Columbia KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
JA N UA RY/ F E B R UA RY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG COVERS 12_13B.indd 1
12/13/21 6:41 PM
Jan Columbia 22_EN.qxp 12/13/21 8:26 AM Page 1
Put your faith into action this year. Start your career with the Knights of Columbus.
LIFE INSURANCE • DISABILITY INCOME INSURANCE • LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE • RETIREMENT ANNUITIES
Join us at kofc.org/careers
Columbia JA N UA RY/ F E B R UA RY 2022
Departments 3 For the greater glory of God If Roe v. Wade falls, our work to bring hope and help to mothers and babies will be needed even more. By Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly
Learning the faith, living the faith Faith, reason and love lead us to recognize the dignity of human life and accompany new and expectant mothers in need.
By Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori
PLUS: Catholic Man of the Month
6 Knights of Columbus News Order Supports Local Charities • Knights Honored for Exemplary Service • Past Supreme Knight Receives Religious Freedom Award A mother and baby visit the St. Francis of Assisi Health Clinic in Kitakyusa, Uganda, a project funded by Knights of Columbus in Palmyra, Va.
7 Fathers for Good St. Paul lays out the virtues that men need to fight the good fight of faith.
TOP: Photo by Spirit Juice Studios — ON THE COVER: Courtesy of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund
By Brian Caulfield
The End of Roe?
An interview with Clarke D. Forsythe, senior counsel for Americans United for Life, about current court challenges to Roe v. Wade.
28 Knights in Action Reports from councils and assemblies, representing the four pillars of the Faith in Action program model
Knights of Columbus in Texas exemplify the Order’s commitment to building a true culture of life.
ON THE COVER
A sign showing the 2022 March for Life theme is held in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1, 2021.
By Matthew Smith
From Medical Desert to Lifesaving Oasis
Virginia Knights build a health clinic and more for a remote village in Uganda. By Zoey Maraist
Healing Wounds, Restoring Hope
Religious sisters train to minister to victims of sex trafficking with support from the Order. By Richard Meek
Three NFL chaplains discuss their faith and ministry both on and off the football field. By Fathers Chuck Dornquast, Douglas Hunter and Richard Rocha
Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See. This means that an applicant or member accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church.
kofc.org/join Copyright © 2022 All rights reserved
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 1
12/15/21 10:54 AM
Credible Witness WHEN MOTHER TERESA of Calcutta gave the keynote speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 1994, she spoke with uncommon authority. It had been nearly 15 years since she had received the Nobel Peace Prize “for her work in bringing help to suffering humanity,” and her religious community was already serving in more than 100 countries. Standing before President Bill Clinton and other government leaders in Washington, the diminutive nun declared, “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.” For most of the 20th century, abortion advocates had touted the slogan “Every child a wanted child” — arguing, with twisted logic, that abortion guarantees that children will be loved and cared for. Mother Teresa expressed a very different philosophy about life and love. “Please don’t kill the child,” she told the audience. “I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.” The speech came just two days after Mother Teresa submitted an amicus (friend of the court) brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, pleading with justices to overturn the 1973 abortion decision Roe v. Wade. Writing as “an outsider,” she praised the nation’s founding principles and its recognition of certain inalienable, God-given rights, beginning with the right to life. “Yet there has been one infinitely tragic and destructive departure from those American
ideals in recent memory,” she wrote. “It was this court’s own decision in Roe v. Wade to exclude the unborn child from the human family.” Mother Teresa would meet with Supreme Knight Virgil Dechant and Supreme Chaplain Bishop Thomas Daily of Brooklyn later that month at her community’s convent in Harlem, New York City. They discussed support for a new home serving pregnant women, and at Mother Teresa’s request, the text of her prayer breakfast remarks were soon published in Columbia for all Knights of Columbus to read. In the nearly 28 years since, the pro-life movement and the Order’s efforts to establish a culture of life have advanced significantly. We have seen breakthroughs in ultrasound technology, a rapid expansion of pregnancy resource centers and a growing number of maternity homes (see page 14). Pro-life legislation has also contributed to an overall reduction in the abortion rate, and a new case before the Supreme Court has presented Roe v. Wade with its most substantial legal challenge in three decades (see pages 3, 8). For years, polling by the Knights of Columbus has consistently shown that most Americans oppose Roe’s legacy of abortion on demand, and instead favor restrictions. Nonetheless, deep divisions and cultural confusion about fundamental questions of human life and liberty remain. As this inevitably becomes ever more apparent, especially in the months ahead, the credible witness of charity and faith in action will become ever more important. St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us! B Alton J. Pelowski, Editor
Join the March for Life The 49th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. — the largest peaceful human rights demonstration in the world — will take place Jan. 21. This year’s theme, “Equality Begins in the Womb,” highlights the discrimination that abortion facilitates against children with disabilities, girls and others. “In order to create a more just society, we must recognize that equality begins in the womb,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life. For schedule details and more information, visit marchforlife.org. 2
Columbia PUBLISHER Knights of Columbus SUPREME OFFICERS Patrick E. Kelly Supreme Knight Most Rev. William E. Lori, S.T.D. Supreme Chaplain Paul G. O’Sullivan Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick T. Mason Supreme Secretary Ronald F. Schwarz Supreme Treasurer John A. Marrella Supreme Advocate EDITORIAL Alton J. Pelowski Editor Andrew J. Matt Managing Editor Cecilia Hadley Senior Editor Margaret B. Kelly Associate Editor
Blessed Michael McGivney (1852-90) – Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Intercede for Us. HOW TO REACH US COLUMBIA 1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326 email@example.com kofc.org/columbia Address changes 203-752-4210, option #3 firstname.lastname@example.org Columbia inquiries 203-752-4398 K of C Customer Service 1-800-380-9995
C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 2
12/13/21 6:56 PM
F O R T H E G R E AT E R G LO R Y O F G O D
A Crucial Moment for Life If Roe v. Wade falls, our work to bring hope and help to mothers and babies will be needed even more By Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly
Photo by Laura Barisonzi
THIS IS A HOPEFUL YEAR for all of us who
cherish the dignity of human life. In the coming months, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which is focused on the constitutionality of abortion. This case offers the first real hope of overturning Roe v. Wade in more than a generation. Hope is the essence of this case — and at the core of the cause of life itself. For Christians, hope is not just a feeling. It is a reality of our existence, rooted in Christ’s resurrection. Hope, or the lack of it, is also a driving factor behind the sad reality of abortion. Many women who make that tragic choice do so out of despair. For this reason, protecting life depends on providing hope to women in need. The Knights of Columbus has long risen to this challenge. We know that every life is precious, that every life matters. We focus as much on the life of the mother as on the life of her unborn child. That’s why we’ve spent decades supporting pregnancy resource centers and giving women with unplanned pregnancies the love and care they deserve. Our leadership in the pro-life cause has made a remarkable difference. Yet if the Dobbs case overturns Roe, our faith in action will be needed even more. The right decision in Dobbs will not mark the end of abortion. Rather, it will mark the beginning of the end. In a post-Roe world, the citizens of each state will determine the legality of abortion through their legislative process. It will be a new era, one in which local efforts and pregnancy resource centers will take center stage. If abortion limitations are returned to the states, even more expectant mothers and their unborn children will be looking for help. The Knights of Columbus must be there for them. It has often been said, “where there’s a need, there’s a Knight,” and we must work to provide for the needs of every mother facing
an unexpected or difficult pregnancy and support her after she chooses life. We are providentially poised to succeed. Over the past decade, the Order has placed nearly 1,500 ultrasound machines in pregnancy resource centers throughout the country, with machines in every state. This historic achievement has given us relationships with key organizations that will be pivotal in a post-Roe world. On this solid foundation, we can and will build. I encourage every council to contact a local pregnancy resource center or maternity home to offer support for its lifesaving work. I also encourage councils to support women and children through local parish programs. Every diocese has a ministry that either helps prevent abortion or provides post-abortion healing. And there are countless apostolates in our Church that provide food, health care and education to young children and families. Imagine a future in which every woman has the freedom, care and resources she needs to choose life; where mothers and their children have the care they need to thrive. The Knights of Columbus is uniquely situated to make this vision a reality. As we redouble our efforts, we must also redouble our prayers. Let us fast and offer small sacrifices for the sake of the unborn and their mothers. And let us pray that, whatever happens in the Dobbs case, abortion’s days are numbered. Now is a crucial moment for life. Our compassion, understanding and generous support are all essential. So too is our bold witness, which is needed to change not only laws, but also hearts and minds. This truly is a hopeful year. And it is also a year when we, as Knights, will spread that hope as never before. A culture of life demands nothing less, and we desire nothing more. Vivat Jesus!
‘Imagine a future in which every woman has the freedom, care and resources she needs to choose life; where mothers and their children have the care they need to thrive.’
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 3
12/13/21 7:03 PM
LEARNING THE FAITH, LIVING THE FAITH
Mother and Child Faith, reason and love lead us to recognize the dignity of human life and accompany new and expectant mothers in need By Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori
THROUGHOUT THE Christmas season and
beyond, we are drawn to the many beautiful images of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus in her arms. I think, for example, of the venerable icon of Our Lady of Tenderness and the 600-year-old statue of Our Lady of Ludźmierz in Poland, which beautifully portray the intimacy of the Blessed Mother and Christ Child. These and other images remind us that our Savior took flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was born into the world. Though miraculously conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus grew and developed in his mother’s womb the way all babies grow and develop. And despite all of the misunderstanding and hardship that surrounded his birth, Mary and Joseph loved their child beyond all telling. As I look upon the many images of the Blessed Mother and Child, I cannot help but think of mothers facing difficult pregnancies. Many are young; many have experienced poverty, abuse or rejection. They may face pressure from family members and others to solve the “problem” of an unwanted pregnancy via abortion. Far too many of these mothers give in to such pressure thinking they have no other choice. The culture of death pits mother and child against each other, turning what should be a relationship of tenderness toward violence. Not surprisingly, many who choose abortion experience lifelong remorse. With the eyes of faith, the Church sees in the unborn child an image of the Child Jesus taking shape in his mother’s womb. With the eyes of reason, the Church sees in the unborn child what science sees: From the outset, the developing child has distinctive DNA and, within weeks, exhibits all the indicators of our common humanity — a heartbeat, brainwaves, a face, toes and fingers. In the Hail Mary, we say, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy
womb, Jesus.” Faith tells us that Jesus, who grew and developed within Mary, has united himself in love to each child in the womb. Faith also highlights what reason at its best teaches us — namely, that the Creator has endowed these innocent children with inviolable dignity. Here I must pay tribute to pro-life pregnancy centers in my own Archdiocese of Baltimore and throughout the world. They are places of care and compassion. Employing ultrasound machines — many supplied by the Knights of Columbus — they enable expectant mothers to gaze upon their unborn children. The ultrasound image dissolves the deceptive rhetoric often employed to promote abortion, and most of these mothers elect to bring their babies to term. The Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative has saved countless innocent lives. Of course, bringing a baby to term is only the beginning. When Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph were surrounded by love, despite their difficult circumstances. Like the visiting shepherds and the three kings, we need to surround new and expectant mothers with love and care. Surely, that includes providing them with life’s necessities. It also means accompanying them, not merely in the short term but for the long haul. I am grateful that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sponsors a program titled “Walking with Moms in Need” to help parishes do just that (see walkingwithmoms.com). This initiative provides a pathway for volunteers and parishes to reach out to these mothers, to befriend and assist them through challenging days. This is an important part of what it means to be pro-life. I am deeply grateful to my brother Knights of Columbus and their families for their unstinting witness to the God-given dignity of human life. While we pray, hope and work for the day when the unborn will be protected by law, let us continue to bear witness to the Gospel of Life by cherishing both child and mother. B
‘Faith also highlights what reason at its best teaches us — namely, that the Creator has endowed these innocent children with inviolable dignity.’
