Columbia March 2024

Page 1

Learn more about becoming a Knights of Columbus Insurance Agent Knights of Columbus ranked #22 in the permanent life insurance category on the Forbes 2024 list of America’s Best Insurance Companies. Forbes partnered with Statista to independently survey more than 15,000 customers who owned at least one insurance policy across seven insurance product categories. A career with Knights of Columbus is an opportunity to grow in your faith and work. Your Premier Catholic Partner for Financial Services. Life Insurance | Disability Income Insurance | Long-Term Care Insurance | Retirement Annuities 20013



Passion in the Streets

Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s spiraling bronze baldacchino rises 95 feet above the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica. The Order will fund the restoration of this sacred art masterpiece in time for the 2025 Jubilee Year of Hope (see page 6).

A New Jersey council’s annual Via Crucis brings the drama of Christ’s su ering and death to life.


In Celebration of Life

Thousands of college and high school students attend the pre-March rally hosted by the Knights of Columbus and Sisters of Life.


Marching With Every Woman, For Every Child

Knights of Columbus join tens of thousands of other pro-life advocates in Washington.


‘If You Need a Miracle’

When faced with unexpected trials, many turn to Blessed Michael McGivney as a friend and intercessor in heaven.

24 26


3 For the greater glory of God

God calls each of us uniquely, seeking to accomplish his plan in and through our lives.

4 Learning the faith, living the faith

The antidote to despair is not a vague sense of optimism but hope in the God who loves us.

Archbishop William E. Lori

6 Knights of Columbus News

Knights of Columbus Supports Restoration of Baldacchino in St. Peter’s Basilica • Order Renews Commitment to Victims of the Ukraine War

• Saint John Paul II National Shrine Welcomes Relics of Ulma Family

8 Building the Domestic Church

A new series on family life, leadership and financial stewardship

28 Knights in Action

Reports from councils and assemblies, representing Faith in Action

Sculpting Our Founder

An interview with artist Chas Fagan about the creative vision of his new statue of Blessed Michael McGivney.

St. Joseph’s Eloquent Silence

The protector of the Holy Family teaches us how to listen to God’s voice and act decisively.

Father Boniface Hicks, OSB

ON THE COVER Christ is depicted carrying the cross in a 16th-century painting by Italian Renaissance artist Bartolomeo Montagna.

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.


TOP: Photo by Tamino Petelinšek — ON THE COVER: Christ Carrying the Cross (ca. 1515) by Bartolomeo Montagna / HIP Art Resource, NY
© 2024 All rights reserved

Our Vocation To Love

SEEING AN EPIDEMIC of aimlessness and emptiness, popular psychologists have sought to nd an antidote to what they call “languishing.” While their practical advice, such as se ing goals and avoiding distractions, might ease the symptoms of malaise and improve mental well-being, it remains wholly inadequate to address the root of the problem. No amount of goalse ing and self-discipline can ll what Blaise Pascal described as “a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man.” As St. Augustine wrote in his Confessions, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

From a Christian perspective, meaning and direction in life come not from our own pursuits but from our identity and calling in God. In his book Called to Life, Father Jacques Philippe writes, “How sad it would be to cut oneself o from God’s action and bury oneself in the narrow illusory world of one’s own projects.” St. Francis de Sales, writing to laity in the 16th century, observed, “We all have a vocation. God has placed us in this life to ll a special need that no one else can accomplish.”

is unique vocation, moreover, is the path to freedom and joy (see page 3).

Yet, even those who trust that God has a purpose for their lives may be tempted to anxiety, especially as they struggle to discover where God might be leading them. While vocational discernment is important, it is even more important to understand that God calls us at every moment, in the here and now. “God’s calls do not always involve the whole future panorama of one’s life,” notes Father Philippe. “Sometimes one is called to take just a single step — ‘nothing except for today,’ as St. érèse of Lisieux said.”

St. érèse herself once struggled with understanding her vocation and place in the Church, feeling a desire for all vocations at once. It was while reading St. Paul’s le ers — speci cally 1 Cor 12-13 — that she came to an epiphany that would de ne her life. “Charity gave me the key to my vocation,” she wrote. “I understood that Love embraces all vocations. … en in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out, ‘O Jesus, my Love, at last I have found my vocation; my vocation is Love!’”

e Knights of Columbus has long fostered a culture of vocations, encouraging young people to respond generously to God’s call to the priesthood or consecrated life. So, too, does the Order seek to support vocations to marriage and to strengthen the family, which is the fundamental cell of society and the Church (see page 8). But at the heart of every particular vocation we recognize the universal call to holiness — that is, the call to receive and share in the love of God. e Second Vatican Council declared, “All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity” (Lumen Gentium, 40).

In the end, the answer to our culture’s crisis of meaning — and the unique path to which each of us is called — is right in front of us, in the everyday circumstances of our lives. e answer may be simple, but it is not easy, for charity demands sacri ce. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, “ e way of perfection passes by way of the Cross” (2015). We must follow Christ to Calvary. We must choose to love. B

Featured Resource: Pledge to Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Virgin Mary, under her title Our Lady of Guadalupe, is recognized as patroness of the pro-life movement and of the Knights of Columbus. A folded prayer card featuring a Prayer for Life from Evangelium Vitae and a Pledge to Our Lady of Guadalupe to defend human life is available at (item #9754). Signed copies of the pledge will be presented before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City via the Supreme Council. A digital version of the prayer card can also be viewed at



Knights of Columbus


Patrick E. Kelly Supreme Knight

Most Rev. William E. Lori, S.T.D. Supreme Chaplain

Arthur L. Peters Deputy Supreme Knight

Patrick T. Mason Supreme Secretary

Ronald F. Schwarz Supreme Treasurer

John A. Marrella Supreme Advocate


Alton J. Pelowski Editor

Cecilia Hadley Editorial Director

Andrew J. Matt Managing Editor

Elisha Valladares-Cormier Associate Editor

Paul Haring Manager of Photography

Cecilia Engbert Content Producer

Blessed Michael McGivney (1852-90) – Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Intercede for Us.



1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326


203-752-4210, option #3






Embrace Your Mission

God calls each of us uniquely, seeking to accomplish his plan in and through our lives

LATER THIS MONTH, we will observe Good Friday on March 29, which also marks Founder’s Day — the 142nd anniversary of the founding of the Knights of Columbus by Blessed Michael McGivney.

Father McGivney’s decision to start the Knights was, no doubt, the result of much prayer and discernment. He was addressing a particular need in his parish at the time: to strengthen the faith of Catholic men and to support their families in time of need. It’s safe to say that Father McGivney couldn’t fathom what the Knights would become or how much God would accomplish through him. But this wasn’t the young priest’s concern. Though the Lord would use his special talents to accomplish many great things, Father McGivney was given a specific mission in a particular time and place.

The same is true for us. God has given each of us natural gifts, talents and desires. And through our baptism, the Lord is calling us to use these gifts to be an instrument in his plan. No matter who we are or what has happened to us in the past, God wants to awaken our hearts and accomplish his plan in and through us. This is true for everyone. Pope Benedict XVI was once asked by a reporter how many paths there are to God. He answered: “As many as there are people.”

The Apostles were average men. Yet they were changed in astounding ways by receiving the Holy Spirit and accepting the mission given to them by Jesus. The same can be true for each of us. Whether we are a priest, religious or lay person, single or married, parent or grandparent, we are each called to serve God in the particular circumstances of our lives.

There is great power and freedom in using the gifts the Lord has given us to fulfill his plan. A personal acceptance of mission

provides clarity amid the multitude of choices that lie before us. If we are open to discovering the Lord’s will for us and allow him to work through our lives, we will find great fulfillment and joy. And the more we strive for real holiness in our daily lives, the more we remove obstacles that get in the way of his plan.

We may never know in this life the good that will come about through our personal acceptance of our mission in Christ, just as Father McGivney didn’t know how our Lord would use the Knights over the past 142 years. What we can be assured of, however, is that if we seek to find and live out the mission that God has given us, then we, our loved ones, and all those we encounter will be blessed as a result.

It’s encouraging to remember that it’s not all up to us; it’s not even mostly up to us. We are but servants who must rely on the Lord to do the heavy lifting: “He made me a sharpened arrow, in his quiver he hid me” (Is 49:2).

We will certainly experience fear, setbacks and reversals, but St. Paul reminds us, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). We know that Father McGivney experienced many discouraging days in those early months and years after founding the Knights. Yet he witnessed to the scriptural call to “persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith” (Heb 12:1-2).

The lesson for us is this: Put aside discouraging thoughts and pray for clarity. The Lord is with us and wants to give us the freedom to use our gifts and talents with generosity, courage and joy — for love of neighbor and the greater glory of God.

Vivat Jesus!

Though the Lord would use his special talents to accomplish many great things, Father McGivney was given a specific mission in a particular time and place. The same is true for us.
Photo by Michael Collopy

Half Empty or Half Full?

The antidote to despair is not a vague sense of optimism but hope in the God who loves us

“IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY or half full?”

It’s said that your answer to this question reveals your general attitude toward life and the various situations confronted along the way.

A person who thinks the glass is half empty is regarded as a pessimist — someone always looking at the downside, anticipating bad results from any decision or effort. The word “pessimism” comes from the Latin word pessimus , meaning “the worst.” Those who see the glass as half full, on the other hand, are optimists. They tend to see the good in people, even in people who do bad things, and focus on the good in culture and society, not just flaws. When the economy goes south, they expect a recovery. Optimists believe that, in the long run, things will work out for the best. After all, the Latin root of “optimism” means “the best.”

For extreme pessimists, the glass is not half full but completely empty. They see failure on all sides — nothing good in others, in culture or society. Combine pessimism with cynicism and you have a toxic mix. And most pessimists of any stripe don’t keep their pessimism to themselves. By and large, they complain — a lot! That’s why being with pessimists can wear us out. Surrounded by complainers, we feel like we’re living under a perpetual cloud cover.

