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Feb 2018 Agency Ad E_2.qxp_Layout 1 1/12/18 1:51 PM Page 1


Years of Growth

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K N I G H T S O F C O LU M BU S february 2018 ♦ Volume 98 ♦ Number 2




The Basilica’s Crowning Jewel The Trinity Dome mosaic completes the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. BY KELLY SANKOWSKI

14 Out of the Catacombs Aleppo’s Christians emerge from harrowing urban warfare, determined to rebuild with K of C support. BY VICTOR GAETAN

18 Stop the Traffic The combined crises of online sex trafficking and pornography call for local and national action. BY PATRICK A. TRUEMAN

22 The Four Immortal Chaplains Seventy-five years ago, four U.S. Army chaplains made the ultimate sacrifice at sea. BY MICHAEL C. GABRIELE

A stained-glass window in the Pentagon chapel depicts the Four Chaplains, honoring the men who gave up their life jackets and their lives during the sinking of USAT Dorchester Feb. 3, 1943. (See article on page 22.)


Building a better world Knights of Columbus insurance agents play a central role in the Order’s growth and charitable work. BY SUPREME KNIGHT CARL A. ANDERSON


Learning the faith, living the faith


Knights of Columbus News K of C Disaster Relief Aids FloodDamaged Churches • Notre Dame Knights Grill for Charity • Order Provides Food to Iraqi Christians at Christmas • U.S. Military Archdiocese Honors Knights

21 Fathers for Good Giving your wife a gift can carry a meaning deeper than customs and commercial expectations. BY BRIAN CAULFIELD

26 Knights in Action

The Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving can renew our lives in Christ. BY SUPREME CHAPLAIN ARCHBISHOP WILLIAM E. LORI

PLUS: Catholic Man of the Month



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Get Up, Let Us Go MELKITE CATHOLIC Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, shared messages at the conclusion of 2017 expressing encouragement to his people and gratitude to those who support them. In one message, he noted that while recently restoring a centuries-old residence in the wake of war, he and others came upon a piece of living room furniture featuring the words “Rise up — Christ is with us!” written in Arabic. These words served as a reminder that their “ancestors at a certain time also suffered great setbacks in their lives and that they had managed to keep standing, thanks to the One to whom they gave their trust.” Despite the challenges and dangers that remain, Archbishop Jeanbart moves forward in joy and hope, determined to ensure that the Christians of Aleppo do not abandon the land where Christianity first flourished (see page 14). His steadfast faith and the words of his ancestors call to mind a biblical scene — that of Jesus and the apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane. After praying in agony to the Father and resolved to do his will, Jesus himself awakens Peter, James and John, saying, “Get up, let us go” (cf. Mt 26:46, Mk 14:42). The hour of the Son of Man was at hand, and he called his disciples to follow him to the end. Get up, let us go. Christ is with us. These are words spoken at times to every Christian on the path of discipleship. They call for trust in God even in the face of challenges, suffering or uncertainty, and faith in all that

Christ revealed — particularly the mystery of the Holy Trinity and the desire of God to share his life with us. The newly dedicated Trinity Dome mosaic, featured on the cover of this issue, artistically depicts this “central mystery of Christian faith and life” (cf. CCC 234; see also page 8). Before his “hour” had come, Jesus spoke to his disciples about God the Father and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Here, too, with time running short, he said, “Get up, let us go” (cf. Jn 14:31). As with the disciples, faith allows us, too, to follow the Lord in matters small and large and to seek his will above all else. It is faith in God, together with love for neighbor, that motivated four intrepid U.S. Army chaplains to give up their lives 75 years ago in order to save others (see page 22). We do not know when our own “hour” will arrive or what will be asked of us at that time, except that we will be called to have faith. As we begin the season of Lent, the Church gives us a privileged opportunity to renew and grow in this faith. Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori notes in his column this month that the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving herald “a new springtime in our spiritual lives” (see page 4). In a sense, Lent can awaken us from slumber to action — to rise up and move forward, knowing that Christ is with us.♦ ALTON J. PELOWSKI EDITOR

Faith Resource: Technology and the New Evangelization THE BOOKLET Technology and the New Evangelization: Criteria for Discernment (#419) by Father Jonah Lynch, F.S.C.B., and Michelle K. Borras is part of the New Evangelization Series published by the Order’s Catholic Information Service. Offering guidelines for thinking through the positive and negative effects of today’s digital culture, the authors show how technology must be used wisely in order to share the Gospel effectively. To download this and other Catholic resources, visit 2 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦



Venerable 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 MAIL COLUMBIA 1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326 ADDRESS CHANGES 203-752-4210, option #3 PRAYER CARDS & SUPPLIES 203-752-4214 COLUMBIA INQUIRIES 203-752-4398 FAX 203-752-4109 K OF C CUSTOMER SERVICE 1-800-380-9995 E-MAIL INTERNET ________ Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See. This means that an applicant or member accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church.


Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved ________ ON THE COVER The new Trinity Dome mosaic, together with the Knights of Columbus Incarnation Dome (bottom) and Redemption Dome, is seen at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

COVER: Photo by Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard


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Something More Knights of Columbus insurance agents play a central role in the Order’s growth and charitable work by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson

I RECENTLY gave a presentation to our general agents regarding the Order’s insurance program and our principles of charity, unity and fraternity. I’d like to share excerpts of those remarks with you here. *** Charity, unity and fraternity have guided us so far on our journey, and they will carry us successfully into the future. I will say again what I have said every year at this meeting. Thank you for giving us our best sales year ever — this year about $8.8 billion in new sales. As Patrick Henry once remarked, “I know no way of judging the future but by the past.” And what has our past shown? Since the year 2000, our insurance in force has grown from $40 billion to nearly $110 billion. Our assets have increased from $8.5 billion to nearly $25 billion. During these years we have paid out more than $5.3 billion in dividends and more than $4.3 billion in death benefits. That’s right — nearly $10 billion in dividends and benefits. During the same time, our membership has grown every year, from 1.6 million to nearly 2 million members today. And with this greater number has come greater action. Each year, we have increased the hours and the dollars donated to charity. Since 2000, we have given more than $2.5 billion. We have also volunteered more than 1.1 billion hours, and the value of that service is estimated at more than $23 billion.

So, during the years in which we faced 9/11 and a global war on terrorism, the greatest recession since the Great Depression, and some of the worst natural disasters in history, the Knights of Columbus provided more than $35 billion in value to our members, their families and our neighbors. Growth is good — and certainly we have seen good growth. Our sales growth has outpaced the industry. Our charitable work is a marvel to other organizations. This past can be prologue. But success is never guaranteed, nor is it automatic. Our growth will continue — as we continue to offer outstanding products and service and continue our commitment to charity, unity and fraternity. Our insurance agents are our greatest fraternal advantage. Your technical competence is important. But what puts you in a different category from our competition is your fraternal commitment to your brother Knights. What is decisive is your commitment to charity, unity and fraternity. You know that our brother Knights are neither an abstraction nor a statistic. They are the men who are with you in the council meetings, who are in the pew next to you on Sunday and who volunteer with you in our charitable projects. They are the men who listen to your advice because they trust you. We have the responsibility to do the best we can to live up to that trust. Pope Francis has asked Catholics to “live in fraternity” and to show “a fraternal love” toward our neighbors. Of course, it is a high standard.

I am proud of what you have accomplished and of what you have enabled others to accomplish. Last December, I received an email from Iraq wishing me a Happy New Year from a medical clinic in Erbil that we financially support. Because of our support, they have treated more than 50,000 patients and performed over 32,000 laboratory tests. They’ve provided more than 800 mental health consultations — many with women escaping sexual slavery and with children traumatized by the murder of their parents. In December, we also provided a Christmas food supplement for 12,000 families there. These are only a small percentage of the lives that we have changed. When Christopher Columbus set sail on his voyage of discovery, he flew the banner of Castile. On that banner, Queen Isabella had written, “Ne plus ultra,” meaning “nothing more beyond” — because at that time, there was no territory known to exist west of her kingdom. When Columbus returned, the queen had the word “ne” removed from her flag, for now they knew there was something more beyond. There will always be a “more beyond” for us — more records to set, more neighbors to help, more families to serve. Vivat Jesus!



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A Spiritual Springtime The Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving can renew our lives in Christ by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori

THE MERE MENTION of Lent can God’s Word, planted in us at baptism, sometimes seem dismal, like a long, will germinate and grow. dreary day. Lent consists, in fact, of 40 Finally, in winter, we sometimes feel days and 40 nights of prayer, fasting poorly due to indoor pollutants that and almsgiving. Who can endure it? contaminate the air we breathe. When Yet the word “Lent” does not pertain the weather grows warmer, we open to darkness or despair. Quite the oppo- windows to let in fresh air. Just the site. The original meaning of the word thought of getting out of the house actually has to do with springtime. and taking a walk makes us feel better. When Lent begins, it’s winter. But by But isn’t it true that we sometimes “inthe time Lent concludes, the days are sulate” our hearts? When we become growing longer and the forsythias are in self-centered, we close the windows of bloom. Even if there is an unseasonal our soul to God’s love and the needs of snow shower, we take heart knowing others. Then the spiritual air we that winter is having its last gasp. Lent, then, represents a new springtime in our spiritual Prayerful solitude requires us lives. It’s a time when the darkness of sin gives way to a new to block out distractions and light of grace. SEASON OF RENEWAL Three analogies might help us see Lent in terms of a spiritual springtime. First, just as we do spring cleaning, washing away the dirt and grime that accumulates during the winter months, so too Lent is a time for cleansing our souls and our hearts, making them a beautiful dwelling place for the Lord. Or to use another comparison, spring is the season when farmers clear the land of debris and till the soil, thus giving the seeds they plant every chance to germinate. So, too, in Lent we are to clear the soil of our hearts from the debris of sin and the deadwood of hatred; by spiritual discipline, we till and enrich the soil of our souls so that the seed of 4 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦


simply ask the Lord to let us see ourselves as he sees us. breathe becomes stuffy, even polluted, with self-pity, impurity, anger, grudges and thoughts of revenge. Lent is a time to open the windows of our souls, to allow the fresh air of God’s love to circulate anew in the depths of our hearts and to get ourselves moving outward — toward our brothers and sisters who are in need. Once we look at the season of Lent as the herald of a new springtime in our spiritual lives, Lenten practices are no longer unwelcome intrusions into our comfort. Rather, they become harbingers of hope for a more Christ-centered way of life. These penitential practices

are indicators and tools of God’s mercy — mercy that is always available to us. Divine Mercy has the power to transform our way of life. With this perspective in mind, let’s briefly review the three principal Lenten practices, with our eyes fixed on the goal of renewed spiritual joy and greater holiness of life. THE PRACTICE OF FAITH Let’s begin with prayer, or conversation with God. There are many ways to pray, but let’s concentrate on one: silent, mental prayer, when we are alone with God and his voice echoes in our hearts. Such prayerful solitude requires us to turn off all our electronic devices, block out distractions and simply ask the Lord to let us see ourselves as he sees us. This is more than self-awareness. It is asking the Lord to help us measure our lives according to his standards, not our own. It is humbly asking the Lord for grace and strength to confront our overt sins as well as the hidden corruption that we often conceal from others and even from ourselves. I don’t know about you, but when I pray in this way, I find I’m well short of the mark. Such prayer leads me to seek the Lord’s mercy and to make an unburdening confession of my sins. Lent is preeminently the time to grow in

