, make an initial commitment of two years. Partnering with chaplains and campus ministers at the universities and colleges where they are sent, they share the Gospel with students through personal relationships. Each year, FOCUS hosts large, national conferences featuring speakers, discussion, sacraments and prayer. The Knights of Columbus has been a premier sponsor of several of the organization’s conferences over the past decade, including this year’s virtual event, SEEK21. The February conference drew more than 27,000 participants and featured Jonathan Reyes, the Knights’ senior vice president for communications and strategic partnerships, as a keynote speaker. More than 60 schools have both an active college council and a FOCUS presence, and many college Knights, like Kresta, have gone on to serve as FOCUS missionaries. In the following pages, some of these Knight-missionaries share their experience and what it means to them to be a missionary disciple in the modern world. For more information about the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, visit

Above, from left: Curtis Martin, founder and CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, speaks at the SEEK conference in Indianapolis in January 2019. • FOCUS missionaries at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., meet with Father John Hollowell, a Knights of Columbus chaplain, at St. Paul the Apostle Church in February 2020. • Students participate in a FOCUS Bible study at the University of Texas at Austin. 20

FROM LEFT: CNS photo/courtesy Fellowship of Catholic University Students — CNS photo/Sean Gallagher, The Criterion — Photo courtesy Fellowship of Catholic University Students

Knights share their experiences bringing Christ to campus as FOCUS missionaries

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Philip Paulson, 24, is a sec-

Photo by Jeffrey Bruno

ond-year FOCUS missionary at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he earned degrees in mechanical engineering and served as grand knight of George Washington University Council 13242. At the end of this year, he plans to enter the Capuchin Franciscans of the Province of St. Augustine. Rooted in Faith: I was born and raised Catholic, but I did not have strong knowledge of or belief in the faith until I got to college. It was there that I was confirmed, and through my RCIA class and my college Knights council, I learned what it truly meant to be Catholic — and I fell in love with the faith. When I became grand knight, I really felt a desire to actively share the faith and help my brother Knights grow in their relationship with God.

Evangelizing on Campus: I became a FOCUS missionary to bring more men into a strong relationship with Christ — helping them develop a prayer life and discover that Jesus desires a personal relationship with them. Seeing others’ hearts ablaze with the love of the Lord is incredibly inspiring and rewarding. This experience has taught me that the Holy Spirit is the true evangelist. I don’t need some elaborate strategy; if I am genuine and share the Gospel, the Holy Spirit will do the hard work.

the Knights and FOCUS has always been intertwined.

Missionary and Knight: I joined the Knights in college because I was looking for a good community, and I had fond memories of volunteering at my home council’s Lenten fish fries. The Knights gave me the experience of walking with Catholic men toward Christ. Into the Breach was the first small group study I ran as a FOCUS student leader, so my experience with

Witnessing in the World: My biggest advice for my brother Knights is to earn the right to be heard. If you are an effective witness of Christ’s love and invest deeply in those around you, they will be more open to the Gospel. As St. Paul VI said, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”

Challenges and Hope: Most people who are not practicing their faith are not against religion but indifferent toward it. It can be difficult to communicate the love of Christ when many people simply don’t care. But most people recognize that something is missing, that they’re searching for something more. Once you get over the hump of indifference, people are willing to search for love and truth through Jesus Christ.

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Eli Kresta, 27, is a high school

teacher and personal trainer in El Campo, Texas. After graduating from Harvard University, he served as a FOCUS missionary at Seton Hall University and at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. He is a member of Archbishop Drossaerts Council 2490 in El Campo. Rooted in Faith: I was raised in a devout Catholic family and often took that for granted. We never missed Sunday Mass, but I didn’t develop a personal relationship with Jesus until halfway through high school. While staffing a retreat, I was asked to portray Jesus hanging on the cross. I heard God speak to my heart and say, “Eli, I love you.” That encounter stayed with me and made me realize that I ought to give that love freely to others.