Extreme optimists, meanwhile, see the glass as overflowing. They may be unrealistic about dangers and challenges. They may find themselves unprepared when trouble arrives, as it most assuredly does. They may also fail to protect loved ones from harm because of their unwillingness to face facts. While most of us would prefer to have a sunny disposition and to associate with people with a bright outlook, we also realize that, at the end of the primrose path, there is often a cliff.

An adage dating to Aristotle states that virtue lies in the middle, between extremes

— in this case, between extreme pessimism and extreme optimism. But this brings us back where we started. Is the glass half empty or half full? Are we habitually disposed to be moderately pessimistic or moderately optimistic? And are both attitudes equally good?

Put this way, it’s obvious that moderate optimism is better than moderate pessimism. But does that really get to the heart of the matter? Don’t we experience a deep desire for more than a vague belief that most things will turn out well?

Enter St. Paul, who tells the Romans that they should embrace afflictions, knowing that “affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope.” And then the coup de grâce : “and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Rom 5:3-5). St. Paul would tell us that the proverbial glass — the soul — is full to brim, not with mere human optimism but with the theological virtue of hope.

Hope is much more than a sentimental attitude that “everything will be all right.” Hope is an anchor amid the storms and challenges of life, for in the power of the Holy Spirit our life is firmly affixed to Christ. With St. Paul we can say, “He has loved me and given himself up for me” (Gal 2:20). Indeed, Christ’s love is stronger than sin and more powerful than death itself. As we grow in the spiritual life, we experience that gaze of the Eucharistic Lord, whose love penetrates to the core of our being. In him, we experience an enduring love that conquers all things and lifts our earthly horizons toward eternal life and joy. As we enter upon Holy Week and Easter, let us ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts anew with that hope which never disappoints. B

Hope is much more than a sentimental attitude that “everything will be all right.” Hope is an anchor amid the storms and challenges of life, for in the power of the Holy Spirit our life is firmly affixed to Christ.


Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge

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

“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.”

(Gospel for March 17, Jn 12:26)

Next to Our Lady, what greater model of faithful service to Jesus do we have than St. Joseph, the Lord’s own adoptive father?

In humble obedience to God, Joseph protected Mary and Jesus under the most difficult of circumstances. Although he says not a word in Scripture, the silent Joseph speaks volumes through his faithful actions. He is a model of manhood and discipleship for all Knights today.

Challenge: This month — in which we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph — I challenge you to pray a novena or another prayerful devotion to this great saint.

Find accompanying reflection questions at

Catholic Man of the Month

Blessed Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus (1894-1967)

AS A TEENAGER, Henri Grialou discovered a booklet about a nun named Thérèse, who had died just over a decade earlier. “I started reading it and was completely captivated,” he wrote, recalling this encounter with the Little Flower. St. Thérèse’s sister, Pauline, who became prioress of the Carmel of Lisieux, would later say of him, “I have never met anyone so much like my little sister.”

The third of five children, Grialou was born into a poor family in the mining town of Le Gua, in south-central France. He entered seminary in 1908, but left in 1913 to serve in World War I. Decorated for bravery and discharged in 1919, he resumed his priestly formation for the Diocese of Rodez. Back in seminary, he displayed a bullet that had been stopped by a small book of Thérèse’s writings that he carried during battle.

In 1920, Grialou had a profound experience while reading the works of the Carmelite mystic St. John of the Cross. Despite initial opposition from his mother and bishop, he entered the

Liturgical Calendar

March 4 St. Casimir

March 7 Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs

March 8 St. John of God, Religious

March 9 St. Frances of Rome, Religious

March 18 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

March 19 St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

March 24 Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

March 28 Holy Thursday

March 29 Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

March 30 Holy Saturday

March 31 Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

Discalced Carmelite community in Avon just weeks after his priestly ordination in 1922. He took the religious name Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus in honor of St. Thérèse.

Father Marie-Eugène became an esteemed preacher, spiritual writer and champion of the Carmelite spiritual masters and mystics. In 1932, he founded Notre-Dame de Vie, a secular institute for consecrated laity and priests. He traveled the world — including Canada, Mexico, the Philippines and the United States — expanding the institute and helping lay people integrate contemplative prayer into their lives.

Father Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus died March 27, 1967, at age 72; he was beatified in 2016. B

Holy Father’s Monthly Prayer Intention

We pray that those who risk their lives for the Gospel in various parts of the world inflame the Church with their courage and missionary enthusiasm.

FROM TOP: Photo courtesy of Notre-Dame de Vie Institute, L’Olivier — Photo by François Régis — CNS photo/Lola Gomez

Knights of Columbus Supports Restoration of Baldacchino in St. Peter’s Basilica

THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS will fund a yearlong restoration of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s iconic baldacchino above the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly announced Jan. 11 at a Vatican press conference with Cardinal Mauro Gambe i, president of the Fabbrica di San Pietro.

e nearly 10-story bronze, marble and gilded wood structure was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and nished in 1633. Experts with the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the institution responsible for maintaining the basilica, plan to complete the comprehensive restoration — the rst since 1758 — in time for the 2025 Jubilee Year of Hope.

Announcing the Order’s nancial support, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly emphasized the spiritual signi cance of the baldacchino, which stands over the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle.

“On behalf of the Knights of Columbus and our more than 2 million members in 13 countries around the world, we are honored to lend our support to this project, which is more than caring for a magni cent piece of art,” the supreme knight said. “It points to the reality of God’s love for us and his coming down to earth to dwell with us and to build the Church upon St. Peter and his profession of faith.”

Dr. Pietro Zander, head of the Necropolis and Artistic Heritage Section of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, will lead the project, which will employ stateof-the-art technology, including 3D modeling and drone videography.

“A prerequisite for planning the work is the knowledge that we are dealing with a giant,” Zander said at the press conference. “A giant of art of all time, but even before that, a giant in form and size.”

e baldacchino’s 66-foot-tall spiral columns hold up a massive bronze canopy topped by four larger-than-life-size angels. At its apex, a cross stands on a

to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on Jan. 10. Cardinal Gambetti and Supreme Knight Kelly announced that the Knights of Columbus would underwrite the complete restoration of Bernini’s baldacchino, the first such restoration since 1758.

globe, symbolizing the world’s redemption by Christ.

The Order has a long history of supporting the work of the pope and the Vatican, beginning with Pope Benedict XV’s request that the Knights open sports fields to serve the poor youth of Rome following World War I. Since 1980, the Knights has sponsored 17 Vatican restoration projects, including the cleaning of the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica in anticipation of the Jubilee Year 2000, work in the

Vatican Grottoes, and the restoration of a 7-foot-tall 14th-century wooden crucifix that was present in the original St. Peter’s Basilica.

“I’d like to thank our Holy Father, Pope Francis, as well as Cardinal Mauro Gambe i, for allowing us to partner in this project,” the supreme knight said. “In addition to all the service we carry out for the poor, for our parishes and families, we Knights are very grateful for the privilege of serving the Church in this way.” B

Photo by Tamino Petelinšek Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica and president of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, welcomes Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly and Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori

Order Renews Commitment to Victims of the Ukraine War

TWO YEARS AFTER Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly affirmed the Order’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people and promised that the Knights would continue serving victims of the ongoing war.

“Our commitment to the Ukrainian people runs deep because our brother Knights and their families are part of communities that are suffering,” the supreme knight said in a Feb. 24 video message to members marking the war’s second anniversary.

Supreme Knight Kelly praised the more than 2,000 Knights and 45 councils in Ukraine for their leadership in the Order’s humanitarian response and thanked everyone who has contributed to the Ukraine Solidarity Fund. e fund has proven to be the largest charitable campaign in the history of the Order; with its support, Knights in Poland and Ukraine have distributed over 7.7 million pounds of food and supplies, 250,000 care packages, 4,000 coats, 60,000 rosaries, and hundreds of wheelchairs, generators and other essentials.

K of C spiritual support continues, as well: In the days leading up to the anniversary, Feb. 15-23, Knights worldwide joined a novena to pray for peace and healing in Ukraine. Each day focused on di erent groups of people a ected by the war, including widows, orphans, refugees, medical personnel and the deceased. e novena also featured videos in which Ukrainians a ected by the war led each day’s prayer.

Addressing the Knights in Ukraine on Feb. 24, the supreme knight promised, “We will continue to support you

Saint John Paul II National Shrine Welcomes Relics of Ulma Family

FIRST-CLASS RELICS of the Ulma family — beati ed together Sept. 10, 2023 — arrived at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, in January. A gi to the shrine from Archbishop Adam Szal of Przemyśl, Poland, the relics will be available for veneration through at least March 24, in conjunction with an exhibit that weaves together the Ulmas’ story and St. John Paul II’s teachings about the family.

Józef and Wiktoria Ulma lived and farmed near Markowa, a small town in southeastern Poland. In 1942, less than a year a er the death penalty was decreed for any Pole caught aiding or sheltering a Jew, they took in eight members of three Jewish families. German police, tipped o by a local resident, arrived the evening of March 23-24, 1944. e o cers killed the eight Jews, then Józef and Wiktoria, andnally, each of the Ulma children: Stanisława (8), Barbara (7),

and stand with you. And we will pray for you, every day, that Our Lady of Victory will deliver to you a lasting peace.”

The novena, which can be prayed at any time, and more information about the Order’s ongoing support can be found at . B

Władysław (6), Franciszek (4), Antoni (3) and Maria (2). Wiktoria’s seventh child, born during the massacre, also died.

About 100 people attended the opening of the shrine’s exhibit Jan. 12, hearing remarks from Marek Magierowski, Poland’s ambassador to the United States, and others. The exhibit — a collaboration with the Polish Institute of National Remembrance — features many images depicting the Ulmas’ family life, friendships, work and faith. It also details how other families in Markowa continued to harbor Jews after the executions. B

MARCH 2024 B COLUMBIA 7 FROM TOP: Photo by Andrey Gorb — Photo by Sarah Davis
District Deputy Myroslav Mazur, a member of Andrey Sheptytsky Council 15804 in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, gives out care packages from a Knights of Columbus Charity Convoy delivery May 22, 2022.

