Page 1


JUNE 2021


5/18/21 9:26 PM

June Columbia 21_EN.qxp 5/17/21 2:53 PM Page 1

Your Agent Your Brother Discover the fraternal benefit of insurance by brother Knights for brother Knights.


Find your agent at kofc.org/faa


Columbia TOP: Detail from The Flight into Egypt, oil on wood by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) / bpk Bildagentur / Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, Germany / Hans-Peter Klut / Art Resource, NY — ON THE COVER: Photo by Alton Pelowski

JUNE 2021





A painting circa 1495 depicts St. Joseph leading Mary and the child Jesus to safety after obeying what an angel told him in a dream: “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt… . Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him” (Mt 2:13-14).


Signs of Recovery

K of C councils help parish communities prepare for life after lockdown. By Cecilia Hadley


St. Joseph the Adventurer


Solidarity on the Streets

An interview with Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly about St. Joseph as a model and intercessor for fathers.

Departments 3

For the greater glory of God As guardian of the Holy Family and of the Church, St. Joseph teaches us the virtues of fatherhood and faithful witness.

By Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly

4 Learning the faith, living the faith At the heart of our worship is belief in the holy Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life. By Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori


Knights of Columbus News Knights in California and Korea Celebrate Pro-Life Milestones • Papal Vestments from Iraq Presented to the Order • Canadian Knights March for Life in Ottawa and Online • Supreme Knight Addresses John Paul II Institute Graduates

23 Fathers for Good A grandfather shares hard-earned insights from his years of on-thejob training. By Gerald Korson

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

Texas Knights make a “street retreat” with the homeless as part of their diaconate formation.


Jonny Todzia, a member of St. Lawrence Council 10657 in Killingworth, Conn., and a father of six, is pictured with his family.

By Fred Afflerbach


Mile High Charity

A Colorado Knight brings help and hope to the homeless in Denver. By Patrick Lubrano, with Columbia staff


Renaissance Knight

A Knight with a knack for math, science and music puts his talents to use for the love of God and neighbor. By Patti Maguire Armstrong


On Matters of Life and Death

At the heart of man’s search for meaning lies a call to supernatural, sacrificial love. By Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

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 © 2021 All rights reserved

JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A



5/18/21 7:15 PM


‘Our World Needs Fathers’ MY PARENTS will celebrate their 46th wed-

ding anniversary on July 26. Every year, this day reminds me of how blessed I have been by their loving presence and faithful example throughout my life. After all, our society has long been facing an epidemic of broken families and, especially, fatherlessness. According to 2020 census data, more than 18 million — 1 in 4 — children in the United States now live without a biological, adoptive or step father in the home. While single mothers often live heroically amid difficult circumstances, and the absence of a father does not condemn a child to a life of hardship, it has long been known that such families face an uphill battle. In addition to a fourfold greater risk of poverty, for example, there is a sevenfold increase in teen pregnancy, as well as increased rates of substance abuse, crime and other behavioral problems among children in fatherless homes. We must work as a Church and a society to alleviate suffering and help ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive. But this also requires recognizing the importance of marriage and fatherhood. The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the family, founded on marriage, “a privileged community” (2206), but this is precisely because it is also “the original cell of social life. … Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom” (2207).

The fact that we live in a fallen world and men are often very imperfect does not mean we should downplay the role of fathers. To the contrary, we need men to embrace their authentic vocation, in the model of St. Joseph (see pages 3, 13). In his apostolic letter announcing the Year of St. Joseph, Patris Corde, Pope Francis affirms, “Our world today needs fathers. … Every true vocation is born of the gift of oneself, which is the fruit of mature sacrifice.” He then concludes, “In every exercise of our fatherhood, we should always keep in mind that it has nothing to do with possession, but is rather a ‘sign’ pointing to a greater fatherhood” (7). Even more important than protecting their material well-being and teaching them to be virtuous citizens, a father is called to lead his children to God the Father, “from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named” (Eph 3:15). Research has shown, in fact, that a father’s practice of faith greatly predicts a child’s future religious practice as an adult. This calls to mind the great needs that Blessed Michael McGivney recognized in his parish community nearly 140 years ago: When a father died, the widows and orphans he left behind faced severe poverty and often separation. And where fathers remained present, they were often absent from the pews. For generations, the Knights of Columbus has addressed both needs — protecting families’ well-being and inspiring men to grow in faith and the practice of charity. B Alton J. Pelowski, Editor

Domestic Church Resource: The Gift of Fatherhood The booklet The Gift of Fatherhood: What Every Man Should Know (#10168) by Father Carter H. Griffin offers concrete advice on living out the vocation to fatherhood. Part of the Order’s Building the Domestic Church Series, it identifies the challenges fathers face and provides a spiritual action plan to become better fathers and husbands — ideal reading as we celebrate Father’s Day. To order a copy of the booklet, or to freely download it or other Catholic Information Service resources in PDF or audio format, visit kofc.org/cis. 2


Columbia PUBLISHER Knights of Columbus SUPREME OFFICERS Patrick E. Kelly Supreme Knight Most Rev. William E. Lori, S.T.D. Supreme Chaplain Paul G. O’Sullivan Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick T. Mason Supreme Secretary Ronald F. Schwarz Supreme Treasurer John A. Marrella Supreme Advocate EDITORIAL Alton J. Pelowski Editor Andrew J. Matt Managing Editor Cecilia Hadley Senior Editor Margaret B. Kelly Associate Editor

Blessed Michael McGivney (1852-90) – Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Intercede for Us. HOW TO REACH US COLUMBIA 1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326 columbia@kofc.org kofc.org/columbia ADDRESS CHANGES 203-752-4210, option #3 addresschange@kofc.org COLUMBIA INQUIRIES 203-752-4398 K OF C CUSTOMER SERVICE 1-800-380-9995

JUNE 2021


5/18/21 7:15 PM


Fathers and Protectors As guardian of the Holy Family and of the Church, St. Joseph teaches us the virtues of fatherhood and faithful witness By Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly

Photo by Laura Barisonzi

DURING THIS MONTH when we celebrate

Father’s Day, and during this Year of St. Joseph, I thought it appropriate to look again at the heroic witness of this great saint as an inspiration and guide. The Scriptures left us not a single recorded word of St. Joseph. And yet, the Church has a great deal to say about the patron saint of fathers and guardian of the universal Church. In our age of endless commentary, why did Pope Francis call for this year to be devoted to a man of silent witness? I believe it is, in part, because he recognizes that so many of the ills that confound our society and the Church arise from a crisis of fatherhood. God entrusted to St. Joseph the duty to protect and defend the Holy Family, which was, in many ways, the very first Church. He was humble and obedient to God’s plan. He listened to the Lord, and then made his life one of service and sacrifice to Jesus and Mary. As Catholic men, and husbands and fathers, we are entrusted by God with a mission that is not unlike Joseph’s. We are called to be humble and obedient. We are called to use all our gifts to protect our families and, as Knights, to defend the Church. St. Joseph’s example inspires us to practice heroic generosity and sacrificial love in caring for our wives and children. Our mission must be their well-being, and our heroism is to be found often in the silent witness of our presence. Pope Francis highlighted this in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love): “God sets the father in the family so that by the gifts of his masculinity he can be close to his wife and share everything. … And to be close to his children as they grow. … To be a father who is always present” (177). We protect our families through countless selfless acts that will often go unnoticed and unrecognized. These small sacrificial

acts allow the Holy Spirit to work and can influence our families in ways we aren’t even aware of. While our words matter, the reality is that our presence itself bestows identity upon our children. Even without words, we can communicate to them about who they are and who they are not — the very first piece of that identity being “worthy of love.” By modeling humility and quiet strength, we can instill a confidence in our wives and children that will help them flourish amid the challenges they face. So, never underestimate the power of presence in the lives of your families. By extension, we should be present to our parish family. As Knights, we have a responsibility to care for the well-being of the Church as Christ’s mystical body. This means caring for our brothers and sisters, and serving the needs identified by our pastor as head of the parish. It also means giving the Church our loyalty and affection, avoiding the easy temptation to cynicism, while never being satisfied with mediocrity (and certainly not with sin). St. Joseph’s example further teaches us how to be Knights of the Eucharist. He was the guardian of the first tabernacle — first Mary herself, and then the home where he and Mary lived with Jesus. As Knights, we care for Jesus by cultivating a special reverence for his real presence in the Eucharist. Before he was elected pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio summed up the virtues of St. Joseph: “Accept the mission from God; let yourself be led by God; embrace hardship and danger in order to save the Savior.” Brothers, let us go to Joseph to summon the courage that these challenging times demand — for the sake of our families and for the Church. St. Joseph, pray for us! Vivat Jesus!

‘As Catholic men, and husbands and fathers, we are entrusted by God with a mission that is not unlike Joseph’s. ... St. Joseph’s example inspires us to practice heroic generosity and sacrificial love in caring for our wives and children.’

JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 3


5/18/21 4:57 PM


The Mystery of Faith At the heart of our worship is belief in the holy Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life By Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori

WITH EACH MONTH, our hope grows stron-

ger that the COVID-19 pandemic will pass into the history books. Parish priests would like nothing better than to fill their churches — every row — with their parishioners. At the same time, many priests worry that some parishioners, no longer in the habit of attending Mass in person, may not return. This is a valid concern, but it did not start with COVID. For decades, the percentage of Catholics who participate weekly in Sunday Mass has been dropping. So too, the percentage of Catholics who understand and accept the Church’s eucharistic faith has declined. Each June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi, is an opportunity for us to revive our faith in the Eucharist. It is an opportunity to test the soundness of our eucharistic faith, to assess how devoted we are to this mystery and how ready we are to share it with others. Naturally, I cannot do justice to the breadth, depth and beauty of the Church’s eucharistic faith in a short column, but I would like to share some highlights. For example, what place does Sunday Mass occupy in our life of faith? Sunday Mass is more than an obligation; it should be the heart of our faith. From the Mass, we draw grace and strength to live as followers of Christ and as members of the Church. And we return to Mass each Sunday, bringing to the Lord all that we have experienced in the previous days — our successes and failures in living the Gospel and sharing it with others. Just as bread and wine are offered to the Lord, so too we offer him our lives, asking that they be purified and made acceptable in his sight. Do we understand what is happening at holy Mass? Sometimes, even lifelong Catholics tell me that they really do not understand the Mass. When the prayers of the Mass refer to the “banquet of Christ’s sacrifice” or to the Paschal Mystery, many



participants are bewildered, as if the priest is speaking a foreign language. There is a massive need for sound catechesis, for instruction, about the Mass — about what unfolds before our eyes of faith as holy Mass is celebrated. I am convinced that many have walked away from the Eucharist without really knowing what it is. Yet, accurate teaching about the Blessed Sacrament is not sufficient. The Church’s eucharistic faith “sinks in” only when one’s heart has been opened in faith to the person of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God — to his teaching and miracles, and to his saving death and resurrection. For in the Mass, we celebrate and encounter the very heart of our faith. In the Liturgy of the Word, Christ himself speaks words “of spirit and life.” In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we enter into the very sacrifice that Jesus offered to the Father to redeem us from our sins. Jesus, who gave his life on the Cross, gives himself to us — his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity — under the appearances of bread and wine. What takes place at every Mass should fill us with amazement, so much so that we should be willing to witness to our eucharistic faith among those who no longer attend Mass or practice their faith. When we truly grasp the immensity of the Lord’s eucharistic gift of self, we can never again take the Eucharist for granted or approach the table of the Lord casually or unworthily. Let me make a final recommendation. I warmly encourage you to spend time in eucharistic adoration whenever possible. After Mass has concluded, the risen Lord remains present in the eucharistic species (bread) reserved in the tabernacle. In this way, the eucharistic Lord remains with us and invites us to spend time with him. During those moments in the Lord’s presence, his heart speaks to ours and our relationship deepens and grows in love. B

‘Sunday Mass is more than an obligation; it should be the heart of our faith. From the Mass, we draw grace and strength to live as followers of Christ and as members of the Church.’

JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 4

5/18/21 4:57 PM

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

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” (Gospel for June 13, Mk 4:30-32) Every gardener has witnessed how great things can come from small beginnings. Planted in its proper season and cared for over time, the tiniest seed can blossom into a glorious plant. Parents, teachers and mentors responsible for the moral and spiritual formation of children know well the value of “planting seeds.” Instructing children in virtue at a young age gives them a firm foundation of faith as they mature. May we be intentional in our instruction and example to our children and others, knowing small actions can have great influence.

Catholic Man of the Month Venerable Thomas Choe Yang-eop (1821-1861) KNOWN AS the “St. Paul of Korea”

and a “martyr of sweat,” Father Thomas Choe Yang-eop walked more than 1,500 miles each year ministering to persecuted Christians scattered throughout the Joseon Kingdom (present-day North and South Korea). Born March 1, 1821, Thomas came from a devout Catholic family. At age 15, he was inspired by missionaries to join the first group of native-born candidates for the priesthood. Before departing for seminary, Thomas received a blessing from his parents; it would be his last. The pioneering seminarians were first sent to Seoul, then to a seminary in Macau, on the south coast of China. Political unrest forced Thomas and his classmates, including St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, to take refuge in Manila in 1839. That same year, during a wave of persecution in Joseon, Thomas’ father, St. Francis Choe Kyeong-hwan, was imprisoned and died of torture. His mother, Blessed Mary Yi Seong-rye, was beheaded a year later. Thomas and Andrew completed their studies in Macau and received further formation in Manchuria, where they were

Liturgical Calendar

BOTTOM LEFT: Photo by Corky Miller — BOTTOM RIGHT: CNS Photo/Vatican Media

June 1

St. Justin, Martyr

ordained deacons in 1844. Andrew, ordained a priest the following year, returned to their homeland but was martyred in 1846. Thomas, grief-stricken at the death of his “dearest companion,” then moved to Hong Kong, where he translated into Latin a book about 73 Korean martyrs, including his relatives. In April 1849, Thomas was ordained a priest in Shanghai; by December, he returned to Joseon. For the next 12 years, he traveled ceaselessly by day and celebrated the sacraments and preached in people’s homes by night. He also fostered vocations, assisted other missionaries, and translated prayers and catechetical books into Hangul (Korean). Father Thomas died at age 40 of typhoid and exhaustion on June 15, 1861. He was declared venerable in 2016. B

Holy Father’s Monthly Prayer Intention

June 3 St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs June 5 St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

Challenge: This month, I challenge you to share your faith and beliefs in at least one conversation with your children or friends. Second, I challenge you to join with your brother Knights in planning and participating in the Faith in Action Family Prayer Night program or Holy Hour program.

June 6 The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) June 11 The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus June 12 The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary June 21 St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious June 24 The Nativity of St. John the Baptist June 28 St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr June 29 Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles

Let us pray for young people who are preparing for marriage with the support of a Christian community: May they grow in love, with generosity, faithfulness and patience. JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 5


5/18/21 4:58 PM



marked milestones in the Ultrasound Initiative this spring. Not long after Knights in South Korea presented the first Order-sponsored ultrasound machine donation in Asia, Knights in California celebrated their 100th donation since the program began in 2009. The Supreme Council partnered with the Knights of Columbus in Korea and the Diocese of Suwon to donate a machine to the Pro-Life Medical Association of Korea. Bishop Linus Lee Seong-hyo, auxiliary bishop of Suwon, blessed the device April 23 at a ceremony attended by Territorial Deputy Shin Kyoung-soo and other K of C leaders. Deputy Shin affirmed that protection of the unborn is a top priority for the Knights in Korea. “The ultrasound machine we donated is a starting point,” he said. “The Korean Knights of Columbus will do their best to ensure that a culture of life is firmly established in this land.” On May 1, California state officers gathered at the Guadalupe Medical Center in Los Angeles for the dedication of their milestone machine. Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, gave the blessing and Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly sent a video message. St. Anthony the Finder of the Lost Council 15089 in San Gabriel, St. Bonaventure Council 6038 in Concord and the pro-life nonprofit 4US 6

From top: Archbishop José H. Gómez of Los Angeles blesses the 100th ultrasound machine donated by California Knights at the Guadalupe Medical Center May 1. Also pictured are State Deputy Stephen Bolton (left) and State Programs Director James Larson. • Auxiliary Bishop Linus Lee Seong-hyo of Suwon blesses the first K of C-donated ultrasound machine in Korea on April 23.

contributed to the cost of the machine, which was purchased with a matching grant from the Supreme Council’s Culture of Life Fund. State Deputy Stephen Bolton extolled the California Knights for reaching the milestone despite the difficulties of the pandemic. “They refused the temptation to take the year off serving their local communities and defending life,” Bolton said. “Instead, they focused on where to make the greatest impact to fulfill our motto, which is ‘to change lives and to save lives.’” Since 2009, the Knights of Columbus has placed more than 1,350 machines in close to 1,000 pregnancy centers and clinics, primarily in the United States. B

Papal Vestments from Iraq Presented to the Order

POPE FRANCIS’ groundbreaking pastoral visit to Iraq this past spring culminated in Erbil, where he celebrated an outdoor Mass for 10,000 people March 7. The Knights of Columbus, continuing its history of aid to Christians in the region, contributed $100,000 to organize the event, the largest Mass of the trip. Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil (pictured above) recently thanked the Order for its support with a gift: the vestments worn by Pope Francis at the concluding Mass. On May 10, Archbishop Warda presented the papal vestments, as well as a chalice and paten used during the Mass, to Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. In his homily in Erbil, Pope Francis praised the Christians of Iraq for their witness of faith despite great suffering. “Today I can see firsthand that the Church in Iraq is alive,” the pope said, “that Christ is alive and at work in this, his holy and faithful people.” Since 2014, the Knights of Columbus has worked to preserve and rebuild a Christian presence in the Middle East, promoting awareness of their persecution, advocating for public policies in their defense and donating more than $25 million in aid. To contribute, visit kofc.org/ christiansatrisk. B

TOP LEFT: Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — LOWER LEFT: Photo by Seung Kyun, Baek — TOP RIGHT: Photo by Matthew Barrick

Knights in California and Korea Celebrate Pro-Life Milestones

C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18 FINAL rev.indd 6

5/19/21 11:38 AM

Canadian Knights March for Life in Ottawa and Online KNIGHTS AND OTHER pro-life advo-

cates in Canada gathered virtually and in person in May for the 24th annual National March for Life in Canada, under the theme “You Are Not Alone.” The Supreme Council was a sponsor of the event and also supported a Novena for the Cause of Life in Canada, which took place May 5-13. For the second year, people were encouraged to participate online through livestreamed liturgies and prayer services, speaker panels, and other events. In addition, several hundred people, including K of C leaders, participated in a scaleddown march in Ottawa on May 13. “Despite COVID-19 and related restrictions, we do still have a constitutional right to peacefully demonstrate, as delineated in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” the Campaign Life Coalition, organizers of the march, stated on its website. “Given both the urgency and importance of addressing the human rights injustices of abortion

Ontario State Deputy David Peters (center) and other K of C leaders gather on Parliament Hill in Ottawa for the National March for Life May 13.

and euthanasia, we are choosing to exercise this right in as safe and prudential a manner as possible.” In a video message at the virtual Rose Dinner later that day, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly thanked all who participated in the events for their “courage in standing up for life.”