Missionary and Knight: I became a Knight at age 18 because my dad suggested it, and it made me eligible for a scholarship — not very noble, I know, but over the years I’ve been involved with a number of great councils. At West Point, for example, members were constantly serving the Church, donating to food pantries and homeless shelters, and participating in service projects. When I was a missionary, being a Knight connected me to faithful men who wanted to make a positive impact on the community around them. Challenges and Hope: First, our culture doesn’t value faith or virtue; the world tells us to do whatever feels good or is cool. This makes explaining the idea of submitting to God’s will 22

very difficult. Second, very few young people have been well catechized. However, there is hope! Young people have a hunger for a great adventure or cause. When we, as missionaries, proposed faith and the great adventure of living out virtue, men would leap at the opportunity. The more we challenged them, the more excited they became.

Witnessing in the World: FOCUS changed how I interact with the world around me and how I see myself. Prayer is now an indispensable part of my day, and I now know that the greatest achievement is to attain heaven and to help others do the same. Being a missionary starts with the person next to you, with a smile, a favor. And the greatest gift you can give them is faith.

Photo by Sharon Joines

Evangelizing on Campus: During my senior year at Harvard, I was starting to look for work. I had led Bible studies and participated in several mission trips and FOCUS conferences, but I rebelled against the idea of becoming a missionary. Then, one day at Mass I was struck by the lack of young adults. My heart cried out for them, and I realized that God wanted me to bring to the faith as many as I could.

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Santonio Hill, 28, works in Pittsburgh, Pa., with Vagabond Missions, a Catholic apostolate serving inner-city teenagers. He graduated from The Catholic University of America and served as a missionary with FOCUS (2015-2018) at the University of Connecticut and Temple University in Philadelphia. He is a member of St. Michael’s Council 2065 in Ridge, Md.

Photo by Joe Appel

Rooted in Faith: I grew up in a Black Catholic parish, and God was always at the forefront on Sunday mornings. My grandma and mother were backbones of the faith for me until I was able to stand on my own. I started to take the faith seriously after I had an encounter with God and entered seminary. Though I discerned out, I remained passionate and hungry for God. Evangelizing on Campus: I lived with FOCUS missionaries at the University of Maryland while teaching theology

at a Catholic school. One day my roommate Paul was hanging out with a college student — playing video games, talking and praying. I thought the student was just one of his friends but later learned he was a disciple that Paul was mentoring. I was dumbfounded. The freedom to teach the faith on a college campus was so attractive to me that I went to a recruitment weekend. Being a missionary on a college campus can be very daunting, but it also brings many opportunities. Patience and knowing that it is God’s mission, not mine, are keys to being effective. Missionary and Knight: I was introduced to the Knights of Columbus and joined when I entered seminary. My K of C experience bore direct fruit in the mission on campus. The men I was leading also wanted to become Knights, and I took road trips with them to their exemplifications, which allowed us to grow deeper in discipleship with God.

Challenges and Hope: The biggest challenge today is that everything is so comfortable and convenient. To break through that takes God’s grace. The bright side is that I can relate; I fight every day to not sit in my own comfort. That relatability helps me evangelize my peers more effectively. I also know faithful and zealous people among my peers; they inspire me to become a better disciple by their willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of the Gospel. Witnessing in the World: FOCUS helped me learn how to journey with others as I share the faith — not just preach truth and leave. That was a very important skill to learn. How often do you hear conversion stories centered around soap-box preachers? Jesus and his disciples showed us that the way to evangelize is by investing in a few people, whom you teach and inspire to do the same for others. APRIL 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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Evangelizing on Campus: After encountering the Father’s love and mercy, I wanted everyone to experience it. This desire was paired with an intellectual conversion to the truth of Catholicism. Seeing how misunderstood Christ and his Church were on campus motivated me to become a FOCUS missionary. I’ve found that sharing the faith effectively requires three things: to seek the truth rather than trying to “win” a debate; to listen intently rather than responding right away; and finally, to ask good questions. Missionary and Knight: My father is a Knight, so I knew about the Knights growing up. After experiencing Greek life on campus, I thought to myself: Men here are starving for authentic Christian brotherhood. That’s when I called the Knights of Columbus, and with the help of our chaplain and others we started a college council. The Knights gave us a platform for brotherhood across the Newman Center and into the community.