Jesus Christ: The Source and Summit of Christian Leadership

An understanding of Christian leadership must start and end with the leadership of Jesus himself. Yet from an outside perspective, the Jesus we see in the Gospels might seem an unlikely model for leadership. After all, typical models of leadership entail the pursuit and use of power, whereas Jesus was poor, lacked formal education, and associated with the outcasts of society. He had no military, legal or political power, and he ended his life as an executed criminal.

Nevertheless, Jesus is the most influential leader in human history, and one need not be a Christian to see the truth of that claim. Two thousand years after his death, more than 2 billion people consider themselves his followers. Given the way he lived his life, he should not have attracted so many followers — but he did.

How then do we explain the effectiveness of his leadership, and what are the implications for our own exercise of leadership in our families, jobs and other responsibilities? These are questions we will seek to answer in this series of brief reflections. By examining our Lord’s leadership in the Gospels, we will draw close the heart of leadership itself. B — Joseph McInerney is vice president of leadership and ethics education for the Knights of Columbus.


Parenting in the New Apostolic Age

Raising a Catholic family in our secular culture requires intentional faith and love

LET’S BE FRANK: Catholic families are swimming upstream in today’s culture. Unlike previous generations 30 or 40 years ago, we can no longer assume Christian values will be represented in education, law, media or Hollywood. Many Catholics and other Christians today realize that they are a minority in a society where the last vestiges of Christian culture are dissipating.

Many Christians are intimidated. Parents, in particular, can feel almost paralyzed, asking, “How can I raise a family in this hostile environment?”

We must learn how to navigate the secular culture in what can be seen as a new apostolic age. is means, in part, really learning our faith, and then courageously bearing witness to the truth in a world that says, echoing Pontius Pilate, “What is truth?” (Jn 18:38).

If we go back to biblical stories and Church history, we realize that believers were o en a fragile, threatened minority. We talk about the age of the Apostles, such as Peter and Paul, who went out to pagan Rome. For over 300 years, Christianity was a persecuted minority in the Roman empire. Yet the early Christians trusted in God and were able to survive, and not only survive — but thrive.

For the same thing to happen today, the family needs to be a refuge in the storm, a lifeboat in these raging seas. is means that fathers and mothers have to be intentional, working together as a team. As the primary educators of their

children, they have to instill their faith and values in their children. at’s crucial because if children don’t hear the faith and witness it from their parents, they’re going to abandon it.

e real secret sauce for parents is to love their children. You witness to the love of God when you value human life, practice moral virtue, and exercise patience and forgiveness. You show them that you love them so much because God loves you so much. You show them, in other words, that they are made for love.

Children, meanwhile, will inevitably see there is a lot of sel shness in the world. Even if they wander away from the faith, there is a good chance they will come back if they see the di erence their parents’ faith made. And the world can’t compensate for that; no ma er what the world promises, it can’t deliver on love. B

TIM GRAY is president of the Augustine Institute and a member of Dr. Earl C. Bach Council 3340 in Littleton, Colo.

FROM LEFT: Sermon on the Mount (1860), painting by Henrik Olrik / St. Matthew Church altarpiece, Copenhagen — Spirit Juice Studios


How is the financial protection of families related to the mission of the Knights?

Protecting Catholic families through insurance and other financial services is not merely a benefit the Knights of Columbus provides its members — it’s a primary reason the Order exists.

When the Knights was founded in 1882, the early death of a breadwinner was all too common, especially among working-class immigrants. When his own father died at 48, Michael McGivney was in seminary and his youngest sibling was just 3 years old. Later, as a young priest at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut, Father McGivney




of a Good Thing

saw the plight of widows and orphans in his parish. His goal in forming the Knights, he wrote, was to “unite the men of our Faith … that we may thereby gain strength to aid each other in time of sickness; to provide for decent burial, and to render pecuniary assistance to the families of deceased members.”

Knights of Columbus field agents further this mission today by helping brother Knights and their families plan for challenges, from a sudden disability to an untimely death, as well as for retirement and other financial needs. They help to prepare for “what-ifs,” providing peace of mind, and assist families in the difficult days following the death of a loved one.

Forbes magazine recently named the Knights of Columbus to its 2024 list of “America’s Best Insurance Companies” in the permanent life insurance category. But Catholic families might take

more pride and comfort in the Knights’ legacy of charity, knowing that surplus funds support the charitable work of the Order and help to build up the Church.

For more information, visit familyfinance B

— Rick Gaskell is vice president of agent compliance & special advisor of Knights of Columbus. A veteran of the life insurance industry, he has served the Order for more than 20 years.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY in marriage — particularly when it comes to listening and apologizing. But in other ways, I believe that too much communication could be a bad sign. Here’s what I mean: You don’t want to be married 20 or 30 years and still be arguing about the same things. You want to be able to resolve stu . at’s a sign of a healthy marriage.

It’s important to listen, and to know and respect how your spouse thinks. At the same time, if disagreements continuously percolate year a er year, you’ve got to ask, “Why does this continue to be a sore spot in our marriage?”

Resolving issues o en means accepting them. A spouse will come to me and say, “Oh, my spouse is a wonderful human being. But you know what he does? He knows that I want him to call me and let me know he’s going to be late, but he doesn’t.” I’ll ask, “Do you think he’s doing it because he doesn’t care about your schedule?” “No, I think he just gets sidetracked.” OK — can you accept this? Can you say, “I’m married to a wonderful person, but this is a aw in his personality”?

In many marriages, spouses remain frustrated by the same stu for 10, 20, 30 years. ey haven’t go en to the point where they decided, “I’m going to run with this because I can’t change it.” Remember: You cannot change your spouse if they don’t cooperate, and one practical tip for good communication is to accept it. B

DR. RAY GUARENDI is a clinical psychologist, author and national radio and television host. A member of Bishop McFadden Council 3777 in North Canton, Ohio, he and his wife, Randi, have 10 children, all of whom were adopted.

FROM TOP: Founding Vision (2003), painting by Antonella Cappuccio Blessed Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center — Morsa Images/DigitalVision via Getty Im ages
Members of Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Council 17254 in Paterson, N.J., participate in the council’s annual Via Crucis procession through downtown Paterson. (Photo by Greg Shemitz)


A New Jersey council’s annual Via Crucis brings the drama of Christ’s su ering and death to life

Stivenson Pulgarin struggled to walk as he approached the nal destination of his arduous journey. He had been beaten, berated and treated with disdain, and he hoped the end was near.

“How much longer will I endure this pain and su ering?” Pulgarin wondered as his limp body was dragged through the streets of Paterson, New Jersey.

But endure it Pulgarin did, as thousands of people

gathered last year for the annual Good Friday Via Crucis procession organized by Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Council 17254. Beginning at the Paterson cathedral, Bishop Kevin Sweeney and more than 4,500 others followed the actors through the streets as they reenacted every moment of Christ’s Passion. A centuries-old tradition that brings to life the 14 Stations of the Cross, the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) is a public witness to Jesus’ sacri cial love.


“You will see how this touches the lives of every single person we pass by,” said District Deputy Hector Jimenez, a longtime organizer of the Via Crucis and the council’s charter grand knight. “Whether you’re a believer or not, you have to ask: ‘What are those guys doing?’ And if seeing what Christ did for you doesn’t make you cry, I can’t think of anything that will.”


Knights have been responsible for the cathedral’s annual Via Crucis since Council 17254 was established in 2019. All 120 members of last year’s cast and crew were Knights or their family members.

Preparations for each year’s performance begin as soon as the previous year’s event ends. Organizers must le for permits to close streets and request police presence along the halfmile route months in advance.

ere are expenses to consider, too: In 2023, producing the Via cost more than $6,000, though it would have been much more without support from the New Jersey State Council, benefactors and generous discounts from contractors. Jimenez believes it is money well spent.

“ e number of hours or money [we invest] doesn’t ma er; the mission of our council, we always say, is the conversion of one soul at a time,” he a rmed.

Council 17254 was chartered in 2019, and its impact was immediate. e Knights were among the few volunteers able to assist Msgr. Sylva during the COVID-19 shutdown, and the council soon established a Christmas event that distributes thousands of winter coats and toys annually to families in need. e city’s poverty rate of 24% is among the highest in the state.

“We have our challenges, and we have our di culties,” said Jimenez. “And I believe that’s where our faith and the Knights of Columbus shine.”

In fact, the Good Friday procession was one of the primary reasons the council was chartered. e cathedral rst held a Via Crucis performed by adults in 2012. For several years, Jimenez and two other men were the sole organizers; the community event was held in the parish gym and never drew more than 900 people. When Msgr. Geno Sylva arrived at the cathedral in 2018 as its new rector, he saw the Via Crucis’ potential for growth and service to the cathedral’s — and Paterson’s — large Hispanic community. e state’s third-largest city, Paterson is home to more than 50 ethnic groups, with Hispanics making up 63% of its 156,000 residents.

“We have to make this bigger,” Jimenez recalled the rector saying.

But to do that, they needed help: “I need more guys,” Msgr. Sylva, a Knight for more than 30 years, told Jimenez. “I need the brothers.”

“Msgr. Sylva is a go-big-or-go-home kind of guy,” said Jimenez. “So, we went big.”

e Via Crucis, which has roughly doubled in a endance every year since 2021, remains the council’s premier e ort because, Msgr. Sylva explained, it is central to the Knights’ call to go into the community and bring people to Christ.

“[As Knights], our mission is to reach out to everyone and invite them … so they can come here to receive the highest form of grace the world will ever know: the Eucharist,” the rector said. “We’re always inviting other people to a more active engagement in the life of the Church.”


The 2023 Via Crucis began at half past noon on Good Friday. Festive Middle Eastern music and cries of joy rang through the street in front of the cathedral as attendees, joined by Bishop Sweeney and other clergy, waved palm branches welcoming Jesus to Jerusalem. Minutes later, joyful rhythms gave way to ominous sounds as readers — alternating between English and Spanish — began to narrate the events of Christ’s Passion.

The procession began in earnest once Christ had been sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate. Starting at the cathedral and traveling a loop of several blocks, it stopped periodically so that Bishop Sweeney could lead a reflection on each station.

ough many of the actors in the Via Crucis had never performed before, biweekly rehearsals beginning in January prepared them for their roles.

Of course, no role necessitated as much discernment as that of Jesus. Working with the cathedral’s three priests, Jimenez looked for a dedicated man who desired to make Jesus more present in his life. Out of six or so candidates, Stivenson Pulgarin got the call. And it couldn’t have come at a be er time.

Photo by Joe Gigli

Via Crucis

on Good Friday last year.

• Right: Women wave palms as Christ enters Jerusalem. • Opposite page: A family watches as the Via Crucis unfolds in front of them in the streets of Paterson.

“It was something I needed to go through,” Pulgarin recalled, re ecting on his experience. “Playing Jesus was a powerful reminder that he died to give everyone a second chance, even me.”

Pulgarin served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps before returning to New Jersey in 2014. Like many veterans, he struggled to nd a sense of belonging in civilian life, leading to what he described as a dark period that reached its lowest point in 2020. Seeing how ful lled his father was as a member of Council 17254, Pulgarin decided to join the Knights in 2021. e next year, he played Peter in the Via Crucis, but he never expected to play Jesus. He has never acted outside of the Via and considers himself shy and stoic — characteristics that actors are not generally known for. A er rehearsals, he would return home physically and mentally exhausted. Still, Jimenez encouraged him, saying, “Don’t worry. e emotions will be there.”

Jimenez was right. As Pulgarin made his way along the half-mile route, being whipped, tripped and beaten, the physical and emotional toll of the role began to mount.

e soldiers didn’t pull their punches, and the bruises they in icted would stay with Pulgarin for at least a few days, he said: “It felt like I was hit by a truck.” Feelings of sadness and anger from the crowd spilled over: “How could they have treated Jesus like this 2,000 years ago?”

FROM TOP: Photo by Joe Gigli — Photo by Greg Shemitz Above: Stivenson Pulgarin (right) and Alfonso Camano, members of Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Council 17254 in Paterson, N.J., portray Jesus and Simon of Cyrene during the council’s procession

Moved with sympathy, onlookers watched the gure of Christ with tears in their eyes.

“People scream at the soldiers, ‘Don’t hit him anymore!’” Jimenez recounted. “When the soldiers get too close, some of the old ladies will try to pinch them, almost as a way to get even.”


e procession returned to the cathedral for the Ninth Station, where Pulgarin fell for the third time. As he lay on the ground, hundreds of people passed him by on their way into the cathedral; an over ow crowd watched on a large screen outside.

e soldiers dragged Pulgarin toward the sanctuary before fastening him to the cross; the blows of their hammer sent a chilling echo throughout the church. A er the cross was raised, Pulgarin looked out at the crowd, li ed his eyes to heaven and recited Jesus’ last words: “Padre mio, en tus manos encomiendo mi espíritu” (“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”).

e production came to a close at exactly 3 p.m. with Mary cradling Jesus in her arms to the sound of the song “Diário de María” (Diary of Mary). e entire Via Crucis cast then swi ly and quietly processed out of the cathedral, and the Good Friday liturgy began.

Earlier in the day, before the procession, Msgr. Sylva

observed, “We’re witnessing to the truth that Jesus silenced death from the wood of the cross.” He added, “In so many parts of the world — look at Nicaragua — people can’t profess their faith publicly. And if just one or two people looking out of a building [at the Via Crucis] have their hearts opened to the truth, it will have all been worth it.”

The tradition of public processions that Hispanic Catholics have brought to the diocese is a blessing, affirmed Bishop Sweeney.

“Many Latino countries — Peru, the Dominican Republic, Mexico — are part of the faith community here at the cathedral,” the bishop said. “And they are helping the entire city of Paterson to pray together and walk with Jesus on this Good Friday.”

Jimenez hopes to see the Via Crucis draw as many as 10,000 people in the coming years, envisioning a milelong route from the cathedral to a local baseball stadium. Why? Because the Passion story needs to be told — and retold.

“Before the Catholic faith was spread using the wri en word, everything was word of mouth,” he said. “People told stories by reenacting them so people would not forget them. And that’s why we do this.” B

is associate editor of Columbia and a member of Sandusky (Ohio) Council 546.

FROM TOP LEFT: Photo by Greg Shemitz — Photo by Joe Gigli
The Via Crucis concludes in Paterson’s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist with the crucifixion and pietà, Mary cradling her son’s body after his deposition from the cross.

K of C Roads to Calvary

Councils around the world bear witness to the saving Passion of Christ through Via Crucis events

THE VIA CRUCIS , or Way of the Cross, is a devotion that has been prayed for centuries by Catholics wanting to enter more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s suffering and death. While the first references to the Via Crucis date to the 13th century, the 14 stations we observe today were likely popularized in Spain beginning in the early 17th century before spreading to the rest of Europe and the New World.

Today, public Via Crucis processions — o en involving reenactments of the events of the Passion — remain especially popular in areas once colonized by Spain, including Latin America and the Philippines. ey are conducted in other countries, too, and many K of C councils in jurisdictions throughout the world play a key role in the public processions.

Porta Vaga Council 4072 in Cavite City, Luzon South, has organized a Via Crucis on the Tuesday of Holy Week since 1974 — an e ort recognized by the Supreme Council with an international program award in 2016. e large-scale performance has a considerable impact on the city’s culture, said Past Grand Knight Vonn Rommel Garrido.

“Performing the Passion out in the streets is our own li le way of evangelizing people,” Garrido said. “In a society engrossed in technology, bigotry and indi erence to others, we hope to penetrate the hearts of spectators so they might realize for themselves God’s absolute mercy.”

Members of Mons. Lázaro Pérez Jiménez Council 17543 in Mérida, Mexico South, support the priests overseeing rural parishes on the Yucatán Peninsula by leading the Stations of the Cross each Good Friday in villages — nearly 100 miles away from Mérida.

Local councils have led this e ort for 35 years.

As Knights carry a wooden cross to stations throughout each village, “it reinforces the Catholic identity of the community, [helping] the ame of faith remain and grow in each generation,” said Grand Knight Felipe López.

In Poland, councils regularly lead the Stations of the Cross, sometimes as simple re ections, sometimes as elaborate plays. St. Michael the Archangel Council 16105 in Wrocław leads

its Good Friday Via Crucis procession along the same route it will take several weeks later for a Eucharistic procession celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi.

“In this way, the Way of the Cross becomes a clear reference to the mystery of the Eucharist,” said District Deputy Michał Bartoszko, a past grand knight of Council 16105. “ e bloodless sacri ce o ered during every Mass is connected with the bloody sacri ce of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross on Good Friday.” B

Photo by Ronald Concepcion Cast members reenact Christ’s Passion during last year’s Via Crucis performance organized by Porta Vaga Council 4072 in Cavite City, Luzon South.



of college and high school students attend the pre-March rally hosted by the Knights of Columbus and Sisters of Life

Before they marched, they prayed: More than 6,000 young people began the day of the March for Life with Mass and Eucharistic adoration at Life Fest, a rally organized by the Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life for the second year in a row.

The Jan. 19 rally at the D.C. Armory also featured musical performances, testimonies and the opportunity to venerate relics of several saints and blesseds, including St. John Paul II, Blessed Carlo Acutis and the recently beatified Ulma family. Long lines formed to pray before the relics and to go to confession as busloads of high school and college students arrived at the Armory early in the morning through a winter storm.

Students and other guests were welcomed by emcees Sister Charity and Sister Cora Caeli, who opened Life Fest by reminding them that the “task of building the culture of life is just beginning” — and that it starts with understanding the value of their own lives.

“How can we ensure that every unborn child is reverenced and welcomed as a gift? How can we support every pregnant woman so she knows she is not alone? … How can we spread the good news of the Gospel of life?” they asked. “Love is the answer. … And in order to give love, we need to first be able to receive love. Our prayer for you this morning is that you receive the love God the Father has for you.”

Top: The musical group Damascus Worship leads participants in prayer and song at Life Fest Jan. 19 at the D.C. Armory in Washington. • Above: Raisa (left), a mother who shared her testimony at Life Fest, smiles at her daughter in the arms of Sister Charity. After speaking, Raisa performed a song she wrote called “Madre.”

Sister Charity and Sister Cora Caeli went on to introduce several speakers, including two women the religious order has served. One woman spoke about encountering God’s mercy through the Sisters of Life after years of shame and anger in the wake of having an abortion. Another woman, Raisa, described refusing an abortion and finding the help she needed to care for twins from the sisters. Sister Charity and Sister Cora Caeli held Raisa’s two daughters beside her as she spoke.

During adoration, Msgr. James Shea, president of the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, reflected on the death of his youngest brother when he was a teenager, his deep grief, and the consolation he received while praying before the Eucharist. He realized, he said, that “until I die … the closest I can be [to my brother] is here with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.”

Life Fest concluded with Mass, celebrated by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, served as the homilist, and three other bishops and more than 70 priests also concelebrated. Cardinal O’Malley opened his homily by telling the crowd that the snow falling outside was a special blessing: “It gives us an opportunity to give an even more striking witness to our commitment to life.”

Cardinal O’Malley warned those in the pro-life movement against becoming either complacent or judgmental.

“Dismantling unjust laws is only the beginning,” he said. “We still have the arduous task of creating a pro-life culture, of changing people’s minds and hearts.”

Several Life Fest attendees said they appreciated the chance to ground their public advocacy at the March for Life in prayer and fellowship with other young Catholics.

“It’s obviously an event about spreading awareness about abortion, but it’s also a bunch of people coming together

because Christ calls us here, a bunch of people who want to see change in the world. And there’s so many of us,” said Paddy Murray, a high school junior who traveled to Washington with a group from Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, Florida. “It’s different from the other trips we go on — it’s a pilgrimage.”

Nick Aguirre, director of campus ministry with University Catholic, likewise described the journey to D.C. as a pilgrimage. A member of Nashville Council 544, he helped to lead a group of students from Vanderbilt University, Belmont University and other Tennessee schools, who traveled to the capital in a bus sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. They prayed the Liturgy of the Hours as they drove through the night, and attending Life Fest, he said, further enhanced the spiritual character of their trip.

“It’s a great gift to be here,” Aguirre said as his group prepared to head out into the snowy city for the march. “It’s been beautiful to get to pray in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, to get to be together with so many priests celebrating the Mass, and the Sisters of Life did a wonderful job leading us in reflection. The women who shared their testimonies were particularly moving for the young people here.”

The students’ enthusiasm gave hope to Maryland State Deputy Christopher Powers, who volunteered at Life Fest with about a dozen Maryland Knights and family members. Several groups of college Knights also assisted at the event.

“It’s great to see thousands of kids here excited about being Catholic and willing to demonstrate that in the public square,” Powers said. In small ways and large, “we can proclaim the Gospel with our lives, and that will change people over time.” B

CECILIA HADLEY is editorial director of Columbia and the Knights of Columbus communications department. Above, from left: Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori celebrates Mass at Life Fest. Cardinal Seán O’Malley, to his right, served as the homilist and concelebrated, together with several other bishops and dozens of priests. • Students from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, pray during Eucharistic adoration. OPPOSITE PAGE, BELOW: Photo by Paul Haring —
Photos by Jeffrey Bruno

MARCHING With Every Woman, For Every Child

Knights of Columbus join tens of thousands of other pro-life advocates in Washington

Ayear and a half after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, pro-life demonstrators once again traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 51st March for Life in protest of the permissive abortion laws that still exist in most U.S. states.

Cold and snow did not deter Knights from around the country in joining thousands of peaceful protestors Jan. 19 on the National Mall, where the March kicked o with a rally at noon.

While last year’s March emphasized the overturning of Roe, organizers and speakers this year focused on developing a culture of life on the state level and within local communities, especially through increased support and expansion of pregnancy resource centers.

Welcoming people to the rally, March for Life president Jeanne Mancini explained, “ e theme for the March for Life this year is ‘With Every Woman, For Every Child.’ Because that is the heart of what the pro-life movement is about: helping mothers and babies fully, humanly, ourish.”

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly, participating with his family, other Supreme O cers and members of the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors, commended Knights for their e orts to do just that.

“In every state, Knights of Columbus are at the forefront, supporting mothers and their babies,” the supreme knight said. “Being pro-life means being pro-woman and pro-child, and women deserve better than abortion. … In the wake of the Dobbs decision, the Knights will continue to work in their communities with mothers and their children and remind our nation’s lawmakers that life is a precious gift worth protecting.”

Lifesaving help for women and their babies is available at an increasing number of pregnancy resource centers, many supported by Knights of Columbus. More than 3,000 centers across the U.S. offer services that range from baby supplies and parenting classes to medical care, housing and adoption support.

Photo by Matthew Barrick

rough the Order’s Ultrasound Initiative, which began in January 2009, and its ASAP (Aid and Support A er Pregnancy) program, introduced in June 2022, Knights have funded more than 1,790 ultrasound machines and raised more than $7 million to support these centers.

“We need to make sure that Americans understand what this movement is really about, that we do support women who are pregnant, in any way that we possibly can,” said Jeffrey Lance, deputy grand knight of e Catholic University of America Council 9542, who led the Pledge of Allegiance before the rally. “Being a Knight is all about charity. It’s all about giving back to others who need it and also about building up that fraternity and support.”

An active presence at the March for Life each year, Council 9542 raised more than $1,000 for ASAP through a baby bo le drive in the program’s rst year. e council’s pro-life work helped it win the Outstanding College Council Award in 2023.

Lance and his fellow CUA Knights were joined at the march by college Knights from George Washington University, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Providence College and other schools.

“ ere’s still so much work to be done, especially at the state level, so it’s important that everyone still shows up to this march and makes their voices heard,” Lance said.

Oregon State Deputy Kenneth Anderson has a ended the Walk for Life in San Francisco several times, but this was his rst time a ending the March for Life in D.C. Coming from one of the most pro-abortion states in the country, Anderson felt encouraged to persevere in the ght for life with his brother Knights in Oregon.

“Our second principle of the Knights of Columbus is unity,” he said. “This whole concept of a March for Life is really dependent on that unity. The more people that we can bring

to these marches, the stronger a witness we can have.”

Anderson will be calling on state o cers and brother Knights around the state to be present at the Oregon March for Life on May 18. e March for Life Education and Defense Fund’s state march initiative will hold demonstrations in 16 states across the country this year and plans to bring marches to all 50 states over the next seven years.

“With very li le to no restrictions on abortion in Oregon, that puts the Knights of Columbus in a place where there’s a lot of work to do,” he said.

For almost as long as the March for Life has existed, Virginia Knights have served as its marshals, leading the March banner and directing people along the proper route.

Joel Levesque of St. Ambrose Council 8403 in Annandale, Virginia, has marshalled at the March for about 10 years and is always inspired by the number of young people who participate. For years, he brought his own children to the March to educate them about the issue of abortion and the dignity of the unborn child.

“Where else do you as parent get something like this, a tool like the March for Life, to inspire your kids to support life?” Levesque said. “It’s great for them to see that they’re not alone in voicing support for the unborn child.”

“You cannot be here and help but be inspired,” Supreme Knight Kelly said. “ at’s why Knights of Columbus continue to march and commit ourselves to building a culture of life. We’ve been here for more than 50 years, marching with young people, with women and children, and with people — from every demographic of society — who believe in the dignity and worth of every human life.” B

CECILIA ENGBERT is a content producer for the Knights of Columbus communications department.

Above: Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly and his wife, Vanessa (left), march down Washington’s Constitution Avenue with Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, and Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. • Pro-life advocates lead the March for Life past the U.S. Supreme Court building. • Opposite page: K of C “Love Life, Choose Life” signs are visible amid a colorful display of pro-life placards during the March for Life rally on the National Mall. Photos by Paul Haring


When faced with unexpected trials, many turn to Blessed Michael McGivney as a friend and intercessor in heaven

Since Father Michael McGivney’s beati cation in October 2020, countless people around the world have sought his intercession in times of need. Touched by grace, many have a ributed to Blessed Michael answered prayers, from everyday favors to amazing medical recoveries.

Most reported stories of healing may not qualify as miraculous by the Church’s standards, which are rightly high and demanding to protect the integrity of the canonization process. But they do reveal something of Father McGivney’s pastoral heart and of the devotion of Knights of Columbus and others to the Order’s founder. And they inspire still others to seek his intercession and to draw closer to God, from whom all graces ow.

Three such stories — involving a college student, an unborn child and an 86-year-old Knight — are recounted below.


Christopher Holzman was a sophomore at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and an active member of St. Benedict’s Council 4708 on campus. He was also an avid skateboarder. One night in December 2021, he and his friends decided to take on a rather large hill in town with their longboards.

friends called 911. He stopped breathing several times. e local hospital didn’t have the capacity to treat Chris’ severe injuries, so he was life- ighted to Kansas City, Kansas. His parents, Kevin and Mary Holzman, were noti ed and immediately prepared to leave their home in Iowa. As they threw some clothes into a suitcase for a possible extended stay in Kansas City, Kevin — a former K of C district deputy — also grabbed a Blessed Michael McGivney prayer card. e thought occurred to him during the ve-hour drive that once they got to the hospital they might have to “identify a body.” But the couple simply continued praying and asked for Blessed Michael’s intercession on behalf of their son.

Chris had broken the temporal bones on both sides of his head, an injury with a very high mortality rate. Doctors who examined him were incredulous that he could have broken those skull bones simply by falling off a longboard.

“It’s almost impossible to break the temporal bone,” said Kevin Holzman. “You have to be in a car accident to break it.”

As word got out, Knights at Benedictine and back home in Iowa — and elsewhere — joined in prayer.

Chris went first, and by the time his friends got to the bottom of the hill, they found him lying face down on the pavement, blood flowing from his mouth and ears. A passing car stopped to help; the driver, it turned out, was a nurse, and she played a vital role in keeping Chris alive while his

After two and a half weeks in a coma, Chris came to and began eating on his own. He spent only a few more days in the hospital. Though the injuries left him deaf, he has received cochlear implants that allow him to hear.

“The doctors I have seen for checkups for all these things look at my charts and they try to figure out what happened

Photo by Jake Belcher

to me,” explained Chris, who served as grand knight of Council 4078 for the 2022-2023 academic year. “Some said, ‘Wait, how are you even alive? How are you this well off?’”

Medically speaking, such severe head trauma could have easily le Chris bedridden with long-term cognitive and memory damage.

“It is clear that my time here on earth isn’t done,” said Chris, now 22. “God has a bigger purpose for me.”


Eugenia and Manuel Blain of Toronto were happily expecting their rst child. “It was pre y calm until we had the 12-week scan” in the spring of 2021, Eugenia recalled.

eir unborn baby, a boy, was agged for Down syndrome, and a specialist later spent several hours examining Eugenia and the baby. e test results were devastating. e right side of the baby’s heart was underdeveloped, and his blood circulation was reversed. He also had hydrops — life-threatening swelling in the organs — as well as an omphalocele,

• Opposite page: A portrait and relic of Blessed Michael McGivney are displayed at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., on Nov. 1, 2020, the day after Father McGivney’s beatification.

meaning abdominal organs were protruding outside his body.

The specialist said that the baby was going to die in utero within a few weeks, and the Blains might want to consider an abortion.

“As a Catholic,” Eugenia said, “that wasn’t an option.”

While the couple sought a second opinion, they discovered the story of Michael “Mikey” McGivney Schachle, the Tennessee boy whose miraculous in utero cure from hydrops was accepted by the Vatican as the miracle needed for Father McGivney’s beati cation.

Because of the similarities between Mikey’s condition and their baby’s, the Blains started reciting the prayer for Blessed Michael McGivney’s canonization and invited close friends to do so as well. Manuel, who is a statistician, agreed to say the prayer but remained skeptical.

“I know what I’m praying for — a miracle,” Eugenia would tell Manuel. “It’s very clear to me that I’m not asking for a small thing.”

During her next doctor’s visit, Eugenia asked the technician if the baby’s hydrops had worsened. “And she’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t see any hydrops.’”

When the doctor reviewed the results, he exclaimed, “I was supposed to see someone who had a baby with hydrops and a hypoplastic heart, and I don’t have any of that.”

e doctor scanned Eugenia again and con rmed that the baby still had the omphalocele, but neither hydrops nor a

MARCH 2024 B COLUMBIA 21 Photos by Spirit Juice Studios
Left: Chris Holzman walks across the campus of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., with his longboard in hand, two years after his nearly fatal skateboarding accident . • Above: Holzman enjoys a game of cards with his family at their home outside Alton, Iowa. His father, Kevin (foreground right) is a former district deputy, and his two brothers, Matthew (left) and Thomas, are also Knights.

heart defect. A cardiologist later con rmed that the baby’s heart was normal, as was his blood ow.

Nicholas Michael Blain was born in November 2021; now 2 years old, he is a happy and social toddler. During the day, he no longer needs respiratory support, and he is eating on his own. Once he’s stable enough, he can have the omphalocele surgically repaired.

e Blains chose Nicholas’ middle name in honor of Blessed Michael McGivney, someone they were only vaguely aware of before this experience. ey both grew up in families that were more secular than religious, and their rst reaction to the doctor’s news was questioning.

“There is no confusion in these images; this baby was dying,” the doctor said. “I have no other way to explain it: I think this baby is a miracle.”
Photo by Nadia Molinari

“We are scientists,” said Eugenia. “It’s not that we doubted that it might have been a miracle. But it was more like, ‘What if [the rst doctor] got it wrong?”

She posed that very question to her OB-GYN, who opened her computer and showed Eugenia the pictures.

“ ere is no confusion in these images; this baby was dying,” the doctor said. “I have no other way to explain it: I think this baby is a miracle.”

Manuel admi ed that he had been doubtful that praying for Blessed Michael’s intercession could make a di erence.

“I just thought that whatever path God chooses for us is what we’ll have to live with,” he recalled. “But we are given this opportunity to connect to these great individuals who can bring us closer to God and change our lives forever. And I would say, if you do need a miracle, pray for it.”


Last November, District Deputy Manuel “Manny” Joia Jr. returned home a er spending a grueling month in a hospital in Apple Valley, California. e 86-year-old had required surgery to remove intestinal blockages. Normally 180 pounds, Joia dropped to 140.

“He was not able to eat for weeks. For many days he was only ge ing an IV. No food, not even a feeding tube,” said Jason Negrete, who, like Joia, is a past grand knight of Father Oliver McGivern Council 10494 in Apple Valley. “He looked so frail and was always cold.”

Joia, a 30-year Air Force veteran and retired civil servant, was hospitalized Oct. 4. Undergoing surgery Oct. 10, he had a steady stream of visitors, including other members of Council 10494. His brother Knights were praying for him, particularly the rosary and the prayer for the canonization of Blessed Michael McGivney, a prayer that Joia himself had been praying daily for years.

In unstable condition a er surgery, Joia was put into a medically induced coma to increase his chances of recovery.

at’s when Resurrectionist Father Delwyn Haroldson, pastor of Our Lady of the Desert Catholic Church and council chaplain, prayed by his bedside.

“He seemed dead except for the beeping of the life support machine. I anointed Manny and prayed, ‘OK, Father McGivney, now is the time; I pray for your intercession that Manny will be restored back to life and good health.’”

A er anointing Joia, Father Haroldson went out to get something to eat.

“But the thought kept coming to me that I should go back and pray more for Manny,” he said. “If he was going to die, that is the least I could do.”

Negrete also felt that Joia’s prognosis looked bleak.

“Honestly, I thought he had one foot in the grave and he was ge ing measured for a halo,” Negrete admi ed. e priest went back to the intensive care unit and again prayed to Father McGivney and said the rosary for a few hours. “Finally, a sense of peace came over me,” he recalled. e next morning, he got a call from Grand Knight Anthony Forcinel: Joia was si ing up in bed, talking.

“It just oored me,” the priest said. “In the 11 years I’ve been anointing people, I’ve never known anybody on life support who snapped out of it like that.”

Hospital staff told Joia’s son, Michael, a member of Father Kuster Council 3037 in Chester, Connecticut, that his father went from being kept alive by a machine to being “awake, alert and ready to start moving around” the next day — “and hungry.”

Today, Joia is no longer in need of physical therapy and is ge ing out of the house more and more.

“I believe that the prayers to Father McGivney helped me come through,” Joia affirmed. “Prayer also heals, not just medicine. But you have to have the faith. … I believe Father McGivney is still with us. He’s guiding my life in a certain way.” B

JOHN BURGER writes for and is a member of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Council 16253 in New Haven, Conn.

Opposite page: Eugenia and Manuel Blain play with their son, Nicholas, at their home in Toronto on Jan. 19. Doctors predicted that Nicholas — now a happy 2-year-old — would die in utero due to multiple health complications. • Right: Manny Joia, past grand knight of Father Oliver McGivern Council 10494 in Apple Valley, Calif., stands with Father Delwyn Haroldson in Our Lady of the Desert Catholic Church Feb. 6. Joia, who was in a coma following surgery, made a remarkable recovery after Father Haroldson prayed at his bedside for Father McGivney’s intercession. Photo by Christine Bartolucci


An interview with artist Chas Fagan about the creative vision of his new statue of Blessed Michael McGivney

“When I paint or sculpt a figure, I always feel like I get to know them,” says artist Chas Fagan. “It’s like adding one more person to the long list of your lifelong friends.”

By that measure, Fagan has go en to know Blessed Michael McGivney well over the last several years. In 2016, the North Carolina-based artist painted what would later become Father McGivney’s o cial beati cation portrait. is past year, he completed a second likeness of the Knights of Columbus founder: a marble statue that has been installed in the Hall of American Saints at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

The Knights of Columbus previously commissioned Fagan to sculpt two statues of Pope John Paul II for the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington and to paint the canonization portrait of St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly and Father McGivney’s great-grandnephew, John Walshe, unveiled the new statue Dec. 8 at a dedication ceremony presided over by Cardinal Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. Fagan, who was also present, spoke with Columbia about Father McGivney and what he hoped to convey about the parish priest with his work.

medical incident that kept me trapped in the hospital for over three months. When I was nally allowed to leave, I stepped out the door and just randomly took a le turn down Hillhouse Avenue. I walked down the street, enjoying the nature and birds, a reminder that I was still alive. en I saw an old church. In that moment, I was probably thinking that a church was a good place to go, so I walked in. It was empty. I just genuflected and found a spot toward the back. As I’m doing that, I hear a voice. And the voice welcomes me — by name. I look up, and there’s a priest up there by the altar, and he walks by. And that’s it.

I’m left sitting there, kind of shocked and amazed, but also a little freaked out. I had never been there, yet he knew my name. Then I started thinking, “Well, maybe he found out about my situation or something, because it’s a small community in New Haven.” In the end, all I do know is what I felt — a sense of absolute welcome. And that experience completely anchored me from then on.

That church on Hillhouse became my home. For the rest of my time at college I went to church there. I grabbed all my buddies and that’s where we went on Sundays. And that church is St. Mary’s Church, which was Father McGivney’s parish. But I only learned that way late in the game — I had no idea at the time.

COLUMBIA: How familiar were you with Blessed Michael McGivney before creating this statue?

CHAS FAGAN: I was quite familiar with him already, having painted his portrait in 2016. Yet I feel I met him a long time ago, back in the ’80s — not his 1880s, but my 1980s, in New Haven, Connecticut.

As a sophomore at Yale, in New Haven, I had a serious

COLUMBIA: How did you eventually learn about Father McGivney?

CHAS FAGAN: Before I started my rst project for the Knights of Columbus, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson gave me Father McGivney’s biography to read. You can imagine how I jumped when I realized, fairly early on in that book,


“Oh my goodness, St. Mary’s — my St. Mary’s — was Father McGivney’s home!”

So what I never realized as a college kid is that I had received the lasting embrace of Father McGivney and his parish. at is why it means so much to me to work with the Knights of Columbus and to tell the story of Father McGivney, whether it be in paint or clay or bronze or marble. He was a man of dedication and a classic, caring parish priest. More than that, he was a can-doer, a man of action, something we can all aspire to.

COLUMBIA: How did you approach the task of depicting Blessed Michael McGivney in marble?

CHAS FAGAN: Father McGivney accomplished a lot in 38 years, and he had a great impact, obviously; you don’t do that by being a recluse or being quiet. It takes a special man to do that. That’s what I always saw in him and what I really wanted to portray — that ability to get things done.

So having a sti , heavy, vertical gure standing in stone just wouldn’t t. I really could not imagine creating a piece that was totally static, immobile, with no action to it. I wanted the opposite — I wanted to infuse it with movement, energy. And so he’s turning and presenting a book of Scripture etched with “Unity” and “Charity,” the Order’s great founding principles. He is also leaning forward slightly, as if he’s about to take a step, and the action is accented by the lines of his cassock.

e con uence of folds reveals motion. e way that cassocks were cut at the time, if you move and twist a li le bit, you can get some beautiful curves just in the fall of the drape; you get these great angled slopes of line and shadow. at motion gives the statue energy, so that if you walk around it a li le bit, you capture glimpses of the dynamism of Father McGivney’s life. at is the vision of what I wanted, and we got it.

At the same time, I was trying to capture his likeness as accurately as I can. With Father McGivney, not that many photos are extant — only a few black-and-white seated portraits. We only have a few views that are solid, where you can see the full shape of his face. So there was a lot of unknown. I just had to guess. And with sculpture, you’ve got to guess a lot more than you do with a painting. With a painting, you can capture a view of a person and know that you’re pre y accurate. In this case, we didn’t have a pro le image to know the true shape of his nose or even the pro le of his head. So I had to make some educated guesses based on the images we do have.

COLUMBIA: What was it like to see your statue unveiled at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception?

CHAS FAGAN: I was not present to see the statue installed at the basilica. I got snapshots and then official photographs,

but I had a hard time recognizing the details of the sculpture. And when I did get there ahead of the ceremony, everything was so sealed and covered up that there was no physical way for me to peek.

So at this particular unveiling, it meant that I was a guy waiting in anticipation just like everyone else to see what it looked like — to see how the marble’s final surface treatment had come out, to see how the statue looked under the lighting. Lighting will change everything. But I loved how it looked and the way it fit with the architecture. It really worked out beautifully.

It’s always wonderful to see and hear people’s reactions too. I think the most moving part for me was when John Walshe pulled me aside and said he had a hard time looking at the sculpture. This was very curious, and I wanted to know more. The reason, he said, was that he saw his family in the sculpture’s face — all the family faces were in there. I thought, “Well, that’s good. We hit the target.” That was wonderful. B

Photos by Paul Haring Right: Artist Chas Fagan looks up at his statue of Blessed Michael McGivney after its dedication at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8, 2023. • Opposite page: A closeup of the marble statue shows Father McGivney’s profile.

St. Joseph’s Eloquent SILENCE

The protector of the Holy Family teaches us how to listen to God’s voice and act decisively

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). These well-known words of Mary, which we repeat daily in the Angelus, were Our Lady’s response to the annunciation by the archangel Gabriel. In contrast, Joseph’s response to the angelic annunciation was silent action (cf. Mt 1:24). Mary spoke; Joseph did. “And this first ‘doing’ became the beginning of ‘Joseph’s way,’” St. John Paul II wrote in his apostolic exhortation Redemptoris Custos (Guardian of the Redeemer). “The Gospels do not record any word ever spoken by Joseph along that way. But the silence of Joseph has its own special eloquence” (17).

What can we learn from “Joseph’s way,” particularly his silence, and how can we apply this to our own lives as Knights?

Silence takes many di erent forms, both positive and negative. Negative forms include the passive-aggressive “silent treatment” or other kinds of absence or neglect. Positive silence, however, can be described in ve di erent movements embodied by St. Joseph — movements that mirror our interior participation in the Mass.

The silence of preparation. Joseph always kept his heart open, pure and receptive, making room for God’s “still small voice” to guide him (cf. 1 Kgs 19:12).

Keeping our hearts pure and receptive is not easy. It is a daily e ort to pay a ention to what is happening inside of us — not hypervigilance, but gentle, habitual self-awareness. “What am I thinking? What am I feeling? What is happening inside of me?” St. Peter admonishes us: “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, rm in your faith” (1 Pet 5:8-9a).

For Joseph, the stakes were very high. He was the guardian of the Immaculate Conception and the Incarnate Word. When they were in mortal danger, God informed Joseph and commanded him to take action (cf. Mt 2:13). It was essential for him to be watchful and sober so that he could hear the Lord and resist the devil.

The silence of listening. Listening to God and discerning his will are challenging for all of us, including St. Joseph. e best example of this was his epic struggle to make the best choice with Mary, his betrothed, when she was “found to be with child of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:18). Her unexpected pregnancy caused him great distress, much as Peter was overwhelmed by the Lord’s power by the Sea of Galilee and tried to excuse himself: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Lk 5:8).

St. Joseph and the Sleeping Christ Child (c. 1668-75), painting by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo / Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis
We, in turn, should “allow ourselves to be ‘filled’ with St. Joseph’s silence.” For St. Joseph can teach us to live in a constant loving awareness of Jesus — to live in “a silence woven of constant prayer.”

an attitude of total availability to the divine desires,” Pope Benedict said in a 2005 Angelus address. “In other words, Joseph’s silence does not express an inner emptiness but, on the contrary, the fullness of the faith he bears in his heart and which guides his every thought and action.”

We, in turn, should “allow ourselves to be ‘filled’ with St. Joseph’s silence,” Pope Benedict concluded. For St. Joseph can teach us to live in a constant loving awareness of Jesus — to live in “a silence woven of constant prayer.” With Joseph’s help, it is possible to keep this contemplative silence in our hearts at every moment, to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17).

For Mary “to be with child of the Holy Spirit” was not part of Joseph’s plan. On his own, he came to the best decision he could: He decided to release her in secret. He felt he needed to set her free and not interfere with whatever the Lord was doing in her. Fortunately, God did not leave Joseph on his own, but sent him help in the form of an angel — a spiritual director, you might say. We all need help to hear God’s voice, even a holy man like St. Joseph, and God wants to provide the guides — spiritual directors and spiritual friends — who can help us hear his voice more clearly.

The silence of self-offering. Joseph’s responses to God’s interventions were dramatic expressions of silent self-offering: Receiving Mary and her child, fleeing with them to Egypt, and then returning to Nazareth all required radical obedience. In his apostolic letter Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart), Pope Francis described Joseph’s self-offering in terms of patience, entrustment and self-gift: “Joseph found happiness not in mere self-sacrifice but in self-gift. In him, we never see frustration but only trust. His patient silence was the prelude to concrete expressions of trust” (7).

To trust in God and the authorities he has placed in our lives can be hard for all of us. It was not easy for Joseph to wait for years in Egypt for God to tell him it was time to come home. Patience is hard, but as Pope Benedict XVI said in his inaugural homily: “The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man.”

The silence of contemplation. When we are moved by a profound love or struck by a great experience, we can be silenced by the beauty, truth or goodness of what we have encountered. Words would only cheapen the moment. Think of the love of a long-married couple — they sit together in silence, feeling deeply connected, without the need for words. Joseph cultivated this contemplative silence: “His silence is steeped in contemplation of the mystery of God in

The silence of savoring. Reflecting on St. Joseph and the Holy Family in a 2011 audience, Pope Benedict XVI later said, “We may imagine that he too, like his wife and in close harmony with her, lived the years of Jesus’ childhood and adolescence savoring, as it were, his presence in their family.” We are thus invited to learn from Joseph how to “savor” in silence. St. Joseph was lavished with the love of Mary and Jesus in their home in Nazareth. These wonders were so normal that no one else noticed them, but Joseph wouldn’t have missed them. He savored the love, the tenderness, the sensitivity of presence and the communion of persons that flourished under his roof. He gazed lovingly at the face of his sleeping little boy. He delighted in Jesus’ first creation in the family’s workshop. He rejoiced with the child as they visited the Temple. Joseph can teach us to savor in silence the daily, ordinary gifts of God.

He teaches us, as well, to receive the extraordinary gifts of God. Consider that before the liturgy and during the introductory rites of Mass, we make room to receive Christ by emptying ourselves of interior noise — the silence of preparation. We hold our hearts open in the silence of attentive listening during the Liturgy of the Word. As the gifts are prepared, we can make a silent self-offering, like St. Joseph did after he listened to the angel. Then there is a silence beyond words as bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ and we receive him into our own body. Finally, we rest in a silence of savoring as we pray our thanksgiving after holy Communion.

St. Joseph exemplifies each of these forms of silence — so much so that we might say he participated interiorly in an endless liturgy.

At the conclusion of Patris Corde , Pope Francis observed, “Jesus told us: ‘Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart’ (Mt 11:29). The lives of the saints too are examples to be imitated. St. Paul explicitly says this: ‘Be imitators of me!’ (1 Cor 4:16). By his eloquent silence, St. Joseph says the same.” B

FATHER BONIFACE HICKS, OSB, is director of spiritual formation and the Institute for Ministry Formation at Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa. A member of Saint Vincent College Council 14384, he is the author of Through the Heart of St. Joseph (2021) and The Hidden Power of Silence in the Mass: A Guide for Encountering Christ in the Liturgy (2024).


Knights and family members from Father Emil J. Kapaun Council 11987 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, prepare to embark on the council’s inaugural Father Emil J. Kapaun Memorial Hike. Fourteen pilgrims trekked 10 miles from the roundabout named for Father Kapaun on Vogelweh Air Base to the Ramstein North Chapel. During the hike, they prayed for the late chaplain’s cause for canonization and reflected on his life.


Leading up to the Diocese of Oakland’s Eucharistic Revival Congress, Berkeley (Calif.) Council 1499 exhibited posters about Eucharistic miracles, created by Blessed Carlo Acutis, at 10 area parishes. Knights later set up a much larger exhibit at the Cathedral of Christ the Light for the congress itself.


St. Joseph Council 3792 in Milford, Del., presented the Milford Police Department with medals and prayer cards of St. Michael the Archangel for the protection of its o cers. e sacramentals were blessed by Father Johnny Laura Lazo, council chaplain from 2018 to 2023.


Knights from St. John Paul the Great Assembly 3640 in Lincoln, Neb., provided an honor guard during the public veneration of a piece of St. Jude the Apostle’s forearm at St. Michael Catholic Church. e relic, which is traveling throughout the United States until May, visited four churches in the Diocese of Lincoln this past fall.


e Edmonton (Alberta) Chapter donated CA$1,000 for the jurisdiction’s Pennies for Heaven fund, which supports the education costs of seminarians from the Archdiocese of Edmonton.


Caldwell (Idaho) Council 3086 began supporting a parish in the Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatangain in Ghana a few years ago, a er a council member befriended its pastor during a visit to Rome. Learning that the congregation celebrated Mass outdoors with nowhere to sit, Council 3086 provided an initial donation of $450 to build benches. Since then, the council has contributed more than $14,000 to help the community build its own church.


Grove City (Pa.) Council 3658 held a work day at the Church of the Beloved Disciple to tackle several landscaping projects on church grounds. Knights mowed the lawn, trimmed hedges, removed brush and spruced up the exterior of the parish rectory.



Holy Family Parish in Caledonia, Mich., needed a perimeter fence to provide privacy around the new parish community center, especially its new meditation garden. To save the parish several thousand dollars, Knights from Bishop Allen J. Babcock Council 7341 o ered to build the fence themselves. e council held several work sessions, during which more than 20 Knights installed 500 feet of fence.

Knights and family members from Dambana Ni San Vicente Ferrer Council 18206 in Quezon City, Luzon South, stand with two wheelchairs the council donated to Dambana Ni San Vicente Ferrer Parish. The council spent more than 11,000 PHP (about $200) to purchase the wheelchairs, which will be used by parishioners in need of mobility assistance.




Grand Knight Brendan Butler of Marlboro-Hudson Council 81 in Marlborough, Mass., presents a poinsettia plant to Jeannette Pauplis, whose husband, Len, was a Knight for 65 years before he died in 2014. The council delivered more than 100 poinsettias to widows and homebound women from the three parishes it serves.


Every Christmas season since 2020, members of Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Council 11125 in Pensacola, Fla., have pooled funds to buy $100 Walmart gi cards for local families needing assistance during the holidays. e Knights place each gi in a Christmas card with a message about God’s love, and a diocesan charity distributes the cards just before or just a er Christmas. is past year, Council 11125 funded 23 gi cards, ve more than the previous year.

Father Meany-Father St. Onge Council 7943 in Troy, Vt., held a pancake breakfast that raised more than $800 for several charities, including Special Olympics Vermont and the council’s Coats for Kids program. During the breakfast, the council also held a special blessing — conducted by Vocationist Father Benny Chi ilappilly, administrator of St. Andre Besse e Parish — for all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles owned by community members.


Msgr. Paul Martin Co-Mission San Juan Capistrano Council 7519 in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., raised nearly $60,000 at its annual charity golf tournament for the scholarship fund at Mission Basilica School.


St. Maximilian Kolbe Council 11747 in Scarborough, Maine, donated $6,000 to the South Portland Food Pantry. e council holds a 5K road race each year to bene t the food pantry; since 2009, the event has raised more than $35,000.


In 1955, Knights from Leo Council 1130 in under Bay, Ontario, constructed a Nativity scene to be placed in Connaught Square, one of the city’s public parks. Nearly 70 years later, the council continues to display the crèche each year during the Advent and Christmas seasons.


Bishop Portier Council 3565 in Mobile, Ala., established a scholarship program with former council chancellor Jack Di Palma and his wife, Ann, for students from the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Student Center at the University of South Alabama. e program’s rst two scholarships — $1,500 each — were awarded to Mia Jalkh and Pedro Infante.


Members of Philip Paul Breen Council 8576 in Cha anooga, Tenn., visited and prayed at the graves of six deceased council members at Cha anooga National Cemetery, placing a wreath at each Knight’s burial site.

Francisco Espinales, a member of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Council 13145 in Baton Rouge, La., hands a woman a box of groceries from the food pantry operated by the diocese’s Hispanic Apostolate. The Knights help distribute food twice a month at St. Pius X Church, serving as many as 250 families. BOTTOM: Photo by Jamie Orillion



Each week, members of Good Shepherd Council 9076 in San Diego prepare bags with toiletries and other hygiene items for people experiencing homelessness or otherwise in need. ey o en hand out nearly 100 packages on a given weekend.


Members of Father Paul Donald O’Toole Council 10819 in Simpsonville, S.C., collected 17 bags of li er during their recent road cleanup along a 2-mile section of Woodru Road; the council conducts the cleanup four times a year.


Sancta Familia Council 11498 in Sewell, N.J., organized a November service remembering veterans who died by suicide and raising awareness for veterans’ mental health struggles; Knights from Bishop James Schad Assembly 2843 in Blackwood and Archbishop Celestine J. Damiano Assembly 1626 in Williamstown provided an honor guard for the event. e same weekend, Council 11498 and Assembly 2843 sponsored a variety show that raised more than $4,000 for several organizations that support service members and veterans.


At the request of sta from St. Paul Catholic School in North Canton, Ohio, Msgr. Edward P. Graham Assembly 828 in Canton purchased new U.S. and Ohio state ags to replace the school’s old ags, as well as smaller ags with mounting brackets for three classrooms. Knights presented the new ags to students a er the school’s weekly Mass, and Faithful Navigator Chris Dodson spoke about patriotism and its importance to the Order.


Father E.G. Rosenberger Council 5779 in South Windsor, Conn., hosted its 15th annual military appreciation dinner for veterans, active military personnel and their families. More than 80 people a ended the dinner, and another 40 people received takeout meals. e Knights also gave away a new winter coat with every meal.


Applications for next academic year’s Knights of Columbus scholarships are available until March 15. For more information, visit

Members of St. Louis Council 14730 in Pinecrest,

unload 75 wheelchairs at the Miami VA Medical Center. The Florida State Council and several local councils combined resources to purchase the wheelchairs, which Council 14730 transported from West Palm Beach to Miami.


A er several members of St. Philip Council 17224 in China Spring, Texas, took part in security training for St. Philip Church, the council decided to sponsor two safety seminars for the Waco community, one of them speci cally for women. Nearly 100 people a ended the workshops presented by Sheepdog Ministries, learning about situational awareness, signs of abuse, predator identi cation and more.

Graydon Nicholas (right), former supreme warden and a member of the Maliseet First Nation, helps a child in Tobique First Nation, New Brunswick, try on a new winter coat during a Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids event in December. Knights in New Brunswick distributed more than 100 coats at Mah-Sos School on the First Nation reserve. Fla., prepare to TOP LEFT: Photo by Jaime Bard



Every two months, Teller County Council 625 in Woodland Park, Colo., sponsors a Vitalant blood drive at Our Lady of the Wood Church that has quickly become Vitalant’s largest drive in the Colorado Springs area. e November 2023 drive brought in more than 120 donors, up from an average of 70 donors during 2022.


Several members of Christ the King Council 14130 in Lexington, Ky., supported and acted in Father McGivney, Parish Priest, a musical honoring the Order’s founder that was wri en by Father Al DeGiacomo, parochial vicar of the Cathedral of Christ the King and a former council chaplain. About 650 people a ended the two free performances, and more than $7,600 was raised for charity through concession sales and free-will donations. Of that, about $5,100 went to Assurance, a pregnancy resource center in Lexington, and more than $2,500 was given to the Don Bosco Center, an a er-school program in Lawrenceburg.


e Wisconsin State Council donated $12,250 toward the purchase of two portable ultrasound machines to bene t families in need in Uganda. e machines were requested by Deacon Gary Nosacek, a member of South Milwaukee Council 1709, and his wife, Dr. Cynthia Jones-Nosacek, who have made several mission trips to a sister parish and medical clinic in Padibe, Uganda.


Parishioners from St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Wildwood, Fla., donated more than $21,000 in baby supplies and cash to a drive sponsored by Our Lady of Mount Carmel Council 13300. e donations were delivered by Knights to Hands of Mercy Everywhere, a residence for pregnant and parenting teens and their children in Belleview; an additional $400 was given to the center through the ASAP program.


e pro-life billboard campaign sponsored by St. Mark Council 12108 in Norman, Okla., began in 2018 and currently features 23 electronic signs in English and Spanish that are seen by more than 2 million people in the area each week. e billboards direct viewers to a website listing more than 40 local pregnancy resource centers that o er ultrasounds and other services.

See more at

Please submit your council activities to

Members of several K of C councils in Guam process from Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña, the U.S. territory’s capital, during the Archdiocese of Agaña’s annual March for Life last year. Grand Knight Thomas Jewett (left) of Sayre (Pa.) Council 1807 presents baby items to Crystal Salsman, executive director of Endless Mountains Pregnancy Care Center. The council collected money and other donations — an estimated value of $1,500 — from Knights and parishioners of the Catholic Community of the Epiphany. The Supreme Council will make an additional donation of $300 to the center through the ASAP program. TOP: Photo by Tony Diaz/Archdiocese of Agaña


What K of C merch will take home the bragging rights of being the best? And who will be awarded a $500 Knights Gear gift card for participating in our tournament?


To owners of Knights of Columbus insurance policies and persons responsible for payment of premiums on such policies: Notice is hereby given that in accordance with the provisions of Section 84 of the Laws of the Order, payment of insurance premiums due on a monthly basis to the Knights of Columbus by check made payable to Knights of Columbus and mailed to same at PO Box 1492, NEW HAVEN, CT 06506-1492, before the expiration of the grace period set forth in the policy. In Canada: Knights of Columbus, Place d’Armes Station, P.O. Box 220, Montreal, QC H2Y 3G7






MEN’S CLASSIC SILVER WATCH HIGH TECH LEATHER WATCH Shop the Knights Gear Communion and Confirmation Collection Special gifts for these sacred events. With every purchase of a featured match-up item, you are entered to win a $500 KNIGHTS GEAR GIFT CARD!

Knights of Charity

Every day, Knights all over the world are given opportunities to make a di erence — 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 be er world.

Knights from St. Joseph’s of Lino Lakes (Minn.) Council 9905 watch as Thomas Pett, a member of St. Joseph of the Lakes Parish, slaps the puck toward the goal during the council’s annual K of C Hockey Challenge. Twelve children participated in the competition, held in the church hall after Sunday Masses on Jan. 7.

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: KNIGHTS OF CHARITY
by David Ellis
‘Jesus asked me to come and see.’

When I moved away from home for university, I remember being excited about three things: beginning my graduate studies in quantum information, nding a parish community and joining a new Knights of Columbus council and assembly.

Looking back now, I see those years of my life through the lens of Jesus’ words, “Come and see” (Jn 1:39). I see Jesus asking me to “come and see” the wonder of God’s creation through the amazing world of quantum physics. I see Jesus asking me to “come and see” him through the sacramental life at the parishes I a ended. Lastly, I see Jesus asking me to “come and see” all the great things I could do for people and what I could learn about our faith through the Knights of Columbus.

Both my scienti c studies and my involvement with the Knights — along with many encouraging friends, family members and priests — were primary in uences on my decision to enter the seminary. As I prepare for my priestly ordination this year, I continue to hear Jesus’ call to “come and see” his wonderful plan for my life.

Deacon Christopher Pugh Archdiocese of Winnipeg Brandon (Manitoba) Council 1435
Photo by Ryan Parker

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.