C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 4
12/13/21 6:56 PM
Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge
Catholic Man of the Month
A monthly reflection and practical challenge from Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori
KNOWN AS the “Little Don Bosco of
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. (Gospel for Jan. 2, Mt 2:9-11) In so many ways, Jesus was not what was expected. He came to us not as a powerful earthly king or military leader, but as the helpless child of a poor family. Even so, the pagan Magi recognized the child as a newborn king. The true dignity of all human beings can at times be difficult for us to see and recognize. But, like the Magi, may we look past appearances and see the true worth of every human person — and rejoice in the gift of life.
Father Carlo Braga (1889-1971)
China,” Salesian Father Carlo Braga spent more than 50 years as a missionary in Asia founding schools and orphanages. An orphan himself, his radiant faith and charity inspired many conversions and religious vocations. Braga was born in northern Italy and lost both parents by age 6. He was entrusted to the Salesians, and by age 9 knew that he wanted to become a Salesian priest. He entered the novitiate in 1904 and was ordained in 1914. Struck by the Spanish flu in 1918, Father Braga made a vow to Mary, Help of Christians, that he would become a missionary if he recovered. The following year, he joined the second Salesian missionary expedition to the Far East, and for the next decade he ran an orphanage and administered a technical school in southern China. Father Braga’s enthusiasm, humor and humility made him a beloved teacher, and families clamored to enroll their children in the school. After he was appointed Salesian provincial of China in 1930, Father Braga opened schools in Macao and
FROM TOP: Courtesy of the Salesians of Don Bosco — Photo by Todd Joyce — CNS photo/Vatican Media
Challenge: This month, I challenge you to offer one decade of the rosary each day — individually or as a family — for the intention of life. Second, I challenge you to participate with your brother Knights in the Novena for Life, March for Life, and/or Pregnancy Center Support Faith in Action programs. Editor’s Note: For February’s challenge, liturgical calendar and prayer intention, visit kofc.org/columbia.
Jan. 1 Jan. 2 Jan. 4 Jan. 5 Jan. 7 Jan. 9 Jan. 17 Jan. 21 Jan. 22 Jan. 24 Jan. 25 Jan. 26 Jan. 28 Jan. 31
Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God The Epiphany of the Lord St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (USA) St. John Neumann (USA) St. André Bessette (Jan. 6 USA) The Baptism of the Lord St. Anthony, Abbot St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children (USA) St. Francis de Sales The Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle Sts. Timothy and Titus, Bishops St. Thomas Aquinas St. John Bosco
Hong Kong. In 1946, he established the first orphanage in Peking (present-day Beijing). These initiatives required much tact as they took place during the Chinese Civil War, which ended with the communist takeover in 1949. When foreign missionaries were expelled from mainland China several years later, Father Braga was sent to the Philippines, where he fostered many vocations. He later wrote in his memoirs, “I am not accustomed to making prophecies, but I believe that it will be precisely from the Philippines that groups of missionaries will … bring the light of the Gospel to their Asian brothers.” Father Braga died Jan. 3, 1971, in the Philippines; his cause for canonization was opened there in 2013. B
Holy Father’s Monthly Prayer Intention
We pray for all those suffering from religious discrimination and persecution; may their own rights and dignity be recognized, which originate from being brothers and sisters in the human family. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 5
12/13/21 6:56 PM
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS NEWS
Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly helps pack “Brian Bags” with members of Sheridan Council 24 in Waterbury, Conn., in 2021. The bags — which contain food, water and other supplies for people experiencing homelessness — began as a ministry of the Church of the Assumption in Ansonia in 2017, and the project has received steady assistance from Connecticut Knights. The Supreme Council also supports numerous charities in New Haven and the surrounding area. It recently donated $110,000 to more than 20 local organizations, including homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries.
Knights Honored for Exemplary Service
FOUR KNIGHTS were honored Nov. 7 with the St. Michael Award, which
recognizes a lifetime of exemplary service to the Order. Past Supreme Knight Carl Anderson created the award in 2013, and he joined Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly in presenting it to the following men (pictured left to right) during the Midyear Meeting of State Deputies in Nashville, Tenn. • Augustinian Father John Grace, a missionary priest and native of Ireland, served for many years as the state chaplain of California before becoming the first national director of chaplains from 2009 to 2013. • Former Supreme Warden George Hanna, a past state deputy of the District of Columbia (1993-1995), led the Supreme Council’s department of Fraternal Services for years and served as supreme warden from 2012 to 2014. • Supreme Master Dennis Stoddard has served as chief administrator of the Fourth Degree since 2010. A past state deputy of Florida (1999-2001), he has led fundraising efforts to support the Military Chaplains Fund and other initiatives. • Col. Charles “Chuck” Gallina (USMC-Ret.) has served for many years as an advisor to the supreme knight on military and veterans affairs. He also acts as a liaison with the Archdiocese for the Military Services, U.S.A., and organizes the Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage. B
Past Supreme Knight Receives Religious Freedom Award
PAST SUPREME KNIGHT Carl Anderson received the Defender of Religious Freedom Award Nov. 13 from the Religious Freedom Institute in Washington, D.C. Thomas Farr (pictured right), president of RFI and a member of Potomac Council 433 in Washington, praised Anderson as a model for “faithful people who seek to practice their religion freely, with love and integrity, in modern society.” The award recognized Anderson for his passionate defense of religious liberty throughout his professional career, especially during his tenure as supreme knight from 2001 to 2021. Under his leadership, the Knights of Columbus defended the phrase “under God” in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, supported the Little Sisters of Poor in their opposition to the contraception mandate, and established the Christian Refugee Relief Fund. Upon receiving the award, the past supreme knight thanked members of the Knights of Columbus for their dedication to defending the constitutional right to religious freedom against increasing pressure to minimize religious influence in society. “Our ultimate — and I believe decisive — defense of religious liberty is to live our religious faith so that others can see its value, and to demonstrate by our lives the reality of the transcendent and how that reality lifts up the world around us and makes it a better place,” he said. B
TOP LEFT: Photo by Spirit Juice Studios — BOTTOM LEFT: Photo by Jeffrey Bruno — TOP RIGHT: Photo by Nathan Michell Photography/Courtesy of RFI
Order Supports Local Charities
C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 6
12/13/21 6:57 PM
F AT H E R S F O R G O O D
‘You, O Man of God’ St. Paul lays out the virtues that men need to fight the good fight of faith By Brian Caulfield
The Accolade, painting by Edmund Blair Leighton, 1901
IN OUR AGE of brokenness and confusion, when the value
of masculinity is often looked upon with suspicion and we are asked in some social and professional settings to declare “our pronouns,” how are men to find their true identity and mission in life? A good place to start is with the bedrock of our Catholic faith found in sacred Scripture. Each one of us is made in the image and likeness of God, willed into existence by the Creator, and free, with his grace, to choose him in our lives on earth and for eternity in heaven. As the psalmist says, we were formed by God in the womb, “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14). So how are men to live out this high calling and privilege of being children of God? In his first letter to his disciple Timothy, St. Paul offers fatherly advice on the behavior and virtues proper to Christian manhood. After warning Timothy against pride, envy, quarrelsomeness and greed, St. Paul writes: “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tm 6:11). There is enough here to contemplate and guide us throughout life. It is important to note that it entails a twofold command: to flee vice and temptations and to pursue goodness and virtue. Simply to flee is not enough, nor is it sufficient only to seek the good. Given our weak and fallen nature, we must strive to keep evils away as surely as we seek God’s grace. So let’s look, as men of God, at the virtues St. Paul admonishes us to consciously pursue. Righteousness: This does not mean self-righteousness, declaring ourselves always to be in the right. Righteousness means to measure all our thoughts, words and deeds according to the objective standards of God, to follow his commandments and give all men their due in justice. Godliness: Who can be like God? Yet Jesus himself commands, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). On our own, this is impossible; but nothing is
impossible with God. Godliness requires having regular recourse to prayer and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and confession. Faith: One of the theological virtues, faith is not simply feeling that you are saved or saying you believe. Faith demands action, for “faith without works is dead” ( Jas 2:17). Faith has a content — the articles of our faith that must be believed, embraced and acted upon — and faith must be complemented by the highest theological virtue: charity, or love. Love: Our culture tells us love is merely a feeling or an attraction. But love is tougher and more demanding, and ultimately more satisfying. Love involves an act of the will: to will the total good of another, even if it demands sacrifice on one’s own part. This is the kind of charity and faith in action to which Knights of Columbus are called. Steadfastness: This does not mean stubbornness, to hold your view out of pride or willfulness. Steadfastness, rather, requires discerning what is right in a certain situation, guided by the Commandments and the teachings of the Church, and then holding to the truth against all temptations, pressure, loss of reputation or social status. Gentleness: This can be a true test for many men. We may excel naturally in toughness in the face of challenges, but do we have the charity of heart and humility of character to be gentle at the proper time? Gentle does not mean soft or retreating. It does mean giving another person the benefit of the doubt, stopping to listen before acting or judging, bending others toward the good without breaking them. If we pursue these virtues, and work against our vices and weakness until our last breath on earth, we will fight the good fight for our salvation. B BRIAN CAULFIELD is vice postulator for the cause for canonization of Blessed Michael McGivney and editor of Fathers for Good. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 7
12/13/21 6:57 PM
THE END OF ROE? An interview with Clarke D. Forsythe, senior counsel for Americans United for Life, about current court challenges to Roe v. Wade
C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 8
12/13/21 6:57 PM
he U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Dec. 1 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the most consequential challenge to Roe v. Wade in a generation. On Jan. 22, 1973, the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade created a right to abortion until fetal viability and even after viability if any health concerns on the part of the mother, even anxiety, are identified. In 1992, the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey reaffirmed Roe but created and imposed a new “undue burden” standard for assessing abortion regulations. At issue in Dobbs is a 2018 Mississippi state law that bans abortions, with some exceptions, after 15 weeks’ gestation — well before the current understanding of viability. An unborn baby is generally considered viable at 24 weeks, though some have survived after being born at 22 weeks or even earlier. A toddler in Alabama was recently recognized as the most premature baby ever to survive, having been born at 21 weeks and one day. In effect, the court is being asked whether a ban on abortion before an unborn child is viable is constitutional. But answering this is not simply a matter of evaluating a line after which an unborn baby can be legally considered a person with rights to be protected. Instead, it requires that the court reevaluate the much-criticized reasoning behind the Roe and Casey decisions. This was made clear in the questions posed by several Supreme Court justices during the Dec. 1 oral arguments in Dobbs, observed Clarke D. Forsythe, senior counsel for Americans United for Life. Forsythe, author of Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade (Encounter Books 2013), spoke with Columbia about the flawed rationale for a constitutional right to abortion and what comes next if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe in 2022.
COLUMBIA: Why is this Mississippi law such
a significant threat to Roe v. Wade?
CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters
Pro-life students peacefully demonstrate outside of the U.S. Supreme Court building Dec. 1, 2021, ahead of the court hearing oral arguments in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an appeal from Mississippi to keep its ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
CLARKE FORSYTHE: The Mississippi law sets
up a test case because it prohibits abortion after 15 weeks, with some exceptions. It therefore “violates” the viability rule and conflicts with Roe and Casey. But I was very pleased to hear in the Dec. 1 arguments that the justices weren’t concerned about justifying the 15-week limit. They were all focused on whether Roe and Casey made JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 9
12/13/21 6:57 PM
sense and whether Roe and Casey should be overturned. If a majority were thinking about some kind of compromise, they might have asked the attorneys, “Well, how do you justify 15 weeks? How do you draw the line there?” They didn’t deal with that. Almost all the questions were about Roe and Casey — how can those be justified? Why should we keep those? There’s very little evidence from the arguments that a majority of justices want to craft a compromise. They think it’s all or nothing. Do we overrule Roe and Casey or keep them?
COLUMBIA: The concept of viability is central to the
Dobbs case. Can you explain the standard of viability — and whether it is legally tenable? CLARKE FORSYTHE: The word “viability” was not mentioned once in the two rounds of the Roe arguments in 1971 and 1972. No party of amicus (friend of the court) ever urged the court to adopt the viability rule. Justice Blackmun made it up himself in discussions with other justices behind the scenes just before the majority opinion was released. So, viability
March Local New and strengthened pro-life marches address abortion legislation at the state level
OVER THE LAST several years, state
legislatures across the United States have enacted dozens of new pro-life laws — ranging from informed consent provisions to limits on abortion when an unborn child can feel pain or when a heartbeat can be detected. At the same time, other states have enacted ever more permissive abortion laws, removing virtually all limitations on the procedure up to the moment of birth. In response to these consequential developments, the March for Life Education and Defense Fund launched its state march program in 2018 to bring the peaceful pro-life message of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., to state capitals throughout the country. The initiative began by partnering with and strengthening a number of state marches already in existence, but its primary purpose is to coordinate new marches. The first successful Virginia March for Life was held April 3, 2019, in Richmond, with more than 7,000 participants. It was followed by a second Virginia March for Life Feb. 13, 2020, shortly before COVID-related lockdowns began. The pandemic delayed further expansion of the state march program until mid-2021, when three highly successful state marches — in California, Pennsylvania and Virginia — took place within six weeks. The local Knights of Columbus were involved in each of these marches by promoting attendance and providing
March for Life President Jeanne Mancini speaks at the California March for Life in Sacramento on Aug. 25, 2021.
assistance. Virginia Knights served as marshals at the march in Richmond, and Pennsylvania Knights organized more than 70 buses from parishes throughout the commonwealth. March for Life President Jeanne Mancini has called the Knights of Columbus “the backbone” of the annual event and expressed her admiration for the Order’s commitment to the pro-life movement at every level. “It’s difficult to imagine the March for Life still happening without the Knights of Columbus,”
she said. “At this particular moment in history, we are especially grateful for the support of our local Knights who are helping to make our critically necessary state marches a reality.” The March for Life’s state march program works with local partners to rally the pro-life grass roots, develop a tailored program, and focus attention on any critical life-related legislation under consideration at the state level. In California, for instance, speakers at the Aug. 25 march in Sacramento highlighted pending legislation that would require all health insurance plans in the state to cover abortion. In her remarks, Mancini urged all participants to contact their legislators in opposition. Within 24 hours, the California General Assembly leadership pulled the bill from consideration. As the program continues, the March for Life hopes to establish similar marches in more state capitals. If the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that permits states to enact abortion-related laws more freely, these state marches will become even more important opportunities to bear witness on behalf of the unborn. B TIM SACCOCCIA, past state deputy of the District of Columbia, is vice president of public policy for the Knights of Columbus and chairman of the board for the March for Life Education and Defense Fund.
Photo by Emily Green/Courtesy of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund
By Tim Saccoccia
C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 10
12/13/21 6:57 PM
Photo by Jeffrey Bruno
Thousands of people, including Knights and their families, participated in the first Pennsylvania March for Life on Sept. 27, 2021, at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.
was complete dictum, meaning not necessary to the decisions in those cases. In Casey, the court reaffirmed the “central holding” of Roe, saying that viability marks the earliest time that the state can justify a ban on abortion. But the Pennsylvania law being challenged didn’t depend on viability. So once again, it was dictum. The court has abstractly said viability is essential, but it has never justified it. Justice Samuel Alito, in the Dobbs arguments on Dec. 1, pressed the attorney for Jackson Women’s Health Organization as to why viability is important and not merely an arbitrary line, as Blackmun himself admitted in his personal papers. She said that women have a strong interest in the availability of abortion up to viability. But as Alito asked, if she doesn’t want the child, why does viability make a difference? Isn’t the whole point of abortion
to keep the child from surviving and terminate an unwanted pregnancy? The viability rule and the rationale for it collapses. It makes no sense. It never did. COLUMBIA: Can you further explain how the opinion in
Roe v. Wade is problematic from a legal point of view?
CLARKE FORSYTHE: Justice Blackmun’s majority opinion
has been comprehensively criticized by scholars since 1973. In fact, it is so bad that the court basically abandoned his rationale by 1989 in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. I think one of the key problems that sent the court off the rails was Blackmun’s complete misunderstanding of the common law heritage of protecting human life from the earliest time that the unborn child could be proved to be alive. The common law born-alive rule, which goes back centuries, said that if a child is injured in the womb by an JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 11
12/13/21 6:57 PM
‘Mexico Is Pro-Life’ Knights and others march to demonstrate support of women and the unborn MORE THAN 1 MILLION people marched and rallied on Oct. 3, 2021, in peaceful protest of recent court decisions in Mexico. The March for Women and for Life (Marcha a Favor de la Mujer y de la Vida) took place simultaneously in 70 cities throughout the country, with more than 300,000 participants in Mexico City alone. In early September, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, the highest court in Mexico, ruled that the criminalization of abortion is unconstitutional and also restricted the right of conscientious objection by medical professionals. The March for Women and for Life was soon organized in response, receiving endorsement from the Mexican bishops’ conference and strong participation from various pro-life groups and other organizations, including the Knights of Columbus in each of Mexico’s five K of C jurisdictions. “It was very important for Mexican Catholics, and especially for the Knights of Columbus, to be present,” said Supreme Warden Jorge C. Estrada, state deputy of Mexico South. “We wanted to send a strong, clear message to the court and the congress that Mexico is pro-life.” He added, “It’s also very important that women hear a message that we are here to support you. You are not alone.” B
assault on the mother or an attempted abortion, and is then born alive and dies from those injuries, that is considered a homicide. So the born-alive rule connected the human being in the womb to the human being outside the womb, and said they are the same entity, the same being. Even today, 31 states have a fetal homicide law that provides legal protection from conception for the unborn child outside the context of abortion. For example, if a drunk driver careens down the street and kills a pregnant woman and the unborn child, that’s a double homicide in 31 states. There’s also prenatal injury law in virtually every state, which protects the child from conception. But Blackmun instead relied upon the odd and pro-abortion interpretation of the law from New York Law School professor Cyril Means, and he took the born-alive rule to mean that an unborn child is not a human being at any time in the womb. It only becomes a human being upon term delivery, after 40 weeks’ gestation and can never be a human being while in the womb. By getting that completely wrong, and misunderstanding the medical context, Justice Blackmun allowed abortion from conception to birth. COLUMBIA: How does the majority opinion in Planned
Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 differ from that of Roe?
CLARKE FORSYTHE: In Casey, the court abandoned
Blackmun’s historical rationale for Roe v. Wade but adopted and preserved the results: basically, a right to abortion throughout pregnancy. In effect, they said, “We can’t go back. We can’t overturn Roe because women have relied upon abortion.” That’s what the justices and the lawyers mean by “reliance interests.” But the Casey court never substituted Blackmun’s rationale with a new rationale that is rooted in the Constitution. They also established a new “undue burden” standard for testing state laws, but that has just resulted in confusion and unworkability since then.
Knights carry a banner to lead the March for Women and for Life in San Luis Potosí, one of 70 cities in Mexico that hosted pro-life marches and rallies on Oct. 3, 2021. 12
overturning these decisions would politicize the court and damage its credibility as an institution? CLARKE FORSYTHE: The campaigns of personal destruction that have been aimed at Supreme Court nominees since the 1970s or the 1980s politicized the court. Overturning Roe and Casey is not going to uniquely politicize the court. And if the court can’t justify Roe and Casey as constitutional law, and can only stick to it for political reasons, the court has already been politicized by these decisions. There are solid reasons based on the doctrine of precedent — what we call stare decisis — why unsettled decisions like Roe and Casey should be reconsidered. Stare decisis points to not preserving them, but reconsidering them, because unsettled decisions are defective.
Photo by Gustavo García
COLUMBIA: How do you respond to those who say that
C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 12
12/13/21 6:57 PM
COLUMBIA: If Roe and Casey are thrown out, what practi-
Photo by Tom Shannon
cal ramifications would such a decision have? CLARKE FORSYTHE: There was some talk during the Dec. 1 arguments about what should replace Roe and Casey. The justices did not seem to question the rational basis standard that the Mississippi attorney, Scott Stewart, proposed. He basically said if you overturn Roe and Casey, you should apply a rational basis test: Does a state have a rational basis for prohibiting abortion? It seems that would be the new standard. If so, there might be future cases in which some exceptions or lack of exceptions are challenged under a rational basis standard. But a rational basis standard would allow states to prohibit abortion except to save the life of the mother. With modern medicine, this has declined to a tiny number of cases, and even then, there’s a key distinction between directly intending to kill the child and inducing a premature delivery, for example. If the court cleanly says, “We hereby overrule Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey,” it basically sends the issue back to the states, with very little, if anything, for the federal courts to do. That means whatever law is on the books in the states can be enforced. Some states — for example, California, New York and Illinois — don’t have any limits on the books. But many states have heartbeat laws and 20-week limits which could be enforced. The immediate question is
going to be, will those laws be enforced? Public officials are going to be under a lot of pressure not to enforce the laws. Congress could try to pass a federal law. I think you would see pro-abortion legislators introduce congressional bills to legalize abortion at any time across all 50 states, and pro-life legislators introduce a bill to prohibit abortion across all 50 states. But I think Congress would deadlock, leaving the issue to the states. And even if Congress passed a national abortion law, I think we would see a test case challenging Congress’ constitutional authority to legislate on abortion. COLUMBIA: What advice would you have for members
of the Knights of Columbus and their families who are engaged in the pro-life movement? CLARKE FORSYTHE: They need to be praying for the court and the justices in coming months. And I would say “full speed ahead” with the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative. Because if Roe and Casey are overturned in 2022, state legislators and public officials are going to be on the frontlines — but so are pregnancy care centers. They will need to have the resources to reach out to abortion-minded women and provide services. So full speed ahead with the Ultrasound Initiative and supporting pregnancy care centers and their expansion. B
The Virginia March for Life makes its way through Richmond on Sept. 17, 2021. Virginia Knights served as marshals for the event. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 13
12/13/21 6:57 PM
LIFE PARTNERSHIPS Knights of Columbus in Texas exemplify the Order’s commitment to building a true culture of life
regnancy resource centers have come a long way. That was Vanessa Kelly’s recurring thought as she toured one such center, Birth Choice of Dallas, this past fall. The wife of Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly, Vanessa had suggested that the wives of K of C leaders visit Birth Choice during a meeting of the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors in October. Throughout the tour, she was repeatedly struck by the quality of the center’s staff, equipment and services. “It was state of the art,” said Kelly, who was raised in Texas and has been involved in pro-life work for decades. “A woman who comes in — confused, in pain, suffering — is coming into a beautiful and professional facility. And she is cared for holistically: materially, emotionally and spiritually.” Particularly impressive was the center’s 4-D ultrasound machine. “My youngest daughter is only 5 years old, and I never 14
saw anything beyond 2-D black-and-white images,” Kelly said. “To see an image of a baby in color, it’s just extraordinary.” That machine, like the others that Birth Choice of Dallas has operated, was a donation of Texas Knights of Columbus through the Order’s Ultrasound Initiative. Since the initiative began in 2009 — the same year Birth Choice opened its doors — Knights throughout the Order have funded and placed nearly 1,500 machines in pregnancy resource centers nationwide. As the number of centers offering licensed medical services has grown, together with the number of maternity homes providing care for new mothers, so too have the Order’s pro-life efforts. Beyond the Ultrasound Initiative, councils donated funds and supplies worth nearly $14 million, and members served more than 1.3 million hours to assist pregnancy centers and maternity homes from 2018 to 2020.
Photo by Shannon Faulk
By Matthew Smith
C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 14
12/13/21 6:58 PM
Opposite page: Vanessa Kelly (top right, in white) and other wives of K of C leaders participate in a tour of Birth Choice of Dallas on Oct. 8. Thanks to local Knights, the pregnancy resource center will soon receive a new ultrasound machine — its sixth machine donated through the Order’s Ultrasound Initiative since 2009. • Right: Texas State Life Director Tom Clark (left) delivers a check for $30,000 to Aaron Fowler, Birth Choice’s executive director, in November. The funds were raised by the 2021 Hike for Life, the oldest pro-life event in Texas, founded by Knights in 1973.
This life-saving work, noted Texas State Life Director Thomas Clark, started long before the Texas Heartbeat Act was signed in May 2021, and it will continue no matter the outcome of the legal challenges to pro-life legislation. “It goes to the broader scope of Blessed Michael McGivney’s mission,” Clark said. “Every council is charged with reaching out and assisting those in need — especially women and children in need — in every way we can.” THE POWER OF ULTRASOUND
Photo by Ben Torres
Knights in Texas have reason to be proud of their support for pregnancy centers. The state recently became the Order’s third jurisdiction — after Florida and California — to fund its 100th ultrasound machine. “We know the impact an ultrasound machine has in the prevention of abortions,” State Deputy Alfredo Vela said. “Our support of pregnancy centers is key to our pro-life work and will save many babies well into the future.” Aaron Fowler, executive director of Birth Choice of Dallas, explained, “Ultrasound machines are one of the most impactful and effective tools we have at our disposal in the fight for life.” For many women, he said, ultrasound images provide a transition from a theoretical idea of pregnancy to the reality of a child growing inside them: “We often see that reality hitting home with mothers when they see their baby’s hand go up and they suck on their thumb.” It’s important to keep ultrasound machines up to date because the technology advances rapidly, said Texas State Pregnancy Resource Chairman Andrew Clark, who is Thomas Clark’s son and a fellow member of St. Michael the Archangel Council 11862 in Garland.
“Pregnancy resource centers provide the best in women’s reproductive health, because they’re being honest about what is happening and caring for women in a holistic way.”
“I compare them to laptops,” Andrew said. “You buy one, and tomorrow they come out with something 10 times better. So, I encourage councils to reach out to their local pregnancy resource centers every three to five years, especially those centers with high usage.” Multiple Texas councils — including Our Lady of Guadalupe Council 8306 in Helotes, St. Jude Council 11293 in Allen and St. Anthony Council 12300 in Wylie — have partnered to fund the machines at Birth Choice. The center will soon receive its sixth machine since the Ultrasound Initiative began. “They do a good job of cycling out the old technology and providing new machines for us,” said Fowler. Birth Choice of Dallas is one of the many pregnancy centers in the United States that offer medical services of some kind, including ultrasounds, under the supervision and direction of a licensed physician. According to a 2020 report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, only about 50 such pregnancy centers existed in the United States in 1998; by 2019, the number exceeded 2,000. Birth Choice is unusual in that it shares a parking lot with an abortion facility. After their tour of the pregnancy center in October, Vanessa Kelly led the wives of supreme directors in prayer outside. In encouraging a woman to have an abortion, Kelly noted, such facilities might show an expectant mother an unclear or partial ultrasound image or otherwise conceal the humanity of her unborn child. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 15
12/13/21 6:58 PM
“Pregnancy resource centers provide the best in women’s reproductive health,” she added, “because they’re being honest about what is happening and caring for women in a holistic way.” BEYOND BIRTH
Staff of the Mater Filius Home, including founders Marthalicia and Javier Burkle (back, center), are pictured in November with current and former residents. The maternity home, located in Plano, Texas, receives support from local Knights and the Texas State Council.
Dallas-area Knights have assisted with repairs and renovations at the home. A special state council program encourages this kind of work. ACE Wings — “ACE” means pro-life without Apology, Compromise or Exception — are given to members who engage in a certain number of pro-life events or volunteer activities in a year, including volunteering with a pregnancy center. Thomas Clark visited both Birth Choice and Mater Filius in late November to deliver donations from another K of C initiative, the Hike for Life. The oldest pro-life event in Texas, the Hike for Life was founded by Knights in 1973. “That was the response by the supreme knight at the time,” said Thomas Clark, who has served as president of Hike for Life since 2001. “He asked councils to stage some sort of public display in response to the Roe v. Wade decision to demonstrate the Knights’ support for life.”
Texas Knights continue to organize the Hike for Life, which now comprises 5K walks around the Dallas area and in a few other Texas cities. Hundreds of Knights participated in this year’s event, with 14 councils forming a team. The 2021 hikes raised more than $100,000, all for pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes and other pro-life organizations. “The Knights of Columbus provide tremendous amounts of support, financially and spiritually,” said Fowler. “They are basically our champions where we need it the most.” The goal of pro-life efforts across the state is the same. “Texas is pushing forward,” Fowler affirmed, “and we’re doing everything we can to make abortion unthinkable.” B MATTHEW SMITH writes from Bedford, Texas, and is a member of St. Ann Council 7175 in Burleson.
Photo by Ben Torres
While an ultrasound can open a mother’s eyes to the reality of her unborn child, pro-life advocates must continue to support that woman throughout her pregnancy and long after, Thomas Clark affirmed. “We’re concerned about children both before and after birth because in either case we recognize the gift of a unique human life,” he said. Many pregnancy resource centers, including Birth Choice of Dallas, provide a host of services for mothers who have chosen life, including parenting and life skills classes, referrals to social services and material support. Maternity homes offer even more support for mothers who need a place to live. Four of these residences have opened in the Dallas area in the last few years, noted Tom Clark, adding, “It’s just fantastic that we’ve been blessed with so many.” One of them is the Mater Filius Home in Plano, which opened in 2016; it provides housing, meals and mentorship to women and their babies for up to eight months after birth. Even more importantly, according to former resident Heather Shelle, it provides hope. “Before I had Bentley, I didn’t know if I wanted to keep him,” Shelle said of her son, now 1 year old. “I was nervous being a first-time mother. The person I had been living with left me high and dry, and I didn’t know if I could give my son the life he deserved.” Coming back to visit Mater Filius with his mother in November, Bentley showed off his new standing skills, exchanging high fives with Javier Burkle, who founded the home with his wife, Marthalicia. “Since we started five years ago, the Knights have been very active and available with any help we need,” Marthalicia said. In addition to their prayers and financial donations, C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 16
12/13/21 6:58 PM
From Medical Desert to Lifesaving Oasis Virginia Knights build a health clinic and more for a remote village in Uganda By Zoey Maraist
Photo by Spirit Juice Studios
ob Maher vividly remembers the fruit trees, the mud huts and the smiling faces of the villagers when he visited Kitakyusa, Uganda, for the first time. Maher saw a lot of things on that trip, but it’s what he didn’t see that changed his life forever. It was January 2012, and Maher had traveled to Uganda from the United States with his pastor, Father Gerald Musuubire. A past grand knight of Sts. Peter and Paul Council 11475 in Palmyra, Va., Maher had always wanted to see the native animals roaming through the African bush. Father Musuubire, a Knight of Columbus and a native Ugandan, had served in the remote, rural town of Kitakyusa before he became parochial vicar and then pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. When he made one of his biannual trips back home, Maher asked if he could come along. After spending the day in Kitakyusa, Maher and Father Musuubire returned to Kampala, the capital city. On the way, Maher realized he hadn’t seen a hospital anywhere. He
asked Father Musuubire what people did when they got sick. “Unfortunately, in this area, if they get sick, they get better or they die. There’s nothing for them,” Maher remembers the priest replying. During the 17-hour plane ride home, the words rattled around in Maher’s brain — “They get better or they die.” He felt he had to do something. Thanks to Maher and the support of his brother Knights in Palmyra, the villagers of Kitakyusa no longer have to face such a dire fate. Within a couple of years, the Knights had constructed a health clinic to provide medical treatment to thousands. And they have continued to meet other basic needs — from clean water to electricity — in the years since. A WILL BECOMES A WAY
Father Musuubire didn’t realize the impact the trip to the village would make on his brother Knight, or on the little town he once called home. “I was showing him different things,
Above: St. Francis of Assisi Health Clinic and its staff residence (right), in Kitakyusa, Uganda, were constructed with support from Sts. Peter and Paul Council 11475 in Palmyra, Va. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 17
12/13/21 6:58 PM
thinking I’m entertaining him,” said Father Musuubire. “But these things were making a mark on his heart.” When Maher first told Council 11475 about his dream to open a health facility in Africa, he was greeted with blank stares — but soon enough his fellow Knights embraced the project. “I said, ‘One way or the other we’re going to build a medical clinic,’” recalled Maher, who since 2011 has served as community director of the Virginia State Council. “The No. 1 principle of the Knights of Columbus is charity and to help people who can’t help themselves. The village of Kitakyusa is really, really poor. So we stepped in as Knights of Columbus to fill a void in that village.” Council 11475 began fundraising, first with bake sales and dinners, then with a popular parish talent show. In the meantime, Father Musuubire contacted people in Uganda to draw up plans for a medical clinic. The Knights also received help from the Archdiocese of Kampala, where Kitakyusa is located. When Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga heard about their plan, he donated church land for the clinic. In 2013, they broke ground, and then a local crew got to work, building a foundation with hand tools. “They even make their own bricks,” noted Deacon Peter Coleman, faith director of Council 11475. “They literally have a pit filled with water, and people walk around, churning up the clay. They have a kiln where they fire them. The process is incredible.” Maher and brother Knight Dave Kimball were present when the St. Francis of Assisi Health Clinic officially opened in 2014. “The archbishop came to me at the end of the dedication,” said Maher. “And he told me, ‘You’ve given them hope where there was none.’” Every day is different at St. Francis, said Dr. Luminsa Desirie, one of the two doctors on staff. People come in to receive immunizations, prenatal care and treatment for all kinds of diseases and ailments, including snake bites, typhoid and infections. The clinic “has helped to reduce the mortalities of avoidable diseases, such as malaria,” Desirie said. “It has helped mothers, who have been traversing long distances, to deliver in a safe, hygienic place, which has reduced mothers dying in 18
labor. The cost of treatment is also fair.” Father Musuubire gets messages almost every week from people saying how grateful they are for the clinic, he said. “They are no longer living in fear, thinking, ‘Tomorrow if I get sick, where will I get the transport to get to the major hospital? Where will I get the means to do this and that?’ It is really a nice facility that has made these people feel at peace,” he said. “It’s a blessing to the people how children have been saved, how people who have been suffering from various diseases have been helped to heal.” ‘IT STARTED WITH A CLINIC’
Building a medical facility that serves thousands of people was a huge accomplishment. But the Knights weren’t finished. Medical personnel who came to work at St. Francis had no place to stay. “We found out that the people who were providing medical services were living inside a room inside the medical clinic,” said Deacon Coleman. “We thought, ‘Well, we gotta do something about that.’” So in 2017, the council funded a dormitory next to the clinic with five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a kitchen and a sitting room. Getting clean water was another problem. The clinic relied on huge rain barrels to catch water, while many villagers collected and boiled water from the nearby swamp. The Knights contracted local workers to dig a well and put a tap near the main road so the whole village could access it. At the start, the clinic was powered by solar panels as utility lines stopped 3.5 kilometers away from the village. But the panels kept needing to be upgraded, and it was clear the clinic needed a stronger and more reliable power source. So the Knights also contracted with the local electric company to bring utility poles into town, providing power to the clinic, the rectory, the school and anyone who lives along the power line and can afford to tap in. “It started with a clinic,” said Father Musuubire, who is now pastor of St. Timothy Catholic Church in Tappahannock, Va. “It’s one thing that led to another and to another and to another.” Once it had power, the clinic could expand and use more powerful medical devices, such as an ultrasound machine. Maher found a way to get them one. “The Knights of
C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 18
12/13/21 6:58 PM
Photos courtesy of Bob Maher
Bob Maher (left) and Joe Schaefer, a past grand knight of Council 11475, visit Kitakyusa in 2019. • Opposite page: Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala plants a tree during the ceremony to dedicate the clinic in 2014.
Columbus puts ultrasound machines in so many pregnancy centers. I would talk to people around the state and say, ‘Look, please ask one of these centers, when you donate a new machine, if they’ll give us their old one back,’” he said. One day, Maher got a call from a Knight in Fredericksburg, saying he had a machine for the clinic. The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, which had donated medical supplies in the past, also donated a vital signs monitor. The Knights shipped both machines to Kitakyusa, and they arrived two and half months later. “The medical staff and villagers sent us a video thanking us for everything,” said Maher. “The smiles on their faces are priceless.” With electricity and diagnostic equipment, the clinic was soon upgraded to a health center by the Ugandan Ministry of Health. All told, Council 11475 has provided more than $125,000 to complete the various Kitakyusa projects with funds raised largely through the two church communities in Sts. Peter and Paul Parish.
Still, the Knights aren’t done yet. They hope to build a wall around the facility for greater privacy and security, said Deacon Coleman. “We demonstrate unity, charity and fraternity here at home in Palmyra, in our community,” Coleman said. “But we also can demonstrate it to people we don’t even know. We’re part of a very, very large world. And we’re connected a lot more closely than you would think.” Maher and the other Palmyra Knights haven’t been able to visit Kitakyusa since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But before that, Maher would visit every year. “I would walk up the street and people would be coming out of the bush because they would see me,” he said. “The health center would come into view, and now the living quarters also. I would look out and shake my head and say, ‘I just can’t believe we did it.’” B ZOEY MARAIST is a reporter for the Arlington Catholic Herald. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 19
12/13/21 6:58 PM
Healing Wounds, Restoring Hope Religious sisters train to minister to victims of sex trafficking with support from the Order By Richard Meek
Religious sisters from Nigeria who received training this fall to work with survivors of sex trafficking stand with Bishop Michael Duca of Baton Rouge (center front) at St. John the Baptist Church in Zachary, La. Father Jeffery Bayhi (back left) and Father Chuck Swanson are also pictured.
But the 78 girls served so far by Metanoia Manor are a tiny fraction of sex trafficking victims in the United States, noted Father Bayhi. On any given night, he said, at least 20,000 children are being sold on the streets nationwide. In response to this tremendous need, Father Bayhi arranged for dozens more religious sisters to receive training this past fall to minister to young victims of trafficking. Sister Bridget Nwaankwo
was one of 27 Nigerian religious sisters from various congregations to come to Louisiana for the training program, which was made possible by a $75,000 donation from the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council. “Brother Knights have always been so helpful in responding to human suffering,” Father Bayhi wrote to Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly. “We appreciate your help in this, which is one more of
Photo courtesy of Father Jeffery Bayhi
ister Bridget Nwaankwo has witnessed firsthand the trauma experienced by human trafficking victims. For nearly 10 years, she ministered in a Nigerian shelter for young girls from several countries who were sold as sex slaves. She has accompanied these girls, some as young as 10 and 11 years old, on their journeys, and has held their hands during their darkest hours. “They are so traumatized,” said Sister Bridget, a Sister of St. Joseph. “These children have been battered, shattered so much so that they have lost trust — in God, in people, even in themselves.” Many are surprised to learn that such experiences are neither isolated nor rare. Rather, the scourge of human trafficking, which includes both sexual exploitation and forced labor, affects millions of victims worldwide. “The lack of awareness of the enormity of the amount of human trafficking is incredible,” said Father Jeffery Bayhi, the pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and chaplain of Bishop Robert E. Tracy Council 10080, both in Zachary, La. Father Bayhi, a priest of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, worked tirelessly with law enforcement officials and government leaders to establish Metanoia Manor, a residence for juvenile victims of sex trafficking, in 2018. Staffed by the Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy and secluded among rolling hills in southeast Louisiana, the 12,000-square-foot home provides girls with a refuge where they can begin to heal physically, mentally and spiritually from their trauma and attempt to reclaim a youth robbed of its innocence. C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 20
12/13/21 6:59 PM
CNS photo/Yui Mok, PA Images via Reuters
the many areas where the Knights continue to serve.” On the local level, members of Council 10080 and St. John the Baptist Council 10744 in Brusly, which have provided support to Metanoia Manor from the start, helped to welcome the sisters and prepare meals for them during their stay. The sisters spent several weeks in the Baton Rouge area, becoming more familiar with American culture and learning Trust-based Relationship Intervention, a new approach to working with people who are severely traumatized. They also spent time at Metanoia Manor to learn about its various programs. In addition to receiving individual and group therapy and spiritual counseling, residents are taught life skills such as cooking and helped to earn their high school diplomas. Father Chuck Swanson, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha and longtime Knights of Columbus chaplain who has been working with Father Bayhi for several years, noted that in addition to a lack of education, many young victims of trafficking have never received moral or spiritual formation. “The sisters have to build on practically nothing,” said Father Swanson. “They really rehab these girls back to their youths.” By early January, which is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, some 23 of the sisters who participated in the training are expected to be working in trafficking shelters around the United States. Although no state is immune from the problem, authorities say the Interstate 10 corridor, which runs from Houston through Louisiana to Florida, is among the worst in the country for trafficking. Cities along that corridor often host major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and NBA AllStar game, and research has shown that sex traffickers tend to follow male-dominated sporting events. Of the nearly 80 girls who have lived at Metanoia Manor, only one has not been a Louisiana resident. According to Father Bayhi, 42% of young girls sold into sex slavery in Louisiana have been done so by their primary caregivers. “I think it’s important to realize human trafficking is a symptom,” the priest said, noting the extensiveness of the pornography industry. “We have got to deal with this problem. We have to understand how we got here, how we became a society that now sees human life as a commodity, property or pleasure. When we start viewing human life like this, there is something wrong.” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a member of St. Helena Council 10911 in Amite, has previously spoken about Louisiana’s special obligation to combat trafficking and reach out to victims. “We have a lot of victims that traverse our state,” said Edwards, who supported the creation of Metanoia Manor and was present at its dedication. “As perverse as it sounds and as ugly as it is, we just look at the reality that where people gather, these victims will be brought in. We need to do what we can to end human trafficking and, in the meantime, do what we can to aid the victims, emotionally, physically and spiritually.” Religious sisters are essential to this work, Father Bayhi said. “Everyone, from civil to government and church
Order Combats Web of Exploitation THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS recently established a partnership with the Arise Foundation, a nongovernmental organization that fights various forms of human trafficking and modern slavery around the world. Arise opened an office in the Philippines in October 2020, working directly with religious sisters on the ground to raise awareness about the prevalence and danger of trafficking and child exploitation and to build resilience in high-risk communities. A grant from the Supreme Council is currently helping to combat the surge of online child sexual abuse, particularly in the Philippines, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a growing understanding of this social scourge, the immediate goal is to help affected individuals and families while working to prevent child exploitation and other forms of modern slavery. For more information, visit arisefdn.org.
authorities, knows that the most successful programs are faith-based,” he said. “And among the faith-based, the most successful are run by religious sisters.” “No one does this for the money — only for the love of God,” he added, noting that the average employment duration for people in human trafficking shelters is four months. “Initially, the sisters must take it as a vocational aspect, as a calling from God.” Sister Norma Nunez, the director of Metanoia Manor, said that though the young girls have suffered a traumatic loss of freedom and innocence, such wounds are not irreparable. “Our vision is to provide underage survivors a home life environment where freedom is regained and souls are healed through love, schooling, social therapy,” Sister Norma said. “This is our hope and our mission, to have God do all of this.” For more information, visit metanoia-inc.org. B RICHARD MEEK is the editor The Catholic Commentator, the newspaper of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 21
12/13/21 6:59 PM
GRIDIRON FATHERS Three NFL chaplains discuss their faith and ministry both on and off the football field
Top: Kansas City Chiefs chaplain Father Richard Rocha gives a blessing to Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker outside the team’s Arrowhead Stadium in December. Rocha has been a Knight since 1981, Butker since 2015.
Photos by Spirit Juice Studios
unday is hardly a day of rest for players in the National Football League, at least during the season. That’s one reason many NFL teams have chaplains to serve the spiritual needs of their athletes. While their role varies from team to team, chaplains generally are available to athletes for prayer and counsel. In the case of Catholic chaplains, they also bring players, coaches and staff the sacraments, particularly the Holy Eucharist at Mass. Three of these priests, all members of the Knights of Columbus, recently shared with Columbia a bit about their vocational journeys and their experience as NFL chaplains — from the excitement of watching a game from the sidelines to the real work of their ministry: being joyful witnesses of the Father’s love and mercy to the teams they serve.
C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 22
12/13/21 6:59 PM
‘Everything They Have’ Father Chuck Dornquast joined the Knights in 2007 and was ordained a priest in 2015. That same year, he became chaplain of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After a few giddy fan moments at the outset, he quickly came to a realization: “The players don’t need someone who’s going to give them special attention because they are top-notch athletes; they need someone who can love them as a father.” Now vocation director for the Diocese of St. Petersburg , Father Dornquast also mentors young men discerning a call to the priesthood. When I was growing up, Dad was a long-haul truck driver and Mom worked at Red Lobster. They started to have significant financial difficulties when my dad got injured. From that moment, Mom was the primary breadwinner, trying to feed five of us with her salary. The parish really began to provide in wonderful ways, including the Knights of Columbus council. They would bring us Christmas presents every year, and provided meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’d later learn that they really paid for a lot of our bills growing up while my dad was injured. When I entered seminary after high school, the Knights of Columbus sponsored me for years — my home council in
Zephyrhills and then other councils within the Diocese of St. Petersburg. My family could not have afforded my education as a seminarian. So the Knights honestly have been an incredible blessing in my life. I was ordained in 2015 and assigned to St. Lawrence Parish in Tampa, which is about five minutes north of the Buccaneers’ training facility. They came to the pastor, Msgr. Michael Muhr, and said, “Hey, we’re in need of a new priest.” So he asked if I’d be chaplain for the Bucs. And I said, “Heck, yes!” The role of the chaplain varies drastically depending on the team and the coach. Currently, I’m in there the night before any game, celebrating Mass for the team, available for any other sacramental resources or help. And all the guys have my cell phone number, so if they have an issue or a need, they’re able to reach out. On game day, I’m present to the team prior to the game and on the field for pregame. Prior to COVID, I was in the locker room pregame, on the field for the entirety of the game, and able to meet with the players or staff at any point they needed throughout the week. I think the real reason it benefits a team to have a chaplain is because the guys work on Sunday, and because they’re not able to go to Mass on Sunday at a parish, they don’t have a connection to a parish priest. But 99% of these men take their faith life seriously. I’m blown away by their faithfulness
Father Chuck Dornquast Tampa Bay Bucccaneers
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 23
12/13/21 6:59 PM
and fidelity. Whatever their religion, their spiritual lives are important to them. To be available to them when they do have issues or difficulties — what a huge gift. We set athletes up on pedestals because they expand the realm of what we think is possible. These guys do extraordinary things. And we assume that because they’re able to do extraordinary physical things, they must be extraordinary in other areas of their life. But these incredible men deal with brokenness just like everyone else. They have their own family issues, inner limitations, temptations. As a chaplain, it’s my job not to treat them like NFL players but to have a deep care for them in the circumstances of their lives. They need someone to be a spiritual father to them. My favorite moments with the team come during Mass. Mass is celebrated rather expediently, but I’m always very intentional about not rushing consecration — the Lord saying, “Take this all of you and eat it, for this is my body.” I don’t want to rush them hearing that from Jesus Christ. Then, after Communion, we’ll take two to three minutes of silence. When you’ve only got 25 minutes for Mass, that’s a significant portion of time. But it’s the one time that these guys get to be still and quiet with each other, that they’re not being told what to do. It’s the one time that I can guarantee that my guys have a moment to be with the Lord. That’s a moment that I’m always conscious of preserving. I don’t know if they always set aside that still, small moment of being with the Lord in their lives, but I know that I can give them that. I never pray for our guys to win, but I do pray for their safety. And I pray that they give themselves entirely. That they bring everything they have to that moment. That they empty themselves for the sake of each other, into the team. That’s what I pray for, that they love each other well when they play the game. Unfortunately, because of COVID, I wasn’t able to be at the Super Bowl last year, but I watched the game with Bishop Gregory Parkes (of St. Petersburg). When the Bucs won, I was yelling and screaming, shooting off fireworks. I don’t know if the neighbors liked that too much. But it was wonderful. A couple of days later, I got a phone call around 11:30 at night from one of the guys on the team. He said, “Father Chuck, we need you to get to Tampa tomorrow. I’ve got you a spot on the boat parade.” So I was on the boat with the offensive line, floating down the Hillsborough River with the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, celebrating their victory. It’s ridiculous, absolutely 100% absurd. And yet that’s what the Lord does. I never could have imagined as a kid being in a Super Bowl boat parade. And it’s not because I did anything incredible. It’s because I tried to be faithful and trusted in the Lord. The Father is never outdone in generosity. No matter how much we may give him, he always gives us far more than we could ever fathom. 24
‘A Ministry of Presence’ For a decade before entering seminary in 2009, Father Douglas Hunter served as a police officer, giving him a unique perspective in his work as a priest. In addition to serving as pastor of St. Roch Parish in Indianapolis and as a chaplain with the Southport Police Department, Father Hunter has served as chaplain of the Indianapolis Colts since 2017. A past grand knight of St. Meinrad Seminary Council 15058, he is also a past state chaplain of Indiana. The seeds of my vocation began in the fourth grade when I began serving the 8:30 a.m. Masses at St. Joan of Arc on the north side of Indy. I was the only server for about two years, and it just became normal for me. Then, during my freshman year in high school, my mom dropped me off at my dad’s house one day. I found him on the floor and discovered he had passed away. Because of that trauma, my grades during high school suffered, so when I applied to the seminary, I was not admitted. A friend said, “Hey, have you thought about being a police officer?” I then made it through the academy and worked for the Marion County Sheriff ’s Department. They put me in charge of the cadet program, crime prevention and youth education. But all the while, I just kept feeling this nudge of God saying, “I have more for you.” I kept running from it, but eventually I turned in my car, badge, gun — everything that I knew for about 11 years and thought was my identity in life. I turned it all in and said, “OK, here we go,” and took a leap of faith. I applied to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and, after my formation, was ordained in 2016. The following year, I was sitting in a parish staff meeting when I get a phone call from a priest who said, “Hey, the Colts are looking for a chaplain — you in?” That’s all he said. I’m like, “Can I get some more info?” “They need a chaplain, and you’d fit in perfectly. I think you’d do a great job.” So I met with the Colts’ general manager, Chris Ballard, who’s a devout Catholic himself. He wants me to be present to the players as much as possible — on the practice field, off the practice field, on the gridiron on Sundays, and anywhere in between. When new guys come in, they’re uprooting their family and moving here. They can reach out to me if they’re Catholic, and I’ll help them find a Catholic church and school. But getting to know them is the biggest part. I go out to the Colts complex a couple of times a week. I meet with people privately. I sit in on a couple different meetings. I talk to the front office personnel, the security guys. I eat lunch with the players. Being really present wherever I’m ministering is more important than anything else. They know I’m there for them, and they’re more inclined to talk to me and open up to me when they see me on a regular basis. Such a ministry of presence establishes a personal relationship, is very important. It’s something that I don’t take lightly or take for granted.
C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 24
12/13/21 6:59 PM
Father Douglas Hunter
Photo by Spirit Juice Studios
On game days, I will pray with some of the guys individually, or a few of us might come together and pray. There’s a last briefing before the game, and then we all come together as a team and pray before the game begins. By then, the clock is ticking: An NFL official is coming in to give us the two-minute warning, and helmets and gloves are going on; the last hand or foot wraps are going on. They’re all getting hyped up and go into the huddle: “1, 2, 3, Colts.” Then they run out on the field. It’s an uplifting moment — I go from that prayerful moment, being the pastor and shepherding people, to this excitement, this electricity before the game. When the game begins, I usually stand around the 30-yard line. If a player is injured, and they have to be X-rayed, I’ll go back with them and pray. Coming from law enforcement, where you have to have this stern exterior, I really had to work hard to break down the old self. I have to talk with compassion. I have to see the face of Christ in the person I’m dealing with. I have to see them in their need at that moment, and not where I think they should be in their life. And that allows for me to step out of the way of myself and let God work through me. In my parish, I deal with a lot of emotions and the issues people are going through in life; in the NFL, I’m doing the same thing. Those guys are just regular people who do extraordinary things on the field. Sometimes at players’ homes I have to help a guy be a loving father or a nurturing husband
along the way. When men go through things, they sometimes don’t want to show any weakness or vulnerability. But with my knowledge from law enforcement, I can usually crack a person open and see what’s going on inside and minister in a very unique way. My first obligation is to the parish and to the parish school, but then I can venture off to the Colts or the police. I always tell my friends that I have two churches — one here at the parish and one at the Colts complex, because a lot of ministry takes place down there. I’m also heavily involved in Knights of Columbus. Their beautiful organization helps me in many different ways, and I help them in any way possible. I found out about the Knights when I was in seminary, and when I saw how active they were in the community, I said, “Wait a minute, I want to be part of that too.” What inspired me to join was a simple invitation. Someone asked me, “Have you heard about the Knights of Columbus?” I said, “Yes, but tell me more.” And he told me, and I said, “Sign me up.” People often ask me, “How do you balance all that you do?” I say, “It’s the work of the Holy Spirit.” I have to stop and check in with God throughout the day — with the Liturgy of the Hours and Mass and with eucharistic adoration. It’s just taking time out to unplug from this world and plug in to God’s world. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 25
12/13/21 6:59 PM
Father Richard Rocha
‘Coaching on God’s Team’ Very few people have a Super Bowl ring or a World Series ring. Father Richard Rocha has both. The pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church in Blue Springs, Mo., Father Rocha has served as Catholic chaplain for the Kansas City Chiefs since 2017 and for the Kansas City Royals since 2006. Before entering the seminary, he was a football coach for 14 years at the high school and college levels; he later he served as vocation director for the Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph (2009-2017). A Knight since 1981, Father Rocha also served as Missouri state chaplain from 2004 to 2006. I am one of five children born to Robert and Mary Rocha. I grew up in a devout Catholic family with a strong love for God and devotion to Our Lady Guadalupe, St. Joseph 26
and the saints. We were blessed to have attended Catholic schools. In fifth grade, the local Knights of Columbus bought us playground equipment, and I remember a football coming out of the bag. From that moment, I fell in love with the game. I played in junior high and high school, and then got a scholarship to play at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. After my sophomore year, my father died suddenly. My high school coach, who was like a father to me, said, “Son, why don’t you come home and help me with the team, and finish your degree at the local university.” I was 20 years old when I started coaching at the high school level. We were watching film one Thursday night, and he said, “Why don’t you join me at holy Mass tomorrow? It’s First Friday.” I thought, “What’s First Friday?” But I joined him and thought, “That wasn’t so bad.” So I started doing that on Fridays, then every day during Lent. Then I said, “I wonder
Photo by Spirit Juice Studios
Kansas City Chiefs
C O L U M B I A B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 26
12/13/21 7:00 PM
if I can do this every day.” There was just a pull, a love for Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. I went on to Northwest Missouri State and coached there for two years. After coaching at two other colleges, I became a head football coach on the high school level. I instilled into my players the “3F” philosophy that my high school coach taught me: Your faith has to be first, followed by family, and only then football. I really felt that football and being married with a family was where God was calling me. But there was that pull again. I was struggling, not being able to sleep at night, so one day after daily Mass, I told the priest, “Monsignor, I am struggling with the fact that I don’t know if I should be coaching. I’ve been coming to Mass earlier thinking, ‘Maybe God wants me to spend more time in front of the Blessed Sacrament.’” He looked straight at me and said, “Coach, are you sure God’s not calling you to the priesthood?” I remember my face just falling into my hands, and full of tears. I said, “Maybe he is, but I don’t want to be a priest. I want to coach football. I want to be married. I want to have a family.” And he said, “Coach, let me give you two pieces of advice. First, have you ever asked God what his will is for you? And second, don’t rule out the priesthood if you see yourself as a husband and a father, because God wants good strong men to be husbands to his Church and fathers to his people.” After he said that, a big weight lifted off my shoulders. Later, when I told my mom I was entering the seminary, she said, “Ever since you started coaching, I’ve been praying a novena to Our Lady Guadalupe and St. Jude, that God might call you to the priesthood.” I think 14 years of tears fell right then and there, since that was my 14th year of coaching. It was a wonderful, joy-filled moment. When I later became vocation director, we had about 19 seminarians. I told my mom, “You gotta pray for more
“It’s important to remind them that in this game of life, football will pass, as everything else will go away. God wants us to be hungry for the things of heaven, so how are you preparing yourself?”
vocations since it’s my job now.” When I left, we had 37 seminarians. And when I became the Royals’ Catholic chaplain, I said, “Mom, throw the Royals in there, too.” She died in January 2015; the Royals won the World Series that November. The same thing with the Chiefs, “Mom I’m taking over the Chiefs, you need to start praying.” Obviously, she has a better seat now. It’s just wonderful how her prayers and, obviously, God’s grace, drew me into the priesthood. Yet I figured that as a priest I’d never be involved in sports. I never would have thought that in a million years I’d be able to have an influence on professional coaches and players, bringing them close to God. It’s awesome how God works. With the Chiefs, Mass and confessions usually take place on Saturday night, which is the big night. I’ll set up for Mass and just be available for players and coaches to go to confession. One of them always reads at Mass. And afterward, there’s an opportunity to interact with them. They always want to know if I’m going to be there at the game. I try to go to most of the games. I’m not always there, but I’m there for them for their spiritual lives. It’s important to remind them that in this game of life, football will pass, as everything else will go away. God wants us to be hungry for the things of heaven, so how are you preparing yourself ? And being an NFL chaplain also connects to my parish work. I treat my Sunday homilies like a halftime talk — you’re coming here, you need to be fed in order to go out and get through the week to next weekend. It’s that kind of challenge: “Hey, we’re down by seven. We got to get out there in the second half and finish the game. It’s a game of life.” So there is a strong connection. I’m not coaching football on a particular team, but I’m coaching on God’s team. I’m the chaplain for our local K of C council as well as our Fourth Degree assembly. I remember when I was entering seminary, right away a couple of councils called and said, “We want to sponsor you. Come talk to our group, our men want to know your story.” And then after becoming a priest, I was asked to be Missouri district friar and then Missouri state chaplain. I truly love the Knights of Columbus. They do so much for our Catholic faith; they’re the right arm of the pastor. When you want something done, go to your Knights, and they get it done. They’re really performing the corporal works of mercy that God wants us to do. These last two years with COVID, I haven’t had a pregame field experience. But to be on the field before a game is electrifying. And of course a high moment was to go to Super Bowl when we played the San Francisco 49ers to end the 2019 season. When the game seemed to be slipping away, people were looking at me in my collar as if to say, “Do something.” And I remember breaking out the rosary beads and calling on my mother and Our Lady Queen of Victory. The rest is history. B JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 B C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG 12_13 FINAL.indd 27
12/13/21 7:00 PM
K N I G H T S I N AC T I O N ✢ F A I T H I N A C T I O N
WYOMING VALLEY RALLY Members of several councils in Wyoming Valley, Pa., led the region’s 44th annual Rosary Rally outside St. John the Baptist Church in Larksville. Participants prayed for the nation while processing through the church and and its grounds with a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. The event concluded with Mass and a reception.
ROSES FOR THEIR RESTING PLACES Members of Holy Spirit Council 6517 in Atlanta spruced up the section of Westview Cemetery where Marist priests and Dominican religious sisters are buried. The Knights raked and mowed the grounds and trimmed bushes; they also installed small vases in front of the graves and placed a rose in each.
PEW CREW Members of St. Gabriel the Archangel Council 13286 in Cave Creek, Ariz., responded to a request from their pastor and council chaplain, Father Chad King, to unload a truckload of new pews for their recently renovated church.
FATHER AND BROTHERS Joyce Kilmer Council 2483 in Hackettstown, N.J., presented Father Timothy Eck II with a chasuble embroidered with the emblem of the Order in honor of his recent ordination. Father Eck, a member of St. Jude Council 12430 in Columbia, N.J., received financial support throughout his studies from both Council 12430 and Council 2483.
MAINTENANCE MEN Members of Centennial Council 6074 in Sudbury, Ontario, took on a number of maintenance projects at St. Andrew the Apostle Church to help the parish reduce expenses during the pandemic. The Knights painted doors and window frames, replaced ceiling tiles and lights, and donated and installed new refrigerators, among other tasks.
ROSARY LEADERS Members of Cumberland Council 2916 in Amherst, Nova Scotia, led parishioners in praying the rosary at Holy Family Church. The council was one of several parish groups to host prayer services throughout October.
Mahlon Akhtar (pointing) and Atish Pereira, members of Blessed Carlo Acutis Council 17693 in Bond Head, Ontario, repair a door at St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church. The council regularly organizes volunteer work days to clean and maintain the parish facilities.
ABOVE: Photo by Maciej Maziarka — BELOW: Photo by Ingrid Punwani
Father Janusz Chyła (right), chaplain of St. Nicholas Council 16964 in Chojnice, Poland, leads Knights and their families in prayer during an annual K of C pilgrimage to Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa. The monastery is home to the venerated icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa.
FUNDS FOR INDIAN MISSIONS St. Bernard Council 9514 in Bella Vista, Ark., sponsored a Sunday pancake breakfast and fundraiser at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish to benefit the Indian Missionary Society. The Knights sold wooden pendants designed by a council member and also accepted donations, raising more than $800 for the religious congregation, to which their pastor and council chaplain, Father Barnabas Maria Susai, belongs.
2 8 C O L U M B I A ✢ JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN/FEB 21 ENG KIA 12_13.indd 28
12/13/21 4:38 PM
CANCER CARE CHAMPIONS Sacred Heart/St. Joseph Council 17457 in Covington, Va., donated more than $6,000 raised through raffle ticket sales to a brother Knight to help cover costs related to his daughter’s cancer treatment. TEN MONTHS OF MEALS In a period of 10 months, Msgr. Richard C. Madden Council 6629 in Summerville, S.C., collected more than 6,000 pounds of food from St. John the Beloved parishioners and distributed it to hundreds of families in need.
A member of Sacred Heart Council 15682 in Bethlehem, Pa., presents gifts to a young mother at her child’s baptism. The council gives each parish family celebrating the sacrament a rose and a rosary, accompanied by a quote from St. John Paul II.
MINDANAO FOOD FOR FAMILIES Members of San Antonio Maria Claret Council 8827 in Zamboanga City, Mindanao, and family members distributed supplies to people in need on Great Santa Cruz Island as part of a Food for Families initiative.
OUT TO THE BALLGAME For the sixth year, Immaculate Conception Council 13904 in Nashua, N.H., treated youth and staff of Pinehaven Boys Center to a day at the ballpark to watch a New Hampshire Fisher Cats game. Several Knights and family members accompanied the guests from Pine Haven, a residential facility serving boys with behavioral, educational and emotional challenges. LUNCH FOR THE MATCH Members of St. John the Baptist Council 14581 in Costa Mesa, Calif., cooked lunch to accompany a special event: a basketball game between the eighth grade girls of St. John the Baptist Catholic School and the Norbertine sisters in residence at the parish. The sisters had been coached by Norbertine Father Augustine Puchner, pastor and council chaplain.
BELOW: Photo by Spirit Juice Studios
SCHOOL BRIGADE Members of Bien Unido Council 10447 in Bohol, Visayas, trimmed grass and collected trash around a local school as part of a Brigada Eskwela (“School Brigade”) volunteer maintenance event. FINISHING THE FEAST St. Patrick Council 10154 in Wentzville, Mo., has partnered with a local grocery store for several years to provide Christmas meals for families in need. The store donates side dishes; the Knights add a meat entrée and deliver the packages to the St. Vincent de Paul Society food pantry at St. Patrick’s Church.
Virginia State Deputy Mark Janda (right) and a young volunteer package food at an event hosted by the Baltimore Chapter in Nottingham, Md., in partnership with Cross Catholic Outreach. More than 120 volunteers — including Knights from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia and their families — packed nutritional meals for malnourished children. They assembled 36,000 meals to be sent to Guatemala and another 4,000 for children in Baltimore. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 ✢ C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN/FEB 21 ENG KIA 12_13.indd 29
12/13/21 4:38 PM
K N I G H T S I N AC T I O N ✢ F A I T H I N A C T I O N
Community RAIL GUARDS Members of Immaculate Conception Council 6245 in Annandale, N.J., purchased and installed outdoor railings at the home of a deceased member’s widow after learning she had difficulty using her steps.
An honor guard leads runners in the Pledge of Allegiance before the fourth annual Wrentham Knights of Columbia 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by Father James H. Coffey Council 13845 in Wrentham, Mass. The event raised more than $5,200 for St. Mary’s Church, Wrentham Food Pantry, the local St. Vincent de Paul Society and other charitable organizations.
FAITHFUL BUILDERS Members of Holy Spirit Council 13919 in Malolos, Luzon South, built an extension to the garage at the Parish of the Holy Spirit. The Knights funded the project in addition to completing the construction. COMBINED COAT COLLECTION Chief Solano Council 3585 in Fairfield, Calif., and Espiritu Santo Council 15620 in Vacaville collaborated to donate more than 100 coats to Fairfield Healthy Start, a resource center for families. In addition to buying
children’s jackets through the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids program, the councils collected garments from parishioners at Holy Spirit and St. Joseph Catholic Churches, which a local dry cleaner laundered for free. GOVERNOR’S HIGHWAY VOLUNTEERS Members of Joseph C. Carroll Council 5390 in Marion, Iowa, resumed their highway cleanup after a long hiatus mandated by COVID-19 restrictions. The council, which recently received a Governor’s Volunteer Award, has completed the project semiannually for more than 20 years. FUEL FOR FIREFIGHTERS Members of Roundup (Mont.) Council 2464 and their families prepared and served about 500 meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — to firefighters battling a wildfire west of town.
Members of St. Isidore Council 12779 in Ubay, Visayas, and other volunteers from the Diocese of Talibon build a new home for people experiencing poverty.
FALL CLEANUP Parkersburg (W.V.) Council 594 partnered with St. Francis Xavier parishioners, local Catholic high school students and members of the local historical society to clean up St. Francis Xavier Cemetery, which is the burial place of several charter members.
ABOVE: Photo by Stephen Sherman
WARM BEGINNINGS Louis Hebert Council 6468 in Moncton, New Brunswick, donated nearly 50 coats, snowsuits and other articles of winter clothing to Moncton Headstart, a family support services agency, through the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids program.
3 0 C O L U M B I A ✢ JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN/FEB 21 ENG KIA 12_13.indd 30
12/13/21 4:38 PM
BELOW: Photo by Tylor Burt
ULTRASOUND TEAMWORK Immaculate Conception Council 13681 in Springfield, Mo., donated a mobile ultrasound machine to Pregnancy Care Center after the center’s staff asked for help replacing its obsolete device earlier this year. Council 13681 raised approximately $13,000 through a parish baby bottle campaign and appeals to Springfield St. Anne Council 698, Holy Spirit Council 9533 and Pope Saint Pius X Assembly 1877, all in Springfield. Donations from the Missouri State Council’s Meet Life Campaign and the Supreme Council’s Culture of Life Fund covered the remaining costs.
A member of Msgr. Kuenie Council 5239 in Anna, Ohio, prepares to give blood at a drive sponsored by the council at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. The Knights helped coordinate and publicize the drive in partnership with Community Blood Center.
Grand Knight Dan Benoit (left) and other members of Msgr. Thomas Hennessy Council 1518 in Miles City, Mont., present a donation to Outreach Clinic of Miles City for its new ultrasound machine and operational expenses. The council raised $17,000, and the Supreme Council matched the funds. Father Jolly Pathiyamoola (center), pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, blessed the machine.
BURRITOS FOR BABIES St. Philip the Apostle Council 9884 in Lewisville, Texas, hosted several breakfast burrito fundraisers this year at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, bringing in more than $3,900. All proceeds were donated to Loreto House, a pregnancy resource center in Denton.
EMERALD COAST COACHING Members of Emerald Coast Council 11893 in Destin, Fla., coached the athletes and helped organize the awards ceremony for the Walton County Special Olympics Bowling Tournament.
BLOOD OF CHRIST THE KING Christ the King Council 8473 in Wonder Lake, Ill., partnered with Versiti Blood Center to host a blood drive at Christ the King Catholic Church. Medical workers collected 24 units, including 13 units of Type O, which the center most needed.
CORRECTIONS On the inside front cover of the November issue, Louis Rouleau (Edmonton, AB) was mistakenly omitted from the list of Knights of Columbus field agents who qualified for the 2021 Million Dollar Round Table. • On page 30 of the November issue, the text should have read, “The councils listed in black achieved Double Star Council Award, and the councils listed in blue achieved the Triple Star Council Award or higher.”
ONTARIO LIFE CHAIN Members of Prince of Peace Council 9144 in Toronto and Chinese Martyrs Council 15463 in Markham, Ontario, participated in Life Chain, an annual pro-life demonstration by coordinated groups across the United States and Canada. Approximately 120 participants prayed and displayed signs for an hour at a busy intersection in Scarborough.
See more at www.kofc.org/knightsinaction Please submit your council activities to email@example.com JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 ✢ C O L U M B I A
COLUMBIA JAN/FEB 21 ENG KIA 12_13.indd 31
12/13/21 4:38 PM
Join the Father McGivney Guild
NEW KNIGHTS YEAR!
Please enroll me in the Father Michael J. 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: fathermcgivney.org
K OF C OFFICIAL SUPPLIERS
Show your K of C pride with customized hats that have YOUR personal council or assembly name & number!
www.KnightsGear.com www.KnightsGear.ca 1-833-695-4872 IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA
THE ENGLISH COMPANY INC. www.kofcsupplies.com 1-800-444-5632
Personalize it! St. Mary’s Council 10705
THE SUPPLY ROOM, INC. www.kofcuniform.com 1-833-562-4327
OFFICIAL JANUARY 1, 2022:
LOOKING GOOD WHILE DOING GOOD WITH
Knights Gear !
*knit hats cannot be personalized
Scan the QR Code or visit
today to start shopping for all your Council and personal needs! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional inquiries.
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 06507-9982. 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 06507-9982. COLUMBIA (ISSN 0010-1869/USPS #123-740) IS PUBLISHED 10 TIMES A YEAR BY THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, 1 COLUMBUS PLAZA, NEW HAVEN, CT 06510-3326. PHONE: 203-752-4000, kofc.org. PRODUCED IN USA. COPYRIGHT © 2021 BY KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT NEW HAVEN, CT AND ADDITIONAL MAILING OFFICES. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO COLUMBIA, MEMBERSHIP DEPARTMENT, P.O. BOX 554, ELMSFORD, NY 10523. CANADIAN POSTMASTER — PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 1473549. RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO: KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, 50 MACINTOSH BOULEVARD, CONCORD, ONTARIO L4K 4P3. PHILIPPINES — FOR PHILIPPINES SECOND-CLASS MAIL AT THE MANILA CENTRAL POST OFFICE. SEND RETURN COPIES TO KCFAPI, FRATERNAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT, PO BOX 1511, MANILA.
3 2 C O L U M B I A ✢ JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
COLUMBIA JAN/FEB 21 ENG KIA 12_13.indd 32
12/13/21 4:38 PM
KNIGHTS OF CHARITY
Photo by Nick Crettier
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.
Msgr. Jeffrey Laible (left), vicar general of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and Father Mark Rutherford (center), judicial vicar, receive a delivery of the new 6th edition of Armed with the Faith, a prayer book developed by the Order in partnership with the archdiocese. Knights in the District of Columbia helped to unload a shipment of 70,000 books at archdiocesan headquarters Dec. 4. Jesuit Father Daniel Sweeney (right), a colonel in the Air Force and a former state chaplain of Pennsylvania, is the prayer book’s editor.
To be featured here, send your council’s “Knights in Action” photo as well as its description to: Columbia, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326 or e-mail: email@example.com COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG COVERS 12_13 FINAL.indd 3
12/14/21 9:19 AM
PLEASE, DO ALL YOU CAN TO ENCOURAGE PRIESTLY AND RELIGIOUS VOCATIONS. YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
‘The desire to belong to Jesus kept growing.’
Sister Antonia of the Paschal Lamb Sisters Poor of Jesus Christ Hamilton, Ontario
COLUMBIA JAN FEB 22 ENG COVERS 12_13 FINAL.indd 6
Photo by Jon Evans
When I was in high school, I was involved in missionary activities at my parish in Asunción, Paraguay. But the thought of becoming a missionary sister never occurred to me until after graduation, when I met the Sisters and Friars Poor of Jesus Christ. I started to go to the sisters’ house for eucharistic adoration and to help them serve the poor. Though I realized that God was calling me to do the same, I tried to ignore it. I had just begun working and going to university; I had my own plans and couldn’t believe that the Lord was asking me to do something totally different. But the desire to belong to Jesus and be a missionary kept growing and burning within me until I didn’t want anything else. After a discernment period, I joined the Sisters Poor of Jesus Christ and began my spiritual and missionary adventure with Jesus. I love the joys and challenges of missionary life, which help me to grow in my love for God and his people.
12/14/21 6:11 PM