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POPE FRANCIS: CNS photo/Paul Haring — VENERABLE WILLIAM GAGNON: Photo courtesy of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God, Province of the Good Shepherd in North America

prayer and to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. This is a first and essential step in spiritual housecleaning. A second Lenten practice is fasting or some other form of self-denial. This isn’t the same as dieting. Rather, depriving ourselves of food is connected with the arduous process of emptying ourselves of everything that obstructs the grace of God from working in us and through us. Fasting has a way of helping us uproot our deep-seated habits of sin and our endless desire for comfort, convenience, power and esteem. The discipline of foregoing food or other comforts is a


Offered in Solidarity with Pope Francis That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.

way of tilling the soil of our souls, making them receptive to God’s Word. A final Lenten practice is almsgiving, which includes giving of ourselves and our resources to those who are in need. The practice of charity is how we open the windows of our souls to God’s love, forgetting our own wants and needs and concentrating instead on the needs of others, especially the poor and vulnerable. When we open our hearts in love to those in need, the stale air of self-centeredness dissipates as the fresh air of Jesus’ self-giving love circulates through our inmost being, and we are

thus spiritually reinvigorated. For us as Knights, this practice of charity should be second nature. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving are, in fact, inseparable. As St. Peter Chrysologus (+450) taught: “Fasting is the soul of prayer, almsgiving is the lifeblood of fasting. … When you fast, see the fasting of others. If you want God to know you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you want mercy, show mercy.” In this way, may our Lenten observance lead us to experience a renewed life in Christ and joy in the Holy Spirit.♦


Venerable William Gagnon (1905-1972) WILLIAM GAGNON was born and baptized in Dover, N.H., May 16, 1905, after his hardworking parents emigrated from Québec to seek work in New Hampshire’s cotton mills. The third of 12 children, Gagnon returned with his family to Canada at age 11. A few years later, economic necessity impelled the family to move to Vermont and then back to Dover, where Gagnon and his brothers left school to work in the textile mills. Gagnon had developed a strong desire for service, as well as devotion to Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, from a young age. By his early 20s, he dreamed of becoming a missionary and learned about St. John of God, founder of the Brothers Hospitallers, whose mission was to serve the sick and those in need. In 1930, the same year that one of his sisters entered a convent in Québec, he traveled to Montreal and was accepted as a postulant with the Hospitallers. Brother Gagnon made his solemn profession five years later and for the next decade shouldered a variety of leadership positions, including director of a school, prior of a hospital

and provincial of the Hospitallers in Québec. Moved by the appeal of a Vietnamese bishop, he volunteered to help found a mission in northern Vietnam in 1950. Appointed prior of the Bui-Chu Mission, some 100 miles south of Hanoi, he worked with two other Canadian Hospitaller brothers to build and run Sacred Heart Hospital. “We remain religious missionaries and work only for the poor, regardless of what is happening around us,” he wrote in 1964. After laboring tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of refugees and other victims of war, Brother Gagnon died in Saigon Feb. 28, 1972. He was declared Venerable by Pope Francis in 2015.♦



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K of C Disaster Relief Aids Flood-Damaged Churches THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS is providing $1.4 million to repair and help rebuild churches that were destroyed or badly damaged by the hurricanes and torrential flooding that devastated Texas, Florida and the Caribbean in 2017. In the months following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, Knights of Columbus Charities raised $3.8 million for disaster relief. More than $720,000 was used to pay for food, water and other critical supplies in the immediate aftermath of the storms. On a local level, many Knights took the initiative to rescue those stranded by rising waters, distribute food and supplies and help neighbors in a wide variety of ways. Funds have now been disbursed to rebuild at least 14 church buildings in Texas, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Getting parish facilities up and running again does not just meet a practical need,” said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. “The people in the affected areas see the revival of their churches as a spiritual joy and as an important signal of recovery for the larger communities.” Significant sums are also earmarked for upcoming church repair efforts in

Supreme Knight Anderson and Archbishop Alfred Hughes, who served as archbishop of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, view the damage from Hurricane Harvey to St. Francis of Assisi Church in northeast Houston Sept. 24, 2017. Puerto Rico. The Order earlier donated $100,000 to the Archdiocese of San Juan and provided generators, food, water and other necessities to aid relief efforts. The Knights of Columbus also applauded the Jan. 2 announcement that houses of worship, like other nonprofits, are now eligible to receive federal disaster relief funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — overturning a

longstanding rule. “Help from both the government and the nonprofit sector in the restoring of churches and other spaces dedicated to religious activities will send an important signal that these communities are coming back, that the spirit of the people is alive and well,” said the supreme knight. “That spirit is also nourished by the many charitable and social services that these houses of worship provide.”♦

TEN MEMBERS of University of Notre Dame Council 1477 in Indiana and their families set up shop at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 1, to sell the council’s legendary steak sandwiches — a tradition at all home Notre Dame football games since 1972. While Notre Dame defeated LSU 21-17, the Knights successfully raised approximately $2,500 in steak sales. They donated the funds to Knights of Columbus Charities Inc. for use in hurricane relief efforts for Florida and gave the leftover food from the event to a nearby homeless shelter. Council 1477, the oldest and largest K of C college council, has donated all the profits from its steak sandwich program — totaling more than $1.5 million — to charity.♦ 6 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦


A reporter from ESPN interviews John Schuele, grand knight of University of Notre Dame Council 1477, about the council’s 45-yearold initiative of selling steak sandwiches during football games.

TOP: Photo by Crystal Avila — BOTTOM: Photo by Jacque Photo

Notre Dame Knights Grill for Charity

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Order Provides Food to Iraqi Christians at Christmas

TOP: Photo by Stivan Shany/Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Erbil — BOTTOM: Photo by Matthew Barrick

APPROXIMATELY 12,000 displaced or formerly displaced Christian families in Erbil, Iraq, received a special Christmas gift: a 30-day supply of food provided by the Knights of Columbus. “The Knights of Columbus is pleased to help bring a merry Christmas to those displaced by ISIS or now returning home to recently liberated areas,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “These Christians have lost everything for their faith, and we want them to know that they are not forgotten and that their sacrifices inspire us in our own faith.” Valued at $840,000, the Christmas baskets contain food staples such as wheat, rice, beans and meat, along with cleaning supplies. With the assistance of the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil, the gifts were distributed to Syriac Catholic, Syriac Orthodox and Chaldean Catholic families, as well as Yazidis. “Even though we are still in a time of great uncertainty, the knowledge that our brothers in the Knights of Columbus are in solidarity with us, especially at this time of year, brings

An Iraqi boy holds one of the K of C food baskets distributed to thousands of displaced families at a Christmas food distribution in Erbil, Iraq. great comfort,” said Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil. The Knights of Columbus has committed more than $17 million in aid to

Christians and other religious minorities in the region since 2014. Donations can be made at or by calling 1-800-694-5713.♦

U.S. Military Archdiocese Honors Knights IN RECOGNITION of the Order’s support for members of the U.S. armed forces, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio presented the Medal of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) to Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson in Washington, D.C., Nov. 18. Since 1998, the Knights of Columbus has contributed more than $2.5 million to the AMS in support of its many programs and services — including the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program, the International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes and, most recently, the first Catholic Military Marriage Retreat.

“I am deeply grateful to Archbishop Broglio and the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, for the recognition of the Knights of Columbus and my brother Knights’ service to our military chaplains,” the supreme knight said. “The award of the Archdiocese Medal this year is especially significant as the Knights of Columbus commemorates 100 years of support of our military and our military chaplains.” Archbishop Broglio added: “There is no other partnership like that between the AMS and the Knights of Columbus in support of the mission, ‘Serving Those Who Serve.’”



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The Basilica’s Crowning Jewel The Trinity Dome mosaic completes the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception by Kelly Sankowski

avid Jonke was walking down the center aisle of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., when his mentor, Brett Rugo, looked up at the Great Dome — not yet adorned with mosaic tiles — and said to him, “Kid, how are we going to get up there and do that someday?” That was about 10 years ago. Rugo’s company had been working on projects at the shrine since 1997, starting with the Universal Call to Holiness, a large bas-relief located at the back of the Great Upper Church. Rugo and Jonke also worked on the Redemption Dome, the Knights of Columbus Incarnation Dome and cultural chapels in the basilica. But each of these projects was small in comparison to the installation of the Trinity Dome mosaic on the Great Dome’s interior — one of the largest mosaic installations of its kind in the world. After two years of work, the team at Rugo Stone completed the project in 2017, and when they removed the 20,000 pieces of scaffolding, the Trinity Dome’s majestic mosaic was revealed. Covering more than 26,000 square feet, including the curved vaulting surrounding the dome, the mosaic is made up of nearly 15 million pieces of Venetian glass, assembled by the Travisanutto Giovanni mosaic studio in Spilimbergo, Italy. It depicts the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Mary as the Immaculate Conception, 17 saints, one blessed, the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, and two choir angels — encircled at the base with the text of the Nicene Creed and surrounded by the four evangelists. 8 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦


The colorful exterior of its Great Dome and 329-foot Knights’ Tower make the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception an easily recognizable landmark in Washington, D.C. • Opposite page: The recently dedicated Trinity Dome mosaic is pictured at the Basilica of the National Shrine.

