Columbia December 2022

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DECEMBER 2022
Columbia KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
LIFE INSURANCE • DISABILITY INCOME INSURANCE • LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE • RETIREMENT ANNUITIES Find your agent at kofc.org/faa Wishing you and your family a blessed and Merry Christmas

The Holy Family is depicted by Joe Sinnott for the Marvel Comics series “Bible Tales for Young Folk” in 1953. Sinnott, a longtime collaborator with Marvel writer Stan Lee and a Knight for 60 years, inked many comic books informed by his Catholic faith (see page 22).

A Bed of One’s Own

North Dakota Knights construct dozens of beds for children on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Band of Brothers

Ukrainian American Knights perform songs of solidarity in concert with the Order’s relief efforts.

The Eucharistic Woman of Guadalupe

When Our Lady appeared to St. Juan Diego, she came bearing the Lord of Life in her womb.

In the Holy Family’s Footsteps

Texas Knights bring Posada gifts and cheer to a homeless encampment near Austin.

POW! The Knights Behind a Comic Book Revival

K of C artists create comic books that draw on beauty and truth to build up young people’s faith.

Departments

3 For the greater glory of God

At the heart of spiritual battles that we face is a call to overcome division, especially within our families.

By Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly

4

Learning the faith, living the faith

In receiving Jesus’ gift of himself at Christmas, we have the opportunity to give something in return.

By Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori PLUS: Catholic Man of the Month

6 Knights of Columbus News Mass, Celebration Mark Anniversary of St. Kateri’s Canonization • Mother Teresa Film Inspires in Theaters and Beyond • Knights of Columbus Chair Installed at CUA’s Columbus School of Law • Knights Urged to March for Life in D.C.

19 Fathers for Good St. Joseph’s response to Mary’s pregnancy reveals the heart of his mission as a husband and father.

By Joe Heschmeyer

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

ON THE COVER

The Adoration of the Shepherds is depicted in a 17th-century painting by Spanish artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

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. kofc.org/join

Copyright © 2022 All rights reserved

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Columbia DECEMBER 2022 B VOLUME 102 B NUMBER 10
8 22 CONTENTS 20
12 TOP: Courtesy of readallcomics.com — ON THE COVER: By kind permission of the Trustees of the Wallace Collection, London Art Resource, NY 16

Our Desire for the Infinite

THE LATE MSGR. Lorenzo Albacete (1941-2014) liked to tell a story about his friend and mentor, Msgr. Luigi Giussani (1922-2005), the founder of the interna tional Catholic movement Communion and Liberation. One starry night, Msgr. Giussani encountered a young couple kissing under the sky, and before going on his way, he posed a question to them: “Tell me one thing. What you are doing now, how is it related to the stars?” In an essay pub lished posthumously in The Relevance of the Stars: Christ, Culture, Destiny (2021), Msgr. Albacete notes, “Of course they were speech less, and probably relieved to think that the intruder was a bit mad.” He then adds, “Do you understand his question? The stars stand for the infinity that all human hearts desire.” The word desire is actually related to the Latin de sidere — “from the stars.”

Msgr. Albacete, who was a physicist and former aerospace researcher in addition to being a theologian, understood, like his men tor, that there is an intimate link between the wonder of creation and man’s origin and des tiny in God. While Earth is but a speck in the incomprehensible vastness of the universe, the Lord infinitely transcends all of creation and has chosen us to be his own even “before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4). The Psalmist writes, “When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place — what is man that you are mindful of him, and a son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honor” (Ps 8:4-6).

In a homily for the feast of the Epiphany last January, Pope Francis noted that the Magi were driven by a “healthy spirit of restlessness” and “the capacity to desire” as they followed the star to Bethlehem. “The crisis of faith in our lives and in our societies,” he said, “has to do with the eclipse of desire for God. It is related to a kind of slumbering spirit, to the habit of being content to live from day to day, without ever asking what God really wants from us.” But we can learn from the Magi’s “school of desire,” he said: They humbly set out on their journey, asked questions, and con tinued courageously until they discovered and worshiped the Christ Child with joy. “Desire leads us to adoration,” the Holy Father added, “and adoration renews our desire.”

When Dante wrote in the final words of the Divine Comedy that his desire and will were moved “by the Love that moves the sun and the other stars,” he was being more than merely poetic. Rather, the truth of the Incarnation and the revelation of the Most Holy Trinity relates to all of creation. And from this perspective, the Knights’ perennial commitment to “Keep Christ in Christmas” takes on much deeper — and prophetic — significance. It requires that we witness to the truth of God and man in every facet of our lives, in season and out of season. “To be a prophet,” Msgr. Albacete concluded, “is to give witness to the truth that each truly human act, each act of human freedom, is linked to our infinite destiny. Otherwise, it is not worthy of us.” B

Alton J. Pelowski, Editor

Faith in Action Guidebook: Keep Christ in Christmas

The Knights of Columbus is committed to bearing witness to the true meaning of Christmas through its Keep Christ in Christmas program. Councils are urged to promote the seasons of Advent and Christmas through activities centered on the example of the Holy Family and the Nativity of Christ. These include: Journey to the Inn, Spread the Light of Christ, Crèche or Advent Wreath Blessing, and the Christmas Poster Contest. For more information and resources, visit kofc.org/christmas.

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

Elisha Valladares-Cormier 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 columbia@kofc.org kofc.org/columbia

Address changes 203-752-4210, option #3 addresschange@kofc.org Columbia inquiries 203-752-4398

K of C Customer Service 1-800-380-9995

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Columbia

The Source of Unity

At the heart of spiritual battles that we face is a call to overcome division, especially within our families

“ALL OF HUMAN LIFE, whether individual or collective, shows itself to be a dramatic struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness” ( Gaudium et Spes , 13). These words from the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World are just as evocative today as when they were written nearly 60 years ago.

I have written previously about the fact that the whole of our lives is a spiritual bat tle. While many are faced with larger battles — we remember especially our brothers who are literally at war — the struggle between good and evil goes on even in our most simple human relations. As we approach the Christmas season, when we celebrate the glorious gift of God becoming man, it’s a good time to consider the small spiritual battles that are manifest in our personal lives.

Christmas can be an occasion of great hap piness and togetherness. But for many, it can also be a time of stress and anxiety — when, for example, we struggle with wounds and divisions within our families that have gone on far too long. I would offer that, as Knights, we are called to the spiritual battleground to bring about greater unity in our families.

Blessed Michael McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus upon the principles of “Unity and Charity.” That is, he listed unity even before charity, which is often acclaimed as our first principle. The principle of frater nity was added several years later.

As a spiritual brotherhood, we all know just how important unity is for our councils. It’s a precondition, in fact, for our many works of charity. This is also true for the Knights of Columbus as a whole. Our unity as a spiritual brotherhood is what has made the Order grow stronger over the past 140 years.

If unity is important for us as Knights, it is even more important for our families. The love of families is the very way that

God chose to reveal himself to us —the love of the Holy Family is a model for all families, and the Father is the one “from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named” (Eph 3:15).

As individuals, we are made for unity. We are made in the image and likeness of the Trinitarian God, who is the source of unity. That is to say, we are made to live in commu nion with one another; we are hardwired to be connected to others.

However, the evil one is always trying to destroy this unity and disconnect us from others, especially from our families, through our own sin and those of others. One of Sa tan’s most effective tactics is to isolate us and separate us through suspicions, selfishness and wounds both old and new.

Sin and division are cruel captors. They bind us and prevent us from breaking free. But as St. Paul proclaimed in his Letter to the Galatians, “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (5:1).

Christ wants us to be instruments of unity in our families. More than that, he wants us to cooperate with him to sanctify our fami lies. To do so, I recommend two key paths — those of forgiveness and truth.

First, to reach unity, the barriers of resent ment and sin must be removed, and this re quires forgiveness. We should seek to sincere ly forgive our family members and graciously ask forgiveness for our own offenses. Second, we should seek to find points of commonality with our family members, for all true unity is built on truth. Though there are sometimes points of division that seem insurmountable, we can begin with that which unites us.

So as we look forward to celebrating Christmas this year, let us ask for the grace to be agents of unity, driving out darkness and spreading light.

Vivat Jesus!

Christ wants us to be instruments of unity in our families. More than that, he wants us to cooperate with him to sanctify our families. To do so, I recommend two key paths — those of forgiveness and truth.

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Photo by Laura Barisonzi

A Gift for the Lord

In receiving Jesus’ gift of himself at Christmas, we have the opportunity to give something in return

LAST CHRISTMAS, the seminarians of the Archdiocese of Baltimore gave me a gift I’ll never forget. They pledged to put on an event for men discerning a possible call to the priesthood, and each seminarian committed himself to bringing at least one discerner to the event.

My heart was touched that the seminari ans wanted to invite others to share in their journey of priestly formation.

True to their word, they organized an event during Lent. It began with Mass, fol lowed by an informal dinner. Several of the invited guests entered seminary last August, and others are still considering the possibili ty of a priestly vocation.

As Christmas draws near, we’re thinking, as we should, about what to give our loved ones. But what about the Lord? Should we not give him something for Christmas? After all, on that first Christmas night, the Lord gave us something more precious than all the world’s treasures: He gave us himself. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the eternal Son of God assumed our humanity in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was born for us in a stable. How shall we respond to this gift from the Lord?

One way is going to Mass on Christmas. The Mass is the perfect act of adoration, praise and thanksgiving. Nothing is more pleasing in God’s eyes than when we give him thanks and praise by sharing in his Son’s gift of self for our salvation.

But is there anything else we might do for the Lord? What could we possibly give to the One who holds “the whole world in his hands”?