“Canadians have faced many difficult challenges in the efforts to build a culture of life, and my brother Knights have always been proud to stand with you,” the supreme knight said. “By your witness for life today and every day, you are doing something extraordinary for God.” B

Supreme Knight Addresses John Paul II Institute Graduates

TOP: Photo by Jake Wright — BOTTOM: Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Boston


delivered remarks to the graduating class of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C., May 11. Twenty-one students received graduate-level degrees in theology. Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, was the main celebrant and homilist for the graduation Mass, which was hosted by St. Bernadette Catholic Church in nearby Silver Spring, Md. “This would be an honor under any circumstance, but it is especially meaningful for me, personally, as an alumnus of the institute,” Supreme Knight Kelly said. “Twenty years ago, I was sitting in a pew of the Crypt Church at the Basilica [of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception], listening to Carl Anderson address Institute graduates for his first time as supreme knight.”

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly is pictured after the graduation Mass with Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, and Father Antonio López, provost and dean.

Calling his experience at the institute “the definitive turning point in my life,” Supreme Knight Kelly told graduates, “What you will offer to the world with the knowledge gained through your studies is not just a series of theological

arguments, but the deep truths of the human person, created male and female and called to participate in the love that Jesus Christ brings.” He warned the new graduates that they will face opposition and rejection, adding: “Armed with the conviction that what you are proposing is not simply a set of academic facts, but a plan for human flourishing, offered out of love for the person before you, your service will spring from an eternal source.” The North American campus of the John Paul II Institute was established with funding from the Knights of Columbus in 1988. Since 2008, its home has been McGivney Hall at The Catholic University of America. Among the institute’s more than 600 graduates are hundreds of laypeople, as well as several priests who have since become bishops. B JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A



5/18/21 11:51 PM

Grand Knight Joe Pargola (left) and other members of Father Joseph D. Gallagher Council 3673 welcome parishioners to Sunday Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Morrisville, Pa., on May 9.


C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 8

5/18/21 5:02 PM


RECOVERY K of C councils help parish communities prepare for life after lockdown By Cecilia Hadley

Photo by Jeffrey Bruno


oe Pargola distinctly remembers his last “normal” Knights of Columbus activity. Father Joseph D. Gallagher Council 3673 in Morrisville, Pa., was hosting Stations of the Cross at Holy Trinity Parish on March 13, 2020. Pargola, the council’s grand knight, prayed with his wife and two kids as the pastor led a group of Knights and other parishioners through the Passion. The novel coronavirus had been all over the news. But, like most people, Pargola little suspected what a heavy cross was coming or how long it would have to be carried. After the service, he and Deputy Grand Knight Jim King took their families out to eat. “We had no idea that was the last time we would have dinner together at a restaurant for more than a year,” Pargola recalled. Within a week, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had suspended public Masses, and the council’s in-person meetings were canceled indefinitely. The COVID-19 pandemic had arrived. The Knights of Columbus has faced countless crises, but perhaps never one that has challenged fraternal life so widely. Unable to meet or hold events in the usual way, some councils — particularly those with many medically vulnerable members — have struggled to stay active. At the same time, the Leave No Neighbor Behind program, introduced in March 2020, was a resounding call to action, and many councils have found unexpected blessings in responding to the pandemic: a deeper sense of purpose, closer bonds among members and with their parish, and new creativity in serving the Church and the community. Now, with restrictions slowly easing, the Order is turning attention to what comes next. A new initiative, the COVID Recovery Program, is helping councils assess where they are and what they can do to engage Knights and build up their parishes. In his remarks to the 2021 state conventions this spring, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly encouraged Knights to lead the restoration of parish and council life. “The past year has made clear that the Mass is truly the source and summit of our lives as Catholics. By the same token, we have come to a deeper appreciation for the bonds of brotherhood forged in our councils,” the supreme knight said. “That is why we must devote our strength to fully reopening our parishes and returning to normal council activities as soon as it is safe to do so.” JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 9


5/18/21 5:03 PM

THE NEEDS OF THE TIME For many councils, the circumstances of the pandemic and the Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative have been a rallying point. That has been the case with St. Mark Council 10874 in Stouffville, Ontario. “In a moment of crisis, men are tested — and we were tested to reach out to the peripheries,” said Grand Knight Nicholas Quadrini, a political science major at the University of Toronto. “A brother Knight recently reminded me that when we look back on this pandemic, people are going to ask, ‘Were the Knights of Columbus there when we needed them?’” The greatest need in Stouffville was food insecurity, so the council held its first food drive early in Ontario’s first lockdown. Uncertain how people would respond, council leaders were inspired by the turnout from Knights, parishioners and others. The one-day drive collected more than $2,000 worth of supplies for a local food bank. In the months that followed, the council held more food drives, as well as fundraisers for a pregnancy center and the Global Wheelchair Mission. Across the continent in Oceanside, Calif., the Knights at Mission San Luis Rey Parish were also busy. Every week for several months, members of San Luis Rey de Francia Council 3162 packed and transported groceries from Catholic Charities to the parish food pantry. Grand Knight Armando Mena — who was president of the San Diego Chapter when the pandemic began — estimates that their deliveries were feeding about 300 parishioners each week.

Support for parishes is a key component of both Leave No Neighbor Behind and the COVID Recovery Program, and Knights have responded in myriad ways to their parishes’ different situations and needs. Many councils, like San Isidro Council 16980 in Pompano Beach, Fla., quickly assisted with filming and livestreaming Masses. The council also contributed funds to help sustain San Isidro Parish when collections dropped to less than half their normal levels during the initial lockdown. When the lockdown hit Pennsylvania, Grand Knight Joe Pargola and the Knights of Council 3673 in Morrisville devised a plan with their pastor. Msgr. John Eckert wanted to open Holy Trinity Church and expose the Blessed Sacrament for private prayer during the usual Mass times. The council committed to having at least one Knight present during those windows each week; they also organized a system for contactless collections. Since Holy Trinity reopened in June 2020, the Knights have been at every Mass to greet parishioners, ensure masks are worn and social distancing is observed, and clean the church. It’s not just about following protocol; the goal, Pargola explained, is to make going to church as safe as possible so that people feel comfortable returning to Mass. The importance of this work — connecting the faithful to the sacraments — has strengthened the council’s sense of purpose. “We can’t wait to be able to host our first pancake breakfast, but at the same time it’s nice to know that we’ve grown beyond that,” Pargola said.

Parishioners arrive at St. Mark Parish in Stouffville, Ontario, for a Communion service on May 9. With the province on lockdown, the parish has held several services each Sunday for small groups of people to receive the Eucharist. Members of St. Mark Council 10874, including Grand Knight Nicholas Quadrini (center), assist with registration and ushering. 10

C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 10

5/18/21 5:04 PM

TOP: Photo by Angel Valentín — OPPOSITE PAGE: Photo by Bruce Ladouceur/Light Imaging

A family receives a box of fresh produce at San Isidro Catholic Church in Pompano Beach, Fla. Members of San Isidro Council 16980, including Carlos Velásquez (left) and Ruben Cardona, recently helped to distribute the food after an evening Mass.

ADAPTING TO GROW With life disrupted in so many ways during the pandemic, local councils could no longer do things just because they had always been done. This presented both a challenge and an opportunity. “We had to put convention aside,” said Grand Knight Quadrini in Ontario. “The pandemic created a mindset of trying new things.” Many councils around the world began holding virtual meetings right away. For Quadrini, who is 20, the transition to videoconference was seamless. For Grand Knight Mena in California, 75, there was an initial learning curve. “Technology is only as good as the people using it,” Mena laughed. “But we discovered that you can teach an old dog new tricks.” When it comes to setting up and learning the virtual tools, Grand Knight Pargola in Pennsylvania noted that motivation can be more important than age. “Guys who are not generally technologically savvy have adapted,” he said. “They have been actively participating virtually because they want to. It was important for them to find a way.” All three grand knights said that attendance at their virtual meetings has been comparable to or better than pre-pandemic attendance. They each plan to follow the COVID Recovery Program’s recommendation to offer virtual options even when restrictions are lifted.

“It’s not ideal to have people participating by computer,” Pargola acknowledged. “But I’d rather have another seven to 10 guys jumping on virtually because they ran their kids to practice or they got home from work late than have them not be involved at all.” Pandemic restrictions also prompted councils to reassess what they do and how they do it. Sometimes that meant finding a new way to do a traditional event. In Morrisville, members of Council 3673 packaged doughnuts-to-go to give to parishioners after Mass. The council also held its annual Free Throw Championship outside, despite freezing weather. One mother told the Knights, “Thank you for providing something normal for our kids.” But lockdowns also meant trying new programs and initiatives. For the first time, Council 10874 in Ontario offered a faith formation program: Into the Breach. “People were stuck at home and looking for something to work on in their lives,” Quadrini said. “They felt a yearning for spiritual development.” The San Luis Rey Knights in California turned to prayer as well, holding monthly virtual rosaries, watching video reflections from their pastor and from Bishop Robert Barron, and conducting a parishwide Consecration to the Holy Family. “We were not able to do our normal fundraising,” Grand Knight Mena said. “But the thread running through the Faith in Action programs is prayer — and sitting in place we can pray.” JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 11


5/18/21 5:04 PM

‘Christ told St. Francis, “Go rebuild my Church.” That’s what we need to do: work with the pastors and the bishops to rebuild the Church.’