LEFT: Courtesy of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception — RIGHT: Photo by Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard


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The completion of the Trinity Dome mosaic, accomplished in part thanks to financial support from the Knights of Columbus, marked the fulfillment of the shrine’s original architectural and iconographic plans, developed in the 1950s. The dome was officially dedicated Dec. 8, 2017, with Mass celebrated by Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington. At the conclusion of the Mass, Msgr. Walter Rossi, rector of the basilica, had a special word of thanks for the many benefactors and all who made the Trinity Dome possible. “This crowning jewel of Mary’s Shrine,” he said, “is really your work — your gift to the Blessed Mother.” AN UNBELIEVABLE UNDERTAKING Nearly 100 years ago, on Sept. 23, 1920, Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore and other senior churchmen in the United States laid the cornerstone for what would become the largest church in North America. Since that day, the National Shrine has been a work in progress, with each of its seven domes gradually completed to display important theological scenes. The last dome mosaic to be completed before the Trinity Dome was the Knights of Columbus Incarnation Dome, which was dedicated in November 2007. It was while working on that dome that Rugo became interested in the Knights. “It really piqued my curiosity and I wanted to know a lot more about them,” Rugo said. “All the good charitable things they do worldwide, the good things they do with local 10 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


parishes and on a national level — I wanted to be part of it.” Rugo is now a member of Edward Douglass White Council 2473 in Arlington, Va. As a member of the Knights, he is proud that the Order was one of the major benefactors of the Trinity Dome project. The Trinity Dome is five times larger than the domes that Rugo and Jonke had worked on previously. Rugo called it “Mount Everest compared to little small hills.” The scaffolding that supported the workers for the installation of the mosaic weighed about 300,000 pounds and had to be constructed inside the church, without the use of a crane. When it was completed, the scaffolding reached more than 150 feet above the floor of the basilica’s nave, supporting a platform that was 16 stories high. “There were a few people who said, ‘No, you can never do it,’” recalled Jonke, who served as the project’s general superintendent. “When you tell me, ‘You can’t do something,’ that gives me the energy and confidence to pull it off.” Jonke and his team worked around the clock to ensure that everything was done safely, swiftly and without interruption to any of the special events held at the basilica. “There was no room for mistakes,” said Jonke. “Everything had to be right when it came out.” Rugo called the project an “unbelievable undertaking,” noting that the original schedule had the project taking three and a half years, yet they did it in only two — and finished six weeks early, without any injuries or lost time.

CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

Rugo Stone employees inspect the platform that would be used to support the workers more than 150 feet above the floor while installing the Trinity Dome mosaic, July 13, 2016.

TOP: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn — BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo by L’Osservatore Romano — BOTTOM LEFT: Photo by Stephen Feiler

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Clockwise, from top: The Holy Trinity is seen in a detail of the newly dedicated Trinity Dome. The Son is seated at the right hand of the Father while the Holy Spirit hovers between them in the form of a dove. • Pope Francis blesses the first completed segment of the Trinity Dome mosaic, containing the first and last words of the Nicene Creed, prior to the canonization Mass of St. Junípero Serra at the National Shrine, Sept. 23, 2015. • Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson and his wife, Dorian, stand on scaffolding next to a completed section of the Trinity Dome mosaic during the construction process in June 2017.


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The newly completed mosaic includes a 31-foot-tall depiction of Mary as the Immaculate Conception and a procession of saints. A choir angel stands to the right of Our Lady, followed by St. John Paul II (the first pope to visit the National Shrine), St. Juan Diego (the first canonized male Native American), St. Kateri Tekakwitha (the first canonized female Native American), St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Katharine Drexel, St. Martin de Porres, St. Junípero Serra (declared a saint by Pope Francis at the National Shrine in 2015 during the first canonization ever to take place on American soil), and St. Teresa of Calcutta (an honorary American citizen). Others portrayed on the dome are the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, St. John XXIII, St. Rose of Lima, St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, St. Damien of Molokai, St. Marianne Cope, St. John Neumann, St. Lorenzo Ruiz, and Blessed Paul VI. • Opposite page: Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl (left), archbishop of Washington; Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life; and Msgr. Walter Rossi, rector of the basilica, stand with a letter from Pope Francis after the Dec. 8 Mass dedicating the Trinity Dome. Cardinal Farrell, formerly an auxiliary bishop in Washington and bishop of Dallas, served as the Holy Father’s personal representative for the event.


1920 A Fourth Degree honor guard is present at the cornerstone-laying ceremony of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, presided by Cardinal James Gibbons Sept. 23. 1957 The Order’s Board of Directors agrees to finance construction of the campanile, or bell tower, of the basilica.

1959 The 329-foot bell tower is dubbed the “Knights’ Tower” at its dedication. Inside the entrance to the campanile is a bronze tablet 12 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


noting the Order’s gift “as a pledge of devotion of its members to our Blessed Lady, patroness of the United States.”

1963 The Order finances the installation of a carillon of 56 bells in the Knights’ Tower.

1977 Virgil C. Dechant, the 12th supreme knight, places his administration under Mary’s intercession during a Mass at the National Shrine. 1979 The $1 million Luke E. Hart Memorial Fund, named for the 10th supreme knight (195364), is established by the Knights’ board to benefit the shrine.

1989 The carillon in the Knights’ Tower is rededicated after the Order funded the bells’

restoration as well as the installation of several new bells. In keeping with medieval tradition, names are given to the largest bells — among them Michael and Virgil, patron saints of the Order’s founder and 12th supreme knight, respectively.

1991 The 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyages of discovery and evangelization is marked by the Order with a Mass at the National Shrine Oct. 14.

1998 The Our Lady of Africa Chapel, constructed with financial support from the Order, is dedicated. Later that year, a stained-glass window of Father Michael J. McGivney, located in the Crypt Church sacristy, is also dedicated.

CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

The Knights of Columbus has had a close relationship with the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception throughout the shrine’s history. Here are some highlights.

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“It has really been a hall of fame performance by the workmen in the field,” said Rugo. “We are very, very proud of the accomplishment.” ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY The National Shrine is often affectionately referred to as “America’s Catholic Church,” because it was envisioned as a gift from the nation’s Catholics to display the country’s many cultures and their devotion to Mary. Throughout the shrine’s history, the generosity of American Catholics has made the pilgrimage site possible. One of those people was Jonke’s grandfather. Every time Jonke begins a new project at the shrine, his mom reminds him about his grandfather, Josiah Sanders, who

2000 More than 12,000 Knights and family members attend the Knights of Columbus Jubilee Year Pilgrimage April 1. The event includes praying the rosary with Pope John Paul II via live satellite from Rome.

Photo by Matthew Barrick

2002 The shrine hosts the first Knights of Columbus Eucharistic Congress. The Order also marks the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a Mass and patriotic program in the basilica.

2004 The National Shrine and the Knights co-sponsor an essay contest to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

2007 The Knights of Columbus Incarnation Dome, above the south nave of the basilica’s Great Upper Church, is completed with the Order’s support. Comprised of 2.4 million glass tiles over 3,780 square feet, the mosaic dome

was a member of South Akron Council 3410 in Ohio while the Order was raising funds to build the basilica’s bell tower. Sanders became very interested in the development of the shrine, and on every visit to his son in Maryland he would bring his family to view the construction in progress. After the Knights’ Tower was dedicated in 1959, Sanders longed to see the rest of the shrine completed. Little did he know that his grandson would play a large role in making that happen. In addition to being grateful that he got to see his grandfather’s dream come true, Jonke feels privileged to complete the work of so many others. “There’s been stonemasons working here since the groundbreaking,” said Jonke. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to finish a 100-year-old building.” The project proceeded “like clockwork” — a testament to the skill of the workers, Jonke said. But he knew that grace was necessary as well. “No matter how much you plan for something, anything can go wrong,” he said. For both Rugo and Jonke, their Catholic faith has made their projects at the shrine more meaningful. Being surrounded by so much sacred art and learning about its significance day after day has been “like a second catechism,” Rugo said. Rugo expressed gratitude to Msgr. Rossi and to Cardinal Wuerl for trusting Rugo Stone to work on the project, and said he was grateful to God that they were able to deliver it on time. “I am happy it’s done for the basilica, but I am sad it is over, because it was an incredible process to be a part of,” he said. “It’s special to us, knowing we have had a big hand in the last 20 years of embellishing the largest church in North America.”♦ KELLY SANKOWSKI is a reporter for the Catholic Standard, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

portrays the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Wedding Feast at Cana and the Transfiguration.

2008 The basilica’s choir, led by Dr. Peter Latona, begins providing sacred music at the liturgies of the annual Supreme Convention.

2010 In cooperation with the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington, the Supreme Council begins funding the weekly broadcast of Sunday Masses from the basilica for people confined to their homes. 2012 Knights participate in a Mass and Pilgrimage for Life and Liberty, led by Supreme Chaplain William E. Lori, to pray for the protection of human life and religious freedom.

2013 Thousands of Knights gather at the basilica Sept. 8 for a special Year of Faith Pilgrimage, during which the Order is reconsecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The event also celebrates

the 50th anniversary of the Knights’ Tower carillon. Three months later, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson receives the Patronal Medal from the National Shrine and The Catholic University of America for advancing Marian devotion.

