Columbia June 2020

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K N I G H T S O F C O LU M BU S ♦ ♦



Help for the Hungry As food insecurity grips millions, the Order ramps up its assistance to food banks across the U.S. and Canada. BY CECILIA HADLEY

12 Blessings from On High K of C priests and pilots conduct aerial eucharistic processions and rain down holy water against the pandemic. BY JOHN BURGER

16 Window of Opportunity Challenges resulting from the pandemic have offered unexpected openings for God’s grace. BY FATHER SEAMUS GRIESBACH

18 Charity, Unity and Fraternity Online Order overcomes social distancing hurdles through virtual outreach initiatives. BY COLUMBIA STAFF

22 In Service to the Suffering A neurologist and Knight battles to save lives amid the COVID-19 crisis in New York. BY MAIREAD MCARDLE

24 Science, Faith and COVID-19 An interview with Dr. Andrew Wang about responding to the pandemic with medicine, research and faith.

A Connecticut Air National Guard C-130H flies by the Supreme Council headquarters in New Haven, Conn., May 14. The Guard flew two C-130Hs over 25 towns in the state to show support for health care workers and first responders.

26 Sacramental First Responders Priests brave the pandemic to bring Christ’s healing presence to its victims. BY JOSEPH O’BRIEN


3 Building a better world The Knights of Columbus remains financially strong and committed to serving Catholic families. BY SUPREME KNIGHT CARL A. ANDERSON

4 Learning the faith, living the faith Amid the hubbub of family life, Catholics must strive to quiet their homes and their hearts.

11 Fathers for Good Step up your spiritual leadership while sheltering at home. BY SOREN JOHNSON


28 Knights in Action

PLUS: Catholic Man of the Month

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A Revolution of Mercy JUST AS a novel coronavirus can spread throughout the world, threatening people’s bodily welfare, so too can ideas and behaviors spread throughout society, affecting people’s social, psychological and spiritual well-being. Long before the current pandemic, Pope Francis has likened pride and indifference to a virus — and he also pointed toward a cure. To confront the sin and selfishness that blind us to the needs of others, he called upon Catholics to rediscover and put into practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. “In a world which, unfortunately, has been damaged by the virus of indifference, the works of mercy are the best antidote,� Pope Francis said in a Wednesday catechesis in 2016, during the Jubilee of Mercy. “We are often distracted, indifferent, and when the Lord closely passes us by, we lose the opportunity to encounter him. The works of mercy reawaken in us the need, and the ability, to make the faith alive and active with charity.� The coronavirus pandemic has had effects reaching far beyond those who have contracted COVID-19. The economic impact of lockdowns has devastated many, resulting in an increased need — and opportunity — for charitable outreach. Moreover, the challenges have not been limited to hunger and other physical needs; they have included the deprivation of social and spiritual essentials as well. In response, the Knights of Columbus has done what it has always done — encouraging and mobilizing members to extend God’s mercy to our neighbors

and recognize Jesus in the faces of others. A major element of the Order’s Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative has focused on the first corporal work of mercy — feeding the hungry (see page 6, cf. Mt 25:35). K of C chaplains and councils have likewise sought to bring spiritual nourishment and consolation to the faithful (see pages 12, 26). This special edition of Columbia highlights just some of the ways that Knights of Columbus — collectively, locally and individually — have responded to the pandemic with a living faith and active charity. The witness of these Knights is a reminder that the call to charity need not be complicated. In his Wednesday catechesis, Pope Francis noted, “It is better to begin with the simplest, which the Lord tells us is the most urgent.â€? He added, “I am convinced that, through these simple, daily actions, we can achieve a true cultural revolution.â€? Though sin and indifference can spread like a virus, Christian joy and the witness of faith are also contagious. This is evident in the friendships of so many saints, as well as in all the times and places the faith has taken root throughout Church history. And it is often in times of great trial that the Lord presents us with the greatest opportunity for holiness (see page 16). The question for each of us, then, is whether we will recognize the Lord as he “closely passes us byâ€? and respond, by his grace, with simple acts of faith, hope and charity.♌ ALTON J. PELOWSKI EDITOR

‘Leave No Neighbor Behind’ Guidebook The Orderwide Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative is designed to help councils serve their neighbors in need during the COVID-19 crisis. Launched by the Supreme Council in collaboration with local and state Knights of Columbus leaders, the initiative encourages council members to engage in various types of service activities. Download the comprehensive guidebook, which includes detailed action steps, critical safety guidelines and other resources, at 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 ADDRESS CHANGES 203-752-4210, option #3 COLUMBIA INQUIRIES 203-752-4398 K OF C CUSTOMER SERVICE 1-800-380-9995 EMAIL INTERNET ________ Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See. This means that an applicant or member accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church.


Copyright Š 2020 All rights reserved ________ ON THE COVER Luis Fernando GarcĂ­a, a member of St. Finbar Council 15728 in Brooklyn, N.Y., helps a client to a bag of groceries at a Catholic Charities emergency food pantry held April 24 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church.


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Weathering the Storm The Knights of Columbus remains financially strong and committed to serving Catholic families by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson A RECENT COLUMN in The Wall Street Journal observed, “Today, every occupant of every C-suite is trying to figure out what they’re willing to throw overboard as the economic storm spawned by the pandemic is swamping their ships. Businesses that were planning to help save the world are now simply saving themselves.” The May 6 column, titled “Sustainability was Corporate America’s Buzzword. This Crisis Changes That,” further noted, “Entities from one-cell organisms to multinational conglomerates shut down everything except what they need to survive.” No wonder people are worried. Today, many “C-suites” are in crisis, and many executives are reaching for drastic solutions. Not so with the Knights of Columbus. Sustainability was never just a buzzword with us. Consider the April 6 report released by Standard and Poor’s, titled “Ranking North American Life Insurance Companies, Strongest to Weakest.” S&P reviewed its ratings of hundreds of life insurance companies in North America to determine how well positioned they are to withstand the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. S&P ranked only six companies in the top category, and the Knights of Columbus is one of them. This level of financial strength does not magically appear overnight. It is the result of consistent and sustained corporate governance to do what is best for our brother Knights and their families in a prudent and professional way. It involves decades of determined effort to maintain both a superior level of capital

adequacy and a low risk exposure as the best protection against financial storms. We continue to have more than $100 billion of insurance in force protecting the financial future of our Catholic families. That is an awesome responsibility, and it is guided by our commitment to provide “insurance by brother Knights for brother Knights.” Again, our goal is not corporate profit but what is best for our brother Knights and their families. Pope Francis has urged Catholics to take up what he calls “an ethics of fraternity.” Such ethics have been our guiding light for more than a century. As I have said many times, there were already insurance companies in Connecticut in Father McGivney’s day. He could easily have referred his parishioners to these companies. But our founder didn’t want business as usual; he wanted something different and something distinctly Catholic — a Catholic fraternity that would transform men into a committed brotherhood. That is what Father McGivney founded, and that is what we continue today; you might say that we are very traditional. At the same time, we have made many changes, especially during the last several years, to make our insurance program stronger, more competitive and better positioned to withstand today’s challenges. We have undertaken a major restructuring and enhancement of our information technology department, reorganized and strengthened our insurance field force of more than 1,100 general and field agents, and have

brought greater efficiency and productivity to our business processing departments and customer service. Given the Supreme Council’s proximity to the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak in New York City, we took action before most companies to protect the health of our employees and the continuity of our operations by adopting a remote work plan. That transition went forward in an exemplary manner — as did the work of our insurance agents as they, too, transitioned to a new operating model demanded by social distancing. At the same time, we developed IT and procedural solutions to hold virtual state conventions and online exemplifications of our new ceremonial. We also implemented an emergency church loan program for Catholic dioceses facing financial crisis and a multimillion-dollar food assistance program through our Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative. No one can predict what the future may bring. As the days ahead will call for fortitude and continued vigilance, we will remain true to the principles that have served our Order so well in past. But above all, we have confidence in the providential care of the Lord of history, just as we have recourse to Our Lady, that gentle and glorious “Star of the Sea,” who for over two millennia has guided so many safely home. Vivat Jesus!

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Silence and the Domestic Church Amid the hubbub of family life, Catholics must strive to quiet their homes and their hearts by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori IN THE SACRISTY of the parish I from home and supervising school. attended as a teenager, there was a Children are taking online classes and sign that read: Silentium! I didn’t need find that their usual outlets, such as to know much Latin to figure out the sports, are temporarily out of the message. Prior to Mass, as the pastor question. For once, everyone is home Holy Trinity; a place of prayer where prayed the rosary or the Divine Of- — almost all the time. the faith is shared and passed on from fice, we altar servers were expected to Some parents have spoken or written one generation to another; a place speak in whispered tones and only to me about the stress and anxiety that where virtues and values are formed; when necessary. We were careful not such togetherness has produced. One and a place where the call of God, to drop things or slam doors. Even as wife and mother wrote to say that while one’s vocation, can be discerned and rambunctious teenagers, we tried our it’s all well and good to talk about the fostered. But as Knights we are realisbest to keep the decibel levels down. domestic church, she has had her fill of tic and practical. So we have provided I thought of that on a recent Sun- it. “It’s wearing me out,” she admitted. many resources and tips that help famday as I ambled around my ilies really be or become “dovery large and empty cathedral mestic churches.” One of those in Baltimore. How different, I important tips is — when posSilence is not only easier on the thought, from most Sundays, sible, try to cultivate silence. when the sacristy is bustling For a parish church to be a nerves; it is also good for the soul. with activity and people are place of prayer, there have to be ‘Silence leads to God, provided gathering for Mass. But now, times of silence. For a domestic during the pandemic, no one church to be a place of prayer man stops looking at himself.’ was there. It was utterly quiet and formation, there likewise and silent. And this silence need to be periods of silence — drew me to the Blessed Lady Chapel, Another took me to task for painting times when everything is unplugged where I sat, wordlessly, before the tab- an overly idealistic picture of the do- and when the members of the family ernacle. It was a graced moment when mestic church. “It’s fine for you to can, as the saying goes, “hear themthe Lord’s heart spoke to mine. speak about the family as a place of selves think.” Silence is not only easier I was reminded that, though the faith and safety and respect for life, or on the nerves; it is also good for the cathedral was empty, the Church itself about the role parents have in sharing soul. But not just any kind of silence. is still very much alive. The activity the faith with their kids,” she said. “But In his book The Power of Silence had shifted from that magnificent you don’t live with them like I do!” (2018), Cardinal Robert Sarah exstructure adorned with bas-reliefs and In recent years, the Order’s consis- plained, “Silence leads to God, promosaics to the “domestic church” — tent promotion of the domestic vided man stops looking at himself.” It our Christian homes and families. church has been among its most im- is only when we quiet down and invite These days, our “domestic churches” portant initiatives. We don’t water God into the inmost temple of our are bustling. Mass, communal prayers down what the domestic church is hearts that we gain the spiritual whereand spiritual messages come into the supposed to be in God’s plan. It is withal to shepherd a domestic church. home via livestream or other elec- truly called to be a sanctuary of life Silentium! read that old sign in the tronic means. Parents find themselves and love that shares in the life and sacristy. Its message is timelier than multitasking, in many cases working love of the three divine persons of the ever!♦ 4 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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A monthly reflection and practical challenge from Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.� (Gospel for June 21, Mt 10:32-33) The logic is pretty clear-cut, isn’t it? In this memorable promise, Jesus assures us of his intercession before the heavenly Father if we acknowledge


him before others. Historians tell us that the 20th century saw more martyrs than any before. These brothers and sisters courageously acknowledged Christ before others at the cost of their lives. In our comparative freedom, do we nonetheless deny Christ or hide our faith in little ways? Mindful of Christ’s promise and inspired by the faith of recent martyrs, may we acknowledge our Savior before others with serenity, courage and love. Challenge by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori: This month, I challenge you to offer to keep another person’s need in your prayers. Second, I challenge you to sustain the priesthood and its witness to the faith by supporting the Faith in Action Refund Support Vocations Program (RSVP) or by helping seminarians in some other way.♌


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St. Juan Grande RomĂĄn (1546-1600)

We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.

L I T U RG I C A L C A L E N DA R June 1 The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church June 3 St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs June 5 St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr June 7 The Most Holy Trinity June 11 St. Barnabas, Apostle June 13 St. Anthony of Padua June 14 The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) June 19 The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus June 20 The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary June 24 The Nativity of St. John the Baptist June 29 Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles

JUAN GRANDE ROMĂ N became known by another name for most of his life: Juan Pecador, or “John the Sinner.â€? He gave himself this moniker after a profound conversion at age 18, exchanging his finery for a sackcloth habit and beginning a new life in which he poured himself out for the poor and sick. Raised in a Catholic family near Seville, Spain, Juan became a cloth maker and merchant by age 17. Unfulfilled, he went on a yearlong retreat to a hermitage. He emerged bursting with zeal to serve those in dire need and took into his home a destitute elderly couple whom he supported by begging alms. A year later, he moved south to Jerez de la Frontera, which became the center of his lifelong apostolate. In 1574, an epidemic broke out in Jerez that left many sick people abandoned in the streets. Juan was so moved that he founded a hospital to assist them. Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, its doors were open day and night and anyone was readily admitted, even incurables. Later that year, Juan traveled to

Granada, where St. John of God had founded the recently approved Hospitaller Order. Identifying strongly with the new order’s charism, he soon joined their ranks as a professed brother. Brother Juan’s efforts to improve the quality of medical care at his own hospital led the archbishop of Seville to put him in charge of organizing and streamlining the hospitals in the region to make them more effective. When a great plague struck Jerez in 1600, Juan assisted victims all over the city and soon became infected. He died June 3 at age 54. Juan Pecador became St. Juan Grande Romån when he was canonized in 1996.♌

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HELP for the

HUNGRY As food insecurity grips millions, the Order ramps up its assistance to food banks across the U.S. and Canada by Cecilia Hadley


atholic Charities is in immediate need of manpower.� No sooner had these words gone out on social media than Knights across Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y., were ready to help. The local Catholic Charities, which had received a $50,000 donation from the Supreme Council, was setting up an emergency food pantry at St. Michael’s Church in Brooklyn on April 24. Volunteers were urgently needed to lift boxes, sort groceries and manage hundreds of people lined up for food. Father Michael Gelfant, associate chaplain of the New York State Council, posted the appeal on Facebook and included a stirring reminder: “This is why we were founded, this is what we do. This is what it means to be a Knight of Columbus!� Knights answered the call for this and numerous similar events throughout the spring. With demand skyrocketing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, food banks around the United States and Canada have witnessed firsthand “what it means to be a Knight of Columbus.� The Order has stepped up — at multiple levels and in many ways — to feed the hungry as part of its Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative. The Supreme Council kicked off the effort by distributing $1.25 million to hunger relief organizations in 16 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. At the same time, thousands of local councils mobilized, donating funds, collecting cans, buying grocery gift cards, volunteering time and much more.

Deybi LejĂĄ, a member of St. Finbar Council 15728 in Brooklyn, N.Y., hands out bags of groceries April 24 at an emergency food pantry in the borough. Knights from Council 15728 and other councils in Brooklyn and Queens have volunteered weekly at the Catholic Charities distributions. JUNE 2020


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“At the start of Holy Week, we announced a multimilliondollar campaign to support food banks in the United States and Canada,â€? said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Many councils and individual Knights have joined the effort to provide urgent support to the neediest among us. I have said before that where there’s a need, there’s a Knight. This is a time of great need. And once again, we must stand together to meet it.â€? In Baltimore, Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori presented a $50,000 check from the Supreme Council to Our Daily Bread, a Catholic Charities meal program that was serving about 1,000 bagged lunches a day during the pandemic, up from about 750. “Many people who had at least minimal employment are the first ones to lose their jobs,â€? noted Archbishop Lori. “And as a result of the pandemic, the food sources for Our Daily Bread have been interrupted.â€? The Order’s donation helped the program continue its streak of more than 14,000 straight days — 39 years — feeding the city’s poor and homeless. 8 ♌ COLUMBIA ♌

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“The Knights of Columbus is always a beautiful organization, but its beauty is really shining forth in this time of crisis,� the supreme chaplain said. Across the country, Catholic Charities of Denver received a donation as well. Some of the funds went to the Little Flower Assistance Center in Aurora, which has been supported for many years by local Knights, including Bishop Evans Council 10122, St. Michael the Archangel Council 11732 and Our Lady of Loreto Council 12336. Colorado State Deputy Chris Foley joined a group of Knights at the center May 6, unloading several truckloads of food and moving into place a large refrigeration unit. Purchased with the K of C donation, it doubled the food pantry’s capacity to store fresh produce, meat and dairy. “There’s a huge amount of need out there, and there’s a huge amount of charity flowing out of councils across the state,� Foley said. “Ordinary people are providing extraordinary service through Leave No Neighbor Behind.� Another organization benefitting from both Supreme

Jaccoma Maultsby, a member of Los Angeles Council 621, sorts food April 23 at the St. Francis Center. The center, which received $25,000 from the Leave No Neighbor Behind fund, serves the city’s homeless and impoverished.

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From top: Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore presents a check to William McCarthy Jr., executive director of Catholic Charities in the archdiocese. The donation supported the Catholic Charities’ meal program, Our Daily Bread. • Carlo DiCarlo, grand knight of Father Clair Tipping Council 9235, and Supreme Director Arthur Peters help out at Knights Table in Brampton, Ontario. The nonprofit, which offers free meals to all in need, was founded by Peters’ father, Cecil, and Council 9235. • Colorado State Faith Director Stephen Sweeney (left) and Tom Walls, grand knight of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Council 7502 in Northglenn, unload fresh produce at the Little Flower Assistance Center in Aurora, Colo., on May 6. JUNE 2020


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Council and local council support is Knights Table, which has been serving free meals in Brampton, Ontario, for 30 years. “Knights Table was formed after my father, Cecil, took my sister for a summer ice cream treat,â€? Supreme Director Arthur Peters explained. “While there, he saw somebody rummaging through the garbage looking for food — and he felt that that shouldn’t be happening here in our city.â€? As grand knight of Father Clair Tipping Council 9235 in Brampton, Cecil Peters launched the initiative with his council’s support. The organization has expanded and evolved over the years, and before the pandemic, it served about 250 meals a day; lately it has been distributing about twice that number. “Our councils, our volunteers, are out there on the frontlines, helping to support organizations like Knight Table across Canada,â€? Supreme Director Peters said. “We’re calling on our brother Knights to check in on them and to help them wherever necessary.â€? Back in hard-hit New York, State Deputy Walter Wych had 10 ♌ C O L U M B I A ♌

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nothing but praise for the Knights he leads. “Everyone is stepping up in his own way,â€? he said, but especially in New York City, where the impact of the virus has been dramatic. Knights have been doing a lot of heavy lifting — literally — at Catholic Charities’ weekly food pantries, unloading trucks on Wednesday, sorting on Thursday and distributing on Friday. Some of them volunteer yet again on Saturday, when St. Finbar Council 15728 and Most Precious Blood Council 6134, both in Brooklyn, open up their own food pantry to assist scores of council members unable to work during the pandemic. With help from other councils in the district, their Leave No Neighbor Behind food pantry is feeding 60-80 K of C families a week. “It is my belief that challenging times reveal the true character of an individual. The same can be said for an organization,â€? Wych said. “How we react to these times will be the legacy of the Knights of Columbus.â€?♌ CECILIA HADLEY is senior editor of Columbia.

George Vellaringattu of Mary of the Lakes Council 6520 in Medford, N.J., stocks shelves at the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry in Medford on April 29. The council purchased a trailer to collect and transport supplies for the pantry during the pandemic, making deliveries each Wednesday and Saturday.

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Dad’s Big Day — and Influence Step up your spiritual leadership while sheltering at home by Soren Johnson


oon after Father’s Day 2018, my dad called to share the news of his stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Four months later, I was standing at his graveside, praying for his soul and thanking God for his life and the role he played in mine. Father’s Day is a chance for every man to reflect on his father’s legacy — and his own. As Knights, we should strive to hand down to our children our most precious possession, the fullness of the Catholic faith. According to researchers, 56% of kids whose relationship with their dad is “warm and close� will share his degree of religious commitment. If that relationship is weak, the child is 20% less likely to follow his father’s faith. I was blessed to be close to my dad and experience his outsized influence in this area. Only as an adult did I learn how close he came to rejecting faith. Growing up as the son of a Protestant preacher, my dad chafed at his own father’s aloofness from the family. Instead of playing catch in the backyard, his dad often holed up in the study, preparing his next sermon. By the time he reached college, my dad was angry at God and at his parents, and he nearly flunked out. Yet rather than blame others, he began to read the Bible cover to cover. Years later, he told me that despite his academic failures, he found the pearl of great price: a “personal faith� in Jesus Christ that I would witness throughout my life. He forgave his father and set out on the path to becoming a man of faith and service. As a child, I often found my dad reading Scripture or spending time in prayer on the front porch. To this day, I treasure one his Bibles, filled with his own marks of various words and verses. My experience reflects social science research, summarized by Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix in his apostolic exhortation “Into the Breach�: “If a man’s children see him read the Scriptures, they are more likely to remain in the faith.� Dads are works in progress and, we pray, saints in the

making. Throughout my childhood, I saw my dad’s shortcomings and his struggles with his temper, impatience and bouts of depression. But his faith, his love of God, was the through line of his life. Attending church was a priority. His spiritual leadership in the home — marked by a deep love for my mom and us kids — set the tone. On our kitchen wall, a framed cross-stitch cross read, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.â€? Citing a 2000 report in the journal Population Studies, author Eric Sammons observes, “Only 2% of kids whose fathers don’t practice the faith will end up practicing that faith!â€? While many studies highlight the significant influence of mothers in other areas, research points to a distinctive edge that dads have on their children’s religious outlook. If dads disengage from faith, their kids are prone to dismiss it. This Father’s Day — a Father’s Day like no other in the confinement of the pandemic — is a fitting time to reflect on our spiritual influence. Living in close family quarters for months, you have a unique opportunity to build a house of prayer and peace, based on an awareness of life’s bigger issues. In 20 years, your kids will no doubt tell stories about the pandemic of 2020; what you do now will determine whether they look back with a roll of the eyes or fond reminiscences of a loving dad who humbly led with faith. Picking up my dad’s Bible recently, I came to a verse with dark red underlining. “You are my beloved Son,â€? he had marked, “with you I am well pleased.â€? I stared long and hard at the words and gave thanks for my beloved dad, for the legacy he gave me, and for the opportunity I now have to guide my children heavenward.♌ SOREN JOHNSON is a member of Holy Family Council 6831 in Leesburg, Va. He and his wife, Ever, are founders of the Trinity House Community, a ministry that helps families live together with God.


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ON HIGH K of C priests and pilots conduct aerial eucharistic processions and rain down holy water against the pandemic by John Burger

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he COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns implemented to contain it brought an eerie emptiness to many cities this spring. They also brought another kind of emptiness, leaving Catholics longing for the Eucharist. With churches largely closed and public Masses suspended, priests did what they could to bring the grace of the Blessed Sacrament to their flocks. In numerous initiatives around the United States and beyond — many of them led or supported by Knights of Columbus — priests took to the skies over their parishes and dioceses to bless their people. It was a much-appreciated sign of hope for people living in isolation, cut off from their parish communities. “Flying over and blessing the county with our Lord in the

holy Eucharist was a powerful way to facilitate God’s intervention,” said Father Brian Gannon, pastor of St. Theresa Parish and a member of St. Thérèse of Lisieux Council 8013 in Trumbull, Conn. Father Gannon conducted an airborne blessing over the Diocese of Bridgeport on March 24. He was flown by Kevin Bradberry and John DeCastra Jr., brother Knights who had taken inspiration from a viral video of a priest flying over Italy with the Blessed Sacrament and a statue of the Virgin Mary. “My wife saw it and said, ‘Wouldn’t that be awesome if we could do that?’” recalled DeCastra, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilot and member of All Saints Council 6277 in Linwood, N.J. “I said, ‘I could try, but I’ll need to find an airplane.’”

Father Brian Gannon (with monstrance), pastor of St. Theresa Church in Trumbull, Conn., and associate pastor Father Flavian Bejan (left), prepare to conduct a flyover eucharistic blessing of the Diocese of Bridgeport March 24. They were flown by brother Knights and pilots John DeCastra Jr. and Kevin Bradberry, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux 8013 in Trumbull, to which both priests belong, covered the cost of the flight.

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DeCastra called his friend Kevin Bradberry, a member of St. Joseph’s Council 10220 in Somers Point, N.J., who belongs to an aviation club in Atlantic City. In mid-March, the two made arrangements to fly eucharistic processions in the club’s Cessna 182 Skylane over the Dioceses of Camden, N.J., and Harrisburg, Pa. DeCastra’s father-in-law, Tom Monks, a member of Council 8013, then floated the idea of the flyover in the Diocese of Bridgeport — gaining support from Grand Knight Mark A. Smith and funding from the council. Bradberry and co-pilot DeCastra made a big circle around the diocese. In the back seat were Father Gannon, wearing full vestments and holding a monstrance, and Father Flavian Bejan, the parochial vicar, holding a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. “The holy Eucharist is the most powerful presence of our Lord here on earth,” said Father Gannon. “So in a eucharistic procession, we’re bringing that powerful presence of Christ wherever we go.” Two days after the flight in Bridgeport, Daniel Schachle, a K of C general agent and past grand knight in Tennessee, piloted a similar eucharistic procession over the Diocese of Nashville. Schachle and his son were accompanied by Father Gervan Menezes, chaplain of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Council 15020 in Nashville, who brought the Blessed Sacrament in Schachle’s Piper Archer plane for a two-hour, 20-minute flight. They prayed for those affected by the pandemic, as well as victims of the devastating tornadoes that hit Tennessee in early March. “We wanted to bring hope to people,” Schachle said. “We believe in the power of the Eucharist.” Father Richard Pagano, pastor of St. John Paul II Parish in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., was also prompted to conduct an airborne procession when searching for ideas about how to respond to the pandemic. “I saw a social media post about a flyover blessing with holy water, and it got my wheels turning,” explained Father Pagano, who is the chaplain of St. John Paul II Council 16492. “I said, ‘Who’s got a plane? Let’s make this happen.’ And the next thing you know, the county commissioner contacted me.” The commissioner, a member of Father’s Pagano’s parish, put him in touch with someone who coordinated a donation from a helicopter company. Another parishioner, Robert Hardwick, who is the local chief of police and a member of Council 16492, accompanied him on a March 27 flight around the boundaries of St. John’s County. Father Pagano, with monstrance in hand, blessed the households, communities and farmland below. People were alerted to the blessing ahead of the two-and-ahalf-hour flight, and a number of parishioners decorated their yards with crosses and banners. “In a partnership between local government and our church, we went out and prayed for the people entrusted to our care,” said Father Pagano. “From the safety of their quarantine, people 14 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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Father Gervan Menezes, chaplain of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Council 15020 in Nashville, Tenn., carries the Blessed Sacrament in the backseat of Daniel Schachle’s Piper Archer plane March 26. Schachle (right), a K of C general agent and past grand knight, piloted the plane, accompanied by his son, Joseph.

were able to go outside and look up at the sky in hope and devotion to the Eucharist that they so long to receive.” Meanwhile, Charles Hahn, a member of Vicksburg (Miss.) Council 898, read about Bradberry and DeCastra’s flights in Knightline, and knew just who to talk to. Dan K. Fordice III, a member of Council 898 and founder of the Southern Heritage Air Foundation, pilots a 1930s-style biplane from the Vicksburg-Tallulah Regional Airport. Within a few days, Fordice was flying over the area with Father Rusty Vincent, pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church and co-chaplain of Council 898. “We wanted to do something that would be a blessing for the city and offer a sign of hope,” said Father Vincent, who prayed as he sprinkled holy water over the town from the open cockpit. “It was incredible how much it meant to so many people,” said Fordice. “Anytime I go flying in that airplane, everyone wants to know if they’re getting a blessing again.” Many other examples of such blessings could be given. In each case, they have been a source of grace. Reflecting on his March 24 flight in Bridgeport, Father Gannon said, “Bringing God’s presence to the world is going to help bring consolation, strength and hope to people, and healing — healing of mind and soul, and we pray, healing of body as well.”♦ JOHN BURGER writes for and is a member of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Council 16253 in New Haven, Conn.

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From top: Father Richard Pagano raises the Eucharist in benediction before boarding a helicopter March 27 in St. Augustine, Fla. Father Pagano, chaplain of St. John Paul II Council 16492 in Ponte Vedra Beach, flew over the area with St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Robert Hardwick, a parishioner and fellow council member. • Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans blesses the city while sprinkling holy water from the River Jordan out of the cockpit of a WWII-era Stearman bi-plane on April 10. The first U.S. bishop to test positive for COVID-19 and a member of Marquette Council 1437 in New Orleans, Archbishop Aymond said that the flight was symbolic: “The plane was used in war, and right now we’re in a war with the coronavirus.â€? • Father Mark Rutherford (right), pastor of St. Mary’s Church and chaplain of Father F.B. McCormick Council 7545 in Williamston, Mich., blesses the Diocese of Lansing with the Eucharist from a Cessna 182 airplane March 21. • Father Rusty Vincent, co-chaplain of Vicksburg (Miss.) Council 898, stands beside the open-cockpit biplane from which he blessed the region with holy water April 2. Dan K. Fordice III, a member of Council 898 and founder of the Southern Heritage Air Foundation, piloted the aircraft, a WACO YMF.

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Window of Opportunity Challenges resulting from the pandemic have offered unexpected openings for God’s grace by Father Seamus Griesbach


e never had a course in the seminary about how to min- to care for his people. He erected altars outdoors so that the ister during a pandemic — and I would never have imag- faithful could see from their windows the celebration of Mass. ined a time when one of my primary opportunities to serve God’s He organized processions through the streets as well as the people was through the screen of a drive-thru confessional. Yet Forty Hours devotion, in which the Blessed Sacrament was it has become my new routine: listening to the sound of vehicles brought to the entrance of churches for the people to adore. idling as penitents wait patiently for their turn to pull up to my In addition, St. Charles donated his possessions to the needy window. Some have come from hours away. From young children and visited the sick. By the time the plague departed the folmaking their first, tentative steps at repentance to older Catholics lowing year, the city of Milan had been transformed into a viwho know each prayer by heart, they all come for the same reason brant Catholic community. — to be made right with God. In these times of social and ecoThe grace of Christ finds a way. This becomes powerfully nomic upheaval, the unconditional love of Christ remains a evident to a priest behind the screen of a confessional. Years constant. Penitents leave with a liberating and consoling cer- of guilt and shame, fear and regret cannot obstruct the tainty: Nothing can separate them from the love of Christ. heart’s desire to be united with God. The disruption of these The pandemic has unleashed so months has allowed new openings in much uncertainty — locally, nationally the lives of many people. They are reand globally. The most basic assumpflecting more deeply on their prioritions and routines of daily life can no ties, and they are deciding they want longer be taken for granted. Even to make the faith a more central part OD’S GRACE IS OFTEN something so unchanging as the Mass of their lives. is happening behind closed doors, temSo, as much as this pandemic is a AT WORK MOST POWERporarily unavailable to most Catholics. trial, it is also an opportunity for our To be deprived of receiving the Eusociety to draw closer to God and to FULLY IN THE DARKEST charist is perhaps the greatest trial place our trust in him. Christians Catholics have faced during this time. around the world are pulling their HOURS. For us, social distancing has also meant Bibles off of the bookshelves and readsacramental distancing. Not only are ing them. They are creating prayer corwe unable to draw close to those we ners and shrines in their homes and love in this world, we are unable to praying with loved ones. Religious are draw close and receive the Bread that came down from finding new ways to serve people who are poor, sick or sufheaven. Priests look into cameras, and the faithful into screens fering. Priests are donning masks to anoint the sick, creating — trying to connect, yet left hungry and frustrated. every sort of confessional you could imagine, and livestreamYet, in the midst of this trial, the readings and prayers of the ing Masses and classes on the Scriptures and Church teaching. Easter season reminded us that suffering is not the last word St. John Paul II never tired of repeating Christ’s words, “Do for those who are united with Christ. Offered to him, our suf- not be afraid.â€? Having lived through so many trials, he knew ferings can become the occasion of new life. God’s grace is often at work most powerfully in the darkest St. Charles Borromeo’s life provides a particularly encour- hours. No matter how grave the sin, how serious the suffering aging example. As archbishop of Milan during the Counter- or how profound the darkness, we know that the saving power Reformation, he met resistance and difficulty in his efforts to of Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, is victorious. We need purify and strengthen the Church. When a devastating plague not be afraid. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His struck northern Italy in 1576, St. Charles understood the se- mercy endures foreverâ€? (Ps 118:1).♌ riousness of the epidemic — and also its potential to bring people back to God. He did not waste the opportunity. FATHER SEAMUS GRIESBACH is vocation director for the After making the difficult decision to close churches in Diocese of Portland and a member of Rev. William J. Kelly order to slow the rate of infection, St. Charles found new ways Council 9782 in Wells, Maine. 16 ♌ C O L U M B I A ♌

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Father Seamus Griesbach sits at the confessional he built to fit in the window of the rectory of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Sabattus, Maine. He installed the drive-up confessional March 19, the solemnity of St. Joseph, with help from his brother, Leon, a member of Andy Valley Council 8742 in Auburn, as well as their father, Paul, and friend Isaac Madore, members of Rev. Louis J. Fortier Council 106 in Lewiston. JUNE 2020

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Charity, Unity and Fraternity

Online Order overcomes social distancing hurdles through virtual outreach initiatives by Columbia staff hese days of challenge require us to be creative and to be faithful,� Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said to Knights of Columbus in March, as the novel coronavirus, and the restrictions that accompanied it, spread throughout the world. In the weeks and months since, Knights have shown their creativity — finding new ways, with the help of modern technology, to carry out the Order’s charitable mission. With inperson meetings suspended, videoconferencing, webinars and telephone calls have become the new tools of unity and fraternity as well. Local and state councils have shifted to conducting business meetings remotely with guidance from the Order’s Fraternal Mission department, which has offered weekly webinars since March. Field agents have also maintained business continuity by communicating with clients via digital videoconferencing platforms. The first online exemplification was held April 13, drawing participants from nearly every jurisdiction in the United States and Canada. Ceremonies have been conducted about once a week since then. Thousands of men have been able to

From top: State Deputy Toni Pascua (center), pictured with State Treasurer Meynard Infantado and State Secretary Joe Haun, hosts the Nevada State Convention, held virtually May 2. • Supreme Secretary Michael O’Connor oversees state conventions from his home office. • Edmundo Reyes, a Knight in Canton, Mich., and his family pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet after Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori’s celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday Mass at the Baltimore Basilica. The celebration was livestreamed for Knights and their families April 19. 18 ♌ C O L U M B I A ♌

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join the Order and many thousands more have advanced to the Third Degree. With the public celebration of Mass widely suspended, many state and local councils have helped parishes facilitate liturgical broadcasts. The Supreme Council has also sponsored the broadcast of a number of events, including the Divine Mercy Sunday Mass celebrated by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. The Saint John Paul II National Shrine, which the Order established in Washington, D.C., has likewise offered a steady stream of spiritual enrichment online, including daily Mass and rosary and a series of webinars. For the first time, all state conventions in the United States, Canada and Europe were held virtually. Supreme Knight Anderson and other Supreme Officers remotely addressed the state leaders. “With all in-person Knights of Columbus meetings and events canceled for the foreseeable future, we are finding new ways to bring our brother Knights together,” the supreme knight said. “And the Supreme Council will continue to provide guidance and support.”♦ 20 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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Clockwise, from top left: Field Agent Marcus Bell of the Pfeifer Agency in Norfolk, Neb., meets with clients via videoconference. • A video camera records Father JosÊ Maria Cortes leading the rosary in the Luminous Mysteries Chapel of the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. The shrine livestreamed the rosary every evening throughout May. • Garrett Covino, a member of St. Catherine of Siena Council 5806 in Trumbull, Conn., participates in an online exemplification April 30, advancing to the Third Degree. • Grand Knight Edwin Festejo of St. Monica Council 12861 in Richmond, British Columbia, conducts a council officer meeting by videoconference in May.

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IN SERVICE TO THE SUFFERING A neurologist and Knight battles to save lives amid the COVID-19 crisis in New York by Mairead McArdle


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Dr. Santo Terranova, a neurologist and member of Father Thomas F. Connolly Council 5314 in Bayville, N.Y., is pictured May 7 outside the North Shore University Hospital on Long Island where he has been treating COVID-19 patients since mid-March. minister to coronavirus patients who asked for someone to keep them company. Soon, each floor had a designated staffer who could come and sit with patients and help them with “whatever they needed — food, help with a meal, or just to cry or laugh with,� Terranova said. “It definitely made a big difference.� He recalled visiting with a woman in her early 40s who came to the emergency room with new-onset seizure and respiratory issues from COVID-19. Within 24 hours she had been put on a ventilator, and she stayed dependent on it for three weeks. She was afraid she would never see her two young children again, and the hospital staff also began to lose hope that she would survive. “There were days when we really thought she was going to pass away,� Terranova admitted. “Miraculously, she pulled through this past week.�

riday the 13th lived up to its ill-omened reputation this past March for Dr. Santo Terranova. That was the day the 43-year-old neurologist and father of two was told he was being transferred from his clinic on Long Island to two affiliated hospitals in nearby Manhasset — both admitting COVID-19 patients at an alarming rate. The next day, New York City reported its first death from the disease — a harbinger of the grim weeks that would follow. “The weeks after my reassignment were overwhelming,� said Dr. Terranova, a member of Father Thomas F. Connolly Council 5314 in Bayville, N.Y. “We were afraid to go to work, but for me the love of God and serving others in need superseded the fear and the unknown.� During the peak of the pandemic in New York City — from late March to early April — Terranova’s hospitals were treating about 1,000 infected patients at a time. By the beginning of May, that number had finally tapered off to about 200. “While we were spread thin, we still managed to attend to all the patients we had to see,� said Terranova, who personally treated hundreds of patients, including many with seizures or strokes associated with the virus. While most of his patients recovered, around 5% did not; for intubated patients the mortality rate approached 20%. Every day, he came face-to-face with human suffering — not only the physical pain of those affected by the virus, but their emotional pain as they were forced to weather the illness alone. To stem the contagion, no family, friends or chaplains were permitted into the sealed-off coronavirus wings of the hospitals. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff were patients’ only human contact and support for as long as they were infected. Yet in the midst of the darkness, glimmers of light entered the coronavirus wards. Dr. Terranova recalled a young and usually healthy man who had been so weakened by COVID-19 that he needed to be spoon-fed by the hospital staff. The man was overcome with emotion and gratitude by the care he received. “For something like this to happen made him appreciate even the simplest of things,� Terranova said. After treating him, Dr. Terranova’s medical team had a brainstorm. They asked for permission to form an emotional support team of available nurses, social workers and others to

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The uncertainty does not end when Dr. Terranova goes home. Even though he is covered head to toe in protective gear while at work, he is self-quarantining from his family when he comes home at night. By early May, he had been in quarantine for seven weeks, living in a small downstairs section of his house with a living room, kitchenette and bathroom. “I do wear a mask at home and kind of just keep myself restricted to that area,” he said. “You think you’ll leave the hospital and go home and get some relief, but no, you have to be really cautious at home as well.” Though his wife, 8-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son understand why he has to keep his distance for the time being, it has been a challenge. “Not even being able to sit at the table and eat dinner with them — that’s been very hard,” Terranova said. As the weather has warmed, Terranova and his family have started taking walks outside, with everyone wearing a mask and maintaining a 6-foot distance from him. “At least I get to see them, we talk,” he said. “So at least I feel we have some togetherness outdoors.” The situation at home, at the hospitals and across New York City in general has drastically improved since April. At that time, Terranova’s greatest fear, he said, was that New York would begin to look like northern Italy, where resources became scarce and some COVID-19 patients went without adequate care. “Thank God that wasn’t the case here,” he said. As Dr. Terranova continues to perform his work and make personal sacrifices, he said his faith has given him the courage to persevere until the job is done. “What I do each day at work brings me joy because I am bringing comfort and care,” he said. “It reminds me of what Mother Teresa said: Every time you put your love in action to serve those in need, you’re loving God himself.”♦ MAIREAD McARDLE is a news reporter for National Review Online based in New York City.

WITH GOD AT GROUND ZERO A pulmonary/critical care physician volunteers at one of New York City’s hardest-hit hospitals DR. MARK PAMER had treated a few coronavirus patients with mild symptoms at his private Florida practice in April, but he felt called to do more. When the pandemic tightened its grip on New York City, he traveled there to volunteer his time and skills as a pulmonary/critical care physician. “In Florida, I didn’t see anything like the devastation here,” he said in early May, his tone conveying the magnitude of the crisis in the New York communities he was serving. “I had somebody die yesterday; I had somebody die today; I had a guy who almost died right as I was leaving.” Dr. Pamer left behind his wife and children, including a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, to work for a month at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, beginning April 27. “I wanted to come help people and live the Gospel, live the sacraments,” said Pamer, a past grand knight of Port St. Lucie (Fla.) Council 7514. “Sometimes you just know you have to go somewhere and help. You feel it in your heart.” Dr. Pamer was particularly inspired by Christ’s parable of the Last Judgment, in which the king says, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40). “I try to live my life by that passage,” Pamer said. During normal times, a hospital’s intensive care unit might have between 10 and 20 people on ventilators at a time, Pamer explained. In the worst weeks, Elmhurst had more than 150 people intubated simultaneously, with most of those patients dying from COVID-19. By the time Dr. Pamer arrived, the number of patients had decreased, but the pandemic was “still raging,” he said. Other sections of the hospital

Dr. Mark Pamer, a past grand knight of Port St. Lucie (Fla.) Council 7514, stands outside Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, N.Y., May 5. He volunteered to serve for a month as a pulmonary specialist in the hospital’s intensive care unit. had been converted into ICUs because of the overload of patients who required ventilators and IV drips. Though physically drained at the end of each grueling workday, Pamer said he received strength from the camaraderie of the staff and especially the other volunteer personnel, who traveled from all over the country to help. “We’re seeing the best of humanity here,” Pamer affirmed. “God stamps it on our heart to love each other and to help each other.” Gestures of appreciation were encouraging too — like a flyover by the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds, the giant “thank you” sign across the street from the hospital, and people clapping for health care workers when he left work. But his greatest source of strength has been his faith, his love for his family, and the conviction that this was his vocation. “This is what I’m made for, and there’s a fountain of energy that keeps me going,” he said. “I feel like I’m doing God’s work.” — Reported by Mairead McArdle

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Science, Faith and COVID-19 An interview with Dr. Andrew Wang about responding to the pandemic with medicine, research and faith r. Andrew Wang has been performing research in immunology since high school. Now a physician and scientist, the 38-year-old father of three, who is a member of Father Michael J. McGivney Council 10705 in New Haven, Conn., is fighting COVID-19 at both the hospital bedside and the lab bench. Inspired by his mother, who was diagnosed with lupus, Wang studied autoimmunity and inflammation at Harvard University. He later completed his M.D./Ph.D. studies at the University of Texas Southwestern and his medical residency and postdoctoral research at Yale, where he practices medicine, runs a laboratory and serves as an assistant professor in medicine and immunobiology. As a doctor at Yale New Haven Hospital, Dr. Wang has seen whole floors converted into COVID-19 wards to accommodate hundreds of infected patients. In his lab at Yale University, he is studying the novel coronavirus and developing tools to test potential drug treatments safely. In April, the Knights of Columbus provided more than $250,000 of medical equipment and grant money to assist the hospital’s COVID-19 response and Dr. Wang’s research. Additionally, Wang is serving as a medical consultant to the Supreme Council and is also on an ad hoc panel of Catholic doctors recommending next steps for dioceses and parishes during the crisis. Columbia editor Alton J. Pelowski recently spoke with him about these efforts. COLUMBIA: What has been the impact of the COVID-19 crisis at Yale New Haven Hospital? DR. ANDREW WANG: The caseload here has been substantial, mostly because of the location. It is also a highly advanced 24 ♌ C O L U M B I A ♌

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care center, so a lot of the other hospitals will send us their sicker patients. At any given time, we’ve had more than 400 COVID-positive patients. It has required transforming many floors into COVID inpatient wards, and we converted a gymnasium into a field hospital. It has been a very stressful time, because our capacity is so large now. In this regard, the Knights of Columbus has been ridiculously supportive. Within the first week, the Knights got involved and worked on getting us extra ventilators and PPE [personal protective equipment]. COLUMBIA: What has COVID19 meant for your lab research, which is also being supported by the Knights? DR. WANG: With most diseases, you have animal models of the disease where you try therapies on mice, then in bigger animals, like in nonhuman primates. Then, you do a safety study in super-healthy people. The principle is to do no harm — and that whole Phase One process usually takes a long time. With COVID, the argument has been, “Well, we don’t have enough time. And this drug works for disease X that has some similarities to COVID-19, so let’s try it.� From a scientific perspective, though, that doesn’t make sense. So, I essentially redirected my entire laboratory to quickly develop a mouse model of COVID, so we could establish a preclinical pipeline for any drugs that are being deployed or considered at Yale — or anywhere else — to be tried first in mice. That effort started in April. Biomedical research is expensive, and most funding is tied to particular research. It’s not like I can take money that I’m supposed to use to study an allergy and say, “I’m going to study COVID with this money.� It doesn’t work like that. The


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Right: Dr. Andrew Wang, a member of Father Michael J. McGivney Council 10705 in New Haven, Conn., stands outside the medical school at Yale University, where he teaches and conducts research. • Opposite page: An illustration depicts the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. unrestricted funding that we had was quickly vaporizing, and in the absence of other funding, this research could not have continued without the K of C support.

COLUMBIA: What challenges and questions are you facing in trying to understand COVID-19? DR. WANG: When I started my lab in 2017, our time was dedicated to understanding an animal’s response to sickness from an immunological perspective, while also keeping in mind metabolic, behavioral and, more recently, psychiatric factors. How do all of these things work together in a way that forms a protective response? When things go wrong, what breaks? With COVID, this is really very interesting, because it’s unclear why very old people are the sickest and most susceptible to dying, whereas young children are essentially protected. What about those younger folks who, for some reason, are more susceptible to COVID than others? When the world faced the flu pandemic in 1918, a vast swath of the human population had one challenge with one pathogen. Today, with COVID, we have many different manifestations of this disease. What are the factors that dictate your trajectory if you get it? Are they genetic, age-related or something else altogether? In the laboratory, you can control for these things. And scientists are trying to figure out how to best tackle this as quickly as possible. COLUMBIA: How does your Catholic faith influence your vocation as a scientist and physician? DR. WANG: From a lot of different perspectives, my faith really guides what I do. Trying to understand how God designed life is essentially what all biologists do, whether they say they are doing that or not. So, I try to understand the design, and this drives my science. My faith has also helped to guide me in the way that I see medicine as a whole, and especially different therapies and the need to innovate. The general question I ask as a doctor is, “Am I doing my patient harm?� That’s our first principle, right? Primum non nocere. It is also the theme of my research. Especially in a crisis like this, you need scientists and doctors and research, but you also need faith, you need God, to make sense of it all. Throughout the history of the Church, it has always been there in times of great crisis. All of the early hospitals were essentially run by religious orders. Our involvement in addressing health crises, especially infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, etc. — it’s part of our identity as Catholics.

COLUMBIA: What is your advice regarding the reopening of churches? DR. WANG: We have to apply the knowledge and best practices that we currently have, recognizing that they are fluid and may change as we have more information. Like many of my colleagues who are also Catholic doctors, I see Mass and the sacraments as “essential servicesâ€? — an essential part of society. I think the Church needs to come up with a plan for Mass that’s as reasonable as going to the grocery store. I can go to the grocery store and I can get food. I can go to Home Depot and buy stuff. What’s so different about Mass? The most difficult part is the sacrament of the Eucharist. That’s a special consideration in this pandemic, based on how the virus is transmitted through secretions, which is very well documented. In that moment when you have to be within 6 feet of the priest, how can you safely receive the Body of Christ? That’s been a major focus of this interdisciplinary effort I have been a part of — to try to come up with a consensus. All of the doctors and researchers who have worked on this project agree there is nothing that should be stopping us from reopening churches or receiving the Eucharist, and doing so as safely as any other service.♌ JUNE 2020

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Sacramental First Responders Priests brave the pandemic to bring Christ’s healing presence to its victims by Joseph O’Brien


he world has been grateful to health care professionals, several others who died with COVID-19. While the demand grocery store workers and others providing “essential for anointing has slowed down in recent weeks, Father Nagel services” during this time of global pandemic. And for still consoles families who are waiting to hear news of loved Catholics, no service is more essential than the sacramental ones or grieving for those they’ve lost. ministry of priests. Despite the suspension of public liturgies, “That’s the sad part,” he said. “Families cannot come into priests have continued to offer the sacrifice of the Mass and the hospital rooms. They’re cut off and not allowed in.” have striven to minister to the faithful in various ways. He added, “We’re so separate now that we can’t do funerals Where possible, priests have brought sacramental healing in Washington, other than for a handful of people.” Only parand spiritual comfort to coronavirus victims and their fami- ents, children and grandchildren are permitted to attend a prilies. Like other personnel entering a COVID-19 situation, vate service. some chaplains of hospitals or nursing Father Nagel takes inspiration for homes have had to “gown up” with his ministry from the Gospel account surgical scrubs, face shield and an N95 of Christ appearing to the Apostles in respirator mask. Columbia spoke with a locked room after the Resurrection. several of these priests who have, in re“What I do, I do in persona Christi. ESUS IS SHOWING UP cent weeks, given the last sacraments As a priest, you’re supposed to go to COVID-19 patients. through the locked doors to bring peace to the people who are afraid, and TO BRING HEALING ‘THROUGH LOCKED DOORS’ afraid of death,” he said. “The fact that Father Kurt Nagel was perhaps the first the priest is here means that Jesus is FORGIVENESS TO THE SICK.’ priest in the United States to anoint showing up to bring healing forgivesomeone with a reported case of ness to the sick.” COVID-19. Father Nagel, 59, is pastor of Holy ‘YOUR WILL BE DONE’ Family Parish and a member of ObaFather Radu Titonea, 38, serves as a diah Council 7642 in Kirkland, Wash., the site of one of the chaplain of a hospital in Queens, N.Y., the epicenter of the panearliest outbreaks of the virus in the country. He is just minutes demic in the United States. A native of Romania and a member away from the Life Care Center nursing home, which has been of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Council 6243 in Brooklyn, Falinked to more than 40 coronavirus-related deaths. ther Titonea ministers to patients at Long Island Jewish Forest A few days after the country’s first COVID-19 fatality was Hills Hospital, which at one point was admitting an average of reported in Kirkland in early March, Father Nagel was called five to six COVID-19 patients daily. to administer last rites to a Life Care resident who was a “I go to the rooms every single day,” he said. “I bring the parishioner. “We all knew at the time that Life Care was where sacrament of the sick to those who need it because they are the virus started to break out,” Father Nagel recalled. “I asked close to death.” the family whether this person was COVID-positive. They Catholic and non-Catholic patients alike welcome Father said she wasn’t — that she had a heart condition.” Titonea’s ministry. But after health officials determined the parishioner had “People ask me to pray with them in the emergency room died from the virus, Father Nagel consequently quarantined because they are afraid they will be intubated,” he said. “Some himself for the next 11 days. of these patients are not Catholics, but they want prayers and Since returning to active ministry, Father Nagel has anointed words of encouragement.”


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" " ! !" " " ! " " ! !" ! "! " ! " " " ! !" ! "! " ! "! " !

Father Kurt Nagel, Kirkland, Wash.

Father Radu Titonea, New York City

Father Titonea also ministers to the hospital staff, as stress and anxiety accompany the doctors and nurses making their rounds. “Our staff does amazing work,� he said, noting that some staff members at Forest Hills also succumbed to the virus. “They all put their lives on the line in order to save others.� Father Titonea’s mission is to make sure that faith, hope and charity permeate the wards at Forest Hills. “All the time, I see the presence of God in different situations and how we ourselves are being guided by God,� he said. “I try to bring hope to the patients, staff members or families.� In contemplating the suffering he has witnessed, Father Titonea has called to mind Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. “When he says to his Father, ‘Let this cup be taken away from me,’ you see Christ’s humanity,� he said. “But then, after a moment of silence, Christ says, ‘Not my will, but yours be done.’ He was acknowledging — as we must do during this crisis — that our God is a good God, and he is helping us. I acknowledge these things when I too say, ‘Your will be done.’� PRESENT TO HIS PEOPLE Father Michael Trail, 30, is part of a special task force of 24 priests of the Archdiocese of Chicago charged with bringing the healing presence of Christ to those afflicted with COVID-19. An associate pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Chicago and a member of Maria Stella Maris Council 15278, Father Trail’s mission is “to be present and minister to people with COVID,� he said. Team members, who are assigned different vicariates, or regions, of the archdiocese, were chosen based on certain criteria: They had to be under the

Father Michael Trail, Chicago

age of 60, have a clean bill of health, and be willing to put their lives on the line for Christ. Other archdioceses, including Boston and Indianapolis, have formed similar task forces. When the auxiliary bishop of Father Trail’s vicariate asked him to sign on, the young priest didn’t hesitate. “I had to be with my people,â€? he said. “If my people have COVID, I go to where they are — the hospital.â€? Visiting patients two to three times a week, Father Trail has anointed more than a dozen coronavirus victims, and with each visit he sees anew the severity of the virus’ effects. “I’ve been to many intensive care units during my ‘normal’ life,â€? he said, “but to see the entire ward so sick — that’s really startling.â€? Father Trail said that Christ is not “sheltering in placeâ€? during the pandemic, but is out in the world, among those facing a lonely quarantine, and especially at the side of deathbeds. “Christ is visiting homes and hospitals,â€? Father Trail said. “I’ve also seen Christ’s presence in the doctors and nurses and the way they’re present to their patients.â€? He recalled one visit to COVID patients at a facility run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. “As I prayed, the mother superior started stroking the hair of this 100-year-old patient who was getting ready to pass on,â€? he said. “In a moment where we had to be sterile to protect ourselves, Mother brought great comfort to this patient — I found that so moving.â€?♌ JOSEPH O’BRIEN is a freelance writer who lives in Soldiers Grove, Wis. He is a member of St. James the Greater Council 12606 in Gays Mill. JUNE 2020

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George Washington Council 359 in Morristown, N.J., donated 150 rosaries and scapulars to Morristown Medical Center for distribution to COVID-19 patients. Father Przemysław Gawlik, a hospital chaplain and member of Dr. McDowell Council 2248 in Madison, N.J., blessed the devotional items. LIVESTREAMED LITURGY

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After Bishop Michael Olson allowed limited in-person Mass attendance in the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, to resume May 3, members of St. Patrick Cathedral Council 14679 in Fort Worth served as ushers to guide parishioners in observing social distancing protocol. IN HIS DWELLING PLACE

Father Joseph D. Gallagher Council 3673 in Morrisville, Pa., helped maintain parish life at Holy Trinity Catholic Church despite the suspension of public Masses. 28 ♌ C O L U M B I A ♌

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Members have remained present during the hours that the church is open for prayer, and they helped create a “Contactless Collection� program, encouraging parishioners to drop off donations for the church and grocery items for the Holy Trinity Food Pantry. ABSOLUTION AND ALMSGIVING

Members of Holy Family Council 11675 in Avondale, Ariz., coordinated traffic for drive-thru confessions at St. Thomas Aquinas Church over several weeks. The Knights also invited penitents to

donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and the collection brought in 4,000 pounds of nonperishable items and more than $1,600 in donations for people in need. DRIVE-IN ADORATION

Patuxent (Md.) Council 2203 in Laurel worked with Father Anthony Lickteig, pastor of St. Mary of the Mills Catholic Church and council chaplain, to coordinate eucharistic adoration each Sunday in the parking lot of Msgr. Keesler Parish Center, enabling parishioners to spend time with our Lord from their cars.

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Msgr. Vitus Graffeo P.A. Council 5211 in Corsicana, Texas, used its members’ technical and video expertise to livestream Masses from Immaculate Conception Church during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling area Catholics to view the liturgies online.

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Members of Father Damien de Veuster Council 6906 in Aiea, Hawaii, and other parishioners of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church incorporated social distancing restrictions to provide an Easter celebration at a homeless shelter for women and children in Honolulu. The volunteers assembled and delivered everything needed for the party, including balloons, plastic eggs filled with candy and coins, and hardboiled eggs for decorating.

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Knights of Father Brian McKee Council 1387 in Sudbury, Ontario, provided food to more than 20 international students stranded at the university. Knowing that the students could not return home during the pandemic, University of Sudbury president Father John Meehan requested aid from his brother Knights.

Pope John Paul II Council 13808 in Greensboro, Ga., partnered with the St. Vincent de Paul Society to sponsor a food drive for the Greene County Food Pantry, which was struggling to meet increased demand. Council members collected items in their own pick-up trucks and trailers for three hours, bringing in more than 2,000 pounds of food — the largest donation the pantry had received since the onset of the pandemic.


North American Martyrs Council 4338 in Niles, Ill., donated more than 40 Easter dinners with ham and all the trimmings to Niles Family Services for clients of its food pantry. Members of the council also helped load bags at the pantry’s drivethru distribution.


Members of St. Joseph Council 6353 in York, Pa., helped at an emergency food distribution held by the York County Food Bank in response to increased demand.

More than 1,000 cars had lined up outside the facility before the event began. The volunteers directed traffic and assisted with loading food cartons into vehicles. Members also personally donated more than $1,000 to the food bank. SUPPLIES FOR ST. COLUMBA

Members of Norfolk (Va.) Council 367 collected supplies for St. Columba Ecumenical Ministries, a non-profit that serves families experiencing homelessness and poverty. The drive brought in more than 1,500 pounds of food and household goods together with $1,200 in donations. Knights provided barbecue fare to people donating items, and also made about 180 sandwiches to deliver to people in need.

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Cardinal Patrick A. O’Boyle Assembly 386 and the associated women’s group of Father Rosensteel Council 2169, both in Silver Spring, Md., worked with a local restaurant to prepare and deliver food to first responders in their community. The Knights and their partner have donated nearly 750 meals to the staff at four local hospitals. COVID HELP LINE



St. Dominic-Delhi Council 15533 in Cincinnati used council funds and member donations to purchase $650 in grocery gift cards to help struggling families at St. Dominic School. The council gave the cards to the school’s principal to distribute where needed.

Members of Archbishop MacDonald Council 6083 in Sherwood Park, Alberta, and other volunteers from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish adapted their free weekly meal at Edmonton’s Bissell Centre to COVID-19 restrictions, providing bagged lunches to those in need.


St. Anastasia Council 5911 in Little Neck, N.Y., donated $1,500 to Commonpoint Queens, a social services nonprofit, and $1,500 to the food bank of St. Aloysius Catholic Church to provide food for people struggling during the pandemic. The council also donated $1,500 of food to the medical personnel at Brandywine Senior Living, an assisted living center in Great Neck. 30 ♌ C O L U M B I A ♌

JUNE 2020


St. Michael the Archangel Council 12630 in Charleston, W.V., sponsored a 40 Cans for Lent collection to support the hunger mission at Risen Lord Catholic Church in Maysel. When Masses were suspended due to COVID-19, the parish appealed for financial contributions and final food donations. Council members helped coordinate the collection of $1,425 and a truckload of nonperishable food.


Rev. Robert D. Burns Council 13126 in North Wales, Pa., sponsored an emergency drive to restock the depleted food bank at St. Helena’s Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia. Along with cash donations, Council 13126 collected enough food to fill eight SUVs.



Members of St. Francis of Assisi Council 16839 in Jefferson, N.C., prepared care packages with toiletries, candy, prayer cards and spiritual reading for every inmate at Ashe County Detention Center, dropping them off to be distributed to prisoners in time for Easter.

Sacred Heart Council 2842 in Rochelle Park, N.J., created a GoFundMe account to support frontline workers at local nursing homes and hospitals. The Knights and community members raised more than $2,400, which enabled them to donate more than 150 prepared meals.

Past Grand Knight Buddy Pugh of Father Vander Heyden Council 4874 in Ponchatoula, La., slices bread for more than 200 dinners to be delivered to health care workers at North Oaks Medical Center in Hammond April 17. A squad of six Knights worked all morning to prepare a hearty meal of jambalaya and sides.

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Msgr. J.M. Hanson Council 5038 in Ankeny, Iowa, set up two dedicated cell phone numbers and an email address to field requests for assistance from parishioners of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Church. Council 5038 also provided personnel to manage a drive-thru pickup of palm leaves the day before Palm Sunday.


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Members of Huronia Council 1627 in Penetanguishene, Ontario, have been running errands for self-isolated neighbors with pre-existing conditions and assisting the St. Vincent de Paul food bank at St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church. Volunteers operate the food bank three days a week, handing out prepackaged food to people in need.

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Thomas A. Brandon Council 451 in Fort Wayne, Ind., partnered with their pastor and fellow council member, Father Tom Shoemaker, and the Northeast Indiana Red Cross to sponsor a blood drive during the pandemic. More than 70 units of blood were collected. PARISH BLOOD DRIVE

Portage (Pa.) Council 9891 received special permission from their pastor, Father Thomas Stabile, and the diocese to hold its scheduled blood drive in the Holy Family Parish hall despite COVID-19 closures. The Knights set up the hall and cleaned up afterwards. Council 9891 typically runs six blood drives per year.


St. Dominic Council 3729 in New Orleans, La., donated 12 cases of diapers to the pro-life programs director of St. Dominic Parish to complete more than 200 gifts for new mothers in need — diaper bags filled with diapers, wipes and formula. MASK MINISTRY

Members of San Pedro Apostol Council 13206 in Naguabo, Puerto Rico, created more than 80 face masks with filters and delivered them to nurses, police corps members and public health officials. HELPING THE HOMEBOUND

St. Michael the Archangel Council 16105 in Wrocław, Poland, organized volunteers at St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

Knights helped the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions with shopping and other activities so they did not need to leave the house during the pandemic. MAKING UP FOR LOSSES

Doctor Briggs Council 4597 in Courtenay, British Columbia, donated $1,000 to Comox Valley Pregnancy Care Center to make up for fundraising losses due to COVID-19.

See more “Knights in Action� reports and photos at knightsinaction Please submit your council activites to

JUNE 2020


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Helping Our ‘Neighbors Abroad’


Oregon Knight and his wife organize hunger relief in the Philippines IN THE UNITED STATES THE ENGLISH COMPANY INC.

Official council and Fourth Degree equipment 1-800-444-5632 KNIGHTS GEAR CANADA

Official council and Fourth Degree equipment 1-888-266-1211



Please enroll me in the Father McGivney Guild: NAME

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

OFFICIAL JUNE 1, 2020: To owners of Knights of Columbus insurance policies and persons responsible for payment of premiums on such policies: Notice is hereby given that in accordance with the provisions of Section 84 of the Laws of the Order, payment of insurance premiums due on a monthly basis to the Knights of Columbus by check made payable to Knights of Columbus and mailed to same at PO Box 1492, NEW HAVEN, CT 06506-1492, before the expiration of the grace period set forth in the policy. In Canada: Knights of Columbus, Place d’Armes Station, P.O. Box 220, Montreal, QC H2Y 3G7 ALL MANUSCRIPTS, PHOTOS, ARTWORK, EDITORIAL MATTER, AND ADVERTISING INQUIRIES SHOULD BE MAILED TO: COLUMBIA, PO BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 06507-9982. REJECTED MATERIAL WILL BE RETURNED IF ACCOMPANIED BY A SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPE AND RETURN POSTAGE. PURCHASED MATERIAL WILL NOT BE RETURNED. OPINIONS BY WRITERS ARE THEIR OWN AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS. SUBSCRIPTION RATES — IN THE U.S.: 1 YEAR, $6; 2 YEARS, $11; 3 YEARS, $15. FOR OTHER COUNTRIES ADD $2 PER YEAR. EXCEPT FOR CANADIAN SUBSCRIPTIONS, PAYMENT IN U.S. CURRENCY ONLY. SEND ORDERS AND CHECKS TO: ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT, PO BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 06507-9982.


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uane Morris expected his wife, Junalyn, to be back from visiting family in the Philippines in March. The pandemic forced a change of plans — but also created an opportunity. With Junalyn’s flight home cancelled, she and Duane, a member of Hillsboro (Ore.) Council 1634, decided to use her extra time in the Philippines to help people in need. As a result of the coronavirus lockdown, many Filipinos have lost their jobs and cannot afford basic necessities. The Morrises set aside a portion of their government stimulus checks to buy food, and Duane, who serves as general program director for the Oregon State Council, put the word out to other Knights. Several contributions came in, including from Father Baur Council 5416 in Silverton. With the funds, the Morrises were able to feed more than 200 families in the Tarlac province of Luzon. Junalyn set up distribution sites at local town halls with the help of relatives on the police force. “The need was so great,� said Duane. One elderly woman receiving food told Junalyn that she hadn’t eaten for several days. The Morrises hope to coordinate with local Philippine Knights of Columbus councils to expand their efforts. Duane considers the project a perfect fit with the Order’s “Leave No Neighbor Behind� initiative — the neighbors just happen to be 8,000 miles and 15 time zones away. “We have neighbors here and we have neighbors abroad,� he said. Despite missing his wife’s presence at home, Duane sees God’s hand in the way things worked out. “It’s been hard,� he admitted. “But we’ve been reflecting that maybe it was part of God’s plan that she would end up still being there. She’s there, and we can help these people through these times.� — Reported by Andrew Fowler, a content producer with the Knights of Columbus Corporate Communications Department

Above: Junalyn Morris (center, in white shirt) and members of the Philippine police prepare to distribute food to people in need in Mayantoc, a city in the Tarlac province of Luzon, Philippines. The food was purchased by Junalyn, her husband, Duane, and fellow Knights of Columbus families in Oregon.



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Knights of Charity

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




Maryland Knights, led by State Deputy Dale Trott, help Mother Loraine Marie Maguire and other Little Sisters of the Poor unload supplies at their nursing home in Catonsville, Md. The April 15 delivery of food, cleaning products and other necessities was the second that Maryland Knights made to the home during the pandemic.

“K NIGHTS IN A CTION � H AVEN , CT 06510-3326


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SISTER MARITZA MADRIGAL Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick New York City

I was born in a small town in MichoacĂĄn, Mexico. My mother, a woman of great faith, instilled in me and my five siblings trust in God and kindness toward others. When I turned 15, my family moved to California. It was difficult to leave home, but I soon got used to the new school, friends and culture. I was following the rhythm of the world. One afternoon, I accompanied a friend to church, more out of duty than desire, and Jesus reminded me that he had been waiting for me. I realized how much I had been moving away from him, how much I needed him, and I went to confession. I later encountered the Servants of Mary, Ministers of the Sick, who were visiting the parish. They invited me to a retreat, and there God told me, “Stay with me here.â€? I began to discern, and after high school, I entered my postulancy. I am now a professed junior sister, encountering Jesus in every person I serve and finding true joy in God alone.