FORWARD IN FAITH Besides developing technical skills and flexibility, some councils are emerging from the pandemic with new brothers — men who saw the Knights’ fraternity in action and thought, “I want to be a part of that.” San Isidro Council 16980 in Florida added five new members in the fall, after it helped to organize an event at the parish where several hundred families in need received toiletries, baby items and cleaning supplies. “They joined because they saw what we were doing,” said Grand Knight Romulo Barbera. “This pandemic has shown the importance of a brotherhood that helps you in these situations. People realized that the Knights of Columbus does very important, very necessary work.” But even councils that have managed to grow stronger under the pandemic’s many crosses are more than ready for it to be over. And they know their work will not be done, especially in their parishes. The first and most essential step of the COVID Recovery Program is for leaders to meet with their pastor and offer the council’s help refilling the pews and supporting the spiritual life of parish families. The program guidebook suggests that Knights could distribute flyers door-to-door or make phone calls to parishioners, help as ushers for Mass and the sacraments, and organize parish “welcome back” initiatives. Though Ontario went on lockdown again in April, Grand 12

Knight Quadrini in Stouffville has been brainstorming ideas for barbecues and other events that will bring parishioners back together. “If I’m looking forward to anything, it’s building that community back again,” he said. In Pennsylvania, Grand Knight Pargola believes the Knights’ presence each week has helped Holy Trinity stay connected with its parishioners and put the parish in a good position for the future. The Knights standing by the door of the church greet a few more familiar faces each week. “For that 15, 20 minutes before Mass, while we’re outside, it feels like a normal Sunday,” Pargola said. But no matter their level of activity over the last 15 months, all Knights are called to participate in the Church’s ongoing work of evangelization, noted Grand Knight Mena in California. “Christ told St. Francis, ‘Go rebuild my Church.’ That’s what we need to do: work with the pastors and the bishops to rebuild the Church,” Mena said. “We need to once again be evangelists. You’re not going to do it by Zoom or email. You’re still going to have to do it the hard way. We have to talk to each other. In this rebuilding effort, there is something for every man to do — and we want to help every man find what he needs to do.” B CECILIA HADLEY is senior editor of Columbia.

Photo by Matt Furman

Grand Knight Armando Mena (in gray shirt) and other members of San Luis Rey de Francia Council 3162 in Oceanside, Calif., gather after hosting a social with refreshments outside Mission San Luis Rey Church.

C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 12

5/18/21 5:04 PM

St. Joseph the Adventurer An interview with Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly about St. Joseph as a model and intercessor for fathers Jonathan Reyes, senior vice president of communications and strategic partnerships, interviewed Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly for Episode 3 of KnightCast, which premiered online April 29. Visit kofc.org/ knightcast. The following text is abridged and adapted from their conversation about St. Joseph’s role in the Church today.

Detail of Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (c.1450-1452) by Fra Angelico/Wikimedia Commons

JONATHAN REYES: Why is St. Joseph so important for the Knights and so important for you? SUPREME KNIGHT PATRICK KELLY: St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers, but he’s also the patron saint of the universal Church and is extremely important in our cultural journey today. Pope Francis talks about the creative courage of St. Joseph. As men and fathers and Knights, we need that kind of creativity in our lives. St. Joseph was a man of obedience, which led him to be a man of action. If you think about it, he didn’t have the Gospels in written form, but you could say he lived with the Gospel by living with Jesus. The Lord spoke to St. Joseph through dreams, too. But he didn’t have the full picture. Still, he obeyed, and it was that obedience which we can emulate — an obedience that always leads us to action. That’s a key point for us as men, fathers and husbands. When we’re obedient to the Lord, he always sends us on mission. He never wastes that obedience; the Lord is always moving forward, and wants us to be his instruments. JONATHAN REYES: I’ve often heard it said that Christianity is not boring; it’s an adventure. When we say “yes” as Knights, husbands and fathers, the Lord is going to take us places we probably didn’t imagine. SUPREME KNIGHT: Yes, the French author Charles Péguy said that in the modern world the father of a family is the great adventurer. And I think that’s really true. It is a challenging situation that we face in our culture today, and a father needs to protect his family. It used to be that you protected your family by locking the doors and making sure everything’s secure at night. Well, now the intruder comes through the internet. I hope I’m not speaking too dramatically here, but that intruder comes with an agenda, and it is packaged for children. We have to be really vigilant about this with our children,

because there are forces that want to have a greater influence on your children than you. JONATHAN REYES: St. Joseph is called the Terror of Demons. Some people might think that title is simply medieval, but isn’t it actually very concrete and apt in this day and age, when so many don’t believe in spiritual warfare? SUPREME KNIGHT: I think that’s right, because spiritual warfare is very real. If you don’t think it’s real, you may be in the midst of it. Whenever we’re cooperating with the Lord, there will be resistance from the evil one. St. Joseph can really help us with this, for he was the closest to Jesus and to Mary and was their protector. Today, fatherhood is under a systematic attack. The evil one wants to take out the family, because when you destroy the family, you hurt future generations. As fathers, we need to pray to St. Joseph, the Terror of Demons, to strengthen us against these attacks. JONATHAN REYES: What are some of the things you do to honor St. Joseph or to make St. Joseph a part of your family life? SUPREME KNIGHT: My devotion to St. Joseph has grown over the years, particularly as a husband and father. Before I came to work for the Supreme Council, I did a 30-day novena to St. Joseph to help me discern my decision. I really credit St. Joseph with my working for the Knights. Now, every morning I pray the prayer that Pope Francis says to St. Joseph. It was on a prayer card in the March issue of Columbia. It asks for St. Joseph’s help with the serious and troubling situations that we commend to him. I have it on my desk in the office, and I sometimes pray it throughout the day because I find it to be such a powerful prayer. There’s another interesting devotion that my wife and I have — an older devotion that is regaining popularity. We have a statue of St. Joseph sleeping, and we write down prayer intentions and put them under the statue. So, St. Joseph is sleeping on these petitions, and we pray for his intercession. And it’s amazingly efficacious. You pull the prayer petitions out weeks later, and you think, yes, answered, yes, that was resolved. It really is an extraordinary devotion. B JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 13


5/18/21 5:04 PM


ON THE STREETS Texas Knights make a “street retreat” with the homeless as part of their diaconate formation By Fred Afflerbach 14

C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 14

5/18/21 5:05 PM


Photos by Spirit Juice Studios

Above left: Hector Medrano (center), a member of Father O’Gallagher Council 4868 in Smithville, Texas, speaks with a man living in a “tent city” in Austin. • Top right: Kyle Hammons, a member of Rockne-String Prairie Council 12642, reaches out with an encouraging word to a homeless man during an annual “street retreat” for deacon candidates in March.

o food. No money. No phone. A group of 26 men — including 22 members of the Knights of Columbus — hit the Austin streets in an elemental manner. For three days and two nights in March, they set aside comforts, carrying only a backpack with toiletries, medicine and a sleeping bag. They slept outdoors and made cardboard signs to beg for money to buy food. The first such “street retreat” took place in 2003, organized by Alan Graham, a member of St. John Neumann Council 10836 in Austin and founder of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a nonprofit serving the city’s homeless. Since 2006, this retreat experience has become an annual rite of passage required of all candidates enrolled in the diaconate formation program in the Diocese of Austin. “When men follow the words of Jesus to take ‘no food, no sack, no money in their belts’ (Mk 6:8), we have found that a great outpouring of grace takes place in their lives,” explained Deacon Guadalupe Rodriguez, associate director of the formation program and a member of St. Mary Cathedral Council 14055 in Austin. Together with a team of three other permanent deacons, Rodriguez ate, slept and begged alongside the candidates, shepherding them through the long hours in which the men saw life from a new perspective. “A lot of these men are very successful engineers, doctors, lawyers,” explained Rodriguez, who has helped

organize the retreats since 2013. “But on the streets they learn to be very vulnerable, to depend on the Lord.” The men began each day with Mass at St. Mary Cathedral and then fanned out to intersections with their handmade cardboard signs. They met with people living in “tent cities” and ate most meals at a homeless shelter. The group also spent time together talking about their experiences and praying during a daily Holy Hour. At 10 p.m. each night they evangelized by handing out rosaries and pamphlets in Austin’s busy entertainment district. The sting of casual dismissal was the toughest part of the weekend for Robert Tavarez, a charter member of St. Vincent de Paul Council 13927 in Austin. “Rejection after rejection after rejection — everybody walks past,” Tavarez said, describing his experience panhandling as well as attempting to share the faith and hand our rosaries. “It was very saddening that so many people did not care.” Nevertheless, Tavarez found the group discussions with his fellow retreatants fruitful. “Hearing what they encountered, how God touched them, how the Holy Spirit was driving them was very inspirational,” he said. Hector Medrano, a member of Father O’Gallagher Council 4868 in Smithville who manages the landscaping around the State Capitol, said that living homeless for a weekend has made him rethink his relationship with material possessions. JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 15


5/18/21 5:05 PM

Above: Permanent diaconate candidates for the Diocese of Austin, nearly all Knights of Columbus, head toward downtown. • Right: Deacon Guadalupe Rodriguez, co-director of the diocese’s diaconate formation and a member of St. Mary Cathedral Council 14055, speaks to the retreat participants.

“All of the things that we think we need … we don’t need them,” he said. “I didn’t need a bed. I didn’t need anything at all. It was a great experience. I felt like I was living as a disciple of Christ.” An immigrant from Mexico, Medrano recounted a striking encounter he had with a homeless man who is in the process of becoming a citizen. “He told me his story coming from Slovenia to Germany and then the United States,” Medrano recalled. “And he also told me he inherited a bad habit, which he is working on. I was so humbled because he asked me to pray with him about it, and it was just beautiful.” Kyle Hammons joined the Knights in 2002, right out of high school. A member of Rockne-String Prairie Council 12642, he said the weekend retreat opened his eyes and heart to the homeless. “They have a voice. They cry out and who listens? As Christians, as children of God, we all need to listen to one another,” he said. “One of the most profound things from the weekend is just the simplicity of God and the fact that he is love. Being among 16

the homeless was just such a blessing. We’re God’s children, and we’re all connected.” Although taking to the streets may seem extreme to some, Deacon Rodriguez said the men have never suffered any accidents or significant problems while on retreat. “The benefits and blessings that a man discovers by relying on God, divine providence, outweigh the risks and the dangers,” he said. Noting that “deacon” comes from diakonia, the Greek word for service, Deacon Guadalupe added that the Church’s documents about diaconate formation say that a man who wants to be a deacon should have a natural inclination toward service. “And you see that natural inclination to serve in the Knights, even before they’re called to be a deacon or even to be a priest,” he said. “That’s just a beautiful connection of how Knights are bearing fruit in the Church.” B FRED AFFLERBACH is a freelance journalist and a member of St. Margaret Mary Council 7600 in Cedar Park, Texas.