Aaron Filzen, 25, serves as a second-year FOCUS missionary together with his wife, Shanna, at North Dakota State University in Fargo. The couple met while attending Minnesota State University, Mankato. Aaron served as grand knight of Minnesota State University Council 16408 and on the College Councils Advisory Board. After graduation, he and Shanna spent their first year of marriage as missionaries at Eastern Washington University. 24

Rooted in Faith: I came to college as a Sunday Mass-goer, but the secular college culture soon swept me away. I was about to stop going to Mass altogether when a FOCUS missionary invited me to the SEEK conference in 2015. There I discovered two things: Life with Christ is possible, and it is beautiful. I remember coming back from the conference and thinking to myself, “Lord, I’m going to give you this week and see what happens.” That week turned into a month and then a year, and now it’s my life.

Witnessing in the World: I am not a Catholic missionary because I joined FOCUS; I am a missionary by virtue of my baptism. All Knights are similarly called to fulfill the great commission in a unique and personal way, and we must start within our families. I recommend making a family mission statement together. Put it on the fridge so your family has a clear vision of who you are as a domestic church, called to evangelize in your home and in the world.

Photo by Kensie Wallner

Challenges and Hope: We are bombarded with distractions. We are told what to think through our phones, and we continually settle for the counterfeit relationships of social media. Yet, no matter how good algorithms get, there’s no way to replace real and authentic relationships — with God and with one another. It is what we’re made for. When you witness to the truth, beauty and goodness of the Catholic faith — through intellectual discussion, but primarily through relationships — people begin to come alive in Christ in a lasting way.

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Daniel Rosa, 24, is a second-year FOCUS missionary at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, he served his first year of mission at Rice University in Houston. He is a member and past grand knight of St. John Paul II Council 15852 at Southern Methodist University.

council. After going on a FOCUS mission trip to Peru, I really couldn’t picture my life outside of service, centered on the healing of the human person and one’s relationship with God. I eventually applied to become a missionary, to invite students back into communion with the Church and walk with them in discipleship.

that doesn’t allow God to encounter us. Still, when students are moved by what is good, true and beautiful, they become open to conversion of heart and transformation as a child of God. I remember the students at SEEK21 who returned to confession after years and years, due in part to the goodness of our friendships.

Rooted in Faith: My parents reverted to the Catholic faith right before they started having children. Growing up, I remember praying the rosary with my family at an abortion facility before going to Sunday Mass, reading lives of the saints in the car, and attending various faith-centered summer camps. At my parish, I sang in the choir and schola while also leading a pro-life group.

Missionary and Knight: I was invited to join the Order during my first year at SMU, and I later attended the College Councils Conference several times and served as grand knight. Being a Knight taught me how to serve the Church and others in fraternity with my brothers in Christ. Today, we invite students into missionary discipleship, combining all of our activities into a unified effort.

Witnessing in the World: As Catholics, we are all missionary disciples, called at baptism and inspired by the Holy Spirit at confirmation. I personally look forward to continuing this lifelong mission: inviting others to pray and receive the sacraments, and walking with them in the journey of discipleship. I also encourage my brother Knights to take up our common mission — to learn and share the Gospel; pray with specific and bold intentions; joyfully sacrifice; lead with virtue; invite others into this blessed life; and always trust in God. B

Evangelizing on Campus: At SMU, I was active in Catholic Campus Ministry, led the student pro-life group and became grand knight of my local

Challenges and Hope: A major hurdle is the idea, “I know enough.” This common sentiment creates a wall

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Grand Knight Ed Schneider (left) and other members of Queen of Angels Council 12154 in St. John, Ind., pray the 12th Station of the Cross at the Shrine of Christ’s Passion. The shrine, a 30-acre pilgrimage site in St. John, was commissioned by council member Frank Schilling in 2001 and features 40 life-size bronze sculptures along a half-mile Way of the Cross. Another council member, Paul Anderson, currently manages the site, and Knights volunteer there regularly.

