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June 2010 ♦ Volume 90 ♦ number 6


8 They Call You ‘Father’ Priests who received support from the Order during their formation reflect on their vocation. BY TIM DRAKE

14 Radiating Fatherhood The task and purpose of Christian fatherhood is to make room for God in the lives of one’s children. BY FATHER JOSÉ GRANADOS, D.C.J.M.

18 Like Fathers, Like Sons An interview with August Vetter and his sons Leland and Richard, each the father of a Knights of Columbus Family of the Year. BY COLUMBIA STAFF

20 Our Founder and Father A recollection of Cardinal O’Connor’s paternal heart and spiritual legacy. BY MOTHER AGNES MARY DONOVAN, S.V.

22 Remembering Our Papa The children of Pietro and St. Gianna Beretta Molla share reflections about their recently deceased father. BY GIANNA EMANUELA, PIERLUIGI AND LAURA MOLLA

In his apostolic exhortation on St. Joseph, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Besides fatherly authority over Jesus, God also gave Joseph a share in the corresponding love, the love that has its origin in the Father ‘from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named’” (Redemptoris Custos, 8; cf. Eph 3:15).

ILLUSTRATION: Courtesy of St. Anthony’s Guild, East Rutherford, N.J.


Building a better world


When we show charity to those most in need, we become instruments of grace. BY SUPREME KNIGHT CARL A. ANDERSON


Learning the faith, living the faith A well-formed conscience leads us toward holiness and away from sin.

Knights of Columbus News 8th Philippine National Convention • Knights of Columbus Donates Wheelchairs to Victims of Haiti Earthquake • Supreme Knight Visits Military Councils in Japan • Membership Tops 1.8 Million



Knights in Action


128th Supreme Convention This year’s convention will take place in Washington, D.C., Aug. 3-5.


Columbianism by Degrees

Fathers for Good


Catholic fathers must take seriously their role in fostering lifelong faith in their children.

PLUS Catholic Man of the Month


JUNE 2010


Fatherly Witnesses THERE IS NO shortage of evidence that our culture is experiencing a crisis of fatherhood. Tragically, more than onethird of children in the United States do not live with their fathers, and this number is growing. Yet, as modern society has seen the breakdown of marriage and the increase of unwed births in recent decades, it has become politically incorrect to cite the importance of a father’s presence and example. This is despite the fact that the great majority of behavioral disorders, runaways, high school dropouts and youth suicides occur in fatherless homes. Although the absence of a father does not condemn a child to a life of bad decisions, it is nonetheless clear that our society desperately needs faithful, fatherly witnesses. Meanwhile, during this Year for Priests, which began with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 19, 2009, the Catholic Church has been under a painfully critical eye. Of course, the scourge of sexual abuse is far from only a Catholic problem. But part of what makes the terrible crimes of a relatively small number of priests so scandalous is the fact that the Church, more than any other institution, proclaims and upholds the dignity of human life and love — and the fact that priests are called to be spiritual fathers. Contrary to popular belief, the priesthood is not the source of the problem. Properly understood, the priesthood is a key to its solution. Conformed to Christ, priests generate spiritual life and reveal the meaning of true fatherhood. Both priests and fathers of families can find a mentor in St. Joseph, who is the

greatest model of fatherhood among the saints. In trusting the words of the angel, accepting Mary as his wife and silently sacrificing his self-interest out of love, Joseph became the head of the Holy Family and protector of the Church. Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic exhortation Guardian of the Redeemer (1989), explained, “The Son of Mary is also Joseph’s Son by virtue of the marriage bond that unites them” (7). The pope added that Joseph, like Mary, uniquely “transcends all individual states of life and serves as a model for the entire Christian community” (30). In particular, every man ought to turn to St. Joseph for guidance, learning from him what it means to lead with selfless love and to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the source and center of one’s family, parish or fraternal communion. In this issue of Columbia, we explore the meaning of Christian fatherhood and honor some exemplary fathers and priests who have embraced their vocation. We remember, for instance, the fatherly presence of Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor of New York, who died 10 years ago last month (see page 20), and feature reflections by the children of Pietro Molla, the husband of St. Gianna Beretta Molla who recently died at age 97 (see page 22). As we celebrate Father’s Day and observe the conclusion of the Year for Priests, let us pray for all fathers and priests, that they may be living reflections of God the Father’s boundless love.♦ ALTON J. PELOWSKI MANAGING EDITOR

Knights of Columbus Book Club — June 29, 2010 Join Meg Meeker, M.D., at for a discussion of her book Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons (Ballantine Books, 2009). In her most recent work, the pediatrician and acclaimed author discusses the active role parents must take in raising their sons to their full potential, as well as the challenges boys face in a culture that seeks to downplay masculinity and the virtues of traditional boyhood. Dr. Meeker will participate in a live, online discussion about her book on Tuesday, June 29, at 5 p.m. (EST). 2 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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Venerable Michael McGivney (1852-90) Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Intercede for Us. ________ HOW TO REACH US MAIL COLUMBIA 1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326 PHONE 203-752-4398 FAX 203-752-4109 E-MAIL INTERNET CUSTOMER SERVICE 1-800-380-9995 ________ Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See. This means that an applicant or member accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church.

________ Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved ________ ON THE COVER A father is pictured holding his baby in the air.

COVER PHOTO: Thinkstock



Received and Given When we show charity to those most in need, we become instruments of grace and participate in God’s creative love by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson CHARITY IS NEVER a one-way Port-au-Prince, we distributed the first street. It is not simply something that of what will ultimately be 1,000 flows from the giver to the receiver. wheelchairs to injured Haitians. What struck me most was not the With true charity, something is given, certainly, but something is also suffering or the terrible conditions, but the joy that radiated from these inreceived. In fact, anyone who has ever en- jured, impoverished people. What we bus strives always to be a “network of gaged in charitable work knows the were giving them was an expression of charity.” But we are giving what we truth of the words St. Paul attributed God’s love, and what we saw in them have first received. Love — caritas — to Christ in the Acts of the Apostles: was God himself — as Mother Teresa is not a gift that originates with us. As “It is more blessed to give than to re- of Calcutta used to refer to Christ “in Pope Benedict noted: “Truth, and the love which it reveals, cannot be prothe distressing disguise of the poor.” ceive” (Acts 20:35). First hand, on that trip, I also saw duced: they can only be received as a We see this theme in many places because it is so universally true. Any- what Pope Benedict XVI discussed in gift. Their ultimate source is not, and one who saw the recent Academy his most recent encyclical, Caritas in cannot be, mankind, but only God, Award-winning film The Blind Side Veritate, when he wrote: “Charity is who is himself Truth and Love” (52). Love is a gift that we are first will remember the moment given by God, which we return when Leigh Anne Tuohy, the What we were giving them to him by our worship and way woman who took a homeless of living, and which we are youth into her own home, is was an expression of God’s called to share with each other. told by her friends that she This is why Christ’s two comhas done a great deal of good love, and what we saw in them mandments to us are to love for that young man. She was God himself — “in the God completely and to love replies that the young man neighbors as ourselves. has done even greater good distressing disguise of the poor.” ourThis is why so many saints for her and her family. and blesseds — Brother AlEvery act of charity, in fact, is an opportunity to not only love received and given. It is ‘grace’ bert Chmielowski for one, Mother give, but also to receive. I experienced (cháris). ... Love comes down to us Teresa for another — chose to live this in a very special way this past from the Son. It is creative love, with the poor, to be close to “the least” April during a trip to Haiti. There, fel- through which we have our being; it is of their brothers and sisters (cf. Mt low Knights and I distributed wheel- redemptive love, through which we are 25:40). They thereby chose to be chairs to those affected by the recreated. Love is revealed and made closer to Christ himself and were betdevastating earthquake that struck in present by Christ (cf. Jn 13:1) and ter able to give his love to others. This is the reason that as Knights we January. Haiti — one of the poorest ‘poured into our hearts through the nations in the world — is still strug- Holy Spirit’ (Rom 5:5). As the objects focus on a strong spiritual life and a gling to recover. People who had little of God’s love, men and women be- prominent place for charity. In doing now have nothing. And those I met come subjects of charity and are called so, we can fulfill Christ’s two comhad lost even their ability to move to make themselves instruments of mandments: of loving God comgrace so as to pour forth God’s charity pletely, and of sharing his gift of love freely. The scene of devastation was incred- and to weave networks of charity” (5). with our neighbor, whomever that As an institution with charity as its neighbor may be. ible. At a tent hospital run by the UniVivat Jesus! versity of Miami and Medishare in first principle, the Knights of Colum-

JUNE 2010



Virtue and Vice A well-formed conscience and the practice of virtue lead us toward holiness and away from sin by Supreme Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori

“LET YOUR CONSCIENCE be your to be treated; and third, we must respect guide.” Sometimes, this phrase is taken others and their consciences while avoidto mean that our consciences create the ing the trap of accepting as good that discern not only the good to be done in truth about what is right or wrong — which is evil (375). We are right indeed a particular situation but also the best that is, what is right for me might be to follow our consciences, but we can way to do it. Justice strengthens the will wrong for you and vice versa. In reality, reach wrong judgments. We are culpable so that we will give to others — and to the conscience is at the very core of when we deliberately fail to see the God — what is their due. Fortitude where God speaks to us. It is a judgment wrongness of an action, and we some- makes us firm in choosing the good, even of reason that directs us to choose what times reach a wrong decision despite our when it is difficult or costly to do so. And temperance helps us achieve self-mastery is good and avoid what is evil. It does not best efforts (376). over our desires for pleasure and the use establish moral truth but instead perof this world’s goods (see 377-383). ceives it. This is how we take responsi- DOING THE GOOD The theological virtues — faith, hope bility for our thoughts, words and deeds A well-formed conscience is strength(Compendium, 372). ened by virtue. The Compendium of the and charity — are from God and direct A well-formed conscience listens us to God. Unlike human to the voice of God. It pays attenvirtues, they are not acquired by A well-formed conscience tion to the natural law and to the practice but are infused in us Word of God conveyed by the through the Holy Spirit. These pays attention to the Church. The gifts of the Holy grow through prayer and Spirit, received in baptism and natural law and to the Word of through the Church’s sacramendeepened in us through confirmatal life. They strengthen our reGod conveyed by the Church tion, help us know and do what is lationship with the Trinity and good and affirm our God-given help us to follow Christ by livdignity (374). In forming one’s ing the law of love (384). conscience, each person must carefully Catechism of the Catholic Church defines Faith enables us to believe in God, in respect the rights of others and the good virtue as “a habitual and firm disposition all that he has revealed and what the of society (373). to do the good” (377). We are shaped by Church proposes for our belief. By faith The conscience should follow three the decisions we make, and when we ha- we affirm that God is truth itself and ground rules: First, one may never do bitually choose what is good, we grow in commit ourselves freely to God. Hope evil so that good may result from it; sec- the likeness of God. enables us to live in the present, in exond, we should treat others as we wish The Church distinguishes two types of pectation of eternal life. Through hope, virtue: human and theological. Human we rely on the Holy Spirit to persevere virtues strengthen us to control our de- and prepare for the joy of heaven. CharThe 27th installment of Supreme sires and to guide our conduct according ity enables us to love God above all Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori’s to reason and faith. We acquire them by things and our neighbor as ourselves. By faith formation program addresses repeatedly doing what is good. God’s sharing in God’s love revealed in Christ, questions 370-400 of the Comgrace purifies and elevates human virtues. we find the strength to live the law of pendium of the Catechism of the They are grouped under the four cardinal love (385-388). Catholic Church. Archived articles are virtues on which the entire moral life is The twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit at hinged. These include prudence, which are the signs that we are becoming more strengthens our reason so that we may Christ-like by living the law of love in 4 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