C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 16

5/18/21 5:06 PM

MILE HIGH CHARITY A Colorado Knight brings help and hope to the homeless in Denver By Patrick Lubrano, with Columbia staff


TOP: Photo by James Stukenberg — BOTTOM AND OPPOSITE PAGE: Photos by Spirit Juice Studios

iving on the streets in Denver is not easy, especially in winter. Pandemic conditions this past year made it even harder, as funding for outreach programs dwindled and the homeless population struggled to survive in an expanding number of “tent cities.” When the temperatures dipped last fall, Patrick Lubrano felt impelled to act. With support from his wife and two children and financial backing from fellow members of Assumption Council 3268 in Welby, Colo., the recently retired Knight launched an apostolate to bring blankets, food and supplies to the homeless. Over four months, Lubrano raised enough money to buy and personally distribute more than 600 blankets, among other necessities. His charitable outreach has continued through the spring with deliveries of water, food and clothing. In the following text, adapted from an interview, he describes his mission, which flows from his Catholic faith and the principles of the Knight of Columbus.

‘WHY NOT BLANKETS?’ The inspiration began last November when I pulled off a highway and saw a man freezing with a sign that read “Anything Helps.” He noticed my Knights of Columbus hat and asked what council I was with. I said, “How do you know about that?” And he said, “I was a Catholic priest.” Well, that was enough for me to try to take him to a shelter. But he didn’t want to go. So, I gave him $20, my business card, and some blankets I had in the car and said, “If you ever need me, call me, I will come get you.” It was overwhelming. As a Catholic and a Knight, I didn’t want to leave him there. I had a very hard time driving away. And after that, I thought, “I have to do more. If I can’t bring them in, maybe I could stop them from freezing to death. So why not blankets? Maybe they can get to shelter the next day if I could give them that fighting chance one more day.”

Patrick Lubrano, a member of Assumption Council 3268 in Welby, Colo., gives a man a blanket in February. Throughout the winter months, he distributed more than 600 blankets to people in need. JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18 FINAL.indd 17


5/18/21 7:15 PM

And that inspired me to speak to my wife and get her support. And then I asked my grand knight if he would support me in doing a blanket drive and funding me. And the Knights gave me an envelope full of money to go buy the blankets. Having that support from my brothers in the council drives me. HELP FOR HARD TIMES I’m considered at risk for COVID-19 because of my underlying health issues. So, I have to take a lot of measures to protect myself. But it hasn’t stopped me because there’s such a great need. I saw people freezing on the streets of Denver — shaking in doorways, living on the streets, in the gutters. And if they didn’t have a tent, they just


lay on the ground. I pull right up to the people I see on the ground or freezing in a doorway. And I’ll cover them up with a blanket and just get back in my car and go on. Sometimes, they’re not even awake, and I’ll cover somebody who’s out cold. I’ll make sure they’re breathing and check to see if they’re OK, but they might be drunk or on drugs, I don’t know. But I will cover them. And it’ll be like I was never there, except when they wake up, they’ll have a blanket on them. So, they’ll be surprised. I’ve met many people who are doctors, lawyers, ex-law enforcement, welders, carpenters. Some of these guys are everyday people who just had very hard times.

‘GOD PREPARED ME’ I’m probably called to do this ministry because I’ve lived it. Growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., we had no heat in our bedrooms. So, if it was 20 below outside, it was 15 below inside, and we lived under horse blankets. My brothers and I used to curl up next to each other to stay warm. And knowing that feeling for many, many years drives me, because when somebody tells me, “I’m cold, I’m freezing,” I’ve lived that myself. My family was very close to being without a home. But we were blessed — God watched over us, and we got through it. My parents were very, very strong people and gave us the tools to move past it. And God has given me tools for this ministry. I have four older

C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18 FINAL.indd 18

5/18/21 7:15 PM

Photo by James Stukenberg

‘God prepared me and gave me the strength to do this work today. When I go out at night, I know that the Lord is by my side.’

brothers who educated me on how to take care of myself in the streets. I have experience in law enforcement and high-profile security under my belt. And I was a warden for a while; I ran a jail. God prepared me and gave me the strength to do this work today. When I go out at night, I know that the Lord is by my side. And some days I have to ask, “Guide me, Lord. I know you’re watching me. I know you’re here with me. So, keep an eye on me. And let me know what I’m doing right; let me know what I’m doing wrong.” And he usually lets me know. FAMILY IMPACT The ministry has impacted my family in such a positive manner. There are times that I’m not home, and I of course never want to leave my wife and children. I love being home with my family. But they understand the need and what daddy is doing. Little Patrick told his teacher, “I want to be like my dad, and I want to help the homeless and give them blankets.” To me, that is worth its weight in gold. And my daughter as well, she’s very giving. They both picked out stuff from their rooms to give away, and I found a family with little children and gave it to them from my children. My wife is a very giving and faith-driven woman. Our relationship has always been good, but I feel like we’ve grown even closer. She supports

me all the way. So, even on my home front, it’s done wonders. My faith has significantly grown through this experience. I bow my head much more these days, and I give thanks for what I have and for my family, my wife and kids. I thank God for them every day. ‘THEY ARE MY NEIGHBORS’ I’m very proud to be a Knight. I’ve been a member for over 25 years, ever since I joined Our Lady of Loretto Council 585 in Brooklyn. One of the characteristics of a Knight that I most aspire to is loyalty to one’s parish and community. It wasn’t until Christmas that I learned the extent of the Order’s Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative. With COVID and the children home and everything, I wasn’t able to keep up on all of the K of C news. When I found out about it, I thought, “This goes hand in hand with what I’m doing because they are my neighbors.” Leave No Neighbor Behind is really the example that I’m following — I just didn’t know it. I’m planning on continuing this homeless outreach for at least the next five years, doing the blanket run for four months straight. Thanks to all of the donations I receive, I can keep going and buying blankets, and providing food and other supplies for people and families who really need them. B

Left: Patrick Lubrano shakes hands with a man living in a tent while distributing food and supplies in May. He was joined by Byron Fanning, grand knight of Council 3268. • Above: Lubrano gives a blanket and food to a young man in February. JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18 FINAL.indd 19


5/18/21 7:54 PM

Renaissance Knight A Knight with a knack for math, science and music puts his talents to use for the love of God and neighbor By Patti Maguire Armstrong


uring a graduation ceremony at Indiana University’s esteemed music school in spring 2019, Anthony Coniglio was called to receive his diploma. “Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance,” the moderator announced. Then, she continued: “Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. Bachelor of Science in Physics. Bachelor of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics.” Coniglio’s fellow students jumped to their feet, cheering and clapping wildly. Most had no idea that their classmate had been earning three other degrees at the same time he was studying piano at IU’s Jacobs School of Music. In addition, he would soon be traveling to England to study 20

mathematics, one of 16 students to receive the prestigious Churchill Scholarship for a year of graduate study at the University of Cambridge. Somehow, while earning four degrees, Coniglio had also made time for another commitment. Looking to meet other students who shared his Catholic faith, he joined Indiana University Council 15859 during his freshman year and participated in the council’s charitable work. “I wanted to give back for the many blessings God has given me,” Coniglio said. Professor André Watts, a world-renowned pianist who taught Coniglio for four years, recalled meeting his other professors at a reception in honor of the Churchill Scholarship.

C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 20

5/18/21 5:09 PM

Anthony Coniglio is pictured in the Music Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge University, where he studied after graduating from Indiana University in 2019. Coniglio was active in the college council at IU while earning degrees in piano performance, mathematics, physics, and astronomy and astrophysics.

Photo by Onur Pinar

“We all asked each other the same question,” he said. “‘Was Anthony as extraordinary in your field as he was in mine?’ The answers were ‘Yes!’” Watts added, “Even more noteworthy is his character. I will always remember Anthony as a humble, generous and kind human being. … He is one of the most fascinating students I have ever encountered.” THE GIFT OF MUSIC Coniglio, who grew up in South Florida, showed an early interest in music; as a child, he would watch the “Rhapsody in Blue” segment of Disney’s Fantasia 2000 over and over

again. However, he did not begin playing piano until he was 9 years old. When he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, his parents, John and Gail, enrolled him in piano lessons to take his mind off his medical condition. “When I started, my goal was to learn how to play the Star Wars and Indiana Jones theme songs,” Coniglio said. “But soon I was drawn to classical composers such as Bach, Beethoven and Chopin.” He then began attending professional concerts in Miami hosted by the Chopin Foundation of the United States. “I was so moved by the pianist’s performances that I challenged myself to learn the pieces I saw them perform,” he said. Coniglio is grateful for his first piano, a gift from his grade school music teacher at St. Mark Catholic School in Southwest Ranches, Fla. But within two years, he needed a better instrument to advance his technique. Buying a costly high-level piano wasn’t realistic for the family, so the 11-yearold started praying the rosary, pleading with the Blessed Mother to intercede. Six months later, his prayer was answered. Gail received an email message from a professional acquaintance who had heard Anthony play. The man and his wife decided to send the family a brand-new Yamaha piano. “We were overwhelmed with gratitude and joy when the piano showed up on our front doorstep,” Coniglio recalled. “My parents and I consider it a miracle and a gift from God.” He says that his parents always taught him the importance of giving back to others. Growing up, he spent many hours altar-serving at Masses in his family’s parish, helping his sisters, Courtney and Gianna, with their homework, and tutoring other students in math. At age 12, he launched a charity initiative called Music for Smiles, volunteering to teach piano to persons with disabilities, performing at nursing homes and playing at charitable events, including events sponsored by St. Mark Council 13045. “Anthony served others with such fervor and always went out of his way to be generous, especially to his two sisters,” recalled John Coniglio, a Knight since 2011. “Even at a very young age, he would share his toys with them without hesitation. Gail and I never remember Anthony complaining even once about doing chores or taking the garbage out. Although our son has received countless awards and achievements in music and academics, we are most proud of Anthony’s virtues and character.” Music was not Coniglio’s only interest; he also loved math and science, and started taking high school level math classes in seventh grade. A year later, his award-winning science project demonstrated that listening to a Bach fugue can increase one’s memory. He liked to challenge his own memory, once learning various techniques to memorize hundreds of digits of pi. GROWING IN FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE Indiana University became Coniglio’s college of choice after he received a full scholarship from its Jacobs School of Music and was accepted to IU’s Hutton Honors College. When he tested out of numerous classes in music and mathematics, he decided to attempt a triple major in music, math and physics. JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 21