Members of St. Mark Parish Council 10874 in Stouffville, Ontario, presented a papal blessing obtained by the council to its founding chaplain, Father Leslie Tamas, in honor of the 60th anniversary of his ordination. DONATION DESPITE OBSTACLES

Mason (Mich.) Council 9182 made its annual donation in support of seminarians, despite the cancellation of its golf fundraiser. The Knights collected $8,500 from local businesses and individuals to help sponsor 17 men preparing for the priesthood. Over the past three decades, the council has donated more than $150,000 to local seminarians. ANGELS, PROTECT THEM

James Gallagher Assembly 3222 in Fort Worth, Texas, donated 1,000 religious medals to members of the Fort Worth Police Department in recognition of their service. Franciscan Father Dan Pattee blessed the medals, which feature 26

St. Michael the Archangel and a guardian angel, during a prayer service at St. Andrew Catholic Church. REVIVING AN OASIS

Our Lady of the Desert Council 15704 in Picture Rocks, Ariz., raised more than $49,000 from member donations and various fundraisers for Our Lady of the Desert Church and the Redemptorist Renewal Center, a Catholic retreat center in Tucson. The funds, which included an anonymous donation of $25,000, helped offset the financial impact of the pandemic. FATHER’S CALL

George Cardinal Mundelein Council 13267 in Mundelein, Ill., answered a call from Father Miguel Martínez, pastor of Santa Maria del Popolo Catholic Church and council chaplain, to help welcome back the faithful. Members have cleaned the church and implemented other safety measures before and after its reopening.

Council officers of a newly formed council in Nanterre, France, venerate a relic of Blessed Michael McGivney, during a national meeting of K of C officers in Paris. Archbishop Celestino Migliore, apostolic nuncio to France, celebrated for the Knights a Mass of Thanksgiving for Father McGivney’s beatification.

TOP LEFT: Photo by Maria Rosa Photography — BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo by François Régis Salefra


Knights of Father Joseph D. Gallagher Council 3673 in Morrisville, Pa., in coordination with their pastor and chaplain, Msgr. John Eckert, educated Holy Trinity parishioners about the sacrament of reconciliation. They published answers to frequently asked questions about the sacrament in the parish bulletin and distributed the Order’s “Guide to Confession” after weekend Masses.

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Father John Menco Council 6707 in Washington, Ill., adapted to COVID-19 restrictions by converting its pork chop sandwich sale to a drive-thru family event. In one weekend, the Knights raised $900 for Washington Helps Its People (WHIP) food pantry.

Members of St. George’s Parish Council 10843 in London, Ontario, distributed 300 coats as part of the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids® program. The initiative benefited children at seven local schools, including schools serving Oneida First Nation and Chippewa of the Thames First Nation. DINE AND DONATE

Camarillo (Calif.) Council 5272 held a drive-thru boxed meal giveaway and fundraiser for St. Mary Magdalen parishioners to benefit its Catholic high school scholarship fund. Members served more than 300 dinners, and the council netted nearly $3,000 — enough to sponsor scholarships for two eighth grade students. PACK-A-SACK

Our Lady Queen of Peace Council 11680 in New Port Richey, Fla., donated $1,000 to the “Pack-A-Sack” program sponsored by the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society. Members also

provide volunteer assistance to the weekly program, preparing bags of food for local schoolchildren in need to take home over the weekend. LUNCH DUTIES

Proceeds from a hamburger lunch sale at St. Anne Catholic School helped kick off the Annual Fund campaign of St. Anne-Oratory Council 6756 in Rock Hill, S.C. The following day, Knights prepared and distributed more than 70 hot lunches at the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen, which regularly receives support from the council. ALL WERE FILLED

Members of St. Mary’s Council 13072 in Vancouver, British Columbia, deliver frozen food packages to families struggling during the pandemic as part of All Were Filled, a project of the archdiocese. Father Guy Rivard, council chaplain and pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Vancouver, led Knights and parishioners in a pilot version of the program before it was expanded to other parishes.