Permit me a modest suggestion. What if each Knights of Columbus family pledged to invite an inactive Catholic or an unchurched individual to come to Sunday Mass some time during the new year? It might be a friend, a family member, a neighbor. What

if you invited a couple to attend Mass and then go out for coffee or brunch? How about a Saturday vigil Mass, followed by dinner at a favorite restaurant?

There are many such Catholics waiting for an invitation. When I talk to inactive Catho lics, they sometimes say, “No one invited us back.” Or “I’m not sure how to come back. What happens if I just show up?” Others began watching Mass online during the COVID-19 pandemic and never returned to church; they might need a little nudge.

A gift like this would please the Lord very much, I think, and for the same reasons my seminarians’ gift brought me so much joy.

First, it is a way of bearing witness to your love for the Lord truly present in the Eucharist, a way of saying how much you value gathering with a community of faith to remember and celebrate the marvelous things God has done to save us.

Second, it requires a willingness to take a risk — a risk that the person we invite might say no. If it happened to Jesus and to his disciples, it might well happen to us too. That’s OK! The harvest remains rich. We can’t evangelize without putting ourselves out on a limb.

Third, extending this invitation is a won derful way to live the principle of charity. Encouraging inactive Catholics to redis cover their faith, to encounter the person of Jesus Christ in the Mass, to tap into the very source of salvation — can there be any greater kindness, any greater expression of charity? After all, the love we are to show our neighbors is not mere sentiment. To truly love our neighbors is to desire for them what is highest and best. Nothing in the world compares to the gift Christ left us in the wondrous sacrament of the altar.

I hope you’ll consider my gift sugges tion. And I wish you a blessed and joyous Christmas! B

To truly love our neighbors is to desire for them what is highest and best. Nothing in the world compares to the gift Christ left us in the wondrous sacrament of the altar.

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LEARNING THE FAITH, LIVING THE FAITH

Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge

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

“For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Gospel for Dec. 18, Mt 1:20-21)

Does the Advent season some times seem to be about things other than Christ? Amid breathless advertisements, urgent warnings about the waning number of shop ping days and the hassle of mak ing holiday plans, there’s a danger that Jesus’ birth will be neglected or forgotten. Let’s make it a prior ity to remember what Christmas is about: The Son of God became man in order to die for our sins and rise again, so that we could be freed from our slavery to sin and also rise to new life.

Catholic Man of the Month

WHEN A TEACHER in Lyon, France, learned of the alarmingly high number of homeless men dying under the city’s bridges after World War II, he felt called to act. The apostolate he co-founded — Notre-Dame des Sans-Abri (Our Lady of the Homeless) — continues to serve thousands of people in need today.

Gabriel Rosset was born in Champier, a commune in southeastern France. An exceptional student, he became a literature teacher at age 24. Most of his 40-year teaching career was spent at the Lycée Alexandre Lacassagne in Lyon, where he later received the Legion of Honor award for education in 1965.

As a young man, Rosset often joined other Catholic teachers and university students for fellowship and prayer. This led him and two friends to con secrate themselves to the Lord on July 24, 1937, with the goal of “serving the university and bringing our students back to Christ.” They would later take private vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

In the late 1940s, Lyon suffered an acute housing crisis, and many displaced men died from exposure.

Liturgical Calendar

Moved by their misery, Rosset began to distribute blankets to men on the street and even welcome some into his home. On Christmas Eve 1950, he and a team of volunteers established the first Our Lady of the Homeless shelter in an abandoned bistro. Three years later, Rosset moved in with the des titute men he served. “I felt linked to them by a necessity, a bond,” he said. “I believe that the mystics, like St. Paul, called that charity.”

With the help of students and other volunteers, Rosset established more houses to serve the homeless, including families in need. By his death on Dec. 30, 1974, he had built 1,500 housing units for more than 10,000 people. His cause for canonization was opened in 2006. B

Challenge: This month, I chal lenge you to keep your attention on the true meaning of Christmas by setting up a Nativity scene in a prominent place in your home and spending some time in prayer before it each day. Second, I chal lenge you to assist your council in the Faith in Action Keep Christ in Christmas program.

Dec. 3 St. Francis Xavier, Priest Dec. 7 St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church Dec. 8 The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Dec. 9 St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin Dec. 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 13 St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr Dec. 14 St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church Dec. 25 The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) Dec. 26 St. Stephen, The First Martyr Dec. 27 St. John, Apostle and Evangelist Dec. 28 The Holy Innocents, Martyrs Dec. 30 The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Holy Father’s Monthly Prayer Intention

We pray that volunteer nonprofit organizations committed to human development find people dedicated to the common good and ceaselessly seek out new paths to international cooperation.

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Gabriel
FROM TOP: Courtesy of Le Foyer Notre-Dame des Sans-Abri — alexhstock iStock Getty Images Plus — CNS photo/Vatican Media via Reuters

Mass, Celebration Mark Anniversary of St. Kateri’s Canonization

THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions hosted a special Mass on Oct. 21 at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., in honor of the 10th anniversary of the canonization of St. Kateri Tekak witha. Bishop Chad W. Zielinski of New Ulm, Minnesota, was the prin cipal celebrant, and Father Maurice Henry Sands, executive director of the Black and Indian Mission Office, delivered the homily.

Known as the Lily of the Mohawks, St. Kateri was born around 1656 in present-day upstate New York. Resisting her relatives’ pressure to marry, she converted to Catholicism at age 19 and conse crated herself to Jesus. She died in 1680 in present-day Québec. On Oct. 12, 2012, she became the first Native American woman of North America to be canonized.

“Her canonization … was the Church recognizing a young Indige nous woman who heroically lived her faith,” said Bishop Zielinski, chair man of the U.S. bishops’ Subcom mittee on Native American Affairs.

“You start to see pockets of Native peoples throughout the whole world turning to her, because many of these Indigenous cultures have been sadly oppressed by govern ments. I think the recognition of her as a saint truly lifted them up and recognized them globally.”

Several Native American families who attended the canonization a decade ago were present for the Mass and program that followed, which included dancers and drum mers from the Pueblo of Laguna, a tribe in west-central New Mexico. Supreme Secretary Patrick Mason, a member of the Osage Nation, was also present, representing the Supreme Council.

“We have Lakota, Dakota, we have Navajo, Denae, Hopi, Laguna, Oglala, Ojibwe, Mohawk,” he said. “All these different peoples from all over the country have come togeth er for this celebration, and it really is beautiful. It reminds us all of that common bond of unity that we share — not only in our heritage, but also in our faith — that brings us together as one people.” B

Mother Teresa Film Inspires in Theaters and Beyond

KNIGHTS and their families who were not able to watch Mother Teresa: No Greater Love during its 2022 theatrical release still have opportunities to see the fea ture-length, K of C-produced documen tary about St. Teresa of Calcutta and the Missionaries of Charity.

Mother Teresa: No Greater Love will be available for streaming on Amazon and oth er platforms beginning Dec. 8 in the United States, and DVDs can now be ordered at motherteresamovie.com. The film will also air on public television stations in the United States starting in April 2023.

With $1.62 million in box office receipts, Mother Teresa: No Greater Love became the second-highest-grossing documentary in North America this year.

Fathom Events distributed the film as part of its “Saint Series.” Initial screenings in October were followed by encore showings in U.S. theaters and premieres in Canada and the United Kingdom in early November. A Spanish-language version also debuted in select theaters on Nov. 7. Additional theat rical releases are planned for Québec, Latin America and Spain next year.

“We are delighted with the audience response to Mother Teresa: No Greater Love,” said Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly. “This is far more than a documentary film. It is a soaring tribute to a spiritual icon, a powerful witness of authentic Christian charity, and a guidepost for all who seek hope in our turbulent times. We pray that it will inspire future generations.” B

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BOTTOM LEFT: Photo by Matthew Barrick — TOP: Photo by Conall Fahey Following the special Mass celebrating the anniversary of St. Kateri Tekakwitha’s canonization, members of the Pueblo of Laguna perform an eagle dance in traditional costumes outside the Saint John Paul II National Shrine.

Knights of Columbus Chair Installed at CUA’s Columbus School of Law

Knights Urged to March for Life in D.C.

PROFESSOR Kevin C. Walsh was installed Nov. 8 as the first Knights of Columbus Endowed Professor of Law and the Catholic Tradition, a new chair at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. The Order contributed $1 million toward an endow ment to establish the new chair.

Professor Walsh, a member of St. Edward’s Council 6546 in North Ches terfield, Virginia, teaches federal courts, constitutional law, torts, agency and partnership, and a seminar on law in the Catholic intellectual tradition. A gradu ate of Harvard Law School, Notre Dame and Dartmouth College, he clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court and later taught at the University of Richmond School of Law for 13 years.

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly, who serves on the CUA Board of Trustees, addressed university president Peter Kilpatrick, Professor Walsh and other dignitaries during the installation cere mony in Washington, D.C.

“We live in a time of profound, and even existential, challenge to our society and culture,” the supreme knight said. “In the face of this challenge, there is a press ing need to restore a right understanding of both law and liberty.”

Professor Walsh also delivered re marks, reflecting on the significance of the new chair. “It is not so much some thing special standing apart on its own as it is a reminder of an obligation held by all our faculty at this law school and this university,” he affirmed. “All of what we

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly congratulates Professor Kevin Walsh Nov. 8 following his installation as the first Knights of Columbus Endowed Professor of Law and the Catholic Tradition at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law.

study and teach about the law ought to be received and transmitted in the light of Catholic tradition.”

The Knights of Columbus has had a close relationship with The Catholic Uni versity for more than a century, beginning with an endowed chair in American histo ry in 1904. CUA’s law school, founded in 1898, merged with Columbus University — which was established by the Knights in 1919 to serve World War I veterans — to become the Columbus School of Law in 1954. The Order’s Bicentennial of the U.S. Hierarchy Fund aided construction of the current law school building in 1994, and today supports the chair oc cupied by Dean Stephen Payne. In 2008, the Knights also funded the renovation of a CUA campus building, now called McGivney Hall, to serve as home to the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Stud ies on Marriage and Family. B

SUPREME KNIGHT Patrick Kelly has called Knights of Colum bus across the United States to participate in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2023, the first national march since the reversal of Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

“Some have asked if the March for Life in D.C. is needed anymore,” the supreme knight said in a video message sent to council officers in November. “While Roe v. Wade is finally over, let me be clear: Our pro-life witness is still urgently needed in Washington. It is in our nation’s capital that we must promote life-affirming legislation and resist efforts to codify abortion in federal law.”

Supreme Knight Kelly urged councils to sponsor buses from their parishes and communi ties to the capital, even as they support state and local demon strations closer to home.

“Make no mistake, the March for Life marches on — and so must we,” the supreme knight affirmed. “That’s why I am ask ing every Knight, if you possi bly can, to come to Washington and march for life in January. … I will be in D.C. on Jan. 20 — and I will be proud to march alongside you.”

For more information, visit marchforlife.org B

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TOP LEFT: CNS photo/Tyler Osburn
— TOP
RIGHT: Photo by Spirit Juice Studios
OTHER: Photo by Nick Crettier
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A Bed of One’s Own

North Dakota Knights construct dozens of beds for children on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation

here’s goodness in the world yet,” said Sharon Hanks, a resident of Standing Rock Indian Reser vation, which spans the border of North and South Dakota. Several Knights of Columbus had just loaded wood en beds for her 8-year-old granddaughter and two teenage grandsons into the back of her pickup. Hanks thanked them for being “the heart and hands of Jesus,” adding, “Here in the dialect of our language we say, Wopida for thanks. So Wopida tonka. That’s big thanks.”

“T

Altogether, Knights delivered 50 beds to the St. Bernard Mis sion School in Fort Yates, North Dakota — tribal headquarters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe — on Sept. 17. The handmade bed frames, together with dozens of mattresses and bedding sets, were gone within an hour.

Knights from nine councils in Bismarck and Mandan collabo rated to make and outfit the beds, an initiative they called “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” after the popular children’s prayer. Their effort was just the latest among a growing number of innovative K of C projects to engage with and assist Indigenous communities since the Order launched its Native Solidarity Initiative in 2019.

“We take for granted that we have a bed, but that’s not the case for all children,” said John Berger, grand knight of Cathe dral of the Holy Spirit Council 6540 in Bismarck and one of the project’s principal organizers. “There are so many needs on

A girl selects a blanket to go with her new bed, one of dozens built by a group of North Dakota councils for families on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

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Photo by John-Andrew O’Rourke

the reservation and we won’t solve them all, but we can do something. Our project was very concrete: to provide a bed for a child who needs one.”

FRATERNITY AT WORK

The inspiration for the project began in June, when Berger heard that Knights in South Dakota had provided beds for children at the Pine Ridge Reservation. Thinking it was a great idea, he called Msgr. Chad Gion, pastor of Standing Rock’s Catholic Indian Mission since 2018, and asked if there was a need for beds.

“Yes, a tremendous need,” affirmed Msgr. Gion, who is a former chaplain of Spirit of Life Council 14816 in Mandan.

Sioux County, which comprises the North Dakota side of the reservation and is home to the mission, is the poorest county in the state and one of the 20 poorest in the country. Established in the late 1800s, the Standing Rock Indian Reservation covers 3,571 square miles, twice the size of the state of Delaware, with a population of 8,217.

“A lot of poverty exists on the reservation, together with a lot of brokenness and nontraditional families where children are often raised by grandparents,” Berger explained. “It’s just one of the realities of life that we have children who don’t have a bed to sleep in at the end of the day.”

Knights in Berger’s council responded enthusiastically when he approached them with the bed-building idea, as did the grand knights of eight other councils in Bismarck and Mandan, about 65 miles north of Fort Yates.

Each council did fundraising to help cover costs. Berger focused on securing mattresses and bedding at reduced prices from generous local retailers, while Ed Konieczka, a member of Corpus Christi Council 9589 in Bismarck, and Jim Doll of Council 6540 oversaw the building operation. Donald C. Klym, also with Council 6540, opened up his Precision Wood Finish business to provide workspace.

More than 100 Knights — along with sons and grand sons — constructed the 50 beds on two Tuesday nights in August, working in assembly-line fashion to cut lumber and fit for screws. A third Tuesday night was spent sanding and applying a lacquer finish.

While building the beds was obviously the primary goal, Berger said that “building fraternity and fellowship was equal ly important.” One of the fruits of the project, he added, was the number of young men who signed up to help.

Jerome Richter, a member of Council 6540 with seven sons, got involved precisely because it was something he could do with his sons. Working together on a tangible proj ect, he said, can open up meaningful conversations.

“My boys were asking me on the way over, ‘Who are we making the beds for?’ I said, ‘For the Native American kids down at Fort Yates who haven’t been given the same home that you have.’ So they start to connect the dots: Love your neighbor — treat another one as they desire to be treated — treat all that you see as Christ.”

Richter’s son Adam, who serves as grand knight of University of Mary Council 16402, came to help build along

with his dad and brothers.

“We have no idea what kind of poverty these children live in,” he said. “Just being able to contribute to making their lives better with this project is a very cool thing.”

Donald Klym was glad that his son, Christopher, who joined the Order as a student at the University of North Da kota in Grand Forks, was able to come and help out too.

“Because he worked in the business he knew exactly what to do, so it was very valuable,” Klym said. “It was also a good father-son bonding moment.”

As the work gained momentum, participation increased.

“Some nights we had up to 50 people there, so it was a wonderful turnout,” Klym affirmed. “And it just shows what the Knights of Columbus can do if we all work together.”

‘WE’RE HERE BECAUSE WE CARE’

The morning of delivery day, Sept. 17, a dozen Knights loaded everything into one of Klym’s large trucks and drove south to Fort Yates.

Msgr. Gion greeted the Knights and volunteers from St. Bernard’s, who helped set up tables and neatly pile all the bedding in front of the school. A pillow and comforter/sheet set was included with each bed, and each recipient could also choose a brightly colored quilt or blanket donated by individuals and women’s groups from Corpus Christi Church and Trinity Lutheran. One bed frame was assembled and a mattress placed on it as a model.

Cars, trucks and a large trailer were parked on the pe riphery as families who had signed up for a bed ahead of time checked in. Announcements had been sent home from school, and the opportunity was advertised through the local media.

“For students at our mission school who didn’t have beds last night, their lives just got significantly better,” Msgr. Gion

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Photo by John-Andrew O’Rourke

said after the last bed had been picked up and driven away. “It’s hugely impactful for their lives.”

As pastor of the Catholic Indian Mission — which in cludes five parishes, St. Bernard Mission School and Keya Childcare Center — he said that restoring hope amid so much hardship is his most important responsibility.

“We’re here because we care about them as human beings and want to make their lives better,” he explained. “And if that opens the door to introducing them to Jesus and helping them come to know how loved they are, that’s fantastic.”

One of the Knights who helped deliver and then load the beds into vehicles was Mike Taylor, a professor of education at the University of Mary. A longtime Knight who helped to establish the college council there, he has brought university students to help at St. Bernard’s.

“For several years we’ve helped with whatever the needs are here at the school, and I often feel I get so much more than I could ever give,” Taylor said. “I’m just really proud of the Knights for being involved in projects like this.”

State Deputy Kevin Boehm is likewise proud of the North Dakota Knights who took on the initiative. In fact, he trav eled four hours from Grand Forks in August to witness the work in action and help out.

“When I received a flyer about it, I just had to come down and applaud them,” Boehm said. “It was worthwhile to actu ally see all the guys and their camaraderie, united together in their faith while doing an excellent charitable work.”

Father Shannon Lucht, assistant state chaplain and a mem ber of St. Bernard Council 3971 in Strasburg, also visited the Knights during one of their work sessions.

“This is a wonderful thing on so many levels,” he said. “It goes back to Father McGivney’s reason for founding the Knights — to help widows and orphans.” He added, “The theme of our supreme convention this year is on display right now. Here are brother Knights stepping in to fill a breach.” B

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Photo by Spirit Juice Studios PATTI ARMSTRONG is an author, freelance writer and corre spondent for the National Catholic Register based in Bismarck, N.D. Above: Knights and family members in Bismarck, N.D., cut wood for beds during a work session in August. • Opposite page: Grand Knight John Berger of Cathedral of the Holy Spirit Council 6540 gestures toward an assembled bed frame as families pick up new beds at St. Bernard Mission School in Fort Yates.

BAND OF BROTHERS

More than a century ago, a little girl lived in a Ukrainian farming village. Every few months, a man arrived in town with a fiddle strapped to his back. When the children saw him, they ran into the fields to announce the news. The people stopped their work and quickly gathered at the biggest barn in the village. They lis tened to the fiddler all night, dancing their cares away.

Alexander and Danylo Fedoryka grew up hearing their grandmother tell the story of the fiddler. And through their band, Scythian, the brothers try to do what that Ukrainian mu sician did decades ago: give revelers an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of music and the pleasure of each other’s company.

“It’s about the way that music draws people together,” Alexander said. “That’s why I love folk music, whether it’s

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Ukrainian American Knights perform songs of solidarity in concert with the Order’s relief efforts

Irish, Ukrainian or the old Appalachian tunes.” Scythian’s sound, sometimes described as folk rock, takes cues from all three.

While their heritage has always been a part of their music, these days the Fedorykas are also using their platform as Ukrainian American performers to support their besieged motherland. Since the Russian invasion in February, Alex ander and Danylo, both members of John Carrell Jenkins Council 7771 in Front Royal, Virginia, have encouraged their many fans to pray for peace in Ukraine and to assist refugees by donating to the Knights of Columbus Ukraine Solidarity Fund.

“All our fans were emailing us, saying, ‘What can we do? What can we do?’ And we immediately said, ‘Let’s turn all our fans to this fund,’” Alexander said. “There’s been an over

whelming response. Some people just came up and actually put money in our hands over the course of the summer, saying, ‘Please, give this to the Knights.’”

UKRAINIAN AT HEART

The Fedoryka brothers grew up in Virginia but have deep roots in Ukraine. All four of their grandparents survived many tumultuous years in the country before being granted asylum in the United States.

Once the families arrived in the U.S., they had to start from scratch. “My grandfather was a veterinarian, but he was forced to be a bellhop because that’s the only job that he could get,” said Danylo.

The Fedorykas’ parents settled in Front Royal and raised their 10 children there, imbuing them with Ukrainian culture.

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The Fedoryka brothers — Danylo on accordion and Alexander on fiddle — perform with their band, Scythian, and other musicians at the Appaloosa music festival in Front Royal, Va., on Sept. 3. Photo by Patrick Nye

“My parents were super grateful to be American, but their hearts were always Ukrainian,” said Danylo. “Ukrainian was my first language. I remember my sisters speaking English to keep secrets from me.”

The siblings grew up surrounded by Ukrainian art, embroi dery, folk music and dancing.

“At that point, it was still during the era of communism,” Alexander explained. “It was really important to carry on a tradition and culture that were being actively stamped out.”

Their Catholic faith was part of that culture, too. “My par ents escaped communism, where the faith was snuffed out,” said Danylo. “We saw the sacrifices that were made for us to even be able to go to church. So we realized that we had something so special in our faith. It informed who we were.”

Both men were seminarians for a time with the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia before discerning out. Alexander married his wife, Catie, in 2016; Danylo and his wife, Therese, married in 2020 and have a 1-year-old daughter named Phoebe. The families attend the local Roman Catholic church, St. John the Baptist Church, and Ss. Joachim and Anna Ukrainian Catholic Mission Church, both in Front Royal.

About four years ago, the traveling musicians decided it was time to put down deeper roots in their faith community:

“My brother and I were like, ‘We have to commit to some thing,’” Danylo said. “And we chose to become Knights.”

Their father, Damien, had been a member for decades, and they admired the Knights in their community, particularly their support for pregnancy resource centers.

“Helping pregnancy centers give resources to women who decide to keep their baby is a super important part of the pro-life movement,” Danylo noted. “Alex and I were really touched by that aspect of the Knights, that they were so focused on caring for women.”

THE GIFT OF MUSIC

The Fedorykas’ mother, Irene, was a classically trained musician, and she taught her children everything she knew. Alexander trained on the violin, while Danylo learned piano. Before they could go outside and play with their friends, they had to practice their instruments for two hours. They played music together as a family too, performing at nursing homes, Knights of Columbus events and local festivals. “She always taught us that music was an expression of God’s gift to each one of us,” said Alexander.

When he was older, Alexander spent four months in Ireland, learning Irish tunes in the pubs at night. Upon his

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Photos by Spirit Juice Studios Danylo’s wife, Therese, and daughter, Phoebe, join the brothers in a song. • Opposite page: Danylo and Alexander are pictured in their hometown of Front Royal, Va., where they are both members of John Carrell Jenkins Council 7771.

return, he and Danylo put on street performances playing fiddle and guitar, respectively. They made it official in 2002 and named their new group Scythian after an ancient nomadic tribe that lived in the Black Sea region, around modern-day Ukraine. While its lineup has changed over the years, Scythian has been playing ever since. In addition to the Fedorykas, the band now includes Ethan Dean on bass and Johnny Rees on drums.

Forming a band together felt natural for the brothers, who had been room mates growing up and allies amid many sisters. “It’s just a continuation of that same feeling of playing with your broth er in a tree house,” said Alexander.

And though their mother had hoped they would be classical musicians, she was very proud of them.

“Eventually, my mom really warmed up to it,” said Alexander. “And then she was up in front, doing conga lines.”

Some of their most memorable mo ments in the band include playing for the president of the United States and the prime minister of Ireland in 2008, and performing in front of hundreds of thousands of people at World Youth Day in Sydney later that year. In addi tion to touring, the band created the Appaloosa roots music festival in 2015, drawing thousands to Front Royal each year.

On all of these occasions, the Fe dorykas remain ever grateful for their mother’s dedication. Though she died of cancer 12 years ago, music keeps them close to her. “It’s very special for us to know that we’re making our living, we’re supporting our families, by something that our mother directly gave us,” said Danylo.

PLAYING AND PRAYING FOR UKRAINE

Watching violence return to Ukraine has been devastating for the Fedo rykas. “Ukrainians have suffered so much already,” said Alexander. “My heart just breaks for Ukrainians, because they’re some of the most beautiful people — artists and poets and lovers of the land.”

“This is a war on the Ukrainian people, but it’s also a war on Ukrainian families,” Danylo said. “We’re being told a generation of fathers is gone.”

One day after the Feb. 24 invasion, while they were still absorbing the tragic news, the Fedorykas received an email from the Knights of Columbus about the Ukraine Solidarity Fund.

“It’s providential — the email came in just as we were being inundated with questions from fans,” said Alex ander. “We immediately put together a video and our fans rallied.” Posting performances of Ukrainian songs on social media and releasing a new single, “The Motherland,” from their album Roots & Stones , they urged their tens of thousands of followers to do nate to the Knights’ relief efforts.

Though it’s impossible to know how much Scythian fans contributed to the cause, the Order has raised nearly $20 million for direct humanitarian assis tance, including temporary shelter, food, clothing and medical supplies, for Ukrainians displaced or otherwise affected by the war.

“It’s good to know that there’s something that we can do in a human, concrete sense, and the Knights have

provided that,” Alexander said. “The Knights in Poland and Ukraine are working heroically. The fact that we can plug into that and be a part of that is really powerful.”

The Fedorykas have continued to raise funds for Ukraine relief in the months since, encouraging donations and playing a benefit concert in June. At the same time, they believe the most important weapon in the fight for Ukraine is prayer.

“I’ve been saying from stage, money is great — whatever you can give — but remember we need to be praying. Mon ey is going to aid people, but what’s go ing to stop this is prayer,” said Danylo.

All their lives, the Fedorykas have been told about God’s providence in the lives of their parents and grandpar ents, how he brought them through harrowing experiences into a new life. Knowing the way God provided for their family, the brothers trust that he will be with the Ukrainian people.

“We hope in the Lord,” said Alexan der, “and I have to think that the Lord will carry the day once again.” B

ZOEY MARAIST is a staff writer for the Arlington Catholic Herald.

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THE EUCHARISTIC WOMAN of Guadalupe

Editor’s Note : This text was adapted and abridged from a June 2022 interview with Msgr. Eduardo Chávez, who served as postulator for the cause of canonization of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin.

Our Lady of Guadalupe’s apparitions to St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, a Native American layman of Aztec ancestry, took place from Dec. 9 to 12, 1531. The central point of this unprecedented event is that she did not come alone, but carried Jesus in her immaculate womb. The center of her message was that a “sacred little house” — a church — should be built for Jesus Christ our Lord to make him known and to exalt him. And at the center of her miracu lously imprinted image on Juan Diego’s tilma, or cloak, is the black sash of motherhood — a sign that she is pregnant. All these signs point to the Virgin of Guadalupe as a Woman of the Eucharist.

MOTHER OF THE GOD OF TRUTH

Let us briefly recall the historical context of the apparitions. A decade earlier, in 1521, the Aztecs had been conquered by the Spanish with help from other native tribes. This brought an end to the horrific yet deep-seated cultural practice of offering human hearts and blood to the gods in order for the world to survive. After the practice was eradicated, a terrible depression descended over the native peoples, as their very existence seemed to be in peril. Add to this the spread of smallpox, which wiped out half the Indigenous population, several earthquakes, a solar eclipse and the appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1531, and in the eyes of the Indigenous peoples the world seemed to be falling apart. These were signs of a true apocalypse.

Meanwhile, among the Spanish, a terrible clash broke out between the missionaries and the Royal Audiencia, the high est tribunal of the Spanish crown. The former wanted to bap tize the Indigenous peoples while the latter opposed baptism.

Baptism would make them equal in dignity to the Europeans, and the conquistadors wanted to plunder their gold and enslave them. It got so bad that an attempt was made on the life of Friar Juan de Zumárraga, the first bishop of Mexico. In response, the bishop excommunicated the Royal Audiencia and placed the city under interdict. “Priests of Mexico City,” he announced, “undress the altars, consume the Blessed Sac rament, we are abandoning this city — it is to remain without God.” In 1529, in a letter to King Charles V, Bishop Zumárra ga wrote in near despair: “If God does not provide the remedy from his hand, the land is about to be completely lost.”

In my opinion, the bishop’s plea for heavenly aid is a key for understanding how Jesus comes through the Virgin of Guadalupe. This is not just another apparition. It is an encounter with Jesus through the Virgin of Guadalupe, which was God’s answer to the bishop’s prayer.