5/18/21 5:09 PM

As his studies advanced, with graduate-level courses in math and physics, his interests shifted in those directions. Coniglio’s desire to solve difficult mathematical physics problems became almost an obsession. By his junior year, he set his sights on a graduate degree in mathematics. To improve his chances of getting into a top program, he challenged himself to earn a fourth degree, in astronomy and astrophysics. This required earning up to 31 credits per semester. How did he handle everything? Time management was key. He relied heavily on to-do lists, and his days began early and ended late. Yet, as busy as he was, Coniglio anchored his life with prayer and faith. He was active at the university’s St. Paul Catholic Center and as a Knight of Columbus, helping with

Their wealth of knowledge was truly inspiring.” Coniglio graduated with his master’s degree in July 2020; he is now working on a doctorate in mathematics through Columbia University. He plans to use mathematics to delve deeply into Einstein’s theory of relativity. As he pursues teaching and doctoral research, Coniglio recognizes that he will encounter many in his field who reject the existence of God. However, studying materials from the Institute for Advanced Physics, founded by Catholic physicist Anthony Rizzi, has helped Coniglio deepen his understanding of the relationship between faith and science. “The work of the Institute for Advanced Physics has truly been life-changing,” Coniglio said. “It has opened my eyes by

Coniglio, photographed in St. John’s Meadow at the University of Cambridge, was one of 16 Churchill Scholars for the 2019-2020 academic year. He earned a master’s degree in applied mathematics and theoretical physics from the university and is now pursuing a doctorate at Columbia University in New York City.


teaching me to look at the world through the lens of philosophers such as St. Thomas Aquinas. I plan on continuing to deepen my understanding of the truths I have learned through the IAP, and by doing so I hope to make a mark for Christ in the world.” Piano music is still part of Coniglio’s life as well. He continues to play, as it helps him decompress after an intense day of mathematical physics. He recently studied one of the most challenging classical piano concertos ever written — Sergei Rachmaninoff ’s Piano Concerto No. 3 — just for fun. B PATTI MAGUIRE ARMSTRONG is an author, freelance writer and correspondent for the National Catholic Register based in Bismarck, N.D.

Photo by Onur Pinar

Council 15859’s charity fundraisers and volunteer activities for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. As a sophomore, he also represented his council at the Knights of Columbus College Councils Conference in New Haven, Conn. “I was happy to have been a part of helping the community and raising money for good causes, all while growing in my faith and making friends along the way,” he explained. As a Churchill Scholar, Coniglio spent the 2019-2020 academic year in Cambridge, returning to the U.S. a few months early because of the pandemic. Studying at the alma mater of mathematicians and scientists such as Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking made a lasting impression on him. “Cambridge had so much to offer with its rich history,” he said. “I learned so much from my classmates and professors. C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 22

5/18/21 5:09 PM


When Sons Become Fathers A grandfather shares hard-earned insights from his years of on-the-job training By Gerald Korson

IT DOESN’T SEEM like that long ago that my wife and I wel-

Give them your time. No father ever died wishing he had comed our first child into the world. Just two months shy of spent more time at work, but many die wishing they had our first wedding anniversary, we were still figuring out how spent more time with their children. While work is necesto be husband and wife, and now we were parents too. sary to support the family, it can assume a life of its own More children would follow — lots more. We’d find that with burdens that negatively impact family time. Maintainparenting, like marriage, involves much on-the-job training. ing that work-family balance is difficult. Nonetheless, being Then, just when I felt I was getting the hang of this fatherhood an attentive husband and father is Job No. 1, and it might thing, we became grandparents as well. Now the eldest five of require pushing back on career demands. I am happy that our 11 children have married, and my sons, both hardworking profeseach has started a family. Grandchild sionals, dedicate intentional time to No.17 is due soon. their children. Grandfathering is also a learning Proceed with patience. I’m a fairexperience, but what fascinates ly mellow guy, but I do have buttons me most is observing my children, that can be pushed to the point that particularly my two married sons. I “lose it.” Fathers must keep such They’re navigating the same waters I buttons in check. It is our responsisailed a generation ago, and from my bility to guide our children to greater perspective they’re doing it better holiness. But, like us, they are far than I did. I always told them, “Don’t from perfect. We must be long-sufimitate my faults; outdo me in virfering in teaching our children faith tue.” They got that message. and virtue — a process that can help Changing times and cultural shifts us become holier too. bring considerable new challenges, Exemplify service. Christ washed but the fundamental principles of his disciples’ feet as a sign of humble parenting remain the same. When service. Fathers must do likewise I consider my mistakes as a young — in the way we sacrifice and father, I realize I sometimes failed show respect for our wives, take on to live these principles as faithfully household and other tasks without as I should have. Here’s some key complaint, and serve our parish and advice I’d give my sons — and young community. I wish I had modeled The author is pictured with his son Raymond — husbands and fathers anywhere — this last form of service better for a member of Ave Maria Council 5521 in South based upon what I’ve learned from my kids. I stressed service mainly Bend, Ind. — and grandson Joey. my own past missteps. in words, yet my married sons and Establish family prayer early. sons-in-law joined the Knights of Legendary coach Vince Lombardi, Columbus while still young, and a member of the Knights, said, “Winning isn’t everything; they have assimilated the truth that service begins at home it’s the only thing.” For Catholic fathers, the practice of the and extends far beyond its doors. faith is not the only thing, but it’s the basis of everything else. Catholic fatherhood brings immense joys. It is also a joy to Aside from Mass attendance, it took a while for my wife and observe the growth of my sons and sons-in-law as Catholic fame to get in sync about how and when to pray as a family. My thers themselves. As a grandfather, I can be confident that my married kids are figuring it out early, and it’s bearing fruit in grandchildren are in exceptionally good and capable hands, their children’s lives. Raising kids to become mature, responand that’s something for which I thank God every day. Happy sible, faithful adults is the whole point of Catholic fatherFather’s Day to all. B hood, after all. This begins with making the family a “domestic church” and “a community of grace and prayer” (Catechism of GERALD KORSON, a veteran Catholic journalist, is a member the Catholic Church, 1666). of the Knights of Columbus in Indiana. JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 23


5/18/21 5:09 PM


Life and Death At the heart of man’s search for meaning lies a call to supernatural, sacrificial love

Editor’s Note: Archbishop Charles Chaput, 76, is a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and the first Native American archbishop — having served as archbishop of Denver from 1997 to 2011 and as archbishop of Philadelphia from 2011 until his retirement in 2020. The following essay is excerpted and adapted from the first chapter of his new book, Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living (Henry Holt and Co., March 2021), and is reprinted with permission.


y a person’s mid-70s, the road of life in the rearview mirror is a lot longer than the road ahead. A theme like “things worth dying for” takes on some special urgency. As a sardonic friend likes to say, dying is a one-way off ramp. Or that’s one way of looking at it. My own feelings are rather different. My dad was a mortician in a small Kansas town. As a family, we knew and were known by nearly every other family in the community. Many were warm friends. Home was a good place with a lot of happiness. We lived upstairs from the funeral parlor, and for me, that never seemed strange. As I grew older, I would, on occasion, help my father receive the deceased. In our home, death, and all of the complex emotions that surround it, were a natural part of living. There was nothing dark about it. Death in the community mirrored the cycle of seasons and farming all around us. I learned early, by seeing very intimately, the beauty and sacredness of life, and


also its fragility. I learned that mourning is a good thing. It acknowledges that someone unique and unrepeatable has left the world; a life filled with its own universe of joys, sufferings, and loves has passed; a life once linked vividly to so many others, but now sustained only in memory. I also learned, from my parents and many others, that death isn’t an end. It’s a beginning. God and his mercy are real. Time has a purpose. The meaning of a sentence becomes clear when we put a period at the end of it. The same applies to life. When we talk about things worth dying for, we’re really talking about the things worth living for; the things that give life beauty and meaning. Thinking a little about our mortality puts the world in perspective. It helps us see what matters, and also the foolishness of things that finally don’t matter. Your hearse, as my father might say, won’t have a luggage rack. There are two great temptations that I’ve seen people struggle with over my lifetime. The first is to try to create life’s meaning for themselves, which translates in the end to no meaning at all. The second is to live and die for the wrong meaning, the wrong cause, the wrong purpose. The world is full of disguised and treasonous little gods that demand our full attention and in the end betray our deepest longings. But there is only one god, the God of Israel. And only in him, as Augustine said 1,600 years ago, can our hearts finally rest. Socrates was one of history’s greatest minds. He’s often seen as the founder of the Western ethical tradition. He said