Grand Knight Terry Clayton of Father John M. Lynch Council 4188 in Clawson, Mich., presents Justin Cabrera, an eighth grader at Guardian Angels Catholic School, with first prize in the council’s Catholic Citizenship Essay Contest.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo by Audra Melton


Members of Pope Pius XII Council 4422 in East Meadow, N.Y., collected more than 150 baby items from parishioners at St. Raphael Catholic Church for MOMMAS House, a local nonprofit serving vulnerable mothers and families.

Frank Kaliner, family director of Holy Cross Council 10355 in Atlanta, and his daughters make lunches for people in need. For about 20 years, a group of Knights and family members has met on the first Friday of each month to assemble sandwiches that are distributed at a soup kitchen the next day. APRIL 2021 B C O L U M B I A



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St. Veronica Council 12579 in Chantilly, Va., organized its 12th hygiene product drive for people in need in Madison County. The collection yielded more than 4,300 pounds of soap, shampoo, deodorant and other items, plus more than $4,500 in cash and gift card donations. Members of Most Holy Trinity Council 5774 in Manila, Luzon South, including Grand Knight Jose Noel A. Zara (second from left), bring food and water to inmates at the Sampaloc Police Station. The council’s prison ministry supplies essentials that prisoners would otherwise go without due to a budget shortfall and COVID-19 restrictions that have prevented relatives from visiting.


Members of Moose Mountain Council 10317 in Carlyle, Saskatchewan, helped an elderly parishioner of the Church of Our Lady move to safer housing. The man was living alone in a trailer with a broken furnace and frozen pipes. Knights worked with the local housing board to find him an apartment, moved him in, brought him furniture and food, and continue to visit him regularly. BRUNSWICK COUNTY CHARITY

Sacred Heart of Southport Council 12537 in Southport, N.C., donated $40,000 to several charities in Brunswick County. The organizations urgently needed the funds to replenish shortfalls incurred during the pandemic. SPONSORING HISTORY

Blessed Stanley Rother Assembly 3101 in Tontitown, Ark., sponsored a virtual history lecture by Father David Endres, Ph.D., editor of the scholarly journal 28


Members of St. John Council 8302 in San Antonio handed out dozens of seedling tomato plants to people in the community as a sign of hope during the pandemic.

U.S. Catholic Historian. Father Endres related stories of Catholic chaplains and religious sisters who served soldiers during the Civil War. More than 60 Knights and other guests participated remotely from 15 states and Canada. SERVING MANY

Holy Cross Council 12141 in Vero Beach, Fla., donated a total of $11,000 raised at dinners and pancake breakfasts in 2020 to a variety of causes and organizations. Beneficiaries included the Holy Cross Parish youth group, two seminarians for the Diocese of Palm Beach and a local resource center for people experiencing poverty and homelessness. WHITBY WINDFALL

Msgr. Gerard Breen Council 8309 in Whitby, Ontario, held a can and bottle drive to raise money for the council’s Leave No Neighbor Behind programs and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Members collected enough recyclable items to net nearly $3,000.

Nicanor Kantún (right) of Mons. Lázaro Pérez Jiménez Council 17543 and Rogerio Ortego of Mons. Fernando Ruiz Solorzano 13963, both in Mérida, Yucatán, present a sewing machine to a woman in the village of Pocbichén. The councils jointly purchased and delivered sewing machines to several families in need.

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Members of Seymour (Ind.)-Msgr. Rawlinson Council 1252 volunteered with Catholic Charities Indianapolis to deliver hot meals to people struggling with homelessness and hunger due to the pandemic. WITNESS FOR LIFE

Grand Knight Dan Doyle and other members of Norfolk (Va.) Council 367 joined parishioners of St. Pius X Catholic Church to peacefully protest abortion outside a Planned Parenthood facility in Virginia Beach.

District Deputy Brian Hallock (right) and Life Director Nick Haas, members of St. Ann’s Basilica Council 12572 in Scranton, Pa., load baby supplies for delivery to a local pregnancy resource center. The council collected diapers and other donations at its March for Life watch party in January.


Members of Our Lady of Victory Council 2061 in Parlin, N.J., presented a check for $5,000 to the Sayreville Association for Brain Injured Children, a charity that offers programs, activities and other assistance.

BOTTOM LEFT: Photo by Blythe Beacham — TOP RIGHT: Photo by Spirit Juice Studios


Dave King of Pope John Paul II Council 2014 in Nampa, Idaho, assists a woman borrowing a walker from the council’s Health Equipment Loan Program. The H.E.L.P. center is open twice a week for people with health conditions and disabilities to borrow walkers, wheelchairs and other equipment for free.

Knights of St. John Neumann Council 11828 in Steubenville, Ohio, developed a pro-life brochure featuring recent scientific discoveries about human conception. The brochure — which was reviewed by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a pro-life research organization — has been distributed to Ohio Right to Life, Care Net pregnancy resource centers and Catholic schools of the Diocese of Steubenville. TELETHON FOR SPECIAL NEEDS

To replace fund drives canceled due to the pandemic, Holy Family Council 11981 in Inverness, Ill., produced a local radio telethon that raised $12,000 in support of services to persons with intellectual disabilities and their families.


Valley of the Angels Council 9710 in San Diego raised more than $11,600 in its annual drive at San Rafael Parish for the Semper Fi and America’s Fund, a charity supporting wounded, ill and catastrophically injured members of the U.S. armed forces and their families. Over the last decade, the Knights have collected more than $100,000 for the fund. ULTRASOUND EFFORT

Nativity Council 16604 in Thompson’s Station, Tenn., partnered with Holy Family Council 15234 and St. Joseph the Carpenter Assembly 3531, both in Brentwood, to purchase a new portable ultrasound machine for Pregnancy Centers of Middle Tennessee. The Knights raised $14,000, which was matched by a grant through the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative. See more at Please submit your council activites to APRIL 2021 B C O L U M B I A



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utting their faith into action in their parishes and communities, Knights throughout the world are united in service to the Church, to families and to neighbors in need.

South Korea United States Minnesota State Deputy David Whatmuff helps a boy try on a jacket at a Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids® event at Holy Rosary Church in Minneapolis. The distribution was one of more than 20 events sponsored by the Minnesota State Council in the fall, at which Knights gave away nearly 3,000 coats to families in need.

France Philippines

Members of Good Shepherd Council 7178 in Quezon City, Luzon South, distribute food to families in nearby Rodriguez. The residents had suffered severe property damage from Typhoon Ulysses in November 2020. 30

Territorial Deputy Arnaud Boutheon presents a donation of 8,000 euros from French Knights to help cover housing costs at the Hôtel National des Invalides, a war veterans’ hospital and retirement home in Paris. Receiving the donation were Gen. François Eulry (center), president of the Foyer des Invalides, and Gen. Christophe de Saint-Chamas, governor of the Hôtel des Invalides.

TOP RIGHT: Photo by David Ellis — BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo by François Régis Salefran

Father Gerard E. Hammond, chaplain of Bishop John J. Kaising Council 14223 and faithful friar of Bishop Joseph W. Estabrook Assembly 3348, both located at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, South Korea, delivers remarks on Blessed Michael McGivney at the annual Korea Territorial District Deputies and Leadership Meeting. Father Hammond, a Maryknoll priest, received the Order’s Gaudium et Spes Award in 2017 for his missionary work in North Korea.

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Members of Our Lady of Częstochowa Queen of Poland Council 14004 in Radom gather with new Knights and their families after participating in an exemplification of charity, unity and fraternity at Our Lady of Częstochowa Catholic Church.


Mexico Manuel Rivera, a member of Padre Antonio de Figueroa Council 3898 in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico Northwest, surprises children with a donation of toys.

Members of St. Theresa Council 12202 in Coldstream, British Columbia, distribute winter coats at Cherryville Elementary School. Council 12202 had held a garage sale to purchase more than 70 coats for children in need through the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids® program. APRIL 2021 B C O L U M B I A



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Maine Knights build a church, and a bond of friendship, with a “sister” parish in Haiti IT ALL BEGAN when David Murphy, a

member of St. Thomas Council 13861 in Sanford, Maine, agreed to build a bridge. Murphy was visiting Haiti in 2012 when he learned that families in the Diocese of Jérémie had to wade through the treacherous waters of the Grande-Anse River to bring supplies back to their villages. Murphy, an engineer, was asked: Is there any way you can help? Murphy shared this request with his council and parish of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and the community responded generously. Since then, they have raised more than $100,000 for projects in Haiti, including the construction of four bridges, and established an ongoing relationship of support with a parish there, St. Anthony the Hermit. “The opportunity to partner with one of the poorest parishes in Haiti was an incredible honor,” Murphy said. The council’s ties to Haiti strengthened when Hurricane Matthew devastated the island nation in October 2016. The storm leveled hundreds of churches, including St. Anthony the Hermit. A few months later, a group of Knights traveled to the island to help reconstruct the church. Kevin Neely, faith director of Council 13861, recalled, “We discovered a land of incredible poverty, inhabited by a resilient

population that refuses to lose hope.” Working with local contractors and builders, the Knights ensured that the new church was fortified to withstand future storms. After the crew completed the reconstruction in January 2019, Father Jean Romain, pastor of St. Anthony, dedicated the new church with a Mass that brought Knights and locals together. “Sharing in the eucharistic feast,” Murphy said, “I experienced a unity that is indescribable — and a sense of brotherly responsibility.” Council 13861 and its home parish have continued to provide St. Anthony’s parish school with much-needed resources, including classroom supplies, eyeglasses and rosaries. All the while, they have paid the salaries of the school’s 13 teachers. The Knights are amazed at how God has used them to build bridges of spiritual and material hope. Blessed Michael McGivney’s mission, Murphy said, “was to help people live Christian lives by enlisting the help of many.” Through the partnership in Haiti, “our council continues to strive to live that vision.” For information about how to partner with a parish in Haiti, contact Council 13861 at B

David Murphy (front, in red shirt) and other members of St. Thomas Council 13861 gather with students and teachers of the St. Anthony the Hermit Parish school in Lori, Haiti, in 2017. Council 13861 has provided the school, Collège St. Augustin de Lori, with urgently needed funds and resources. 32

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Knights of Charity Every day, Knights all over the world are given opportunities to make a difference — whether through community service, raising money or prayer. We celebrate each and every Knight for his strength, his compassion and his dedication to building a better world.

Kepler Padilla, grand knight of Laconia (N.H.) Council 428 and district deputy, distributes coats outside Santo Domingo de Huasta Church in Huasta, Peru. The council and its home parish, St. André Bessette, raised more than $10,000 for the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids® program. With the funds, the Knights purchased and delivered approximately 400 jackets to the Andes region of Peru.

To be featured here, send your council’s “Knights in Action” photo as well as its description to: Columbia, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326 or e-mail: COLUMBIA APR 21 ENG COVERS 3_16 FINAL.indd 3

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‘I wake up every morning thanking God.’

Father Anthony Stewart Diocese of Nashville Holy Family Council 15234, Brentwood, Tenn.


Photo by William DeShazer

When I was 15, my father died suddenly; it was a low point in my life, but also a turning point. My mom, who had converted to Catholicism several years earlier, encouraged me to speak to our parish priest. That encouragement would forever change my life. I quickly saw a transformation within myself and began to think, “If God is helping me through this Catholic priest, there must be something to this Catholic Church.” This led me to begin RCIA classes, and I fell completely in love with the truths of the faith and with the Eucharist. After my confirmation, the Lord said to me in prayer, “Anthony, you see what I’ve done for you through the priesthood; now go and do likewise.” I felt deep in my bones that God had brought me through those tough moments to teach me how to be a compassionate priest. I was ordained in June 2018, and I wake up every morning thanking God for allowing me to be his servant. I hope I can be an instrument of grace to many people, as that parish priest was to me.

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