JUNE 2010


the spirit of the Beatitudes. They include: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity (Gal 5:22-23; 390). SIN AND REPENTANCE Since we are inclined to sin, it is often not easy to do the good. Sin is a thought, word or action that offends against God’s love. In sinning against God, we wound our human dignity and weaken both the Church and the wider community. By his suffering and death, Jesus revealed the seriousness of sin while overcoming it by his merciful love (392). We accept the mercy of God when, in


Offered in solidarity with Pope Benedict XVI

PHOTOGRAPH OF POPE: CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters — TOUSSAINT: CNS file photo

GENERAL: That every national and international institution may strive to guarantee respect for human life from conception to natural death. MISSION: That the Churches in Asia, a “little flock” among nonChristian populations, may communicate the Gospel well and give joyful witness to their faith.

the light of God’s truth and love, we admit our sins and allow his love to heal us (391). Sin can be directly against God, one’s neighbor or oneself. There are sins of thought, word and deed, as well as sins of omission (393). The distinction between mortal and venial sins is very important. Mortal sins involve grave matter, full knowledge and full consent of the will. They deprive us of sanctifying grace. If we fail to repent of them, we risk losing eternal life. Baptism and the sacrament of penance are the ordinary ways they are forgiven (395). Venial sins weaken our relationship with God and others. They impede us from progress in virtue and in

the spiritual life. We should seek forgiveness of venial sins in the sacrament of penance and mortify ourselves so as to be purified from the effects of all the sins we have committed. Sin can take hold of us when it is repeated. Habitual sins are called vices. These cloud the conscience and incline us toward evil. The main vices correspond to the capital sins: pride, avarice, envy, anger, lust, gluttony and sloth. We must also be on guard not to cooperate with the sins of others. Finally, it is important to recognize that human sinfulness has given rise to social structures that are contrary to God’s truth and love (see 398-400). ♦


Venerable Pierre Toussaint (1766-1853) PIERRE TOUSSAINT was born a slave in Haiti, where he learned to read and write from his grandmother while working in the mansion of Jean Berard. In 1787, foreseeing a slave insurrection on the island, Berard moved to New York City with his wife, Marie, and a number of slaves, including Toussaint and his sister, Rosalie. Having little work in Berard’s New York City apartment, Toussaint acquired an apprenticeship with a professional hairdresser. With his income, Toussaint bought his sister’s freedom and could easily have bought his own. But after Jean Berard died during a return trip to Haiti, Toussaint chose to remain in the service of Marie Berard until her death in 1807, at which time he was finally freed. In 1811, Toussaint married Juliette Noel, a Haitian slave, and they opened their home as a shelter for orphans, priests and travelers. They also established a credit bureau, school and employment agency, and helped dozens of slaves procure freedom. When Pierre’s sister died of tuberculosis, they adopted her baby, Euphemia, who later died at age 14 from the same disease.

Throughout his life, Toussaint gained a reputation for his saintliness and charity. He attended Mass each morning for 60 years and was instrumental in the building of Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in lower Manhattan and in the establishment of an orphanage founded by Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton. He continued to serve the underprivileged of New York City until his death on June 30, 1853, and was buried with his wife and their adopted daughter at Old Saint Patrick’s. In 1990, Cardinal John J. O’Connor of New York had Toussaint’s body exhumed and reinterred in the crypt below the altar at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a space normally reserved for the former archbishops of New York. Toussaint was declared venerable in 1996. JUNE 2010



Fraternity, Strength Mark 8th Philippine National Convention

The supreme knight meets with Knights of Columbus leaders from the Philippines outside the Metropolitan Cathedral of Cebu before the opening Mass. SUPREME KNIGHT Carl A. Anderson praised members of the Order in the Philippines for their rich history, dedication to the faith and charitable works — especially for their relief efforts late last year for flood victims of Typhoon Ketsana. These remarks came during Anderson’s keynote address to the 8th National Convention of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines, held in

Cebu City, Visayas, April 16-18. “I know many of you from Luzon were directly affected by the storms,” Anderson told the more than 2,000 delegates from Luzon, Mindanao and Visayas. “Yet this did not stop you from stepping aside from your own hardship to help those in even greater need. That is the spirit of the Knights of Columbus.” The Philippine National Convention is held every three years. The opening

Mass for this year’s convention was offered by Cardinal Ricardo J. Vidal in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Cebu. Concelebrating were four members of the Philippine hierarchy and three dozen priest-scholars who are supported financially by the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines. Following Mass, the opening business session was highlighted by a keynote address by His Excellency Hilario G. Davide Jr., who is the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, a former Philippine ambassador to the United Nations and a dedicated Knight. The business session was followed by the convention dinner where the supreme knight was the keynote speaker. This was the second visit to the Philippines by the supreme knight, who visited the capital city of Manila for the centennial celebration of the Order in the Philippines in 2005. For complete coverage of the Philippine National Convention, including photos and speeches, visit

Knights of Columbus Donates Wheelchairs to Victims of Haiti Earthquake THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS — in partnership with the Global Wheelchair Mission and HHS Foundation — distributed wheelchairs April 27 to victims of the earthquake that struck Haiti in January. In all, the Knights provided 1,000 wheelchairs to those most in need in Haiti. “Though time has dimmed the memory of the tragic earthquake in Haiti for many who live elsewhere, the physical suffering of those injured in the earthquake and here in Port-au-Prince continues in a very real way,” said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. “We are grateful for the opportunity to give the gift of mobility to those who need it most, and who otherwise would be condemned to lives of isolation and hopelessness.” Over the past decade the Order has distributed thousands of wheelchairs in countries such as Afghanistan, Mexico, Panama, Cuba and Jordan, as well as at VA medical centers around the United States. Following the earthquake in Haiti, the Knights raised more than $500,000 for relief efforts for the Caribbean nation.


JUNE 2010

A Haitian man injured in the earthquake thanks Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson after receiving his new wheelchair.


Supreme Knight Makes Historic Visit to Military Councils in Japan JAPAN IS NOT THE FIRST locale that people think of in connection with the Knights of Columbus, but Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson found no lack of fraternal spirit there during his recent visit to Asia. Brother Knights from councils in Japan and Korea welcomed the supreme knight during a trip that included a tour of the USS George Washington, a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Fuji and a dinner banquet with K of C members at the U.S. Army base at Camp Zama, Japan. “When people ask me why we do so much with military councils, why we try to do so much with veterans, I tell them it’s because the military and veterans understand essentially what the brotherhood idea of the Knights of Columbus is about, what it means to stand firm on principle, to be committed, to not retreat,” said Anderson during remarks at Camp Zama. The visit began April 19 with Mass aboard the USS George Washington, offered by Lt. Cmdr. Jose Pimentel, the Catholic chaplain aboard the George Washington, coupled with a tour of the nuclearpowered aircraft carrier. The supreme knight also discussed the challenges of deployed military Knights with Master Chief Petty Officer Larry Forsythe, deputy

Master Chief Petty Officer Larry Forsythe, deputy grand knight of Council 12488, stands with Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson during a tour of the USS George Washington. grand knight of Yokosuka Council 12488 at Yokosuka (Japan) Naval Base. The following day, Anderson led a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Fuji. There, he installed Roger Avery as the first district deputy

of Far East Overseas Military District #2, which comprises the military councils in Japan and Korea. Surrounded by the mountain’s lush foliage, the Knights prayed for the continued success of the military councils and for the safe return of all the men and women serving in the armed forces. The visit to Japan ended with a dinner at Camp Zama for more than 60 Knights and their family members. Anderson delivered remarks following the meal and handed out copies of Armed with the Faith, the Order’s prayer book for Catholic military personnel. “I think that men in the military understand, maybe better than anybody else, what it means to make a sacrifice,” said Anderson during his remarks. “Some might say that someone who is dedicated to the art of war is incompatible with the civilization of love, when in fact the commitment that such a man or woman makes is a commitment of selfless giving for another.” Following the supreme knight’s visit, Grand Knight Roy Mellon of Bishop John J. Kaising Council 14223 in Korea reflected, “This was an especially rare opportunity for Knights to meet the supreme knight and his staff. This visit marked the advent of a new phase of the future of the Knights of Columbus in Asia.”

Knights of Columbus Membership Tops 1.8 Million WHEN HE became a member of newly formed Sagrado Corazon Council 15030 in Cudahy, Calif., Nestor E. Valencia had no idea that he would be making history. But, as fate would have it, he became the Order’s milestone 1.8 millionth member. “Joining the Knights of Columbus provides an opportunity for me to get closer to my faith, family and church,” Valencia said. “We can unite our efforts and resources to provide moral support to other men and their families, thus creating a stronger community and Church.” Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson noted, “Achieving this milestone in membership is a testament to the high regard in

which the Knights of Columbus is held among Catholic men everywhere.” Membership grew from 1.7 million to 1.8 million in less than five years (59 months) and continues a trend in which the number of Knights has grown every year since 1973. Over the past 10 months, the Order has recruited 70,310 new members Nestor Valencia worldwide. A final tally of Knights of Columbus membership for the 2009-2010 fraternal year will be announced in July.

JUNE 2010


They Call You ‘Father’ Priests who received support from the Order during their formation discuss their vocation by Tim Drake


he Knights of Columbus has a long history of promoting a “culture of vocations� in families and parishes. The Order sponsors a variety of programs that provide financial assistance to seminarians and donates more than $1 million in vocation endowment funds each year. Knights readily

offer prayers and moral support for men in formation as well. Hundreds of men studying for the priesthood have received support from the Knights in recent years. As the Year for Priests draws to a close, Columbia spoke with a few of them about their vocation as spiritual fathers.

A PERSISTENT CALL The first time Father Philip Ching, associate pastor of St. Lawrence Catholic Community in Utica, Mich., and a member of National Shrine of the Little Flower Council 12408 in Royal Oak, became aware that he was being called to the priesthood was in the second grade. “Our teacher, Sister Ann Margaret, passed out a blank piece of paper and asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’” recalled Father Ching. “I wrote: a priest. That was the first time I was aware of the calling.” Years passed, and Ching thought of doing other things with his life. It wasn’t until he attended a youth conference at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, that the calling was reignited. 10 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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“There it hit me,” said Father Ching. “There were thousands of teens there. It was so powerful, so grace-filled, that the Lord spoke to me at that time. I made a 180 degree turn and began putting my vocation to the priesthood in the forefront.” So persistent was the call, and so confident was Ching in it, that when it came time to apply to college, the only place he applied was to the seminary. “There was nothing else I felt called to,” explained Father Ching. After being accepted to Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Ching found the moral and material support he received from the Knights of Columbus to be pivotal. Specifically, he was supported through the Refund Support Vocations Program (RSVP), in which local councils provide financial assistance and moral support to seminarians. Grand Knight Tadd Klimmek of Council 12408 said that supporting seminarians is something the council does each year. “Every seminarian we have is usually a member of our council,” said Klimmek. “Because we see them on a regular basis, we can offer personal support. We set aside funds annually from our general budget as part of the RSVP.” Father Ching added, “It helped pay for my books and some aspects of my tuition. Sometimes the support would come by mail. Other times, [Knights] would come for a visit. They also hosted vocation dinners that I attended.” Father Ching said that he was first inspired by the example of his father and brother to become a Knight. “During a heavy workload and academics, my brother was able to take time for fellow Knights who might be ill or hospitalized,” he said. “Witnessing that charity spoke volumes to me about the fraternal aspect of the Order.” Ordained in 2009 at the age of 26, Father Ching has found the spiritual fatherhood of the priesthood to be “a beautiful and glorious gift,” but also very humbling. “You come in as a stranger amidst the people. The only thing they know is that you have a collar and they call you ‘Father,’” said Father Ching. “They ask for help and advice. They ask for prayers. All I can do is pray to the Holy Spirit. Everything flows from that.” THE CHALLENGE OF MANHOOD Father Henry Reid serves as associate pastor of Holy Family Church on Long Island. He readily admits that he avoided the priesthood for years and has held numerous jobs, including one as a bouncer for a bar. He came to a greater appreciation of his Catholic faith while doing post-graduate research on the topic of European history at Queens University Belfast in Northern Ireland. “You can’t divorce European history from the Church,” said Father Reid. “I was living in a Catholic ghetto, and it was dangerous, even with the peace process going on. There was a lot of anti-Catholicism and attacks on Catholics. It was dangerous going to Mass.” A friend challenged Reid to quit playing around with the idea of becoming a priest and actually take the first steps. The following day, Reid met with a priest to discuss a potential vocation. “He encouraged me to pray and attend daily Mass,” said Father Reid. Reid did so, and before long, he attended the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, N.Y. During his years


MINISTERING TO ONE ANOTHER Father Alessandro Lovato, associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Church in Delta, British Columbia, says that it was the loving presence of God the Father that first called him to embrace his vocation to the priesthood. “Every vocation springs forth from a person’s experience of being loved by God,” he said. “The priest then goes forth to share that love of God with others.” Father Lovato, who was ordained for the Archdiocese of Vancouver in 2006, describes his parish as a large family. As a priest, he said, he is called to give this family the words they need to hear, to be there for them and to build them up. “You feel the fatherhood of God in the interaction with your parishioners and the love they return to you,” added Father Lovato. “You represent God’s fatherhood and love for others, but it’s also shared with you by the parishioners in the family.” Father Lovato said that the early example of his own parish priests inspired him to discern a priestly vocation. After completing a degree in English and history at Simon Fraser University, Lovato did pretheology work at the Seminary of Christ the King in Mission, British Columbia. He later studied theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y. He stressed that the support of the Knights of Columbus was crucial during that time. “I had been a member of my local parish council (Holy Cross Council 5423 in Burnaby, British Columbia) since my university years,” he said. “That council provided financial support as well as letters of support when I was away from home, studying in New York. I also received the Bishop Daily Scholarship, which significantly helped to pay for my studies.” The rector of St. Joseph’s and many of Lovato’s classmates were also members, and they often participated in K of C events at the seminary. Today, Father Lovato admits that it is not an easy time to be a priest, but he draws tremendous strength from the fraternity of his brother priests and brother Knights. On his days off, he returns to his home parish for Mass and to receive the sacrament of penance. “It’s not a coincidence that the media attacks are happening now, during the Year for Priests,” said Father Lovato. “There is real spiritual warfare taking place. The persecutions either strengthen a person’s faith or scare people away. I realize how much I am ministered to by other priests. Amidst the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives, we need to stop and minister to one another.”

PHOTO OF FATHER LOVATO: Brett Beadle — PHOTO OF FATHER REID: Greg Shemitz, Long Island Catholic

there, he received RSVP grants as well as the Father McGivney Scholarship. “Without those, I wouldn’t have been able to stay in seminary,” said Father Reid. “By the time I left, I was broke.” Father Reid was ordained in 2006 at the age of 37 for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y. He currently serves as chaplain of Holy Family Council 11227 in Hicksville. And during this Year for Priests, he’s thought about what it means to be a priest and about the challenges facing the Church. “Men aren’t stepping up to the plate and being men,” said Father Reid. “Many are being big children.” Father Reid, who spent several years working with juvenile delinquents and youth in crisis, and recognizes their particular need, went on to say that young people need spiritual fathers who will challenge them. “Youth are lacking people who will tell them ‘no’ and challenge them to grow up,” he said. “Many lack a faith base. Even many of those who attend Catholic school aren’t attending Mass regularly.” He said that he leans heavily on the Holy Spirit to help him be a spiritual father to his parishioners. “I’ve listened to youth, men and women in the sacrament of reconciliation and in counseling,” he said. “I probably fail half the time, but when I get it correct, it’s the Spirit working within me. Half the time I say something and wonder where that came from.” Yet, despite the challenges, Father Reid wouldn’t trade the priesthood for anything. “I love being a priest,” he said. “I would do it all again. I can’t see myself doing anything else.” For more information about how your council can support seminarians and priests, visit♦ TIM DRAKE serves as senior writer for the National Catholic Register. He resides in St. Joseph, Minn.

Pages 8-9: Father Philip Ching stands in the chapel of St. Lawrence Catholic Community in Utica, Mich. Clockwise, from top left: Father Henry Reid, associate pastor of Holy Family Church in Hicksville, N.Y., worked for several years with troubled youth and recognizes their particular needs. • Father Ching first heard the call to the priesthood in the second grade. • Father Alessandro Lovato, associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Delta, British Columbia, sees his parish as a family. JUNE 2010

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Keeping Your Kids Catholic Catholic fathers must take seriously their role in fostering lifelong faith in their children

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is adapted from an interview with the author that appeared on Fathers for Good (, the Knights of Columbus fatherhood website, in February 2010.


hen considering what Catholic parents can and should do to foster a lively faith in the hearts of their children, I often use an analogy of growing tomatoes. If left to grow naturally, the tomato vine will simply grow along the ground and produce inferior, often diseased, tomatoes. If, however, the plant is fastened to a stake and forced to grow upright, it produces healthy fruit. True, there are still dangers that need to be counteracted, but they can do far less damage to the tomato vine that has been tied firmly to the stake. As Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov 22:6). Children need firm guidance and good example from their youngest years so they will grow straight and “upright” in their knowledge of and love for God. LEAD BY EXAMPLE A father must make a diligent and purposeful effort to impart a basic knowledge of the Catholic faith and to

teach his children how to really live out that faith. You don’t need a theology degree to do this. Instead, you need a conscious awareness of God’s will for you as a father, an abiding love for him, and at least a basic knowledge of your Catholic beliefs coupled with a desire to learn more (the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a helpful tool for accomplishing this task). First, you have to let your children know that the Catholic faith involves more than an hour a week on Sunday. While Sunday Mass should be the highlight and absolute obligation of the week, a commitment to the faith does not end there. Rather, a Catholic home is called to be a “domestic church,” as John Paul II and others have noted. This does not mean there should be Gregorian chant and incense at the dinner table, but it does mean that faith should inform the daily routine and decisions in the home. I always strongly encourage praying the family rosary. If you, the father of the family, trustingly invoke the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary each day (she knows quite a bit about parenting, after all), you can rest assured that she will be there to help you, no matter how bumpy the road of life becomes. Other acts


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PHOTO: Thinkstock

by Patrick Madrid


of piety you can observe as a family include prayer before and after meals and night prayers. In our home, when our kids get to be about 12, my wife Nancy and I give them their own personal Bible with a loving inscription inside the cover. We strongly encourage them to read Scripture, starting with the Gospels. First, our children learn that the Bible is not simply a “Protestant thing” — that Scripture is in fact Catholic and should be cherished by Catholics everywhere. Our children also learn to discover the biblical basis for a wide range of Catholic teachings and practices. Beyond the externals of prayer and piety in the home, children have to see that mom and dad are imbued with the results of prayer — that they actually live out the gifts of faith, mercy and forgiveness. Having kids in the home is really a constant source for the examination of conscience. A father does well to tell his kids not to gossip or speak critically about others, but does he do the same? If dad tells his children to practice moderation but he eats or drinks to excess, that sends a signal which says, “Do as I say, not as I do.” The list goes on and on. Of course, no father is perfect, and our children understand this. But I believe that they must see men who love God and are doing their very best to live the faith, by God’s grace. Be an example to your children, and frequently go to confession. That will help them see that you really do “walk the walk” as much as you “talk the talk.”

that kids simply succumb to the wiles of the world, which the Bible speaks of as “the world, the flesh, and the devil.” We fathers have to prepare our children to face these challenges not with fear, but with heads held high, as Catholics who love Jesus Christ and are not afraid to be a light shining in a dark place (Mt 5:14-16). We must teach them how to lead others to Christ, not to be themselves led away from him. I believe very much in the practice of “inoculation.” Prepare your kids now for what they will face later. We live in an information age, and there is a vast amount of good Catholic resources right at your fingertips. God has put you on this earth at this time and given you these children, and he expects you to help them grow and become strong in the faith. So, become familiar with solid Catholic websites and other resources. The Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium, in addition to the Holy Bible, should be the standard “tools of the trade” to lead your children toward heaven. Invest also in some CDs by great Catholic teachers and make sure your children listen to them. In other words, make sure they are inoculated. The bottom line: Fatherhood is a great joy and a great privilege, but we must never forget that it is also a great and awesome responsibility given to us by God the Father. As a Catholic father, ask yourself what greater joy could you possibly have than to pass on the riches of the Catholic faith as a permanent, priceless inheritance to your children.♦

Beyond the externals

of prayer and piety in the home, children have to see that mom and dad are imbued with the results of prayer — that they actually live out the gifts of faith, mercy and forgiveness.

‘TOOLS OF THE TRADE’ Entering college is one of the most crucial crossroads for young Catholics, and fathers must be vigilant in helping them through this rite of passage. So many Catholic parents are shattered when their kids go to college and become swayed by an atheist professor or are drawn away from the Church by others who challenge their Catholic beliefs. It also happens

PATRICK MADRID, a Catholic author and radio show host, is director of the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College and a member of St. Patrick Council 11207 in Columbus, Ohio. He and his wife, Nancy, have 11 children, ages 9 to 28, and eight grandchildren. His personal website is


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RADIATING FATHERHOOD The task and purpose of Christian fatherhood is to make room for God in the lives of one’s children by Father José Granados

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PAINTING: God the Father by Giovanni Francesco Guercino (1591-1666) — Alinari/Art Resource, NY


hile there is a commandment of the Decalogue addressed to children (“You shall honor your father and mother”), there is not one devoted to parents. In a time when fatherhood and motherhood are in crisis, such a commandment would be very useful. Why, then, do the Ten Commandments lack such instruction? The answer to this question lies in the setting in which the law given to Moses was — and still is — transmitted among the Jewish people: the family. It is the task of parents to remember the words of the covenant and to “drill them into their children, speaking of them at home and abroad, whether busy or at rest” (cf. Dt 6:7). In this light, we understand that there is no commandment for parents because they are the ones teaching the law to their children. This is their special instruction: to be for their children a living witness, an image of the God of the covenant. This responsibility to educate one’s children is experienced by mothers and fathers differently. In his play The Radiation of Fatherhood, Karol Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II) points out this difference when one of the characters says: “My father’s history in me

begins with his absence, yet he must have been there all the time, though I did not feel him.” While the mother is present to the child from conception, the experience of fatherhood starts from an initial distance. This distance does not mean that the father is absent, but that he is present in a different way. Thanks to his mother, the child knows that love welcomes him into existence and surrounds him wherever he goes. But this embracing love is not enough, for the child is called to go beyond the initial union with his mother in order to grow and mature. It is at this point that the child needs his father. The initial distance between father and child is crucial, for by filling it with his presence, the father provides an atmosphere in which the child can grow. While the mother provides the foundational awareness of God’s surrounding love, the father opens up the way toward transcendence, toward God’s mystery. A JOURNEY TOWARD GOD When we understand the greatness of the father’s mission, we also see the danger in our society’s lack of fatherhood. When a father is

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An 18th-century painting depicts the prodigal son being embraced by his father, as told in the Gospel parable (Luke 15:11-32). absent, he leaves in his child’s life a void. He is not present to heal the wound caused by the child’s separation from the mother and cannot teach his child to face a future full of difficulties and uncertainties. He is not able to accomplish the mission of helping his child discover the importance of following God and seeking his face. If this description of the father’s role is accurate, then human fatherhood grows only in the light of God’s fatherhood. A rejection of God as Father, in fact, is at the root of the original sin. In The Radiation of Fatherhood, Adam states: “[God] is lonely, I thought. What will make me more like Him, that is to say, independent of everything? Ah, to stand apart from everything, so that I could be only within myself!” Adam thereby expresses a serious misunderstanding about the essence of God, who is not solitary, independent of things and isolated from them. To the contrary, God’s very being is love. He is a God who reaches out and invites us to start a journey toward him. Why, then, does God seem to hide his face from man? Since he wants Adam to be a friend and a son, God opens up before him a path of freedom. He stands at a distance only to open up a space for Adam to grow and mature. God embraces us, but his embrace does not asphyxiate us. We are attracted toward God with the far away embrace that attracted the prodigal son back home. Adam’s error was to mistake the distance of the Father with isolation and aloofness, and to desire for himself this same loneliness. This, then, is the first rule of fatherhood: Stand before God’s transcendence and walk toward him even when he seems to be 16 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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CHRIST REVEALS THE FATHER From what we have said so far we must conclude that every father is called to be a spiritual father. This is clear if a father is called to teach his child the meaning of life’s path and its ultimate horizon in the mystery of God the Father. It would be easier, of course, to remain at the level of animal reproduction, as Wojtyła’s Adam wanted: “I later said to [God], complaining, ‘You could have left me in the sphere of fertility (I would somehow have reconciled myself to nature) without placing me in the depths of fatherhood to which I am unequal!’” Instead, God wanted Adam to participate in his fatherhood. He wanted to communicate the joy of his own fruitfulness.

PAINTING: The Return of the Prodigal Son (1773) by Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787) — Erich Lessing / Art Resource, NY

absent, knowing that he accompanies you always. The possibility of generating a child, of taking on one’s shoulders the responsibility for his existence, is possible only when one relies on this greater foundation and opens up one’s life toward the horizon of God’s love. Man alone, however, is not able to discover God’s loving and transcendent presence. He needs a helper fit for him; he needs the covenant of love with his wife. In Wojtyła’s play, the character of the Mother says to Adam: “The radiation of fatherhood passes through me, acts through my motherhood. And you, who have lost the clear vision of the Father, choosing your loneliness anew in every newborn child, must reconcile yourself with me. I am near.” By being close to him, by witnessing to the gift that she is for him and by helping him discover the fruitfulness of love, the woman teaches man to see God as a loving Giver and not as a lonely and distant oppressor. By learning from his wife the love needed to cover the distance between him and God, man becomes a witness to his own child of the way toward the Father. As a consequence, every effort devoted to loving one’s wife is an effort toward educating one’s children. Like St. Joseph, the image of a perfect father, every father hears God’s word: “Don’t be afraid to take your wife. You shall put a name to your child” (cf. Mt 1:20-21). Receive in your heart the mystery your wife represents, and you will introduce your child in society, helping him fulfill his mission before God.

PHOTO: David Lees/Getty Images

Even while we see that Adam’s objection was not justified, we understand that the task of becoming a true father is a daunting one. Fatherhood has to do with accepting man’s distance from the Father and the courage to walk though it. Hence, it has to do with suffering. In Wojtyła’s play, Adam realizes this truth: “I did not want to accept the suffering caused by risking love.” At this moment, however, a new horizon opens, for Adam adds, “On the borderline of loneliness, love must become suffering: your Son has suffered.” Because the father’s mission is a spiritual one, he needs to find in Christ the strength not to cast away fatherhood as a burden. Jesus Christ is God’s answer to the crisis of fatherhood. Ultimately, if we want to know what fatherhood is about, we need to go to him. Jesus lived totally from the Father’s love and thus was able to make the Father present in our world. Pope Benedict XVI writes in his book Jesus of Nazareth (Doubleday, 2007): “We must therefore let Jesus teach us what father really means. ... ‘Lord, show us the Father,’ we say again and again to Jesus, and the answer again and again is the Son himself. Through him, and only through him, do we come to know the Father. And in this way the criterion of true fatherliness is made clear.” Rooted in the Father’s love, Christ’s life was a total self-gift to his bride, the Church. Such a love could not remain fruitless, but generated the new life of baptism in the world. In light of this, some ancient Christian authors called Christ “father,” because through him we are born to a new existence. An example of the strength and transformation that Jesus conveys to fatherhood is seen in Blessed Franz Jaegerstaetter (1907-1943), who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. A father of two daughters, Jaegerstaetter refused to fight as a soldier for the Third Reich. For this decision, he was judged and condemned to death. While in prison, he received pressure from his friends and family to yield to the Nazis. Did not his children need a father? Was it not necessary for him to save his life, in order to raise them up? Jaegerstaetter, rather, believed his daughters needed above all a witness to faith in their lives, someone who would remind them always that there is a path to follow beyond oneself. In fact, his daughters

grew up with his fatherly presence — that is, in the memory of someone who pointed out to them the way to God. In this way, Jaegerstaetter experienced in fullness the “radiation of fatherhood.” Finally, Christ’s fatherhood helps us understand the spiritual fatherhood of priests. The priest is a witness to Christ’s presence; he is his minister, who acts in his name and person. With St. Paul, the priest can say: “I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (1 Cor 4:15). The priest’s mission is summed up in the words St. John Vianney said to his first parishioner, a boy who showed him the way to Ars, France: “Now, I will point out to you the way to heaven.” What we have said about fatherhood applies, then, to the priest, and it is elevated to its ultimate truth. As a father leads his child to walk beyond himself toward transcendence, so the priest helps us receive the love of God, and calls us to go to God, even through the difficulties of life. Just as a father needs to be rooted in God’s fatherhood, so the priest’s activity springs from a strong communion with the Lord, founded in prayer. And while a father needs to be in communion with his wife, so the priest becomes a father through his activity rooted in personal love, in his self-gift to the Church, through which he bestows new life to Christians. When a priest lives out his spiritual fatherhood, he becomes a living sign of Jesus and helps each father in his care to fulfill his own spiritual mission. In his ministry, the priest reminds each man of the original source from which all life comes and toward which we journey. Wojtyła suggested that this, ultimately, is every father’s mission: to say to his children, when they enter the river of life, “Through the stream do you not reach the Source where everything begins?” And it is the father’s witness that enables the child to answer: “Through the stream the Source embraces me too.”♦ FATHER JOSÉ GRANADOS, a priest of the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, is an assistant professor at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is the co-author, with Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, of Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (Doubleday, 2009).

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LIKE FATHERS, LIKE SONS An interview with August Vetter and his sons Leland and Richard, each the father of a Knights of Columbus Family of the Year by Columbia Staff


very year since 1936, hundreds of members of the Vetter family have converged for a Fourth of July reunion at the family farm in rural North Dakota. August Vetter, 80, a member of St. Anthony Council 5955 in Linton, N.D., grew up on the farm and there learned the importance of faith, charity and hard work. He is the sixth of 13 children, all of whom are still living, including seven boys who all became Knights. August and his wife Loretta had 12 children of their own, and after being named the North Dakota Family of the Year in 1994, were awarded third place for the Knights of Columbus International Family of Year. One of their sons, Richard Vetter, is a family physician who promotes natural family planning. Richard, who is a member of Sts. Anne and Joachim Council 11930 in Fargo, N.D., and his wife Sharmae have nine children — all girls — and are active in their church and community. Their family was named International Family of the Year in 2007. Meanwhile, Richard’s older brother, Leland, is the father of 10 children. A member of Msgr. Fred J. Kimmet Council 6623 in Torrington, Wyo., he became a Knight a few weeks after his 18th birthday. Like the Vetter men before him, he has a remarkable record of service to the Church, and his family was named International Family of the Year at last year’s Supreme Convention in Phoenix. Columbia recently spoke with the Vetter men about their experience as Catholic fathers. To read an extended version of this interview, visit COLUMBIA: What advice would you give to new fathers or to men that are just getting married and are ready to start a family? AUGUST: The number-one piece of advice I would give is simply to be a good example. It’s the key to raising good kids. LELAND: I would tell them the importance of going to church with their families. To put it as simply as I can, the kids generally do what dad does. Mom can go to church and pray, but if dad doesn’t go, they may not go. That pertains to other aspects of life, too. RICHARD: Showing commitment to your spouse will go a long way to making you a great father. Also, it is important that men keep a sense of humor. If you don’t take life too seriously, you will enjoy family life a lot more, and it will be much easier to deal with stressful times. 18 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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COLUMBIA: What aspects of your own father’s guidance and presence within the family do you remember most distinctly? AUGUST: My own father showed us a lot of good examples of getting along with others. If you don’t love your own family, how can you love other people? He prayed a lot and didn’t drink too much. That gave us a good foundation. LELAND: I doubt my father ever missed church in his 80 years. It was an expectation for us as well. It was really pretty simple. We had some expectations, and that was one of them. RICHARD: You never really questioned his commitment or whether he would be there tomorrow. Also, he was willing to share his thoughts and wisdom with his children, whether visiting at meals or at other times. COLUMBIA: What has been your experience amid a culture that does not often see the value of having a large family? AUGUST: In a large family, you have to share a lot. My kids all do very well in the workforce, and I attribute that to learning how to share at a young age. Nowadays, you have small families that get everything they want, but they often don’t know how to share. LELAND: I think there’s a strong belief in our society that you can’t afford a large family. I also think it’s usually the men that don’t want more children, while the women are willing to have them. I always thought it would be nice to have a whole bunch of kids. So, I prepared myself financially for that. I didn’t borrow money for college, and my wife and I don’t borrow money. That has definitely helped. RICHARD: Both my wife and I came from large families. We always enjoyed having siblings and wanted that for our own children. And we were fortunate enough to be blessed with that. In much of today’s society, we try to control everything. We try to control how many kids we’re going to have and how much money we’re going to have. That creates a lot more anxiety. Just taking the blessings when they come and appreciating them makes life a lot easier, rather than going through every day wondering how you can control the world. I think part of it is seeing a large family as a blessing, rather than as a curse. My wife and I find that having a large family actually helps to make the burden of raising and educating children somewhat easier.

COLUMBIA: We are surrounded today by a secular culture and entertainment industry that often fails to see the value of religion and of virtues such as chastity. How does this affect the way you educate your children? AUGUST: Television can be good, but there are so many bad shows. When there was a bad show that kids shouldn’t watch, I would turn it off. If you watch bad shows, your kids will too. LELAND: One thing is that we don’t have cable TV. And every fall, the kids get to pick the night we don’t turn on the TV. It’s amazing what happens. People come over. There are card games or pool tournaments going on. There’s interaction. The kids will make things happen without too much of a plan. RICHARD: On the one hand, human nature hasn’t changed. On the other hand, the Internet and TV make accessible the imagery and messages that are counteractive to what we’re trying to do, so there are new challenges. In the area of chastity, again I think having a large family shows your kids that sexuality is something to be appreciated, and because children are the natural fruits of that relationship, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. COLUMBIA: To what extent have vocations been encouraged in your family? AUGUST: We never told our children that they need to become priests or sisters. But we are proud that we have a son that became a priest. We’re proud of all of our children. LELAND: It is kind of expected that somebody’s going to consider a vocation, without pointing and saying, “You’re it.” When we were raised in North Dakota, my dad had several cousins who are priests

The 2009 Knights of Columbus International Family of the Year, Leland and Mary Ann Vetter and their 10 children, are pictured with relatives at the 127th Supreme Convention in Phoenix last August. and nuns, and there were a lot of vocations from that area. So, it was expected. RICHARD: Growing up, it was always brought up that it was something that we might be called to. It was put on the radar screen. We try to instill that in our daughters, too. Just be open to God’s voice and accept whatever he is calling you to do. And we’ll accept whatever God chooses for them. COLUMBIA: What are some ways that the Knights of Columbus can encourage men to embrace and grow in their vocation of fatherhood? AUGUST: Knights do a lot of good work and have to lead by example. You have to pray. Show a good example to people, and everything else will follow. LELAND: It’s selecting that person, that role model, to follow — whether it’s a priest, your own dad or a brother Knight. I think it’s important to know where you’re going. But there are a lot of people in the world that don’t give it any thought and have no idea that it’s a day-to-day deal. This business of going to heaven is really what’s driving every decision. I want to get to heaven and I want to take my wife with me. RICHARD: The Knights can continue to do what they have always done, by promoting the fraternity of likeminded Catholic men and by being supportive of them in a culture that often disagrees with them.♦

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Our Founder and Father A recollection of Cardinal O’Connor’s paternal heart and spiritual legacy by Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, S.V.


ll priests are called to be fathers — that is, to generate the life of souls through the grace of the sacraments and to protect and guide the growth of that same spiritual life. Fatherhood, like anything worthwhile, is not an easy task: It demands sacrifice. It requires that one give God permission to move beyond self-seeking or the fear of failure and to live for others with keen awareness that one’s presence is a gift that matters well beyond one’s lifetime. A father’s love, after all, gives us a hint of the loving providence of God, our heavenly Father. The notion of fatherhood prompts a happy memory of John Cardinal O’Connor, the father and founder of our religious community, the Sisters of Life. My large family was present in 1991 for the simple ceremonies surrounding my acceptance as a postulant with the newly formed community. Cardinals were unfamiliar company, and when introduced, the proper title “Your Eminence” stuck to the tongue of one of my sisters. She blurted out with a smile, “It is good to meet you, Father O’Connor.” Immediately realizing her mistake, she apologized profusely. The cardinal graciously responded, “My dear, you may always call me Father. It is the only title I ever desired in life.” Little did I expect that religious life would bring an experience of the power and possibilities of paternity. In this respect, Cardinal O’Connor’s spiritual fatherhood revealed elements essential to a father’s love. THE POWER OF PRESENCE For nearly a decade, we knew our founder as father. Cardinal O’Connor was an intensely private and intellectual man, yet upon his arrival at a Sisters of Life convent, nothing would commence until he had personally greeted each sister with a hug. In greeting several dozen sisters, identically clad in the blue-and-white habit that he had designed,

Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, superior general of the Sisters of Life, and Cardinal John J. O’Connor (1920-2000) greet one another in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Cardinal O’Connor, a proud member of Our Lady, Star of the Sea Council 6701 in New York City, founded the Sisters of Life in 1991. In addition to the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, members of the New York-based community — which now includes nearly 70 sisters — are consecrated under a special, fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life. The community is also present in Toronto and in Stamford, Conn., where the sisters operate Villa Maria Guadalupe, a retreat center owned by the Knights of Columbus. 20 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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PHOTO: Chris Sheridan, Catholic New York

Cardinal O’Connor could immediately detect the absence of one. The unique importance of each of his spiritual daughters was always uppermost in his mind and heart. The Sisters of Life experienced individually the strength and identity that came from being known, protected, guided and called to love by a spiritual father who was also a modern-day apostle of the Gospel of Life. The sisters once posed a question to a group of children, ages 4-8: “What does love mean?” The answers given were deeper and more hilarious than anyone could have anticipated. Billy, age 4, gave my favorite response: “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy’s response has biblical roots, for after the Resurrection, Mary

Magdalene, who thought she was speaking to a gardener, recognized the Lord by the way he said her name. And so, too, in the image of the Master, each sister knew by a look, a tone of voice or an affectionate nickname that she was loved by her spiritual father. In a pastoral letter to the priests of the Archdiocese of New York in 1989, Cardinal O’Connor wrote, “I am a great believer in the ministry of presence.” This was evidenced by his impressive attentiveness to his spiritual daughters during the community’s initial years, despite his various responsibilities as archbishop. We knew him as someone who regularly set aside time simply to be with his religious family. And as is proper to family life, his relationship with the community was essentially a private one. He encouraged each of us to write him as we wished to share joys and sorrows, insights of the charism, etc. — and then instructed us on how the letter should be addressed so that it would side-step his staff and be delivered directly to him. FIDELITY TO GRACE The founding of a new religious family was for Cardinal O’Connor much more than an ecclesial or ceremonial function of signing documents or presiding at Masses of profession. Rather, he made time to be with the community God called him to raise up and was there for both the important and the routine moments of our lives. Each year, he preached two five-day retreats to the sisters, and throughout the year, he visited our convents at least monthly. His love was not abstract; it was not an idea or a feeling toward another that he held only in his heart. Instead, his love was concretely manifested in action — in a delightfully unexpected and encouraging phone call, in a note penned thoughtfully at his desk, in a surprise visit if you were sick or in a moment of teaching designed to help lead you to the goal of holiness. He lived what he taught us with regard to assisting women in need: “Love her in a way that is meaningful to her.” The story of Cardinal O’Connor’s fidelity to the graces of the day began long before the existence of the Sisters of Life. We were blessed, however, to witness the fruitfulness of this fidelity. Some days, and especially on days of great community celebrations, I experience speechless gratitude for his faithfulness to God and for his courage. I cannot help but think where we would be if he had not been faithful to the graces of the Holy Spirit. Would I be living my vocation? What if, as the visible Church leader of the pro-life movement, he had been too busy to pray and therefore had not listened to the whispers of God calling him to raise up a community of contemplative-apostolic religious sisters consecrated to the sanctity of the human person? How incredibly linked is the faith of us all! The graces of my vocation as a Sister of Life were made possible by the fidelity of another. A father’s fidelity to God’s grace directly affects his children’s capacity to receive in fullness the relationship that God intends to have with each of his children. God made the improbable promise to Abraham, our father in faith, that as an old man he would become the “father of many nations” with descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky or the sands on the seashore. To fathers who are faithful, God continues to keep this promise of a legacy of abundant life witnessed in the beauty of the lives of his children.♦ MOTHER AGNES MARY DONOVAN is the superior general of the Sisters of Life.

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Remembering Our Papa The children of Pietro and St. Gianna Beretta Molla share reflections about their recently deceased father

t. Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962), a wife, mother and physician from Milan, Italy, was known for her strong faith, generous works of charity and passion for life. In 1955, she married Pietro Molla, and six years later, while pregnant with their fourth child, she developed a painful, benign tumor in her uterus. She pleaded with the surgeon to spare the life of her child, and throughout the pregnancy, was willing to sacrifice her life for her baby. On April 28, 1962, seven days after Gianna Emanuela was born, St. Gianna Beretta Molla died, exclaiming, “Jesus, I love you.” Her husband Pietro never remarried. On May 16, 2004, he was present, along with his three surviving children, in St. Peter’s Square to see his wife become the last saint canonized by Pope John Paul II. In the early morning on Holy Saturday, April 3, 2010, Pietro died in his home in Mesero, Italy, surrounded by his children. He was 97. At the invitation of Columbia magazine and through the assistance of Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Canada’s Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and a member of Toronto Council 1388, the Molla children offer here their reflections about their beloved father. A Salt and Light-produced documentary about the life of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, titled Love is Choice, is available at

deep void that he left us. I miss hearing his voice as he called my name. I miss his kisses and his great affection. To be sure I will never be able to thank the Lord who for so many years gave and left me a father who was golden; a father who was more than worthy of his beloved holy wife; a father who was always close to me even to the final moments. It is a great comfort and peace to me to know that he is so happy now in paradise with Mamma and with Mariolina (our sister) and all of our beloved dead who have gone before us. I know that I have another guardian in paradise who will help me, guide me and protect me even more than before. And I pray that the Lord will make me worthy of him as well as of my holy mother, so that one day I may join them and embrace them, never to leave them again. For now I cannot help but suffer the tangible absence of his visible and loving presence. Pierluigi and Laura have written beautiful memories of him that have touched and moved me deeply and that fill my emptiness and inability to write at this moment. — Gianna

MY GREATEST TREASURE Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, 48, is a medical doctor with a specialty in gerontology. She had spent the past years caring for her father in Mesero until his death.

Papa was always there for me as a reference point, a source of strength and a help in every choice of my life, always there with an affectionate hug. He was a man of great discretion, a quiet voice who never wished to impose his authority for its own sake, but always with clear, determined arguments that were based on true principles. Papa always wished to offer and model for us principles, rules, and personal and religious customs that showed us how much these were at the core of his being. He was a father extraordinarily close to each of us from childhood, through our student years and in our adult lives. His fa-

You will forgive me for not writing extensive memories so cherished, vivid and unforgettable about my father, Pietro. The tears still flow, and I am not able to write much since his death on Holy Saturday of this year. Everything that I think, that I do and that I say always takes me back to him with whom I had the grace, the joy and the honor of sharing the past 48 years of my life, indeed my entire life. He was the greatest treasure that I had on this earth, and I told him this often. With each passing day I feel his absence and the 22 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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A GUIDE AND SUPPORT Pierluigi Molla is 53 years old. Married to Lisi, they have one daughter, Ortensia. Pierluigi is senior advisor of Ernst & Young Accounting Firm in Milan.

Pietro and St. Gianna Beretta Molla are pictured with their first three children, Pierluigi, Mariolina and Laura.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of the Molla family and Salt and Light Television


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miliar words were: “Can I help you?” He would offer his help of the inevitable physical separation that has taken place. Yet, it whether I was doing a Greek or Latin translation or dealing with could not help but be this way, especially given the many times something work-related. In every occasion, despite his constant from when I was 3 years old that you repeated to me that even availability and his few moments of rest due to his workload, he “from above Mamma was able to see me, hear me, protect and was always able to be a source of help for me and for others with guide me.” his great generosity, enthusiasm, and cultural and intellectual Now I have three heavenly guardians; beside my mother and richness. my sister Mariolina, there is you. You guided and counseled me He lived and passed on to us a fatherhood that was characterized with such patience, constancy and firmness, and your example by responsibility, good example and never deprived me of one moment a sense of duty. He first lived those of your love, wisdom and precious qualities in his daily life and dedicounsel. I am certain that you will cated himself to work, to family and continue to do this through the to God with a deep respect for his force of eternal love that now neighbor. unites us. Papa found himself in two very The Lord God gave us two impainful struggles over the course of measurable gifts: a holy mother in two years — the death of my heaven and an exemplary father on mother in 1962 and only two years earth. Would I ever be worthy of later the death of my sister, Marisuch gifts? I know that I must do olina. Papa had to become a guide everything possible to merit them and support in my growth and in because this has taught me to dedithe growth of my sisters, always cate my whole life to do the will of seeking to alleviate suffering and to the Lord and to thank him for his help us grow without a maternal constant and faithful goodness, figure in our lives. He succeeded at sharing with others the gifts I have this thanks to his great love and to received. the care and sensitivity that always How many beautiful words of sustained us through his counsel comfort have been sent to us chilthat was never imposed, but always dren from innumerable persons available. who knew you! You were the quinWe would never be able to ask tessential model showing us that Pietro and Gianna Beretta Molla are pictured together before God for a better father who showthose who give unconditionally retheir marriage in 1955. ered affection upon us all the days of ceive just as much in return. I never our lives. I do not remember exactly heard or saw you deny the most when my father accepted his vocation of being married to a saint, lowly or highly-placed person. You faced daily life with such hunor do I recall his opposing such a vocation, especially through the mility, always offering your precious help even in the simplest dobeatification process of our mother. Because of our young age, we mestic inconveniences, notwithstanding your thousands of work were not involved in the decision. Knowing my father as I did, I and social commitments. You met all of these challenges of life do believe that he accepted this decision with love and respect for with great enthusiasm and untiring willpower. Your thirst for life and for my mother. I am convinced that because he did not op- knowledge and innovation always marked you and were a particpose this process, he honored the memory of his beloved wife. His ular inspiration to me. You always dealt with problems with your decision to accept this path for love of my mother was made out of whole heart and with great diplomacy, repeating to me that “to respect for the will of God made manifest through the Church’s de- postpone things too often is not to do them.” Your untiring work cision. This is what my father lived throughout his whole life with- as a CEO, a father and as principal steward of the memories of out ever backing away, even in very difficult emotional moments. mother and the spreading of her message throughout the world He was a great example of love, constancy and faith. — along with your constant turning to the Lord and to mother — Pierluigi through prayer — have been for me a great example. In order to always do the will of God and to honor the memory LOVE NOW UNITES US of Mamma, you accepted to share with the world the splendid but Laura Molla, 51, is a corporate executive in Milan. She is married to brief story of the earthly life that the two of you lived together. Giuseppe Panutti. Laura chose to write her reflections in the form of Thank you for always loving me so much even when you were not a letter to her father. in full agreement with my choices and my behavior. Thank you for the great patience that you always showed toward me and for Dear Papa, never regretting the sacrifices that you made for my happiness. You are so present and alive in my heart as you have always Always with great love, been throughout my life, and I feel guilty for not having thought Laura ♦ 24 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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was killed in a car accident in 2009 after serving for many years as a member of the New York Police Department. The funds from the tournament and dinner will provide an education for Grasso’s three surviving children. PARISH ENTRY

Members of Dr. C. W. Henney Council 1637 in Portage, Wis., stabilize part of the new bell tower at St. Mary’s Church in Pardeeville before it is lifted into place. St. Mary’s Church was built in 2003, but funds at the time did not allow for the construction of a bell tower. After fielding several estimates between $35,000 and $50,000, Knights decided to undertake the project themselves, donating half of the money needed and raising the rest from parishioner donations. With help from a local contractor, the council completed the project — including refurbishing the original church bell — for approximately $8,000.



Father Joseph Timothy O’Callahan Council 14157 at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., conducted a council retreat in Mount Laguna, Calif. The event provided a weekend of reflection and relaxation for all Knights in attendance.

St. Cecilia Council 12613 in Pawtucket, R.I., hosted a clam cake and chowder dinner to benefit the Mother of Life Center in Providence. The event raised more than $1,100 to help the center purchase a new ultrasound machine.


Our Lady of Grace Council 13243 in Palm Bay, Fla., sponsored a presentation by the local police department on home safety and provided information on having a free home safety inspection.

Members of Saint Francis of Assisi Council 12610 in Mocksville, N.C., built a side entry at their parish hall. Knights installed a thermalinsulated door, outdoor lights, and concrete and marble entryway. The new entrance will eliminate the hazard of walking through the kitchen while parishioners are cooking. PANCAKE BREAKFAST

Msgr. Bernard Doyle Council 1080 in Darlington, Wis., held a pancake breakfast that raised approximately $1,000 for its parish maintenance fund. LANGUAGE SKILLS

In conjunction with the Westchester County Board



St. Catherine of Siena Council 6890 in Clayton, N.J., sponsored a hoagie sale at two area parishes, selling approximately 300 sandwiches to hungry parishioners. Sales exceeded $680, a portion of which was donated to the Global Wheelchair Mission.

Holy Trinity Council 12353 in Edmonton, Alberta, donated more than $58,000 to St. Agnes Church to repair and replace a deteriorating sewer and drainage system. The council donated an additional $2,000 to aid with cleanup after the repairs were made.

St. Lawrence Council 1495 in Brewster, N.Y., co-sponsored the Richard Grasso Memorial Golf Outing and Dinner with St. Lawrence O’Toole Church to raise $30,000 for a deceased Knight. Richard Grasso, 51,


Father Dan Brady, pastor of St. Michael Church and chaplain of St. MichaelJoseph Solari Council 11172 in Glen Allen, Va., places the last brick in a memorial plaza that will feature the names of deceased council members. Knights built the plaza to showcase the church’s new Project Moses Ten Commandments monument.

of Cooperative Education (BOCE), Our Lady of Guadalupe Council 14556 in Elmsford, N.Y., started a program to assist people who speak little or no English. Knights helped recruit more than 65 students to the program, which is taught by BOCE educators at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. HOT AND COLD

David Richardson Jr. of Father Mychal Judge Circle 4853 in East Haven, Conn., pours soup into a bowl at the Branford Community Dining Room. Squires served chicken with all the trimmings to 52 needy members of the community and were also responsible for cleaning the kitchen afterward.

St. Paul Council 6903 in Prospect Park, N.J., donated $900 to its parish to help replace the 40-year-old heating and air conditioning system. LOAVES AND FISH

St. John’s Council 709 in Kansas City, Kan., held a fish and shrimp dinner that raised more than $4,000 for its parish. The funds are earmarked to resurface the church parking lot and replace the church furnace.

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The following councils hosted golf tournaments to benefit a variety of charitable causes: • St. Edward Council 10876 in Granville, Ohio — $7,000 for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. • Blessed Sacrament Council 13240 in Clermont, Fla. — $1,300 for Russell Home, a facility for children with intellectual disabilities. • St. Catherine of Siena Council 9923 in Kennesaw, Ga. — $8,400 for its parish school.

Presentation Council 10478 in Stockton, Calif., teamed with friends and family to collect nine boxes of clothing and school supplies, along with more than $500, for the Transitional Learning Center (TLC) in Stockton. TLC provides schooling and basic services to children from homeless families. CLASSIC CAR SHOW

Cardinal Terrence Cooke Council 8495 in Evans, Ga., held a classic car show that raised more than $1,300 for the council’s charitable fund. HOPE IN TIME OF TRAGEDY

When an area Knight was killed in a car accident and his two children severely injured, Father John G. Seyfried Council 821 in Kings Park, N.Y., held a spaghetti dinner in support of the surviving family members. The event,

• Bishop Dennis P. O’Neil Council 14292 in Corona, Calif. — $300 for the Circle of Hope homeless shelter.

• O’Fallon (Ill.) Council 4239 — $15,000 for children with intellectual disabilities. • Father Francis Koch Council 6343 in West Milford, N.J. — $4,400 for St. Joseph Church.

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coupled with an auction by the Kings Park Council of Schools, raised $13,000 for the Knight’s family. SUPPORTING EDUCATION

Fayetteville (Texas) Council 3168 held a fund drive that raised $35,000 for Catholic education.


Our Lady of Victory Council 5613 in Tallmadge, Ohio, hosted a spaghetti dinner and raffle that raised $500 for its parish building and maintenance fund. Father Theodore P. Sullivan Council 11217 in Shoreline, Wash., held a spaghetti dinner and raffle to help purchase a new pipe organ for St. Mark Church.


Through a variety of fundraising efforts, Cardinal Cody Council 8070 in Northlake, Ill., purchased a new sign for the front of St. John Vianney School. The sign advertises school events and features both the school’s Web site and the emblem of the Order.

• Rawdon (Quebec) Council 7047 — $1,000 for the Canadian Red Cross. • St. Katharine Drexel Council 14212 in Weston, Fla. — $45,000 for the St. Katharine Drexel Church building fund.

Bruce Stevens of Mother Teresa of Calcutta Council 12117 in Virginia Beach, Va., prays the rosary with residents of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Health Center. Knights visit the facility each Saturday to pray the rosary and play bingo with residents.

B. J. Dysart and Jim Baldrighti of Father Vincent S. Sikora Council 7992 in Burke, Va., construct the roof a new home in Whitley City, Ky., as part of the Appalachia Building Project. Knights have participated in the project since 2001, which provides low-mortgage, interest-free homes to needy families in McCreary County, Ky. The council raised $27,000 for its latest project, and members completed construction of a 1,000-square-foot home in 12 days.


St. Charles Garnier Council 9845 in Kelowna, British Columbia, raised $6,000 to install a stained-glass window of the Order’s founder, Venerable Michael McGivney, at St. Charles Garnier Church. The window is based on one of the mosaics by Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik that is located at the Holy Family Chapel at the Supreme Council headquarters.

District Deputy Lawrence Beaton of British Columbia District #10 hugs Claire Ternier, the widow of Albert Ternier of Bishop Harrington Council 9508 in Kamloops, during an appreciation dinner for clergy and council widows. Knights from District #10 hold the event annually and present each widow with a bouquet of flowers.

LOWER RIGHT: Photo courtesy of Diocesan News, Diocese of Kamloops



Carroll of Carrollton Assembly, both in Winter Haven, Fla., erected two flagpoles at St. Joseph Church and donated the flags to go with them. Council 4726 donated a papal flag, while Charles Carroll Assembly donated a U.S. flag.

A CULTURE OF VOCATIONS From the newest seminarian to the Bishop of Rome, Knights support those who serve the Church

SUNSHINE HAVEN Members of Our Lady of Sorrows Council 6302 in Wahiawa, Hawaii, and St. John, Apostle and Evangelist Council 14663 in Mililani serve breakfast to attendees at a going-away party for the U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division based out of Schofield Barracks. Knights served more than 300 soldiers and their families prior to the soldiers’ deployment overseas.


Lancaster (Pa.) Council 867 and Santa Maria Assembly shipped 76 baby blankets to a convent in Krakow, Poland. The blankets will be used in orphanages throughout Eastern Europe. DINNER BENEFIT

St. John Bosco Council 11936 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, held a steak supper and silent auction to benefit a local family that had fallen on hard times. The event raised more than $5,000.

Bishop Adolph A. Marx Council 1553 in Brownsville, Texas, donated $2,000 to Sunshine Haven, a facility that provides compassionate end-of-life care to residents throughout Cameron County. FAMILY READINESS

Msgr. Reding Assembly in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., donated $500 to the Family Readiness Group, an organization that provides support to the families of deployed military personnel. OFF TO MASS

Canadian Martyrs Council 4502 in Simcoe, Ontario, donated $2,500 to St. Joseph School to bus students to Mass each month. The school attends monthly Mass together at nearby St. Mary Church, and the donation will cover transportation costs for half the school year.


Dr. Lawrence J. O’Rourke Council 4726 and Charles

• Members of St. Philip the Apostle Council 11671 in Clifton, N.J., presented their parish priest with a Knights of Columbus chasuble and stole (item #553). • Members of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Council 13570 in Valle Hermoso, Mexico Northeast, and its ladies’ auxiliary collected $150 for the Diocese of Matamoras by volunteering at a local carnival. The funds will benefit diocesan seminarians.


The Oregon State Council promoted the sale of 895 bottles of Oregon-bottled wines to benefit Father Taaffe Homes, a pro-life organization that provides housing for teenage mothers and their children. Sales exceeded $4,475, which was donated to help operate the organization’s three facilities.

[Above] John Watts (far right) and Terrence Long of Heart Lake Council 9108 in Brampton, Ontario, present Father Andrew Maderak with a gift during the council’s clergy appreciation night. Knights honored area priests who have worked on a variety of charitable endeavors.

Members of St. Paul of the Cross Council 6681 in Marikina, Luzon, clean and repaint the Ten Commandments monument at their church. Knights provided all materials and manpower for the repairs.

• Archbishop McNally Council 4622 in Calgary, Alberta, sprung into action when Bishop Frederick B. Henry of Calgary requested a number of ciboria for use during outdoor

cemetery Masses. Knights raised funds to purchase four ciboria, which were presented to Bishop Henry several months later. • Msgr. Martin B. Powers Council 14573 in Melbourne, Fla., provided financial support to two women discerning a call to religious life. Funds for the donation were raised at a council-sponsored car show and through the sales of “Keep Christ in Christmas” car magnets. • St. Elizabeth Council 13141 in Upper Uwchlan, Pa., held a vocations fair that brought together 30 different religious communities from as far away as Massachusetts and Ohio. Visitors could learn about vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the event was open to both the parish and the community. • St. Kevin Council 13881 in Montreal presented a $500 Refund Support Vocations Program (RSVP) scholarship to seminarian Jason Piper.

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Grimes Golf Outing. Proceeds from the tournament were donated to St. Gabriel Radio, a Catholic station that reaches 1.75 million listeners in central Ohio. CHARITABLE DISTRIBUTIONS

Members of Holy Cross Council 10457 in Calumpang, Mindanao, paint a local schoolhouse. Through the Department of Education’s “adopt-a-school” program, Council 10457 was paired with Chanco Elementary School to assist with clean-up work and repairs.


St. Thomas Aquinas Council 2977 in Madison, S.D., volunteered to install siding and sheetrock at a new Habitat for Humanity house. Knights also volunteered to aid with any other Habitat houses that are constructed in the future. VARIETY OF FUNDRAISING

Our Lady of the Lake Council 7927 in Wofford Heights, Calif., hosted a variety show fundraiser at a local movie theater. The event raised $720 for Camp Keep, a weeklong

environmental education program for schoolchildren at a national state park. SHELTER HELP

Members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Council 3425 in New Iberia, La., volunteer at the Iberia Homeless Shelter each month, cooking meals for residents there. MEDICAL CENTER DONATION

The Knights of Columbus Suffolk County (N.Y.) Chapter raised $7,500 for the Stony Brook University Med-

ical Center. The donation is specifically earmarked for the center’s “Sunrise Fund,” which provides aid to children with cancer. LUNCH SERVED


Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Council 8176 in Antipolo, Luzon, prepared and served lunch to students, teachers and parents at Cabading Elementary School. The council served a similar lunch to 800 students and faculty at T. Rivero Elementary School.

Bishop Patrick A. McGovern Council 801 in Cheyenne, Wyo., hosted a “26 Club Raffle” to purchase new chairs for its council hall and to build houses in Third World countries through Food for the Poor. The raffle, along with a benefit dinner, raised more than $9,700, which was used to purchase 150 chairs for the hall and to build a house in St. Catherine, Jamaica.


Members of Father Griffin Council 3586 in Affton, Mo., present Jim Donahue (center), campaign chairman for Fisher House, with a check for $7,150. Knights hosted a golf tournament to raise funds to build a Fisher House at the St. Louis VA Medical Center, Jefferson Barracks Division. Fisher House provides free housing to the extended family of veterans recovering at the hospital. Also pictured, second from right, is Fisher House Manager Rachael Fernandez.

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St. Philip the Apostle Council 9884 in Lewisville, Texas, presented $3,700 each to Haitian Pilgrims of St. Philip and Knight-Light Charities. Haitian Pilgrims works with a sister parish in Boileau, Haiti, to build wells and to provide school supplies and medical care to needy families. Knight-Light Charities provides emergency funding to families in southern Denton County.

Cristo Redentor Council 7814 in Mount Holly, N.J., hosted a baby bottle drive at Christ the Redeemer Church that raised more than $1,800 for the Choices of the Heart Foundation. The foundation provides ultrasounds to women in crisis pregnancies who may be considering an abortion. Meanwhile, Joseph F. Lamb Council 5510 in Oak Ridge, N.J., hosted a baby bottle drive that raised $2,500 for Birth Haven, a shelter for women in crisis pregnancies. LOUD AND CLEAR

New Albany (Ohio) Council 10941 raised $5,865 during its annual Msgr. J. Colbry

Members of Genevieve of Paris Council 13397 in Thibodaux, La., make storm damage repairs to the cafeteria at their parish school. In addition to fixing the cafeteria, Knights donated $11,000 for renovations at St. Genevieve Church and volunteered to perform some of the work themselves.


biannual rummage sale. The 40-foot by 90-foot pole barn, named Spirit Hall, houses merchandise that is sold at the council-sponsored event. Proceeds from the sales — which have exceeded $12,000 since 2004 — are distributed among a number of charitable organizations. Rick U. Rodriguez of Father Francis A. Ryan Council 5025 in Chicago installs a stone base around the eight-foot cross he donated to Queen of All Saints Basilica. Rodriguez donated the cross and stones when his parish realized that it could not fund the project independently. Christopher Columbus Assembly in Harwood Heights provided an honor guard at the grotto’s dedication.


Father Jesus S. Palileo Council 11894 in Dasmarinas, Luzon, hosted a seminar on the rosary for area young people. SPIRIT HALL

With the help of various donations, Hot Springs (Ark.) Council 6419 constructed a new building to house its


Mid-Columbia Council 7292 in Hood River, Ore., shipped 169 pairs of sweatpants to injured soldiers in Germany and Afghanistan. Knights coordinated with a local WalMart outlet to purchase the pants at a discount.

Members of Pere Vincent de Paul Council 14280 in St. Peters, Nova Scotia, harvest potatoes at a potato patch they started to benefit a local food bank. Knights planted and harvested the crop, which yielded 700 pounds of potatoes for the food bank.


St. Charles (Ill.) Council 12497 prepared 1,800 apple pies in four hours to sell as part of a fundraiser. The pies netted $6,000, which was added to the council’s charitable fund. SOCK HOP

Barney Gonyea Council 7109 in Safety Harbor, Fla., sponsored a 1950s-style sock hop for charity. The event raised $850 for Espiritu Santo Parish and garnered for more than 200 pairs of socks for Pinellas Hope, a homeless shelter.


St. Louis the King Council 11898 in Clarksville, Md., sponsored a 10K charity race that raised more than $5,000 for six area organizations: ARC of Howard County, the Shrine of St. Anthony, FISH, Christ Life, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Sarah’s House. UP TO BAT

St. Jos de Beauce (Quebec) Council 2822 provides financial support to an area baseball team. In return, all team members wear a jersey printed with the emblem of the Order.

LOWER LEFT: Photo courtesy of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church


Hawley (Pa.) Council 797 donated a papal flag to St. Mary’s Villa, a nursing home in Moscow, Pa. Dolores Matarazzo, the wife of council member Gerald Matarazzo, is currently residing at the home and reported that the facility’s chapel did not have a papal flag in residence. Members of John J. Mertens Assembly and Bishop Charles D. White Assembly, both in Spokane, Wash., form an honor guard at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Immaculate Heart Retreat Center. The event, dubbed a diocesan Mary day, included a procession, Marian crowning, rosary and renewal of consecration.


Resurrection Council 11573 in Nashua, N.H., held a prolife baby bottle drive at its parish. Knights asked church-

goers to fill the bottles with spare change, netting more than $3,200 for Care Net Pregnancy Center. NEW CHALICE

Father James Lee Rizer Council 6828 in Williamsburg, Va., presented Father Arlon Vergara, associate pastor of St. Bede Church, with a new chalice. The presentation was made at the council’s annual religious appreciation dinner. MOTORING ALONG

Knights from Iowa District #17 hosted a motorcycle poker run to benefit the Global Wheelchair Mission. Riders began with a pancake breakfast, travelled to all five councils in the district, and ended with a grilled pork meal and dance. exclusive See more “Knights in Action” reports and photos at knightsinaction

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HOPE FOR HAITI Six months after a devastating earthquake, the need for aid remains strong

K OF C ITEMS OFFICIAL SUPPLIERS IN THE UNITED STATES THE ENGLISH COMPANY INC. Official council and Fourth Degree equipment 1-800-444-5632 •

ix months after a 7.0 earthquake S struck the nation of Haiti Jan. 12, Knights throughout North America

LYNCH AND KELLY INC. Official council and Fourth Degree equipment and officer robes 1-888-548-3890 •

have remained steadfast (and creative) in their support of disaster relief efforts. Here, we present a snapshot of some of the outstanding ways that the Order at the grassroots level has responded to this tragedy.

CHILBERT & CO. Approved Fourth Degree Tuxedos 1-800-289-2889 • IN CANADA ROGER SAUVÉ INC. Official council and Fourth Degree equipment and officer robes 1-888-266-1211 •

• Edward Douglass White Council 2473 in Arlington, Va., held a “Swing for Haiti” dance, featuring the band Swing Shift, which raised more than $3,800. The council also donated an additional $500 to the Missionhurst Missionaries in Haiti. • Father Maguire Council 3851 in Covina, Calif., in conjunction with parishioners at St. Christopher Church and the Global Wheelchair Mission, held a fundraising drive to purchase wheelchairs for earthquake victims. Proceeds from the drive totaled more than $20,000 — enough to buy about 135 wheelchairs. • St. Pius X Council 12656 in Portland, Ore., hosted a crab feed and silent auction for earthquake relief. Food and raffle sales exceeded $2,800, and three drawing winners donated their funds back to the council. In all, Knights were able to donate $5,600.


[Top] Dr. William J. Hughes of Risen Saviour Council 8741 in Albuquerque, N.M., examines a mother and child at a makeshift medical clinic in Port-auPrince, Haiti. Dr. Hughes traveled with a team from International Medical Relief to provide emergency care to more than 1,000 Haitians. [Bottom] Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Justin Arnold (second from left) of Msgr. Newman Council 4665 in Louisville, Ky., helps transport an earthquake victim to U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay.

• Ecumenical Seventy Council 6246 in

London, Ontario, hosted a roast beef dinner that raised $1,635 through ticket sales and donations.

supplies, canes, walkers and toiletries to be sent to Haiti.

• St. Isaac Jogues Council 11312 in

• Immediately following the earth-

Lincoln, Neb., hosted a blood drive to benefit the Red Cross. The drive netted 34 units of viable blood to help replenish supplies following the earthquake. • On the Friday before the New Or-

leans Saints’ victory in Super Bowl XLIV, Alex Semel Council 12989 in Lacombe, La., held a black-and-gold fish fry/pep rally at St. John of the Cross Church. In conjunction with the event, Knights collected tarps, medical

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quake, Rex King of Father Michael A. Burke Council 14488 in Kathleen, Ga., assisted in communications with amateur radio operators in Haiti. King stayed on the air for 48 hours and handled more than 200 messages from Haiti. He also helped establish necessary contacts and updated relief information on the Web. Submit photos and reports of your council’s activities to



J O I N T H E FAT H E R MCGIVNEY GUILD Please enroll me in the Father McGivney Guild:

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

ARNOLD: Reuters/Bill Mesta



WW II MEMORIAL: CNS photo from Reuters/Richard Latoff — BASILICA: CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec — JEFFERSON MEMORIAL AND WASHINGTON MONUMENT: iStockphoto

U.S. Capital to host 128th Supreme Convention Aug. 3-5 WASHINGTON, D.C., THE CITY whose memorials, museums and public spaces enshrine the history of the United States of America, will host the 128th Supreme Convention Aug. 3-5. The nation’s capital previously hosted Supreme Conventions in 1932, 1985, 1993 and 2003. In addition to massive monuments that commemorate past leaders and patriotic sacrifices, the city also boasts numerous Catholic sites, including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and The Catholic University of America. The Order’s involvement with the District of Columbia began with the enthusiastic support of Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore when the first D.C. council was chartered in 1897. Since then, the number of councils in the district has increased to 19. There are many examples of the Knights’ presence in Washington. The Order urged the U.S. Congress to establish the Columbus Memorial at Union Station in 1912, and a statue of Cardinal Gibbons was erected in conjunction with the Order’s golden anniversary in 1932. The Knights’ Tower at the National Shrine was completed along with the basilica in 1959, and K of C support of the shrine has continued, for instance, with the construction of the Knights of Columbus Incarnation Dome in 2007. With such a vibrant history — both Catholic and patriotic — there will be no shortage of sights to see and places to visit for Knights and their families. With the assistance of the Virginia, Mary-

land and D.C. state councils, there will be numerous tours available. Visitors will have the opportunity to see the national memorials, Smithsonian museums, Mount Vernon and many other historical and cultural sites in Washington and the surrounding area. And the Catholic Heritage Tour will feature visits to the National Shrine, the Franciscan Monastery and the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center. The convention’s opening Mass will be celebrated at the National Shrine on Tuesday, Aug. 3, at 9:30 a.m. The opening business session will commence at 1 p.m. that day. The Order has reserved a block of rooms at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. All delegates are required to reserve room accommodations and States Dinner tickets through the General Office Department and should arrive no later than Monday, Aug. 2. Additional information about the 128th Supreme Convention, including a complete schedule of events, is available at For important visitor information, such as details about tours, visit the District of Columbia State Council’s website,♦

Some of the sights of Washington, D.C. (clockwise from upper left): the Columbus Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument.

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Patriotism MEMBERS OF Girl Scout Troop 786 fold letters that are addressed to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. St. Hilary Council 14551 in Akron, Ohio, along with Girl Scouts and the United Service Organizations (USO), filled more than 50 care packages that included letters, snacks, personal care items and more. • St. Joan of Arc Council 14357 in Phoenix collected snacks, toiletries, socks and more for members of a Blackhawk helicopter battalion stationed in Iraq. Knights collected enough items to fill 101 care packages.




MEMBERS OF Sum-Ag Circle 4651 in Bacolod City, Visayas, distribute hot rice soup and bread to undernourished children. Squires undertook the feeding program at Purok Sañto Niño, an impoverished community that is home to many needy families. • Rev. A. J. Lynch Council 6898 and Rev. Pere Damase Thibodeau Assembly, both in Riviere Verte, New Brunswick, contributed $9,000 to the campaign “Ensemble pour notre église” (“Together for Our Church”) to meet the campaign’s $50,000 goal.

MEMBERS OF West Frankfort (Ill.) Council 11111 stand with one of the five benches they donated to the West Frankfort Community Park. Pictured are: Jim McPhail, Pete Witkewiz, West Frankfort Community Park Board President Brett Dunston, Steve Leek and Charles Daniels. • Father A. Leo Abendschoen Council 11615 in Parkville, Md., presented five Franciscan seminarians with checks for $500 each through the Order’s Refund Support Vocations Program (RSVP). Since its founding in 1995, Council 11615 has donated more than $30,000 to seminarians and postulants.

An honor guard from Most Rev. William H. Gross Assembly in Milwaukie, Ore., looks on while members of Knights of the Resurrection Council 13851 in Tualatin present a memorial chalice to the parents of Cpl. Matthew R. Lembke. Cpl. Lembke, who was a member of Council 13851, died July 10, 2009, from wounds sustained in combat in Afghanistan. Knights presented Dale and Claudia Lembke with a memorial chalice in honor of their son’s sacrifice. • Shawnee (Okla.) Council 1018 hosted a memorial Mass in honor of deceased council members and their wives. Father Gregory Gerrer Assembly provided an honor guard for the event.

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Building a better world one council at a time

Grand Knight David Merriwether of St. Anthony Council 417 in Washington, D.C., speaks from the ambo during a Year for Priests Mass sponsored by the council. Knights honored past and present pastors from their parish, as well as Auxiliary Bishop Martin D. Holley of Washington, a member of St. Thérèse Council 13389 in Pensacola, Fla. Fourth Degree Knights from throughout the region provided an honor guard for the event, which was followed by a parish-wide reception.

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.





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ALL IS MADE CLEAR’ Ten years ago, I was ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ, and today I know that this is what God created me to be. Awareness of God’s call in my life came through the gift of family, friends and faith. But it was only in the seminary that God’s call for me became clear. Today, as a vocation director, I have the privilege of helping young men discover the same clarity of God’s call in their lives. In a world filled with much uncertainty, young people ache for assurance and direction. Such assurance exists, and it is found in Christ. I am often asked, “How can I know for certain God’s will in my life?” And my response is simple: Know Jesus Christ. In him, all is made clear, and all things are secure. To know who God created you to be is a great joy, and such wisdom can be yours in Jesus. Together with our Church community, each of us can discover our personal vocation, and we can stand proud in who Christ has called us to be.

Photo by Don Tracy

FATHER CHRISTOPHER B. ROGERS Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Columbia June 2010  

Columbia June 2010

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