Photo by Carl & Ann Purcell/Corbis/Getty Images

By Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 24

5/18/21 5:10 PM

that his philosophizing was best understood as a preparation for dying. It sounds like an odd claim, but it makes perfect sense. He had a passion for truth-telling; for the wisdom that comes from it; and for the life of integrity that results. The very word “philosophy” captures his love for truth. It ties philia, the Greek word for friendship-love, to sophia, which means wisdom. Socrates didn’t “study” wisdom. He pursued it as the framework of his life. He loved it as a friend. Love is demanding. It draws us outside ourselves. The more we love, the greater our willingness to sacrifice. When we know, honestly, what we’re willing to sacrifice for, even to die for, we can see the true nature of our loves. And that tells us who we really are. We’re surrounded by examples. Families, at their best, are an exercise in self-denial for those we love. An extreme and heroic case of familial love is the Jewish mothers and fathers during the Holocaust who gave their children away to Christian families to save them. Friendship is generally a milder form of love than family, and the notion of dying for a friend might seem remote. But as Jesus himself said, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” ( Jn 15:13). History is full of stories of soldiers who put themselves in harm’s way to save their comrades. Yet another example is the love of honor. “Honor” is a word that can seem theatrical or outdated to the modern ear. But that’s simply a defect of our times. Honor is profoundly important. We expect it from others, and we want it for ourselves. It’s linked to the idea of dignity or integrity. We all have a hunger — even when we fail at it — to live as honorable people; people of principle willing to speak for what we know to be right and true. The novels of Alexander Solzhenitsyn are filled with people who strive to live honorably in the toxic world of Soviet communism. A gulag survivor himself, Solzhenitsyn writes with reverence for persons who honor their consciences even at the risk of death. The settings for his novels are bleak, and today, the great murder regimes of the last century are history. Their perils can seem remote. But wickedness, like a virus, has a genius for mutating into new forms, and Solzhenitsyn’s themes are still instructive. Evil is real, even when it’s masked by soothing words and excellent marketing. Thus it’s always vital to honor our convictions. And doing so usually has a cost. We live in a time of vindictive political correctness on matters ranging from sex to the meaning of our national history. Our politics often seems gripped with amnesia about the price in human suffering extracted by the bitter social experiments and poisonous Big Ideas of the last century — always in the name of progress and equality. Obviously our courage needs to be guided by prudence. Life — all life, no matter how poor, infirm, unborn or disabled — is a precious gift. We should never foolishly risk it. But we need to be careful. Cowardice is very good at hiding behind appeals to the virtue of prudence. Too often we twist ourselves to fit with what we think is approved behavior or thought. We muffle our beliefs to avoid being the targets of contempt. Over time, a legitimate exercise of prudence

‘Authentic love turns us away from ourselves and toward the Other. It’s ordered to truth; the truth about human beings, human nature and creation.’ can degrade into a habit that soils the soul. No person of integrity betrays his or her convictions. Mouthing lies we know to be lies murders us inwardly. Even silence, which is sometimes prudent, can poison our integrity if it becomes a long-term policy. Jesus urges us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Love can never involve accepting or joining in the evil of others. The self-love proper for a Christian includes the love of personal honor, the kind that comes from living with integrity in a world that would have us betray our convictions. And that raises a fundamental question: Are we really willing to be “martyrs” and public witnesses to our faith; and if so, how must we live to prove it? Those of us in the so-called “developed” nations, even in the midst of COVID and our other many challenges, live in an era of stunning wealth. For many of us, the entire globe is open to travel. To a degree unimaginable in earlier ages, many of us can choose our own path in life or even reinvent our identity. We float in a fluid world of limitless choice. This can seem like a blessing, but it often turns out to be a curse. That’s because only a life without weight, without substance, can float. The most telling feature of our era is that it curves us in upon ourselves. It seduces us to live without love. We’re smothered in sweet-sounding slogans like “love wins” and “hate has no home here.” But so often these words are merely masks for resentment; weapons in a culture war filled with more poison than honesty. Authentic love turns us away from ourselves and toward the Other. It’s ordered to truth; the truth about human beings, human nature and creation. It’s demanding and self-denying. It anchors us to realities that are deeply human, deeply rewarding, and the deepest sources of joy; but also inconvenient, and easily seen as burdens. It’s a good thing, a vital thing, to ask what we’re willing to die for. What do we love more than life? To even pose that question is an act of rebellion against a loveless age. And to answer it with conviction is to become a revolutionary; the kind of loving revolutionary who — with God’s help — will someday redeem a late modern West that can no longer imagine anything worth dying for, and thus, in the long run, anything worth living for. B JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG 5_18C (CH).indd 25


5/18/21 5:10 PM



Using funds from its monthly drive-thru brunches, St. Catherine of Siena Council 13408 in Carrollton, Texas, replaced the deteriorating façade and trim at the entrance of the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society food pantry. SANITIZING SOLUTION Members of Pagkabuhay Council 7147 and an honor guard from Our Mother Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace Assembly 3342, both in Parañaque, Metro Manila, Luzon South, participate in a eucharistic procession through Resurrection of Our Lord Parish. The event drew thousands of parishioners.


Members of St. Patrick’s Council 7934 in Victoria, British Columbia, updated the electrical system at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church with energy-efficient lighting, installing more than 300 LED tubes and bulbs. The changes are expected to save the parish more than CA$5,000 each year. FOURFOLD PARISH GIVING

Marian Council 3757 in North Miami, Fla., donated $1,000 each to four local parishes — St. Rose of Lima, St. James, St. Lawrence and Holy Family — to help offset revenue lost during the pandemic. HONORING THE DEPARTED

Bishop William Stang Assembly 392 in Fall River, Mass., commissioned a special funeral pall (casket covering) to honor deceased members. The custom-made cloth is embroidered with the Fourth Degree emblem and is available to all families who would like to use it. 26


Members of Father Joseph J. Murphy Council 7062 in North Augusta, S.C., repaired a retaining wall at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church at the request of their pastor and council chaplain, Father Richard Wilson.

Msgr. Joseph F. Loreti Council 3240 in Roselle Park, N.J., assisted the Church of the Assumption with its reopening by purchasing an $850 sanitizing machine for the parish. The council made other contributions to the parish as well, including supplies for the food pantry.


Rev. John F. Murphy Council 1943 in Mystic, Conn., sponsored the seminary education of Father Michael Bovino and presented him with vestments in celebration of his ordination. SUPPORTING PARISH LIFE

Members of Terence Cardinal Cooke Council 8495 in Grovetown, Ga., responded to an appeal from their pastor to help safely space attendees of daily eucharistic adoration, reconciliation and the rosary at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church. The Knights also checked on fellow members, parishioners and neighbors, offering help with groceries and other errands.

Past Grand Knight Jeff Bernard of St. Jude Council 5801 in Gahanna, Ohio, helps guide parishioners through the Stations of the Cross at St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church. The council regularly hosts the devotion at the parish.

C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG KIA 5_18A.indd 26

5/18/21 4:49 PM



Fourth-grade students at Holy Cross Academy received study Bibles from Father Griffin Council 3586 in St. Louis. The students will use their Bibles in religion and theology classes throughout middle and high school.

St. Genevieve Council 13969 in Las Cruces, N.M., hosted its annual Free Fun Fishing Day for approximately 100 children and their guardians at the New Mexico State University Alumni Pond. The Knights taught basic fishing techniques, served lunch prepared by their associated women’s group, and raffled off fishing equipment donated by local merchants. HEAVY LIFTING FOR HUNGER

Members of Bishop Steinbock Council 12085 in Oakhurst, Calif., volunteered at a Madera County Food Bank distribution event that served approximately 150 local families. The Knights helped to load the families’ vehicles with nonperishable foods and fresh produce.


Members of Msgr. Richard C. Madden Council 6629 in Summerville, S.C., and its associated women’s group prepared and delivered meals to people staying at homeless shelters in Summerville and at Fisher House Charleston, a residence for families of patients at the nearby VA hospital. KNIGHTS WITH SHIELDS

Members of Battlefield Council 10246 in Fredericksburg, Va., assembled protective shields for desks at St. Patrick’s Catholic School to help adapt classrooms to COVID-19 regulations. The Knights also built picnic tables for an outside classroom, installed hand sanitizer stations and moved furniture and supplies. The council’s assistance, requested by the pastor of St. Patrick’s Church, saved the parish an estimated $50,000.

Mark Goodhart of Msgr. Clement H. Kern Council 8284 in Canton, Mich., and his daughter, Charlotte, participate in a council fund drive for people with intellectual disabilities.


St. John Bosco Council 10986 in Edmonton, Alberta, collected more than 1,500 pairs of socks and stockings from members and parishioners of St. John Bosco Church for the Bissell Centre, a family poverty relief nonprofit.

Kip Wright, a member of Prince of Peace Council 11537 in Hoover, Ala., pours a donation from a parish family into a coin-sorting machine during the council’s “Pennies from Heaven” campaign. The Knights collected change and other monetary contributions from Prince of Peace parishioners and students at Prince of Peace Catholic School, raising more than $27,000 for diocesan seminarians. JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG KIA 5_18A.indd 27


5/18/21 4:50 PM



Members of Cardinal Ritter Council 1221 in New Albany, Ind., prepared and delivered fish dinners to medical personnel and volunteers at a COVID-19 vaccination event at Indiana University Southeast. STEWARDS OF SEEDLINGS

Knights from Missouri districts #24 and #25 sponsored their 13th annual Journey for Charity Tractor Cruise. Nearly 200 participants drove more than 30 miles, collecting nearly 4,000 pounds of food from donors along the route. The Knights also raised close to $38,000 through entry fees, sponsorships and donations. All proceeds funded Missouri Knights of Columbus Food for Families programs.