2015 The Supreme Council provides funding and educational resources for the Mass of canonization of St. Junípero Serra, celebrated by Pope Francis at the National Shrine Sept. 23. 2016 The Order underwrites the television broadcasts of a “24 Hours for the Lord” devotion celebrated at the basilica for the Year of Mercy. The devotion is repeated in 2017 at the request of Pope Francis and again televised by the Knights.

2017 The Trinity Dome mosaic, the final stage of the architectural and iconographic plan for the basilica, is completed, thanks in part to the Order’s financial support of more than $1 million. FEBRUARY 2018

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Out of the Catacombs Aleppo’s Christians emerge from harrowing urban warfare, determined to rebuild with K of C support by Victor Gaetan

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LEFT: Photo by George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty Images 

ashar Hawale, an Orthodox Christian and private cab driver in Aleppo, Syria, was kidnapped in 2015 by jihadi terrorists and held hostage for 25 days until his family could pay a $4,000 ransom. “Thanks be to God, my father was released, mainly unharmed,” said Adeeb, Bashar’s 24-year-old son. “But they kept his car, and since it was his own taxi, my father lost his means of making a living.” When a bomb had blown out the Mazda station wagon’s windows two years earlier, the family — Bashar, his wife, Silva, and their three children — had funds to repair it. After the kidnapping, they couldn’t replace the car and concentrated only on survival. In December 2016, the Syrian Army ousted the last pocket of organized Islamist insurgents from Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city and its industrial center. Last year, the Hawales restored their damaged apartment with crucial help from the “Build to Stay” initiative, sponsored by the Melkite Catholic Archdiocese of Aleppo in partnership with the Knights of Columbus. Established in 2015 by Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo, the program has provided Catholic and other Christian families with aid to repair homes and businesses, training in construction trades, and other humanitarian assistance so that they can remain in the city and rebuild their livelihoods. SURVIVORS OF WAR Life for the Hawales was precarious from 2012 through 2016 — as it was for thousands of Christians in Aleppo. What began as local demonstrations for more democratic rights in many countries during the “Arab Spring” in 2010 and 2011 rapidly mutated in Syria into confusing military standoffs between rival militias, often financed from abroad, and the Syrian Army, defending President Bashar al-Assad. A siege began in 2012 when an array of Islamist militias, supported by foreign jihadi fighters, occupied eastern Aleppo with the goal of taking over the city. The Syrian government maintained control of western Aleppo, where most Christians live, but it was surrounded and largely cut off from the rest of the country. Meanwhile, the notorious Islamic State (ISIS) surged across much of eastern Syria in 2013, taking as its “capital” the city of Raqqa, just over 100 miles east of Aleppo. In October 2017, U.S.-backed coalition forces recaptured Raqqa, and the civil war effectively ended a month later. Before the war, some 175,000 Catholic or Orthodox Christians lived in Aleppo, about 12 percent of the city’s population. Four years later, only 75,000 Christians remained. More than half the nation’s pre-war population of 22 million people was forced to flee — including some 6 million internally displaced persons and 5 million more living as refugees in neighboring countries. In 2015, when many advocates were lobbying Western governments to accept more Christian refugees from Syria and Iraq, a lone voice from Syria, that of Aleppo-born Archbishop Jeanbart, gently asked allies for a different form of support:




Above: A map of Syria shows the capital city of Damascus; Aleppo, once the country’s largest city; and Raqqa, which the Islamic State (ISIS) occupied as its “capital” until the city was recaptured in late 2017. • Opposite page: Damaged buildings in the Jdeideh district, one of Aleppo’s Christian neighborhoods, are pictured Dec. 9, 2016, during the battle for the city between Islamic militants and government forces.

to help Christians stay in the ancient lands where the first seeds of the faith were sown after Pentecost. “We could not remain indifferent to what was happening to us and let destiny just happen,” the 74-year-old archbishop affirmed. “We had to rise at all costs to confront this mortal adversity, invest ourselves fully, and act with all our might to safeguard our missionary presence, providentially protected by the Lord for centuries on this earth sanctified by the blood of the first disciples of Christ.” ‘A BETTER FUTURE’ While visiting the United States in 2014 to educate audiences on the Syrian conflict and the needs of local Christians, Archbishop Jeanbart reconnected with Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. The two had met in Rome a decade earlier, and Archbishop Jeanbart was touched by Anderson’s concern regarding the practical life of the Church in Aleppo. “He kindly asked me how we were able to ensure the functioning of the archdiocese in times of war when we had no resources left,” the archbishop recalled. “It was then that a new page in our history began, marked by the generous support of the Knights of Columbus.” A partnership was then created with the Supreme Council to advance Build to Stay, which was designed to give people practical assistance and hope. “Making speeches and appeals to our faithful to remain and FEBRUARY 2018

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Fadi Mistrih, the owner of a phone accessory business, is pictured with his wife, Dalia, and young son Sept. 22, 2017. Mistrih is one of the hundreds of Catholic entrepreneurs who have received loans through the K of C-supported Build to Stay program.

Meanwhile, the archdiocese continues to deliver basic aid with K of C support. Some 900 families received a monthly subsidy and more than 2,100 patients were given medical care from a Church-sponsored clinic last year. The previous winter, the archdiocese provided fuel to warm the homes of 1,400 families, and thousands more receive regular food baskets. “Without the help of the valiant Knights of Columbus, we would not have been able to do all this,” said Archbishop Jeanbart. “We see the faithful regain confidence, and they feel reassured to find us firmly on their side.” REBUILDING A CITY Beneficiaries of the Build to Stay initiative include people such as Fadi Mistrih, a Catholic who received a loan of about $2,400 to expand his phone accessory business. As a result of 16 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


business growth facilitated by the loan, he is now able to support not only his wife, Dalia, and 18-month-old son, but other relatives as well. “Life and work conditions have improved a lot,” said Mistrih. “My business is going well!” The biggest challenge for the Build to Stay movement is supporting larger businesses, because equipment is gone and personnel have disappeared. Firms that were thriving six years ago have largely been destroyed. George Barnotty, a 43-year-old father of three, owned a company that produced organic fertilizers for a wide range of crops and employed some 60 people, including five agricultural engineers. But with the start of the civil war, all markets ceased. “Some Islamic military groups took over the area where my company was located. They stole everything, and damaged the building extensively,” Barnotty said. A Melkite Greek Catholic, Barnotty has known Archbishop Jeanbart since 2004, when they both helped organize a major youth festival. “Even then, we were concerned to design programs to help keep our Christian youth in Aleppo,” Barnotty recalled. During the war, Barnotty fled Aleppo with his family after his parents’ house was bombed. They have since returned, and with the help of an interest-free loan through Build to Stay, he is now repairing his property, purchasing new equipment and rebuilding his once-thriving business. “Today, Build to Stay is very active and very appreciated,” he said. Support from the initiative has certainly meant a lot to the Hawale family, allowing them to repair the severely damaged doors and windows of their apartment. “Finally, I can sleep well at night,” said Adeeb, who is now back at the University of Aleppo studying business administration. “During the war, we lived our life day by day,” he said. “We prayed every day, but it was so dangerous. We didn’t know whether we would live until tomorrow or not.” Asked why his family didn’t leave, Adeeb replied that his family didn’t have the money to travel. He then added, “Home is home. Terrorists tried to kill us and wrecked our city, but we were stronger than them.”♦ VICTOR GAETAN is senior international correspondent for the National Catholic Register and a regular contributor to other publications, including Foreign Affairs magazine.

Photo by Joe Jebran

not leave their country was not enough and will never be enough,” Archbishop Jeanbart explained. “Discourse had to be matched by concrete action to give people reasons to believe a better future is possible.” Since the partnership between the Knights of Columbus and Archdiocese of Aleppo began, nearly 900 apartments have been restored. In addition, more than 350 people have benefited from interest-free loans and approximately the same number have been trained in urgently needed job skills, especially in construction trades.

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Photos by Dikran Taj Color, Aleppo, Syria

George Barnotty stands in front of his damaged factory, which is currently being repaired with help from the Build to Stay program Nov. 16, 2017. Graffiti from two Islamic militant groups that had seized and ransacked the property is visible on the walls — Harakat Ahrar al-Sham (right), a coalition affiliated with al-Qaeda, and the Tawhid Brigade (left), which is linked to the Islamic Brotherhood. • Below: Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo visits the Hawale family in their recently refurbished apartment Sept. 30, 2017. Through the Build to Stay program, the Hawales were able to replace all the windows that had been destroyed during the civil war.


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Stop the Traffic The combined crises of online sex trafficking and pornography call for local and national action


emote dungeons. Back alleys of distant cities. This is what comes to most people’s mind when they hear about sex trafficking. But in reality, sex trafficking is increasingly moving online, and you may have seen it from your own computer screen. Sex trafficking is defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and signed by the president in 2000, as “a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.” Online sex trafficking occurs most commonly in the form of advertisements for sex trafficking victims posted on websites and in pornography. The two are inextricably linked. Although most people would shudder at the thought of encouraging or engaging in sex trafficking, pornography today is as pervasive and as popular as ever. Young children are exposed to it at record rates, and the neurochemicals in their brains become conditioned to the sexual images on a screen. This is not only creating a public health crisis but also contributing to the proliferation of sex trafficking. 18 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


THE PORNOGRAPHY LINK At the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, we’ve heard countless stories of individuals who have had pornography made of them while they were being either prostituted or trafficked. Videos of sex trafficked persons can be uploaded to mainstream pornography websites, and even performers in mainstream pornography can be sexually abused on set. While people assume everything they see in pornography is pure fantasy, anyone watching may be vicariously participating in, and even enjoying, another person’s living nightmare. Nobody who watches pornography can be certain that they have not watched trafficked persons’ abuse. Further, pornography creates and drives the demand for trafficked women and children. Research demonstrates that pornography changes the brain, which leads to addiction and a desire for harder, more deviant materials. It also creates “permission-giving beliefs,” such as the idea that it is normal to pay for sex or that women enjoy violent sex. These changes often lead users to act out what they have viewed.

CNS photo/Lisa Johnston, St. Louis Review

by Patrick A. Trueman

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Spouses and girlfriends usually do not want to participate in violent sexual behavior, so the user seeks it elsewhere — sometimes through prostituted or trafficked women and children. In a study published in 2007, interviews were conducted with 854 prostituted women from nine countries. Nearly half reported being upset by customers trying to make the women perform acts seen in pornography. A similar study dating back to 1984 found that nearly 25 percent of prostituted women reported being assaulted by a client “making reference to something he had seen as inspiration for his acting, or insisting that the woman enjoyed the assault.” Recent research continues to show that pornography is linked to increased rates of sexual and physical aggression. While certainly not everyone who watches pornography will act in a sexually violent way, or will go on to purchase another individual for sex, pornography use increases the likelihood of both.

During the hearing, at which Backpage executives refused to testify, Panel Chairman Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said, “These are the practices of a corporation intent on profiting from human trafficking and human misery, and profit they have, at the expense of countless innocent victims.”

WHAT WE CAN DO The first step in response is to ensure that we are not participating in the use of pornography, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church identifies as a “sin gravely contrary to chastity” (2396, cf. 2354). The U.S. bishops remind us in their 2015 pastoral statement on pornography, Create in Me a Clean Heart, “You are beloved sons and daughters of the Father. Be not afraid to approach the altar of mercy and ask for forgiveness. Many good people struggle with this sin. You are not alone; there is always hope!” We can encourage our friends and family members as well. If you or a loved one are struggling with pornography use, you VIRTUAL AUCTION BLOCKS can find online tools to help from the USCCB, the National While some people unwittingly participate in online sex traf- Center on Sexual Exploitation and elsewhere. You can also find ficking by watching pornography, others intentionally pur- information about the links between pornography and sex trafchase other human beings through websites. ficking at Online ads for sex appear across the Internet, including Our nation is suffering a public health crisis caused by mainstream social media sites such as pornography, yet most churches have no Facebook and Twitter. materials available on the topic. ShouldBut one website stands out as particn’t the Church be the first place to look? ularly culpable for the exploitation on As Pope Francis reminds us, the Church its platform. Backpage is a website that is a “field hospital” for the wounded. ORNOGRAPHY CREATES emulates the Craigslist online classifieds In cooperation with your pastor, you model but serves as a virtual auction can help fellow parishioners be inAND DRIVES THE DEMAND block where sex buyers can shop for formed of the harms of pornography human beings. and the prevalence of trafficking. It can FOR TRAFFICKED WOMEN The National Center on Missing be as simple as assembling educational AND CHILDREN. and Exploited Children has reported materials and resources for recovery. that 73 percent of all child sex trafThere are also many examples of ficking cases it has handled involved Knights of Columbus councils that the website. have sponsored initiatives such as preWith operations in nearly 100 sentations and conferences to raise countries and 950 locations worldwide, Backpage is likely awareness and combat human trafficking. the largest facilitator of sex trafficking in the world. Though Especially if you are a parent of school-aged children, conthe site is used to advertise a variety of nonsexual services and sider encouraging your local school to present age-appropriate products, the California Attorney General’s office reported materials on the harms of pornography and the dangers of that from January 2013 to March 2015, 99 percent of Back- trafficking. Children are accessing pornography at younger page’s worldwide income was directly attributable to its ads and younger ages, so schools can be helpful in teaching the selling sex. harms of sexual exploitation and respect for the dignity of all Under mounting political pressure, Backpage “blocked” its human beings. prostitution advertising in the United States beginning Jan. 9, 2017. Though this was hailed as a great victory, we soon SOLUTIONS IN THE SENATE learned that the sex trafficking and prostitution simply mi- On the national level, too, we can change laws so that webgrated to other sections on the website. sites are no longer given a pass to facilitate sex trafficking This change occurred the night before the CEO and and prostitution. founders of Backpage were scheduled to testify before the U.S. In recent years, U.S. courts have misinterpreted a littleSenate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Homeland Security and known part of the federal Communications Decency Act (SecGovernmental Affairs in an investigation into sex trafficking tion 230) to grant a broad immunity to websites for any occurring via their website. content posted by a third-party user — including sex traffickers



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THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON of human trafficking is complex and can take various forms. It falls into two main categories: forced labor and sexual exploitation. According to a 2016 United Nations global report on human trafficking, the majority of victims identified in the West are trafficked for sex. A 2017 report published by World Without Exploitation, a NYC-based organization devoted to ending sex trafficking, explains that because trafficking is illegal and clandestine, it is difficult to measure the scope of this scourge with statistical accuracy. Nevertheless, the report notes that research in the United States has revealed: • The victims of sex trafficking are usually women and children. The majority of traffickers are male, but a significant minority (15 to 32 percent) are female. • Large percentages of victims enter the sex trade before the age of 18. • There is a relationship between childhood sexual assault, homelessness and sex trade involvement. • Between December 2007 and December 2016, nearly 32,000 potential human trafficking cases were reported by the public to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline: 888-373-7888. The vast majority involved trafficking for sexual exploitation. Catholics are encouraged to observe the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, promoted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, on Feb. 8, the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita. To learn more about how to identify a potential victim and what you can do to help, visit♦ 20 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


posting advertisements for their victims. Congress never intended this result from a law that was meant to protect children and families from sexual exploitation. Currently, the U.S. Senate has a bill to amend this law called the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, which seeks to close the loophole to hold websites accountable if they knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. Although the use of technology has spread sex trafficking into more diverse and accessible forms, we must remember that our actions can make a difference. Whether we are removing pornography from our lives, contacting elected officials or spreading messages of hope, we must transform our concerns into actions for a better world. Let’s use the tools of the internet for good: to promote human dignity and foster human rights.♦ PATRICK A. TRUEMAN is president and CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation ( A member of Santa Maria Council 4654 in Vienna, Va., he served as chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division, under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

CNS photo/Lisa Johnston, St. Louis Review


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Flowers From the Heart Giving your wife a gift can carry a meaning deeper than customs and commercial expectations by Brian Caulfield



hen my first St. Valentine’s Day with my future wife arrived, I faced a heart-stopping reality. I had made the novice mistake of expecting to find beautiful, longstemmed roses at the florist shop on the way home Feb. 14 — yet all those beautiful rose bunches were wrapped and ready for other guys who had planned ahead. Now, more than 20 years later, St. Valentine’s Day still throws me into a certain embarrassed panic. As the day approaches, we see the store shelves overflowing with choices. Flowers, chocolates, earrings, bracelets, heartshaped pendants, heartshaped cakes, heart-shaped everything. These gifts are nice and will probably be good enough for another annual ritual. But all the while, many of us are left wondering: What does my wife really want? What’s really in her heart? Faced with this uncertain process of gift buying for St. Valentine’s Day, my first response is to get a bit self-righteous. After all, this day has become a greeting-card marketing scheme that obscures the real St. Valentine, who died defending the good of Christian marriage. And why do women need these outward signs of affection? She knows I love her even if I don’t get her the perfect gift. I show my love every day in action, performing the many duties of a good husband and father at home and at work. That should be enough, right? Then I remember: Love makes the effort. Even if I don’t find her favorite flowers, or pick out the perfect chocolates, or the earrings are not the kind she wears, I will put my heart in my hand and offer it to my wife through my gift. I will make the effort, take the risk and be the man she married. Whatever gift I give, it will be from my heart. There is a traditional Catholic motto popularized by Cardinal John Henry Newman: Cor ad cor loquitur — “Heart speaks to heart.” The model is Christ and his fol-

lower engaging in a personal dialogue based on love and trust. A husband is called to be a model of Christ to his wife, a high standard set by St. Paul: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her” (Eph 5:25). With this perspective, each St. Valentine’s Day for me is a reliving of the moment I proposed to my wife. As I give a gift from the heart on Feb. 14, I am open, vulnerable, offering my love for consideration, not sure if my beloved will accept it with the intensity that I intend. After so many years, there is some routine to gift giving, and we now have two teenage boys who watch and, hopefully, learn. When I express love to my wife in this way, it can serve as a model for them on how to treat a woman, and I am conscious of setting a good example. But even as I go through what may seem to be a familiar routine, there is still the mystery of marriage, the wonder of love, as I reach across the space between us to my wife’s heart. Each time, as the gift is given, another year of life and love has gone by, together with shades of heartache, hurt and disappointment. I say with my gift: After these many years of marriage, and with the more you know about me, for better and for worse, will you still receive this gift, which is my own self, into your heart? It is a revelation, a spark of new life, the retelling of a long love story, when my wife says “yes” with a smile, a whisper, or a kiss. So husbands, you may panic and perspire as you wonder what to get your wife for St. Valentine’s Day. Consider it a blessing that you still care if your gift will please her — and that she still cares to receive it from your hands and your heart.♦ BRIAN CAULFIELD is editor of Fathers for Good, an initiative for men by the Knights of Columbus.



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The Four Immortal Chaplains Seventy-five years ago, four U.S. Army chaplains made the ultimate sacrifice at sea by Michael C. Gabriele


n the early morning hours of Feb. 3, 1943, the USAT Dorchester was steaming across frigid, U-boat-infested waters in the North Atlantic. Suddenly, a German torpedo struck near the engine room, triggering a massive explosion. The transport vessel, which was carrying more than 900 passengers bound for a U.S. Army base in Greenland, capsized and sank in less than 20 minutes. Among those on board were four Army chaplains, each with the rank of first lieutenant: Father John P. Washington; Rabbi Alexander D. Goode; Rev. Clark V. Poling, a Reformed minister; and Rev. George L. Fox, a Methodist minister. Just hours before the attack, Father Washington had celebrated a Mass that was attended by men of many faiths. As the ship sank, the chaplains calmly ministered to the panic-stricken and wounded, assisting soldiers and others boarding lifeboats. Many survivors later testified to their bravery. “I could hear men crying, pleading, praying,” recalled Pfc. William B. Bednar. “I could also hear the chaplains preaching courage. Their voices were the only thing that kept me going.” Others reported seeing the chaplains handing out life preservers until there were no more to give — including their own. One eyewitness, John Ladd, said, “It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven.”

A painting by Dudley G. Summers depicts the Four Chaplains in prayer together on the deck of the torpedoed USAT Dorchester Feb. 3, 1943. FEBRUARY 2018

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Survivors on rafts were awestruck as they caught a final glimpse of the courageous quartet, who came to be known as “The Four Chaplains,” standing together on the slanted deck, arms locked and singing hymns as the ship slipped beneath the waves. They were among more than 670 passengers who died at sea that day. In the 75 years since their death, and still today, there have been many dedicated to commemorating the chaplains’ sacrifice and keeping their story alive. AMERICAN HEROES Though the four chaplains came from different backgrounds, each was motivated by profound love of God, country and neighbor. The tragedy of Pearl Harbor moved them to volunteer as military chaplains, and that call brought the four men together for the first time in 1942 at the Army Chaplains School at Harvard University. Father John Washington was born in Newark, N.J., July 18, 1908, and from an early age felt called to become a priest. Ordained in 1935, Father Washington served in several New Jersey parishes. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, he volunteered to be a Navy chaplain but was turned down due to poor eyesight — the result of a childhood BB gun accident. Undeterred, he went to the Army and passed the eye test by covering his weak eye both times when reading the eye chart, praying that God would forgive his sleight of hand. Rev. George Fox, born in Lewiston, Pa., March 15, 1900, had served with distinction as a medic during World War I. He was ordained a Methodist minister at Boston University’s School of Theology in 1934. Eight years later, he volunteered to be an Army chaplain on the same day that his son, Wyatt, 24 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


entered the Marine Corps. Rev. Clark Poling was born into a prominent family of ministers in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 7, 1910. He studied at Yale University’s Divinity School in New Haven, Conn., was ordained a minister in the Reformed Church of America and volunteered for chaplain duty in 1942. Rabbi Alexander Goode was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., May 10, 1911. An outstanding athlete and scholar, he planned to follow his father’s footsteps as a rabbi. He earned a Ph.D. in Arabic studies and desired to bring Jews and Arabs together. Like Washington, he had been turned down by the Navy but was accepted in the Army Air Forces. The chaplains, disappointed at being sent to serve in a rear guard capacity in Greenland rather than on the front lines, did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives for their brothers in arms when the opportunity arose. As news of the Dorchester’s demise reached the United States, the magnitude of the loss of life coupled with accounts of the four chaplains’ heroic charity and sacrifice astonished the nation. In 1944, all four men posthumously received the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart, and in 1948 a U.S. postage stamp was issued in their honor bearing the words “These Immortal Chaplains.” Congress authorized a one-time only posthumous “Special Medal for Heroism,” which was presented to family members in 1961. Then, in 1988, a unanimous act of Congress established Feb. 3 as the annual Four Chaplains Day. Today, a host of monuments, chapels and works of art, including stained-glass windows at the Pentagon and West Point, also memorialize the Four Chaplains’ faith in action.

PREVIOUS SPREAD: Photo by Will Figg/Courtesy of the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation — OTHER: Courtesy of the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation

Above (from left to right): Lt. John P. Washington, a Catholic priest; Lt. Alexander D. Goode, a rabbi; Lt. Clark V. Poling, a Reformed minister; and Lt. George L. Fox, a Methodist minister. • Below: A U.S. postage stamp issued in 1948 depicts the Four Chaplains and the sinking USAT Dorchester.

Photo by William Perlman/The Star Ledger

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REMEMBERING A LEGACY Members of the Knights of Columbus have long honored the memory of the four chaplains, and at least three military units are named in their honor — The Four Chaplains Council 10652 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wa.,The Four Chaplains Council 13901 at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and The Four Chaplains Assembly 3557 at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. St. Stephen’s Parish in Kearny, N.J., the last parish where Father Washington served, will celebrate the 75th anniversary with a Mass on Sunday, Feb. 4. Members of St. Cecilia Council 6928 in Kearny will take part in the solemn annual tribute, just as they have done for many years. “Council members feel strongly that it’s important for people to remember the Four Chaplains,” said Grand Knight Kevin Purcell. “Today the world needs inspiring stories more than ever.” Mark S. Auerbach, the city historian of Passaic, N.J., and a distant cousin of Rabbi Goode, shares a similar passion for keeping the memory of the Four Chaplains alive. “I’m fulfilling my father’s wish to do all I can to tell the story of the Four Chaplains so that it’s never forgotten,” he said, adding that the 75th anniversary of the chaplains’ sacrifice brings a sense of urgency to their legacy. “We’re rapidly losing members of the ‘Greatest Generation,’” Auerbach said. “It may be hard for people to comprehend what they did for us. They went from living through the Great Depression to fighting for our survival during World War II.” Integral to the story of the Four Chaplains is their demonstration of interfaith heroism — four men from different religious traditions who rose to the occasion in a life-and-death crisis and worked together at a moment’s notice to serve others. “They came from different faith traditions, but they were united in their service to humanity,” said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, archbishop of the Military Services, USA, who will preside at the Feb. 4 Mass at St. Stephen’s Parish. “In giving up their life jackets, they stripped themselves of their only hope for survival,” Archbishop Broglio explained. “This was faith in action. They didn’t wake up that day thinking they would be heroes. They acted because of their faith and their values. The challenge is to live what you believe.” Father Joseph A. Mancini, pastor of St. Stephen’s and chaplain of Council 6928, maintains an archive on the Four Chaplains at his church. “Sometimes we take our heroes and put them on a pedestal,” said Father Mancini. “They wouldn’t want that. The Four Chaplains were regular guys who did an extraordinary thing. Their sacrifice was an act of service, but we’re all called to some act of service.” For more information, visit♦ MICHAEL C. GABRIELE is a freelance writer based in Clifton, N.J.

The Four Chaplains Monument, a bronze sculpture by Timothy P. Schmalz, depicts the chaplains in prayer. Located on the lawn of St. Stephen’s Church in Kearny, N.J., the monument was dedicated by Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio on the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the Dorchester Feb. 3, 2013.

K OF C SUPPORT FOR CATHOLIC MILITARY CHAPLAINS Today, more than 300,000 men and women in uniform — about 25 percent of the U.S. military — are Catholic. They are served by 198 active-duty Catholic chaplains, who make up only 6 percent of the chaplain corps. The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, led by Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, created a Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program in cooperation with U.S. dioceses in order to better meet the needs of Catholic military personnel. The Knights of Columbus then launched the Father McGivney Military Chaplain Scholarship in partnership with the archdiocese in 2011. “We started with a five-year pledge of $1 million,” explained Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson at last year’s Supreme Convention in St. Louis. “Not only did we meet that goal in 2015, but we contributed $200,000 last year and this year as well.” The Fourth Degree pledged to raise an additional $200,000 in 2018, bringing the Order’s financial support of Catholic chaplains to $1.6 million. Thanks in part to the Knights’ partnership, there are currently 45 co-sponsored seminarians in 20 seminaries across the United States and in Rome preparing for eventual military service. To donate, visit♦


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Our Lady of Fatima of Sta. Felomina Council 15042 in Dipolog City, Mindanao, joined a parish ministry in visiting inmates of the Dipolog City Jail. The council packed and distributed kits of devotional items and toiletries, and helped arrange for Masses to be said for both the male and female inmates, who had to attend separate services. RAMP ASSIST

Members of Divine Work Council 7331 in Techny, Ill., and other pro-life witnesses stand with a sign that they displayed from a highway overpass sidewalk.


Immaculate Conception Council 4888 in Semmes, Ala., held its 21st annual Charity Banquet and distributed more than $10,000 to parish food pantries and local organizations serving people of all ages with intellectual disabilities. Over the past 21 years, Council 4888 has donated more than

$210,000 to local and national organizations serving those in need, and members donate 1,200 to 1,400 hours annually holding weekly bingo games dedicated to assist the less fortunate. PARISH FUNDRAISER

Our Lady of the Lakes Council 6318 in Carmel, N.Y., hosted its second annual

fundraiser dinner, now named in memory of James J. O’Neill, the Knight who initiated the project. Inspired by traditional men’s banquets and aiming to increase the money raised for capital improvements at St. James the Apostle/Our Lady of the Lake Mount Carmel Parish, the council dispensed with hiring a catering service and personally prepared filet mignon and garlic bread. The sold-out dinner and live auction raised $5,000 toward the parish’s chapel renovation. DEACON REMEMBERED

Members of Father Thomas Lane Council 3645 in Renton, Wash., prepare pancakes during the council’s annual free breakfast for seniors at the Renton Senior Center. Members of Boy Scout Troop 448 served as waitstaff, while Knights cooked a hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausage, eggs, applesauce, coffee and juice. Some 120 senior citizens attended the event, which has been ongoing for more than 20 years. 26 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


Father Virgilius Draessel Assembly in Spring Branch, Texas, donated a chalice in memory of Deacon Jim Legendre, who served at St. Joseph Catholic ChurchHoney Creek from 1982 to 2015. Many members of his family were present for the blessing and presentation of the chalice, which took place at the parish where he served for decades.

Msgr. Clement H. Kern Council 8284 in Canton, Mich., and St. Maximilian Kolbe Council 6549 in New Boston teamed up to construct a wheelchair ramp for a local resident who had lost both of his legs. Within a week of his request for help, the councils completed the ramp for him.

Members of Santa Maria Council 4999 of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., pause during their restoration of the black granite base of a crucifix at Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center. Both the base and metal cross were refurbished through the efforts of the Knights. Lettering reading “We Preach Christ Crucified” was painted in gold; a mosaic polished; and the base itself cleaned, polished and sealed.

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St. Gabriel de Rimouski Council 8413 in Québec City made a $5,00 donation to a family whose home suffered irreparable fungal damage. The council also worked with local organizations to ensure that two children who recently lost their father to cancer could continue with their favorite sports programs. PRAYER IN SOLIDARITY

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Council 15669 in Warner, N.H., completed the Novena of Solidarity for Middle Eastern martyrs. Father Roger Boucher concluded each daily Mass by leading the community of Northeast Catholic College (NCC) in prayer for persecuted Christians and martyrs. The novena ended in conjunction with NCC’s 40-Hour Devotion, during

which time an icon depicting the 21 martyrs of Libya was displayed. Knights and members of the collegiate community adored the Blessed Sacrament continuously during these 40 hours. FOOD DRIVE

Chisholm Trail Council 9368 in Round Rock, Texas, conducted a successful food drive at St. William Parish for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. By staffing all the English- and Spanish-language Masses on Sundays, the council provided the ministry with 7,753 pounds of food, which is enough to provide meals for 228 families and more than five times what was collected by the council in the previous year. Additionally, the council handled the food’s transport to the pantry. Council 9386 also participated in the Ultrasound Initiative, securing

Following a windstorm that swept their community, members of Sts. Gabriel and John Vianney Council 12335 and Our Lady of the Pines Council 11730, both in Colorado Springs, team up to clear downed trees and branches at Evergreen Cemetery.

an ultrasound machine for the Agape Pregnancy Counseling Center’s mobile unit through a $7,500 donation that was matched by funds from the Supreme Council.

and juice. The breakfast fed more than 175 people and raised $550 in profits for the Sandstone Family Pathway Food Shelf.


St. John Neumann Regional Council 14009 in St. Clair, Pa., held a soup sale to benefit Nativity B.V.M. High School in Pottsville, continuing the council’s ongoing support of the Catholic school. Council 14009 also works at St. Patrick’s Parish soup kitchen and conducts an annual collection at affiliated churches to benefit the St. Joseph Special Learning Center.


Washington (Ind.) Columbian Council 630 donated over $209,654 from the profits of its Treasure Hunt Drawings, which started with a $10,000 pot and ended with a grand prize of $1,800,620 less than a year later. Drawings became a festive weekly community event, with several streets made pedestrian-only and up to 7,000 people in attendance. The proceeds have already benefited local churches, schools, a pregnancy resource center and many more organizations. Nevada State Deputy Greg Sprigg hands a check to Kimberly Burchiel and nurses in front of Life Choices Pregnancy Clinic’s new mobile van. With them are Nevada State Culture of Life Chairman Mark Foxwell and, to his left, Karen Hearrell — a major contributor who dedicated her donation to the memory of her late husband, Sir Knight Wayne Hearrell. This was the fifth ultrasound machine placed by the Knights and is considered particularly significant for its ability to provide top medical care throughout the state.


St. Patrick Council 5101 in Hinckley, Minn., held a pancake breakfast to raise money for the local food shelf. Fifteen Knights volunteered 53 hours setting up and serving the pancakes, sausage, ham, eggs, coffee


Brother Reinhart Schroeder Council 9409 in Biloxi, Miss., cooks and sells food at Our Lady of Fatima Church’s Thursday night bingo series. The ongoing project funds the council’s monthly support of a Diocese of Biloxi seminarian who is the latest recipient of the council’s fundraising efforts for future priests.


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donated more than 520 service hours and $9,000 garnered in sponsorships. The assembly’s color corps also posted and retired the colors. BAKING FOR SISTERS

Father Chris Gernetzke of Camp Gray and St. Joseph Catholic Church in Baraboo, Wis., (center) and representatives of the councils of Wisconsin District 64 display new vestments that the district, together with Father Bourgmeyer Assembly in Baraboo, Wis., donated to Camp Gray, which is the Catholic summer camp and year-round retreat center of the Diocese of Madison. The new vestments were blessed and a Thanksgiving Mass followed to celebrate this gift.


Father Joseph A. Cassidy Council 6100 in Budd Lake, N.J., hosted a presentation by Kathy DiFiore, the founder of Several Sources Shelters, which provides housing and support for pregnant women and their

babies. Thanks to their recent baby bottle and diaper drives, the council presented a donation of $1,600 and more than 2,400 diapers to the resource center. Presentation attendees toured the mobile Gift of Hope sonogram van, which was funded

in part by New Jersey councils, and were able to meet one of the many children whose mother was helped by Several Sources Shelters. RAKING UP

Members of Yokosuka Council 12488 of Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, made a trip with their wives to deliver baked goods to the Missionaries of Charity Homeless Shelter in Adachi, Tokyo. The delivery was a chance to visit with the sisters, who expressed their happiness to meet with “brothers in charity.” TIMBER!

St. Leonard Council 6448 in Muskego, Wis., cut down and cleared 10 trees from the grounds of St. Leonard Catholic Church. The council’s work saved the parish thousands of dollars by clearing the way for the construction of a new parish center. The volunteers also trimmed trees near the church’s youth center and offices.

Webster (Mass.) Council 228 coordinated with the Nichols College hockey team as part of the college’s Community Service Day. Together, Knights and players raked leaves, branches and debris at St. Anthony of Padua Church. RED, BLUE AND GOLD

Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines (center right) stands with an honor guard from Father Hennepin Assembly 1831 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, for the blessing of the Grotto of St. Thérèse of Lisieux at Our Lady of the Scapular Parish. The grotto was sponsored by Knight Joe Cleary with support from Hennepin Council 1652, also in Niagara Falls, and was built by students from Notre Dame High School. 28 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


Holy Spirit Assembly in Dublin, Calif., hosted its 24th annual Red, Blue and Gold Banquet, honoring members of the local fire, police and highway patrol departments. The occasion allows supervisors to select outstanding officers for particular recognition and gives community members a chance to thank the personnel for their service. More than 330 people attended the dinner, to which the Knights

Rod Lubiani of Duluth (Minn.) Council 15761 unloads diapers with Megan Schvelke (left) and Jodie Sorvari of the Women’s Care Center. The council collected 25 bags and boxes of diapers as well as $886 for the center, which provides free counseling, support and education for women facing unplanned pregnancies.

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The councils of New York District 8 united for their 19th annual fundraiser to support the Life Center of Long Island, a pregnancy resource center. Knights worked all day with the staff of the Life Center to host 415 guests for a pasta dinner and Chinese auction, which featured beautiful gift baskets and prizes. With the highest attendance yet, the event raised $22,500 to support the life center’s ministry.

Pope John Paul II Council 4522 in Annandale, Va., has been blessed and pleased to serve dinner to the homeless and those in need at Christ House in Alexandria every other month for the past 14 years. Recently, Knights — several joined by their spouses — volunteered to serve a hot meal of meatballs and gravy, rice, vegetables, fruit cocktail and cookies. Led by Dick Owen, the council has volunteered more than 2,000 hours of service at Christ House.


Mother of Perpetual Help Council 5629 in Vero Beach, Fla., collected close to 1,000 pounds of clothing and shoes for the Samaritan House of Vero Beach homeless shelter. The council performed the collection seeking to follow the directive “love thy neighbor as thyself ” and to serve those in need.


Father Brian McKee Council 1387 in Sudbury, Ontario, made a $5,000 donation to extend the life of their Father Brian McKee Memorial Bursary at Cambrian College. Father McKee was a hockeyplaying pastor who founded

Taking part in a tomato- and community-based fundraiser, members of St. Jude Council 10637 in Joliet, Ill., sell jars of Communio Sauce. This line of pasta sauces, created by Father David Simonetti, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and a member of Lansing (Ill.) Council 3540, supports various charitable projects. The council sold in excess of 300 jars over two weekends, raising more than $1,000 to support services for disabled veterans.

many services and programs in the area. The council also maintains a bursary to aid students at Laurentian University, also in Sudbury. TAKING INITIATIVE


Father Boecker Council 6090 in Lombard, Ill., hosted its 50th annual track meet for local middle school students. Some 400 young people participated in the events, which included many different distance races as well as hurdles. Council 6090 rented the track and funded medals and ribbons for the winners, and longtime project chairman Ray Morello led a team of volunteers who helped with setting things up, timing the races, coordinating the athletes and more. Each youth could participate in up to four events.


District Deputy Mike Bolduc of Maine District 15 and Dave Gagnon of St. Joseph Council 12941 in Biddeford, Maine, stand ready to serve lobster rolls at Council 12941’s booth at the La Kermesse Festival. Council 12941 worked with members of the Edmond Labarre Assembly, also in Biddeford, and Guy C. Litalien Circle 4809, as well as the local Boy Scout troop. This year more than $1,500 was raised to help fund the St. James School Scholarship Fund.

Geneva-Madison (Ohio) Council 5286 raised more than $21,000 toward a stateof-the-art 3D/4D sonogram machine for the Mya Women’s Center of Ashtabula. The K of C Ultrasound Initiative provided the matching funds to purchase the machine, which the Mya team has already seen contribute to their ministry. Fundraising took less than a year and included Council 5286’s first charity golf tournament, which was

supported by local organizations and other area councils.


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of $500 to Father Randy Phillips of St. Blase Parish to help pay for emergency repairs to the main water line supplying the parish. The ruptured water line occurred during the parish’s hosting of the Macomb County Warming Center, a ministry rotating among parishes that provides shelter for people experiencing homelessness. FUNDS FOR A FAMILY

Bishop Robert Harris of Saint John stands with those gathered to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Indian Chapel of St. Jean Baptiste being built in present-day New Brunswick. Supreme Director Graydon Nicholas (far left) and an honor guard of Knights from Right Rev. James Edward Brown Assembly 1784 in Woodstock, New Brunswick, contributed to the outdoor Mass, which highlighted the heritage of the First Nations. The chapel, no longer standing, is believed to have been the first church in New Brunswick.


St. Pius X Council 4425 in Wilmington, Del., organized a proceeds-sharing fundraiser with a local restaurant. After an act of arson claimed the lives of three firefighters, the council coordinated a $2,100 donation to the City of Wilmington’s Fallen Firefighters’ Fund. GARDEN GOODS

Father James Knight Assembly in Moore, Okla., collected hand and garden tools for their parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society annual garage sale. Proceeds will support the society’s ministry to those in need. CHURCH CLEANUP

Mother Teresa Council 12202 in Vernon, British Columbia, accompanied by the grandsons of several members, visited the grounds of Our Lady of the Valley Parish for a general 30 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

Redding (Calif.) Council 3978 organized, funded, cooked and served a meal for 165 people, raising $5,789 to support the family of a 6year-old child undergoing extensive cancer treatment. His condition requires chemotherapy, and his parents need to concentrate on time with their child.

cleanup. The lawns were power raked and the clippings removed, an apple tree pruned, and the weeds either sprayed or burned. The 77 man-hours of labor greatly improved the condition of the grounds. TAKING ROOT

To commemorate the 175th anniversary of continuous service by Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Almonte, Ontario, Dr. J.F. Dunn Council 5153 in Carleton Place recently purchased an Armstrong maple tree from a hospice-care fundraiser sale. With assistance from Father Paul Gaudet, the council members planted the tree on the front lawn of the church grounds. KEEPING HOUSE

Pope John Paul I Council 6865 in Sterling Heights, Mich., presented a donation


Greg Brown of Pope Leo XIII Council 10804 in Virginia Beach, Va., displays a freshly caught crab to a participant and chaperone from the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Virginia at the 29th Annual Rodgers Family Kids Fishing Day. Over the course of the morning, 177 youth — most of whom had never fished before — caught more than 600 fish and landed 640 crabs. Council 10804 worked over 1,000 hours to run the event, providing an opportunity for both kids and adults to learn about the commonwealth’s marine resources and to develop hands-on skills. Each participant also received a new baited fishing pole, a T-shirt and a hot lunch.

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Fairborn (Ohio) Council 3724 held its annual Blue Coat Awards ceremony, instituted in 1973 to honor police officers and firefighters. Subsequently expanded to include additional community service personnel from the city of Fairborn, Greene County Sheriff ’s Department, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wright State University and Ohio State Patrol — as well as some citizens and a wounded warrior — the awards drew 165 people, including members of the state government and the mayor of Fairborn. The mayor declared the day of the award “Knights of Columbus Blue Coat Awards Day” in the city of Fairborn.

Bishop Ruocco Council 9275 in Chelmsford, Mass., hosted a pancake breakfast at St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish, raising $4,800 to help provide a service dog for a 7-year-old parishioner with a debilitating spinal disease. The successful evening allowed parishioners to socialize and contribute to a worthy cause while gaining an awareness of the Order’s good works.


St. Philip the Apostle Council 9884 in Lewisville, Texas, donated $250,000 to St. Philip the Apostle Parish. Originally slated for the construction of a new council hall and raised through a wide array of charitable and fraternal programs, the funds will help the parish make necessary expansions to house its growing community.

K of C families of Mexico Central gather for a march with other concerned groups in support of marriage and family life.


Brother Anthony Council 10014 in St. Albert, Alberta, organized a silent auction and spaghetti dinner fundraiser for a local family whose father had been laid off from his job and subsequently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The event, in addition to collections conducted at two Sunday Masses, brought the council’s total donation close to $24,000. HONOR FLIGHT

Pend Oreille Council 14268 in Newport, Wash., and Our Lady of the Unborn Child Assembly 3063 in Chewelah collaborated with American Legion Post 217 to sponsor

Members of St. John the Baptist Council 11594 in Batangas, Luzon South, “plant for the future” during a mangrove-planting event at Matuod Lian, Batangas. The council spent five hours on the activity, which benefits the people of the area by preserving fish and corals and protecting the shoreline.

the travel of two Honor Flight guardians. The guardians assisted both a World War II veteran and a Korean War veteran on their visit to the war memorial in Washington, D.C. A BETTER BAR

Narragansett Assembly in Westerly, R.I., welcomed 120 people to a pasta bar benefiting the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry. The event yielded $1,300 and 148 pounds of nonperishable food for people in need. PARISH IMPROVEMENTS

Nativity of Our Lord Council 14658 in Monroe Township, N.J., raised $15,000 over two years toward improvements at its parish. The funds were divided between a statue of the “Welcoming Jesus” and new kitchen equipment to replace items that were more than 20 years old. The new appliances make church ministry projects like communion breakfasts easier for all involved. CATECHESIS COLLABORATION

Father Clement A. Bracht of St. Thomas More Council 10184 in Omaha, Neb., was approached by parishioners

seeking to introduce the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd religious formation program for children ages 36. In response, the council hosted a pancake breakfast to help provide startup funding. Knights prepared 240 meals, raising $800, and donations at the event yielded another $300 for the catechesis coordinators. GROCERY GOODS

St. Timothy Council 12834 in Laguna Niguel, Calif., donates $1,000 annually to Loaves & Fishes, a ministry of St. Joseph’s Parish in Santa Ana that provides food for families in need. Council members volunteer quarterly to bag and box groceries for distribution. The council also took part in a fundraiser run to finance a well in Uganda. exclusive See more “Knights in Action” reports and photos at knightsinaction




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The 2018 Knights of Columbus St. Patrick’s Day Tie features the emblem of the Order and the Celtic harp, the Irish national symbol, in gold on a Kelly green ground. Suitable for yearround wear and made in the

United States of high quality 7-ply silk, this festive accessory pays homage to the Irish roots of the Order and Father McGivney’s family origins. Available in regular and extra long. $50 Questions? 1-855-GEAR-KOC (855-432-7562)


Please enroll me in the Father McGivney Guild: NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE/PROVINCE ZIP/POSTAL CODE Complete this coupon and mail to: The Father McGivney Guild, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326 or enroll online at:

OFFICIAL FEBRUARY 1, 2018: To owners of Knights of Columbus insurance policies and persons responsible for payment of premiums on such policies: Notice is hereby given that in accordance with the provisions of Section 84 of the Laws of the Order, payment of insurance premiums due on a monthly basis to the Knights of Columbus by check made payable to Knights of Columbus and mailed to same at PO Box 1492, NEW HAVEN, CT 06506-1492, before the expiration of the grace period set forth in the policy. In Canada: Knights of Columbus, Place d’Armes Station, P.O. Box 220, Montreal, QC H2Y 3G7 ALL MANUSCRIPTS, PHOTOS, ARTWORK, EDITORIAL MATTER, AND ADVERTISING INQUIRIES SHOULD BE MAILED TO: COLUMBIA, PO BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 06507-0901. REJECTED MATERIAL WILL BE RETURNED IF ACCOMPANIED BY A SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPE AND RETURN POSTAGE. PURCHASED MATERIAL WILL NOT BE RETURNED. OPINIONS BY WRITERS ARE THEIR OWN AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS. SUBSCRIPTION RATES — IN THE U.S.: 1 YEAR, $6; 2 YEARS, $11; 3 YEARS, $15. FOR OTHER COUNTRIES ADD $2 PER YEAR. EXCEPT FOR CANADIAN SUBSCRIPTIONS, PAYMENT IN U.S. CURRENCY ONLY. SEND ORDERS AND CHECKS TO: ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT, PO BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 06507-0901.


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Ready and Willing to Serve FIELD AGENT James Keith Thagard was driving to his home in DuPont, Wash., Dec. 18, 2017, when he saw an Amtrak train fly down a stretch of track designed for a maximum speed of 30 mph. A former combat medic with emergency room experience and a member of The Four Chaplains Council 10652 at nearby Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Thagard saw traffic stop ahead of him and pulled off onto an exit ramp. “A guy stepped out of his car and yelled, ‘There’s been a train wreck!’” said Thagard. “That’s when I took off with my medical bag and ran down to the site.” Amtrak Cascades 501, a new high-speed passenger train had derailed on its first day in service while taking a turn at 81 mph. Three people on board died as coach cars careened from a bridge onto Interstate 5 below. Thagard and two soldiers who had also raced to the accident Emergency personnel surround the site of the were told by police to “grab some train wreck in DuPont, Wash., Dec. 18, 2017. spine boards and neck collars and go toward the train.” As ambulances and paramedics converged on the scene, the trio assisted by putting the injured on backboards and fitting them with cervical collars. “We did this for a couple of the walking injured, and then when I was no longer needed, I walked home,” Thagard said. “I just thank the Lord that I was able to be there.” Though he no longer faces emergencies every day, Thagard sees his work with the Order as another way of protecting against disaster. “I do the best I can helping people to understand why insurance is important to protect one’s family,” said Thagard, who is married with one son. “I try to do my part in fulfilling the vision of Father Michael J. McGivney,” he said. “God uses you to have an impact on people’s lives, because we are his servants.” — Reported by Anna Bninski

THAGARD: Photo courtesy of Roth Agency — TRAIN:CNS photo/Washington State Patrol handout via EPA




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STEVEN DIMASSIMO Seminarian, Diocese of Raleigh, N.C.

Photo by Anthony Wood Photography

I was born into a Catholic family, but it was not until the eighth grade, after I had received Confirmation, that the faith came alive for me. That was also when idea of the priesthood first crossed my mind. In high school, I became more involved in our parish youth group and sensed that God was calling me to be a disciple with an undivided heart. During the Year of the Priest (2009-10), when I was a sophomore at Franciscan University of Steubenville, God’s invitation to be his priest resurfaced with greater intensity. And I couldn’t shake it this time. I began a four-year wrestling match with God about my vocation, while a deepening prayer life, spiritual direction and the witness of young, joyful priests awakened in my soul a desire for something more. The moment of clarity came in prayer during a silent retreat. I had the joy-filled realization that the call to the priesthood was an enormous gift from God despite the sacrifice it would entail. How could I resist it any longer?

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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.

General Agent Tim Dagel (left) and Deputy Grand Knight Dennis Abele (right) of Sheldon (Iowa) Council 1564 present the Sheldon Community Ambulance team with a donation of 40 teddy bears. Council 1564 and the Dagel Agency teamed up and matched each other’s funds to purchase the bears. The ambulance team gives the bears to children at emergency scenes. According to Kevin Miller, the team’s director, the donation will be enough to last about one year.



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Columbia February 2018  

Columbia February 2018

Columbia February 2018  

Columbia February 2018