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When Our Lady appeared to St. Juan Diego, she came bearing the Lord of Life in her womb
“I have often said that the Knights of Columbus are the Juan Diegos of the modern world. With many acts of love and mercy ... they witness to the truth of God, to the Eucharist as the center of his Church, and to the respect for life from the womb to our last breath.”
Virgen de Guadalupe painting by Nicolas Enriquez, circa 1730-1780 Knights of Columbus Religious Heritage Art Collection

So it was that on Saturday, Dec. 9, 1531, as St. Juan Diego was traversing the arid Tepeyac Hill on his way to catechism class, Our Lady of Guadalupe chose this simple layman to play a part a pivotal part in the salvation history of the New World.

“Juanito. Juan Dieguito,” a female voice calls out from above. Up goes Juan Diego to the beckoning voice at the summit of Tepeyac Hill. And what a surprise to be intro duced to a woman speaking in his native Náhuatl tongue: “I am Mary, Mother of the God of truth through whom everything lives.”

Indeed, she brings none other than Jesus, who has offered his flesh and his blood, his humanity and his divinity, who has offered everything so that we may be saved. For this rea son, the Virgin of Guadalupe is a Eucharistic Woman.

She goes on to ask, “I want very much to have a sacred little house to make him manifest and to offer him who is my salvation.” For me this is the key: “to offer him.” This is precisely a eucharistic offering. It’s as if Our Lady of Guada lupe were saying, “It is not your heart or your blood that is supposedly feeding and sustaining the cosmos. No! It is my Son, the truest God through whom all things live, who feeds and sustains you, who heals and saves you.”

A CIVILIZATION OF LOVE

On Sunday, Dec. 10, Juan Diego delivers her request for a “sacred little house” to Bishop Zumárraga. However, the bishop asks him for a sign.

Eduardo Chávez, a canon of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and postulator of the cause for canonization of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, is pictured in June.

Returning to Tepeyac, Juan Diego is told by the Virgin that she will provide a sign the next day. Yet when he returns home and finds his uncle near death, Juan Diego is filled with sadness, and the next day, he intentionally avoids the Virgin of Guadalupe, rounding Tepeyac Hill in search of a priest.

Our Lady then approaches him directly and says, “Do not be afraid. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you. Your uncle is healed.”

With renewed faith and hope, Juan Diego receives the task of delivering the sign to the bishop himself: flowers from the lifeless Tepeyac hilltop. Without hesitation, Juan climbs up and discovers a garden of extraordinary flowers in mid winter. He places a bunch in his tilma and brings them back to the Virgin, who arranges them herself and sends them off with her envoy to Bishop Zumárraga. As Juan Diego delivers the telltale flowers, the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appears upon his tilma . It was Tuesday, Dec. 12.

I understand this scene as representing unity: the image on the layman’s tilma in the hands of the bishop — thus, bishops in collaboration with laymen as everything is centered in Jesus Christ, our eucharistic Lord. It’s an image of the Catholic Church. And Mary is the first sanctuary, the first “sacred little house,” because she carries him in her womb. She is the living ark of the new convent, the immacu late tabernacle of the Sun of Righteousness.

Moreover, Our Lady of Guadalupe appears as a mestiza (mixed-race) woman, bringing together all peoples through an encounter with Jesus that transcends borders, cultures and languages. The woman of the Eucharist, clothed with the sun and standing with the moon under her feet, brings to us the owner of heaven and earth. The significance of the Guadalupan event is clearly understood by the Indigenous peoples and Spaniards, leading to mass conversion and alter ing the course of history.

This is something powerful for today’s world as well, nearly 500 years later, because it unites people in a civili zation of love centered on the Eucharist. And this is why I have often said that the Knights of Columbus are the Juan Diegos of the modern world. With many acts of love and mercy, they are signs of the Church’s unity and build up the Body of Christ. They witness to the truth of God, to the Eucharist as the center of his Church, and to the respect for life from the womb to our last breath, when we will, God willing, enter into his eternal embrace. B

MSGR. EDUARDO CHÁVEZ is a canon of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and a member of Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Council 14138.

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Photo by Spirit Juice Studios Msgr.

Joseph, Did You Know?

St. Joseph’s response to Mary’s pregnancy reveals the heart of his mission as a husband and father

DURING ADVENT, the Sunday readings focus our attention on the coming of the Savior. We are familiar with Mary’s fiat , her “yes” to becoming the mother of Jesus. Less clear is what Joseph thought when he learned that Mary was pregnant though they had had no relations. Matthew’s Gospel says that Mary’s “husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly” (1:19). So what does Joseph suspect has happened, why does he resolve to send Mary away, and how does his decision reveal him to be a “just man”?

The usual answer is that Joseph suspects Mary of adul tery, and he is “just” either for wanting to divorce her (thereby following the Mosaic law) or else for wanting the divorce to occur quietly (thereby protect ing Mary from public humilia tion or even stoning).

Yet St. Thomas Aquinas, in his commentary on Matthew, offers another possible read ing: “According to Jerome and Origen, he had no suspicion of adultery. For Joseph knew Mary’s chastity; he had read in the Scriptures that a virgin will conceive (Is 7:14), and … he also knew that Mary was descended from David. Hence, he more easily believed that this had been fulfilled in her than that she had fornicated. And therefore, considering himself unworthy to live with such great sanctity, he wished to hide her away, just as Peter said, Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man (Lk 5:8).”

Is this just wishful thinking, or is there something more to this interpretation?

Let’s start with the first part: that Joseph knew Mary’s chastity. According to Jewish wedding practices, Joseph is already married to Mary at the time of the Annunciation — he is her “husband Joseph,” although they didn’t yet live together. At the time, there were anywhere from three to 12 months between the kiddushin , the marriage contract, and nissuin , when the groom made a place for the bride and they began their life together. During this time, the couple could have sexual relations without sinning, and the child would be considered legitimate.

But even though Mary and Joseph could have relations, they didn’t. And when told by the angel she will conceive and bear a son, Mary asks, “How can this be, since I know not man?” (Lk 1:34). She is not saying she’s about to be come an unwed mother, but rather a virgin mother, which is a very different thing indeed.

In any case, her question is an unusual one for a wife to ask when told that she’s going to have a baby. St. Augustine notes that Mary would not have said what she did “unless she had before vowed herself unto God as a virgin.” In other words, Joseph and Mary weren’t planning to have typical marital relations, so she was perplexed when told she would bear a child. Mary was already pledged as a virgin, Augustine writes, and was “espoused to a just man, who would not take from her by violence, but rather guard against violent persons, what she had already vowed.”

If Mary is committed to virginity, and Joseph knows and supports this decision, it changes how we read the Advent story — particularly if we remember that Jews at the time of Christ were awaiting a Messiah who would be born of a virgin. Joseph trusted Mary, and the prophecy of Isaiah, rather than assuming the worst of his bride.

But why divorce? For much the same reason that St. Peter tells Jesus to leave. He doesn’t feel worthy to be in the presence of such awe-inspiring holiness. Yet Jesus tells Peter, “Do not be afraid” (Lk 5:10). The angel who appears to Joseph also tells him, “Do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home” (Mt 1:20). The implication seems to be that Joseph has a reverent fear of Mary’s holiness.

To be clear, this is not the only acceptable reading of Matthew’s account, but it is one that’s worthy of serious reflection — especially as we look to St. Joseph as a preemi nent model of fidelity and protector of the Church. B

JOE HESCHMEYER is a staff apologist for Catholic Answers and the author of A Man Named Joseph: Guardian for Our Times (Our Sunday Visitor, 2021). He is also a husband, the father of two children, and a member of the Knights of Columbus since 2013.

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FATHERS FOR GOOD
The Marriage of Mary , St. Martin Church in Unteressendorf, Germany Zvonimir Atletić / Alamy Stock Photo

In the Holy Family’s Footsteps

Imagine living in a tent or shack made from salvaged ply wood and ratty tarps during Christmastime. A cold rain is falling. A north wind chills the air. Because of recent water line construction, the parking lot where you’re sleeping is a quagmire.

Imagine, then, a procession of men, women and children dressed in costumes of first-century Bethlehem slogging through mud puddles to your tent. Mary rides a burro; Jo seph walks at her side. Shepherds follow with a flock of sheep and three Magi with a camel in tow. Now imagine your arms full of gifts: food, bedding, shirts and socks.

This was the experience of the men and women living in Camp Esperanza, a large homeless encampment in Austin, Texas, one day last winter. On Dec. 18, 2021, a group of families brought the Hispanic tradition of the Posada to the community, singing carols and delivering presents as they re-enacted Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter before the birth of Christ (posada is Spanish for “inn” or “shelter”).

Introduced by Spanish Franciscan missionaries in the 16th century, this traditional Advent celebration is popular in Mexico, other parts of the Latin America, and the southwest ern United States.

Knights of Columbus councils have been organizing Posa da celebrations for years to help their parishes and commu nities prepare for Christmas. The Posada at Camp Esperanza, which involved Knights from across Central Texas, was also an opportunity to reach out to the peripheries in a spirit of charity, said its organizer, Deacon Guadalupe Rodriguez.

“There is a special grace that God provides to the people who participate in a Posada,” said Deacon Rodriguez, a member of St. Mary Cathedral Council 14055 in Austin. “We prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ by giving to others.”

Deacon Rodriguez is a former associate director of diaco nal formation for the Diocese of Austin, which has held a Posada at various locations around Austin for several years.

About 30 men, most of them Knights, participated in the celebration at Camp Esperanza.

Three of the K of C deacons dressed in capes and crowns, representing the Three Wise Men. Other Knights brought their kids to play the roles of Mary, Joseph, shepherds and angels. Mary rode a real donkey and the shepherd boys herded real sheep, all hired from a local private zoo. A handler brought up the rear with a loud but friendly camel named Milo.

Deacon Juan de Dios Villarreal, who played the part of Balthazar, said the Posada was a good example of Knights evangelizing through their actions.

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Texas Knights bring Posada gifts and cheer to a homeless encampment near Austin

“This is a way for the Knights to keep Christ in Christmas. It’s very easy to talk about what Christmas is … and what we should be doing. But this is putting it into action,” said Deacon Villarreal, a member of St. Margaret Mary Council 7600 in Cedar Park. “Meeting people where they are and trying to take care of their needs — letting them know Christ is about love and showing love to others — this is what the Knights are all about.”

As the procession worked its way through the soggy encampment, both the Texas sky and everyone’s spirits brightened. Two residents, touched by the visitors’ generosity, dug into their meager possessions to show appreciation. One ducked into his tent and returned with an umbrella, which he gave to a teenage boy. Another man gave a Knight and his son two baseball gloves.

“He said, ‘I want y’all to play catch togeth er,’” said Joseph Pettibon, member of Col. Walter Parsons Council 3205 in College Station, whose daughter played the role of Mary. “We’re coming out here giving gifts to

others — and they’re giving gifts back to us.”

After the biblical characters and their entourage had finished visiting the tents and other shelters, they gathered under a carport and sang “Little Drummer Boy” and other Christmas carols.

Deacon Rob Embry, a member of Father Michael J. McGivney Council 5967 in Austin, as well as an associate di rector of diaconal formation for the diocese, hoped that the Posada would bring all who participated closer to Christ.

The Knights of Columbus has published a guide about how to host a Posada as part of the Order’s Keep Christ in Christmas program. The free booklet, Journey to the Inn: An Advent Celebration (#9898), is available at kofc.org/christmas.

“Christmas isn’t just about parties and big fancy gifts and dressing up. It’s about caring for those among us who don’t have what they need to live day-to-day,” he said. “That connects us with Jesus and his poverty, and his mother and foster faster, Joseph, literally having to walk the streets to find a place to give birth.” B

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FRED AFFLERBACH is a freelance journalist and a member of St. Margaret Mary Council 7600 in Cedar Park, Texas. Photo by Spirit Juice Studios Above: Knights and family members representing the Holy Family and the Magi sing Christmas carols during a Posada celebration at a homeless encampment in Austin, Texas. Deacons Tim Daheim, Juan de Dios Villarreal and Jesus Guerra (left to right) played the role of the Three Wise Men. • Opposite page: A resident of Camp Esperanza hugs Deacon Guerra after receiving a gift from the Posada participants.

POW! THE KNIGHTS BEHIND A COMIC BOOK REVIVAL

K of C artists create comic books that draw on beauty and truth to build up young people’s faith

I’s an all-too-common scene. A dad walks into a comic book store with his excited 10-year-old, looking for riveting sto ries of superheroes doing battle against forces of evil, battles that demand courage, strength and self-sacrifice. He passes by shelves and shelves of mainstream comics featuring Batman, Superman, Spider-Man and other popular heroes. Yet to his dismay, many of these titles now contain graphic violence and erotic artwork. The dad asks the store owner if he has any comics suitable for a younger audience.

“That’s all we got,” the owner replies, pointing to a tiny shelf in the back of the store. After leafing through the handful of comics available, most of them about childish themes, the two leave the store disappointed.

Violent and explicit content is a prob lem that has plagued comics for years and unfortunately is only getting worse.

Marvel artist Jim Fern, a member of Father Gabriel Council 3746 in Melbourne, Florida, recalls being asked by an acquaintance nearly 20 years ago, “When are you all going to do some thing that my kids can read?”

“That struck me,” said Fern. “I thought our comics were clean, but they obviously were not clean enough.”

In past decades, Catholic publishers and artists such as acclaimed artist Joe Sinnott (1926-2020) embraced comic books’ potential to entertain, inspire and even evangelize. Now the comic book world is in dire need of a revolution to retrieve its full human — and superhuman — powers to convey truth, goodness and beauty. And several Knights, including Fern, are among those working to revive this popular medium whose impact on a child’s imagination is immeasurable.

AN INCARNATIONAL ART FORM

Pope John Paul II observed in his 1999 Letter to Artists, “Christ himself made extensive use of images in his preach ing, fully in keeping with his willingness to become, in the Incarnation, the icon of the unseen God” (12). Indeed, for the last two millennia, the Catholic Church has embraced the sacramen tal role that art and artists can play in communicating the faith. Medieval woodcuts and stained glass, for ex ample, served as the “comic books” of their day, conveying biblical stories and theological truths to an often-illiterate population.

It is no wonder, then, that when the publication of Superman (1938) and Batman (1939) ushered in the Gold en Age of comic books in the United States, Catholics soon adopted this popular new literary form. The first Catholic comic book series, Timeless Topix (1942-46), was published by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society; it is notable for being where Peanuts’ creator Charles Schulz did his first professional work.

Marvel’s 1982 comic book on the life of Pope John Paul II was inked by Joe Sinnott, a member of the Knights. The issue sold more than 1 million copies.

The best-known and longest-run ning Catholic series was Treasure Chest of Fun and Facts , published by George Pflaum from 1946 to 1972. Distribut ed by bulk subscription to parochial schools across the country, Treasure Chest featured a wide and engaging array of realistic fiction and nonfiction stories, including many about the saints.

As Uncle Ben famously said to Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

It was during this time that artist Joe Sinnott began his prolific career in comic books. A Navy veteran of World War II, he began working for Marvel in 1950, collaborating with the renowned comic book writer Stan Lee for six de cades. Sinnott was best known for his work on The Fantastic Four, The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man

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Courtesy of Mark Sinnott

He joined Saugerties (N.Y.) Council 4536 in 1960 and two years later began a fruitful association with Treasure Chest.

“My kids brought a copy home one day from school,” he recounted in Brush Strokes With Greatness: The Life & Art of Joe Sinnott (2007) by Tim Lasiuta. “I liked what I saw, and I was looking for work, so I shot off an art sample and they responded back very quickly.”

Sinnott’s first story for Treasure Chest was on poet and fellow Knight Joyce Kilm er, who was killed in World War I. Sinnott went on to draw dozens of biographical stories, including comics about President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Army Gen. Douglas

Clockwise from top: Joe Sinnott smiles at the Empire State Comic Con in Albany, N.Y., in 2019. • The Silver Surfer appears on a 1968 Fantastic Four cover by Sinnott. • Among the religious comic books Sinnott illustrated was a life of St. Junípero Serra for FC Comics (Franciscan Communications) in 1987. • The poet Joyce Kilmer, a fellow Knight, was the subject of the first story Sinnott illustrated for the Catholic comic book Treasure Chest of Fun and Facts in 1962.

DECEMBER 2022 B COLUMBIA 23
LOWER LEFT: Courtesy of The Catholic University of America — OTHERS: Courtesy of Mark Sinnott

MacArthur and Babe Ruth. He even deferred work for Marvel to focus on a Treasure Chest biography of Pope John XXIII. Sinnott later inked a Marvel biography of Pope John Paul II in 1982 and a similar comic on Mother Teresa in 1985.

In a 2016 interview with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Sinnott reflected on his career: “I miss Treasure Chest. It was very educational, and believe me, it had some great stories and artists. I did all these superhero books for Marvel, but my favorite art was for Treasure Chest.”

BUCKING THE CULTURE

Treasure Chest printed its final issue in 1972, leaving no Catholic comic company in its place for many years, which created a dilemma for Catholic artists such as Jim Fern.

Fern became an inker for Marvel in 1983, working on var ious Spider-Man titles. He also picked up work for DC Com ics, drawing many Superman and Batman issues. Initially, his work did not pose any problems, but as the rules of what was

permitted in mainstream comics became more lax, the dark material he was drawing took a toll.

“Mainstream comic books always reflect the culture, and when I started, it was all traditional values,” Fern explained. “But then the culture started to change.”

At the same time, Fern was returning to a deeper practice of his Catholic faith. He began to refuse jobs he didn’t agree with and eventually left comics to work for Walt Disney World as an artist in their merchandise department. While this allowed him to use his artistic talents in a more positive way, Fern still felt a desire to find projects that were more explicitly Christian.

Initially this wasn’t easy, as his portfolio included many comics that he regretted drawing. A Christian publisher even turned him down based on past work. However, a friend in a local lay Carmelite community introduced him in 2017 to a new Catholic comic book company called Voyage Comics. Fern drew a biography of Venerable Father Patrick Peyton for Voyage that was published in 2019.

Above right: Jim Fern shows a boy how to draw Mickey Mouse in the Art of Disney Gallery at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park in 1999. • Right and above: Fern has drawn art for comic books with religious themes, such as The Tale of Patrick Peyton (Voyage Comics, 2019), as well as in the mainstream superhero genre, as with Green Arrow in Convergence: World’s Finest (DC Comics, 2015).

24 COLUMBIA B DECEMBER 2022
LOWER RIGHT: Courtesy of Voyage Comics — OTHERS: Courtesy of Jim Fern

“Working on that project made me the happiest with sharing my art than even those Batman books I’ve drawn,” he said. Since then, Fern has continued to seek out projects that better reflect his Catholic faith.

Even in a confused culture, there is still a vast appetite for heroes who fight for the good, said Fern, and Catholic artists are uniquely positioned to respond to that desire.

“We live in a world that wants superheroes,” he said. “We have saints who flew and walked on water. This is superhero stuff. And there is no greater superhero than Jesus Christ.”

‘THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE’

In recent years, other Catholic publishers have begun to rec ognize the evangelization potential of comic books. Catholic Answers, for example, accepted the innovative proposal of Father Patrick Kokorian, a member of St. Lawrence Council 9407 in Alexandria, Virginia, to engage young readers in theology, philosophy and apologetics via comics.

Father Kokorian grew up reading European-style comics such as such as Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin and drawing car toons. His art, however, remained primarily a hobby while he earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and later took a job with Lockheed Martin.

God had other plans. In his 20s, he more fully embraced his Catholic faith, joined the Knights of Columbus and started to discern his vocation. He eventually joined the Ma ronite Monks of Adoration in Petersham, Massachusetts. It was in the monastery that Father Kokorian felt God calling him to draw again.

“Before entering the monastery, it pained me that my friends did not appreciate the beauty of their Catholic faith,”

Father Kokorian explained. “I tried whatever I could to con vince them, but nothing would work.”

Recalling those conversations, Father Kokorian was in spired to create a comic book that might reach his friends and others like them. With the permission of his abbot, Father Kokorian drew a trilogy of graphic novels combining faith and adventure, published under his pen name, Amadeus.

It wasn’t easy finding a Catholic publisher; most replied simply, “We don’t publish comic books.” However, Father Kokorian persevered, convinced that comic books have great power.

“You can keep people’s attention a lot longer with visuals,” Father Kokorian said. “[They] help get a point across more effectively than a typical nonfiction book.”

His trilogy follows two interplanetary delivery pilots, Brendan and Erc, who explore faith and reason ( The Truth Is Out There, 2013), the Incarnation ( The Big Picture , 2016) and the sacraments ( The Weapons of War , 2019). Their adventures and conversations are interspersed with humor ous encounters that give flesh to the joyful nature of the Catholic faith.

“Kids are going to pick up comics, one way or the other,” said Father Kokorian, now the abbot of Most Holy Trinity Monastery. “It is my hope that in an age best summed up by Pilate’s words, ‘What is truth?’ a creative new cohort of Catholic comic book artists will show young readers the great beauty and truth at the heart of our eucharistic and Trinitarian faith.” B

DECEMBER 2022 B COLUMBIA 25
PHILIP KOSLOSKI is the founder of Voyage Comics and a member of Msgr. Reding Council 1558 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. LEFT: Photo by Jason Paige Smith — RIGHT: Courtesy of Catholic Answers Father Patrick Kokorian is pictured in the chapel of Most Holy Trinity Monastery in Petersham, Mass., where he serves as abbot of the Maronite Monks of Adoration community. The Truth Is Out There (right) is the first volume of Abbot Kokorian’s three-part Brendan & Erc in Exile comic book series published by Catholic Answers.

Members of South Hills Council 3084 in Bethel Park, Pa., stand with Auxiliary Bishop Mark Eckman of Pittsburgh following a St. Joseph pilgrim icon prayer service at St. Thomas More Church. Knights brought the icon to the four local churches served by the council, and more than 800 people prayed before the image.

FOR A HIGHER PURPOSE

Robert F. Wicks Memorial Council 9936 in Margaree, Nova Scotia, raised more than CA$12,000 from a food booth at the Margaree Highland Games. The funds will help support the operation and maintenance of St. Michael Parish.

ST. JOSEPH BEHIND THE CLOISTER

Deacon Tony Carmona, a member of Father Francis L. Sampson Council 15914 in Fort Campbell, Ky., and a field agent based in Dickson, worked with District Deputy Tom O’Hagan to bring the Order’s pilgrim icon of St. Joseph to St. Joseph Monastery in Whitesville. The cloistered Passionist nuns there were grateful to have the opportunity to pray before the icon.

IN PERSONA CHRISTI

St. Augustine Council 10557 in Provi dence, R.I., presented retired priests of the Diocese of Providence with thankyou notes from members of St. Augus tine Parish. The council encouraged parishioners to write the cards as a way of promoting the diocesan campaign for senior priests.

FRATERNAL AND FAMILIAL PRAYER

Bishop Salpointe Council 4584 in Sier ra Vista, Ariz., organized a prayer night and potluck dinner to bring council families together to pray the rosary. The council also coordinated a Holy Hour for members, who each received a K of C prayer booklet.

PRAYING IN THE WAITING ROOM

For several years, St. Robert Bellarm ine Council 16440 in North Man chester, Ind., has provided rosaries, with pamphlets about how to pray the devotion, in the waiting areas of cancer treatment centers in Fort Wayne. To date, approximately 300 rosaries have been distributed.

CHALICES FOR CHAPLAINS

Father Charles J. Watters Assembly 2888 in Warrenton, Va., presented Msgr. Jeffrey Laible, vicar general for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, with five chalice sets to be used by U.S. military chaplains stationed around the world. The sets were donated by the families of de ceased Knights in their honor.

MEMORIAL ROSARY GARDEN

St. James Council 9849 in Ogden, Utah, created a rosary garden at St. James the Just Catholic Church with the help of the parish’s faith formation program. Students in the program painted stones for the gar den, which is dedicated to Dave Freston, a Knight and catechist who recently died.

Juan Carlo Hernandez (left) and Richard Niegas of Kap itan Moy Assembly 3830 in Marikina City, Luzon South, stand in front of a statue of St. Mary Magdalene after a patronal feast day Mass at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Pililla. Knights from assem blies throughout the Diocese of Antipolo provided an honor guard for the Mass, cele brated by Bishop Francisco Mendoza de Leon.

26 COLUMBIA ✢ DECEMBER 2022
KNIGHTS IN ACTION ✢ FAITH IN ACTION
Faith

Family

FAMILY SUPPORTED

Three councils in Maine — St. Joseph Council 12941 in Biddeford, Father James J. Mullen Council 2266 in Old Orchard Beach, and Father Gerard R. Proulx Council 7078 in Lyman — held a fundraiser dinner for a local family struggling with medical expenses for one of their children. Several local busi nesses also contributed to the event, which raised $1,700 for the family.

ALL FUN AND GAMES

Bishop Eugene McGuinness Council 4660 in Wilson, N.C., joined several community organizations to build play ground equipment, including a pirate fort, for a new park. The playground, an initiative of Seeds of Hope Wilson, was named Pirate Force Garden by children in the nonprofit’s after-school program.

SCHOOL REVITALIZATION

The council previously held a fundraiser that collected more than $20,000 for school improvements.

RETURN OF THE FELLOWSHIP

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Knights from Divine Mercy Council 14822 in Kenner, La., resumed hosting their monthly Donut Sunday gatherings to build fellowship among parishioners of Divine Mercy Parish.

SCHOOL STORAGE

Members of Holy Child Council 12981 in Tijeras Village, N.M., built wooden locker benches for students at Holy Child Catholic School. The Knights also constructed storage cabinets for the classrooms, saving the school tens of thousands of dollars.

RAINY DAY COLLECTION

Members of St. Ann Council 11925 and Deacon John Casey of St. Ann Catholic Church in Nashville, Tenn., stand with children dressed as saints — from left: St. An thony, St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Nicholas — during the council’s annual All Saints Day party.

RENOVATING HOMES, RESTORING HEARTS

Members of Good Shep herd Council 10685 in Camp Hill, Pa., have helped renovate five houses in the Harrisburg area so far this year, replacing windows and doors, rebuilding decks and balconies, and tackling other projects to make the homes safer. Knights have contributed more than 190 volunteer hours to the program, which serves resi dents who cannot afford the repairs themselves.

Members of Au-Lac Council 10724 in Anchorville, Mich., worked for nine days to replace the ceiling tiles and overhead lights at Immaculate Concep tion Catholic School in Ira Township.

St. Bernadette Council 8478 in Parlin, N.J., held a food drive at St. Bernadette Church to support a local food bank. De spite the collection taking place outdoors during a rainstorm, the council was able to collect 550 pounds of groceries.

50

DECEMBER 2022 ✢ COLUMBIA 27
A Ukrainian family picks Saskatoon berries during an event hosted by Bishop Savaryn Council 9559 in Red Deer, Alberta. The council invited refugees from Ukraine to its annual berry-picking outing and family picnic. Council members have also refurbished and donat ed more than bicycles to refugee families. ABOVE: Photo by Larry McCormack

Msgr. Sam Sirianni, rector

ON OFFENSE FOR CHARITY

Knights from Msgr. Broens Council 2478 in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., joined forces with Jon Runyan, an offensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers, for a fundraiser at the Sturgeon Bay Harvest Fest. Runyan signed auto graphs and posed for photos at the council’s food booth, helping to raise more than $9,000 for the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

WHEELCHAIRS FOR UKRAINE

St. Edward the Confessor Council 4253 in Duncan, British Columbia, partnered with the Duncan Lions Club to raise more than CA$40,000 to send urgently needed wheelchairs to victims of the war in Ukraine.

COMMUNITY GIFTS

St. John’s Council 8190 in Luling, Tex as, recently made donations totaling nearly $3,000 to local schools and first responders, including $200 to Luling Emergency Services for the purchase of a LUCAS device. The device pro vides mechanical chest compressions to patients in cardiac arrest.

FLOOD RELIEF

St. Thomas More Council 15049 in Coralville, Iowa, collected more than $3,000 in cash donations, cleaning supplies, hygiene items and more from St. Thomas More parishioners for the victims of flash floods in eastern Kentucky. Trustee Dee Goldman, who used to live in the area, drove to Ken tucky to deliver the items personally.

COATS FOR KIDS IN CAMDEN

Dover Council 4182 in Camden, Del., recently held its annual Coats for Kids drive, collecting more than 190 coats for children in need. The council do nated the garments to the local school district and health services department to distribute.

SOLIDARITY FUND DONATION

Knights from Otter River Council 2536 in Templeton, Mass., held a pasta dinner at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Baldwinville to benefit the Ukraine Solidarity Fund. Knights donated more than 50 hours of time to the effort, which raised more than $2,400 to sup port the Order’s relief work in Ukraine.

Knights from Deacon Lee R. Hurst Assembly 2183 in Mem phis, Tenn., raise the U.S. flag outside of St. Francis of Assisi Parish and School. Assembly 2183 worked with Timothy J. Coyle Council 9317 in Cordova and Edward J. Kitts Council 7170 in Bartlett to donate more than $7,500 for the purchase of new flagpoles, as well as U.S. and Vatican flags, for St. Francis of Assisi School and St. Ann Catholic School in Bartlett.

OFFERING HOPE

St. Charles Borromeo Council 14407 in Omaha, Neb., recently donated $13,000 to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The council has contributed $36,000 over the past few years to the organization, which works to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.

28 COLUMBIA ✢ DECEMBER 2022
KNIGHTS IN ACTION ✢ FAITH IN ACTION
Community
of the Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine and chaplain of Freehold (N.J.) Council 1672, blesses a classic Corvette convertible during the council’s annual car show. The event raised $8,600 for the council’s charity fund. TOP RIGHT: Photo by Vickie Torres

Life

RESPECT LIFE MONTH REMINDER

In anticipation of Respect Life Month, members of Msgr. Francis J. Desmond Council 13348 in Lewes, Del., set up a display of 63 small crosses on the grounds of St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church. Each cross represents the loss of 1 million babies to abortion since 1973. The council erects them every year to remind people to pray for an end to abortion.

Members of Christ the King Council 9257 in Milwaukie, Ore., pray as Msgr. John Cihak (back right), pastor and council chaplain, blesses a new ultrasound machine at First Im age Pregnancy Resource Center in Portland. The council helped raise more than $125,000 to purchase three ultrasound machines for the center’s three local offices.

BABY SIGHTING

St. Padre Pio Council 17203 in Palm Desert, Calif., and Bishop William R. Johnson Council 9487 in Lake Forest purchased an ultrasound machine for the Refuge Pregnancy Center in Indio with matching funds from the Culture of Life Fund.

SPIRITUAL AND MATERIAL AID FOR MOMS

SUPPORTING LIFE OF ALL KINDS

Deputy Grand Knight Tom Behrmann of Stanley E. Fiko Council 1404 in Bluefield, W. Va., power-washes a porch railing at Abel Pregnancy Re source Center. Council mem bers cleaned and resealed the center’s front porch, helping it save money as demand for its services increases in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.

Patchogue (N.Y.) Council 725 organized a 40 Days for Life kickoff event at St. Francis de Sales Cath olic Church. Bishop Robert Coyle, auxiliary bishop of Rockville Centre, celebrated Mass, and Knights led a ro sary in front of a local abortion facility. The council also collected diapers and other baby items to donate to Pathways Pregnancy Center in Islandia.

QUADRUPLE THE IMPACT

Our Lady of Victories Council 14483 in Harrington Park, N.J., raised more than $9,000 during its recent baby bottle drive. The council holds the fundraiser every year and has raised more than $130,000 for four pregnan cy resource centers over 11 years.

St. Michael of Sterling Heights (Mich.) Council 13799 regularly raises funds to support people with disabilities and pregnant mothers. For the past decade, the council has held an annual fund drive that raises around $9,500 each year for special education programs at four local schools. The council has also held an annual baby bottle drive since 2017, raising more than $40,000 for Abigayle Ministries, a residential housing program for pregnant women and their children.

TWIN DONATIONS

Perrysburg (Ohio) Council 7978 collected two vans full of diapers and baby supplies, as well as $1,000 in cash, during a recent drive at St. Rose Parish. The donations were split between Bowling Green Pregnancy Center and Heartbeat of Toledo.

See more at www.kofc.org/knightsinaction

Please submit your council activities to knightsinaction@kofc.org

DECEMBER 2022 ✢ COLUMBIA 29
TOP RIGHT: Photo by Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel

Mexico

Knights from several councils in Mexico Central demonstrate during the March for Women and Life in San Luis Potosí. The Knights provided security for the march, which is an annual event of the Archdiocese of San Luis Potosí, and donated 500 pro-life signs for participants to carry. The march concluded with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Jorge Alberto Cavazos Arizpe at the Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Philippines

A Knight from St. Pedro Calungsod Council 13648 in Sto. Niño, Pagadian City, Mindanao, carries tree saplings to be planted in the Manga Falls watershed. The council often conducts tree-planting activities to mitigate damage done by natural disasters and to preserve the environment.

Canada

Knights and family members from St. Patrick’s Council 7698 in Markham, Ontario, take a break from picking apples at a local orchard. When the orchard has excess apples, the Knights are invited to pick the leftovers to bring to a local food bank. The council also supported St. Patrick Parish’s Family Fun Day by giving candy and prizes to parish children.

30 COLUMBIA ✢ DECEMBER 2022 KNIGHTS IN ACTION ✢ GLOBAL IMPACT
TOP LEFT: Photo by Eduardo de la Peña

South Korea

Knights and their families pray a rosary for peace at the Odusan Unification Tower, an observatory near the border between South Korea and North Korea. The Knights also attended Mass, celebrated by Bishop Titus Seo Sang-bum, at the only Catholic church in the Joint Security Area. Several Knights were instrumental in designing and constructing the church, which opened in 2019.

Members of St. Joan of Arc Council 17198 in Domrémy-la-Pu celle stand in front of Notre-Dame-de-Bermont Chapel and hermitage in Bermont. The Knights were making a pilgrimage to the site, where the council’s namesake would often come to pray and present flowers to the Blessed Mother.

Poland

Members of St. Brother Albert Council 15416 in Chmielnik lead a March for Life and Family throughout the city’s streets. The march was the first to be held by the council, which is located in the Diocese of Kielce, in southern Poland.

DECEMBER 2022 ✢ COLUMBIA 31
Grand Knight Ken Lemere (left) and other members of Oconto (Wis.) Council 1475 pause a moment while constructing a 140-foot side walk at Holy Trinity Parish. The council donated more than $1,000 and 90 service hours toward the project. United States France

Going for the ¡Gol!

Florida council’s soccer program gets hundreds of kids outside and brings families together

WHEN MEN FROM St. Stephen Pro tomartyr Catholic Church in Miramar, Florida, banded together to form San Eugenio de Mazenod Council 17299 in 2019, they looked for ways to fulfill Blessed Michael McGivney’s vision and serve families in their community.

Located in an area with a high pop ulation of Latin American immigrants, the council quickly had an idea to provide soccer lessons to underprivi leged youth.

“As immigrants, we know that when people come to the United States, they don’t have money to take their kids to join soccer clubs,” said Walter Silva, the council’s charter grand knight. “We created this program so we could give the opportunity to families who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to play.”

An empty yard on church grounds was offered as a field, and the Knights created makeshift goals out of PVC pipe. Businesses donated equipment, and professional coaches offered to assist with the program’s three weekly sessions. When the first practice was held in October 2019, almost 200 local children signed up.

The program — initially intended to run only during the summer — was such a hit that the Knights decided to run it year-round. Council members built and installed lights to extend playing time after sunset in the winter.

“We’re getting kids away from the computer and video games, and par ents are able to spend time with them outside,” said Grand Knight Ramón Palma. “It’s very family-oriented.”

The Knights organize group birth day celebrations for the players once a month, as well as a monthly family potluck during which parents play a scrimmage themselves.

The council has been able to pur chase real goals and nets, and a local business donates water for the prac tices. There’s still plenty of work to be done — the Knights hope to upgrade their lighting equipment and purchase uniforms for all the players — but they say the effort is well worth it.

“We’re just happy to be giving back to the community,” Palma said. “The kids want to be out there every day, rain or shine.” ✢

— Elisha Valladares-Cormier is associate editor of Columbia

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Past Grand Knight Walter Silva (back row, center) of San Eugenio de Mazenod Council 17299 in Miramar, Fla., coaches, and Father Franky Jean, pastor of St. Stephen Protomartyr Catho lic Church, stand with players from the council’s youth soccer program.
Photo by Tom Tracy
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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.

District Deputy Otto Nieman passes along a turkey to be stored at God’s Food Bank in Guthrie, Okla. Bishop Meerschaert Council 916 in Guthrie holds an annual turkey collection at St. Mary Catholic Church and the local high school to benefit local food banks. This year, the council collected more than 190 turkeys, totaling more than 3,000 pounds of meat.

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: knightsinaction@kofc.org

KNIGHTS OF CHARITY
Photo by Justin Galloway

It all started with a birthday wish: “Richard, my son. For my birthday this year, I don’t want you to get me anything. Instead, I want you to go do something. Please go to confession for my birthday.”

This bold request from my mother, Monica, came at a turning point in my life. I, her “Au gustine,” was playing my last year of Division I college golf at St. Mary’s College in California, and I had just decided that I would no longer pursue my childhood dream of professional golf. By this time, I had also grown tired of the classic college party lifestyle.

So I decided to honor my mother’s birthday wish. In that confessional, I met Jesus Christ for the first time. My sin and brokenness were overwhelmed by his love and mercy. This left a permanent mark on my soul and set me off in a new direction — on a straight path to the priesthood, where I now get to welcome other prodigal sons and daughters back into the lov ing embrace of God the Father. What a gift!

‘My sin was overwhelmed by his love.’
Father Richard Conlin Archdiocese of Vancouver Corpus Christi Council 8535, Vancouver PLEASE, DO ALL YOU CAN TO ENCOURAGE PRIESTLY AND RELIGIOUS VOCATIONS. YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Photo by Michael Sean Lee KOC