St. Pius X Council 6917 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, donated $1,125 to St. Jean Elementary School for a proposed “flexible learning room.” The space would accommodate students who need help managing anxiety and developing classroom habits. SUSTENANCE IN SOUTHAVEN

Hernando de Soto Council 7120 in Southaven, Miss., organized a drive for Sacred Heart Southern Missions, a Catholic social services nonprofit. The Knights brought in more than $500 and 1,000 pounds of food for people in need. FIRST LIGHT BARBECUE

Members of St. Patrick Council 10567 in Adamsville, Ala., volunteered as servers at a barbecue dinner for more 28

than 80 guests and staff members of First Light, a shelter in downtown Birmingham for homeless women and their children. SACRED HEART COLLECTION

Sacred Heart Council 1847 in Franklin, Mass., organized an online collection among St. Mary’s parishioners to support local families in need. The campaign brought in more than $3,500 in cash and supermarket gift cards for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. SCHOOL SERVICE DAY

Members of St. Paul Council 10775 in Inabanga Bohol, Visayas, constructed a fence on the grounds of Inabanga South Central Elementary School. The Knights were participating in a Department of Education program that organizes volunteers to improve public school facilities.

David Mital, a member of Ramapo Valley Council 5846 in Oakland, N.J., receives donations on behalf of two local food banks. The council organized a “Feed the Needy” collection, accepting food and cash donations from drive-up donors.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo by Colin Miller


Members of Sto. Niño de Molino Council 9926 in Bacoor City, Cavite, Luzon South, helped plant seedling trees along a road in the neighborhood of Alapan.

C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG KIA 5_18A.indd 28

5/18/21 4:52 PM


St. Teresa’s Council 7702 in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, hosted a livestreamed Knights of Columbus Silver Rose ceremony and rosary at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church. The program — in which eight silver roses travel through jurisdictions in Canada, the United States and Mexico — fosters unity among Knights, devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and respect for the sanctity of life.

Members of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Council 12062 in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico Central, and family gather with baby supplies collected for their parish’s “Chest for Life” (“Arcón por la Vida”) for mothers and families in need.


Members of Father Marquette Council 2984 in Kewaunee, Wis., joined fellow Holy Rosary parishioners in the parish’s first pro-life walk. The council also provided posters for the event. AFTER THE STORMS

Members of Bishop Charles E. Herzig Council 1502 in Tyler, Texas, helped clean up the Carter BloodCare Center following severe storms. The Knights’ efforts helped the staff reopen the center quickly and resume its critical blood collection for local hospitals. MONTROSE FOR LIFE Grand Knight Zbigniew Jakubowski of Our Lady Queen of Poland Council 16973 in Łączany, Poland, donates blood at a drive hosted by the local fire department. Several council members and their wives gave blood to support a young boy battling leukemia.

Montrose (Colo.) Council 1188 organized a pro-life rally in the center of town; more than 40 people attended, affirming the dignity of the unborn with signs and other shows of support.

matched by a grant from the Supreme Council, will purchase a 4D ultrasound machine for the center. DISTRIBUTION DIRECTORS

Members of St. Ann’s Council 11265 in Smithfield, N.C., assisted with a vaccination event at St. Ann Catholic Church in Clayton. The Knights set up tents and traffic markers and directed cars as more than 150 people received a COVID-19 vaccine. DAGUPAN CITY WALK FOR LIFE

Members of St. Ildefonse Council 5893 in Malasiqui, Luzon North, took part in a Walk for Life in Dagupan City. The march in defense of marriage and the unborn was organized by the Diocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.


St. Mary’s Council 2781 in Gaylord, Mich., donated nearly $17,000, raised with assistance from other northern Michigan councils, to New Life Pregnancy Center in Gaylord. The funds,

See more at www.kofc.org/knightsinaction Please submit your council activites to knightsinaction@kofc.org JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG KIA 5_18A.indd 29


5/18/21 4:53 PM


Members of Airdrie (Alberta) Council 8045 and students from St. Veronica School stand with a truckload of food they collected for the Airdrie Food Bank. The Knights have partnered with the school to conduct regular community food drives during the pandemic.

TOP: Photo by Hailey McLean


UNITED STATES Members of San Lorenzo Council 12378 in Virginia Beach, Va., prepare to deliver air conditioners to local farmworkers. The council purchased several dozen A/C units to give the workers and their families some relief from the region’s high summer temperatures. 30

Members of Blessed Kleryka Bronislawa Kostkowskiego Meczennika Council 15527 in Slupsk display baby supplies that the council collected for a home for single mothers and their children in Koszalin. The residence is operated by Caritas, an apostolate of the Diocese of Koszalin-Kołobrzeg.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo by Jerzy Łazarczyk


C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG KIA 5_18A.indd 30

5/18/21 4:53 PM

Archbishop Gustavo Rodríguez Vega prays during the dedication of a new bust of Blessed Michael McGivney, donated and installed by Msgr. Dr. Fernando Ruiz Solórzano Council 13963 in Yucatán, Mexico South.


PHILIPPINES A member of Dumaguete Council 3938 in Negros Oriental, Visayas, gives a bag of food to a woman experiencing poverty in San Miguel. The council collected 10,000 Philippine pesos (more than $200) from local parishioners to purchase donations for 25 families.

FRANCE Territorial Deputy Arnaud Boutheon (center), accompanied by Father Francesco Dolz (right), leads a pilgrimage of Knights from Blessed Charles de Foucauld Council 16502 in Paris to visit a relic of St. Joseph’s belt in the Church of Notre-Dame de Joinville.


Knights of Columbus leaders in South Korea, including Territorial Deputy Shin Kyoung-soo (second from right), present a gift to Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, the country’s apostolic nuncio.

JUNE 2021 B C O L U M B I A

COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG KIA 5_18A.indd 31


5/18/21 4:55 PM


Join the Father McGivney Guild Please enroll me in the Father Michael J. McGivney Guild:


Running on Full Stomachs

New Brunswick Knights go the distance to provide food for students in need FIVE YEARS AGO, Ron Cormier ran his first marathon — at age 61. A member of Pascal Poirier Council 7535 in GrandeDigue, New Brunswick, he has since raced hundreds of miles, helping his council raise money to provide healthy lunches for local schoolchildren in need. The Grande-Digue school district approached Council 7535 for help in 2016 after exhausting funds for such a program. The cause resonated with Cormier, who had recently retired. “I told my wife, ‘I was at the meeting tonight and we talked about the kids here. About a dozen kids had nothing in their lunch can, or almost nothing. I’ve got to do something,’” Cormier recalled. To assist the school district, Cormier and his brother Knights founded Pépére Boîte à Lunch (Lunchbox Grandpa) — a nickname Cormier runs under to promote the program. Cormier said he “never ran a kilometer” until his daughter convinced him to join a running club in 2013; by 2016, he ran the New York City Marathon in under 4 hours and raised several hundred dollars. Since that modest start,

Cormier and the council have raised more than $50,000. He wears “Pépére Boîte à Lunch” shirts during races to raise awareness. Cormier’s efforts have made him a well-known figure in the schools. “Whenever Ron goes to a school, they see him as a hero,” said Neil LeBlanc, the council’s grand knight. Since 2017, the school district and Council 7535 have together organized their own Pépére Boîte à Lunch Marathon four times, with the 2020 race canceled due to COVID-19. During the 2019 race, the Knights collected more than 6,400 pounds of food for a local food bank. Cormier has participated in 12 marathons and nearly 100 road races. He attributes his willingness to keep running in support of Pépére Boîte à Lunch to his brother Knights. “The Knights of Columbus have changed my life and for the better. I owe the Knights a lot,” he said. “We can’t change the world, but we can certainly change a little part of it.” — Reported by Andrew Fowler, a content producer with the Knights of Columbus Communications Department

Top: Runners gather for the 2018 Pépére Boîte à Lunch Marathon. Pascal Poirier Council 7535 in Grande-Digue, New Brunswick, and the Grande-Digue School District organize the race to benefit a local food bank. • Inset: Ron Cormier, a member of Council 7535, runs in the 2017 Legs for Literacy Marathon in Moncton. 32

The Father McGivney Guild, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326 or enroll online at: fathermcgivney.org

K OF C OFFICIAL SUPPLIERS www.KnightsGear.com www.KnightsGear.ca 1-833-695-4872


THE ENGLISH COMPANY INC. www.kofcsupplies.com 1-800-444-5632 FOR UNIFORMS

THE SUPPLY ROOM, INC. www.kofcuniform.com 1-833-562-4327


C O L U M B I A B JUNE 2021


5/18/21 7:56 PM


Photo by Denny Medley

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.

Troy Mills, past grand knight of Prince of Peace Council 7909 in Olathe, Kan., gives a flower to a religious sister after Mass at Prince of Peace Catholic Church. Numerous councils throughout the Order presented flowers on Mother’s Day as a gesture of appreciation for motherhood and respect for life.

To be featured here, send your council’s “Knights in Action” photo as well as its description to: Columbia, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326 or e-mail: knightsinaction@kofc.org COLUMBIA JUN 21 ENG COVERS 5_18A (CH).indd 4

5/18/21 6:01 PM


‘Christ was my first love.’

Sister Mary Gianna Casino Leaven of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Hanceville, Ala.


Photo by Art Meripol

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a nun. I was 5 years old, and my family had gone to a convent for Mass. Seeing a woman in a habit, I asked, “Mama, why is she wearing those clothes?” Her reply captivated me: “She’s married to Jesus.” I thought, “I want to marry Jesus, too.” Christ was my first love, and I’ve never gotten over him. Growing up in Catholic school, I struggled with academic and social pressures like any girl, but the desire to radically serve Christ kept burning within me. The idea that he could be calling me to be his bride was exciting. Continuing to discern in college, I was open to marriage, but I felt that I had too much love to give to one family. I wanted to be a spiritual mother and adopt the world. My decision to follow Christ came in adoration. After an hour of silence, I heard him say, “Be crucified with me.” I knew he was asking me to give my life to him completely. My greatest joy was returning to my first love.

5/18/21 7:50 PM

Profile for Columbia Magazine

Columbia June 2021  

Columbia June 2021  

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded