Columbia May 2023

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MAY 2023
Father Emil Kapaun Korea, 1950
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3 For the greater glory of God

Passing on the Catholic faith to our children is a crucial antidote to a growing epidemic of anxiety and despair.

4 Learning the faith, living the faith

Far from wishful thinking or a way to manipulate God, prayer opens our hearts to receive God’s love and transform the world.

6 Knights of Columbus News

Texas Knights Host Father McGivney Relic Tour • Honoring Our Blessed Founder • Ukrainian Knights Prepare, Deliver Easter Care Packages • Knights in Mexico Make Pilgrimage to Christ the King Shrine • New Supreme Warden, Supreme Master Installed

25 Fathers for Good

8 23

A Hero Priest’s Return to Kansas

How a Columbia article contributed to the discovery of Servant of God and Medal of Honor recipient Father Emil Kapaun’s remains.

PLUS: The Ordeal of Chaplain Kapaun

In the Footsteps of Faith and Valor

Growing devotion to Father Emil Kapaun draws hundreds of pilgrims to follow his path of holiness.

An 18th-century painting depicts the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and Mary at Pentecost. This month the Church celebrates Pentecost May 28 and the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, May 29. 14 16

‘Dreams Are Not Disabled’

Order partners with Kraków-based organization to care for Ukrainian refugees with disabilities.


To Serve and Protect

Filipino police council attracts hundreds of members with evangelizing charity.

Québec’s Frontline Knights

A council founded during the pandemic draws together Canadian first responders.

Fostering Marian devotions, such as a family rosary, gives space for Our Lady to enter the domestic church.

26 Knights in Action

Reports from councils and assemblies, representing Faith in Action


Using the hood of his jeep as an altar, U.S. Army chaplain Father Emil Kapaun celebrates Mass in Korea on Oct. 7, 1950.

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.

© 2023

MAY 2023 ✢ COLUMBIA 1 CONTENTS ON THE COVER: Photo by U.S. Army Col. Raymond A. Skeehan — TOP: Pentecost 1732, Jean II Restout Bridgeman Images
All rights reserved
MAY 2023 ✢ VOLUME 103 ✢ NUMBER 4

A Eucharistic Life

“LITTLE DID I DREAM that someday I would be in Korea in a fox-hole,” wrote U.S. Army chaplain Father Emil Joseph Kapaun in August 1950. “Yet I am right on the front lines. Have been hearing hundreds of Confessions. Gave Extreme Unction many times to the dying.”

With his regiment outnumbered and “the big guns” going o around him, Father Kapaun continued the le er to the pastor at his home parish 6,400 miles away — in the Czech farming community of Pilsen, Kansas — thanking him for o ering Mass for him. “ ree times now I have had very narrow escapes,” Kapaun added. “I have been able to be at the side of the dying so far without being seriously wounded myself. I am very grateful for that.”

Just over two months later, on the night of All Saints’ Day, the regiment was ambushed and surrounded by communist troops during the Ba le of Unsan. A posthumous Medal of Honor citation would later note that Father Kapaun gave reassurance and spiritual comfort to wounded men while fearlessly bringing them to safety in the face of direct enemy re. He then carried injured soldiers throughout the 87-mile march to a prisoner-of-war camp, where he tirelessly served his fellow soldiers until his death in May 1951. According to numerous prisoners, he humbly and joyfully personi ed words he had spoken about the example of faith, strength in su ering, and forgiveness of one’s enemies.

A priest through and through, Father Kapaun deeply appreciated the graces that ow from the sacri ce of the Mass and the Eucharist as the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324). His

witness also beautifully illustrates what Pope Benedict XVI called “the eucharistic form of Christian life.” In his 2007 apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (Sacrament of Charity), Benedict re ected on how, in encompassing Christ’s total self-gi to the Father and to the Church, the gi of the Blessed Sacrament relates not only to the Church’s faith and liturgy, but also to her identity and mission. “ e rst and fundamental mission that we receive from the sacred mysteries we celebrate is that of bearing witness by our lives,” he wrote (85). “Each of us is truly called, together with Jesus, to be bread broken for the life of the world” (88).

Within several weeks of Father Kapaun’s death, the men of St. John Nepomucene Parish in Pilsen chartered a Knights of Columbus council named for the chaplain. A er the war, word of his holiness and witness spread more widely, and in 1953, a council in Los Angeles likewise adopted Father Kapaun’s name. In recent decades, there has been renewed interest in Father Kapaun, especially with the opening of his cause for canonization in 2008, his reception of the Medal of Honor in 2013, and the discovery of his remains and their return to Kansas in 2021 (see page 8).

Yet, in recalling the heroic virtue that Father Emil Kapaun demonstrated on the ba le eld and in the POW camp, we do not simply honor the memory of a beloved Servant of God. We also recognize him to be a friend in heaven who taught by example the faith and self-giving love that is at the heart of our vocation as Christians and Knights. ✢

Featured Resource: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit According to St. Thomas Aquinas (#360) by Dominican Father Peter John Cameron explains how the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit — wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord — draw us closer to Christ. Part of the Veritas Booklet Series published by the Order’s Catholic Information Service, this booklet is infused with the teaching of Aquinas and rich Marian insights. To download or order this resource, visit .



Knights of Columbus


Patrick E. Kelly

Supreme Knight

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

Paul G. O’Sullivan

Deputy Supreme Knight

Patrick T. Mason

Supreme Secretary

Ronald F. Schwarz

Supreme Treasurer

John A. Marrella

Supreme Advocate


Alton J. Pelowski


Andrew J. Matt

Managing Editor

Cecilia Hadley

Senior Editor

Elisha Valladares-Cormier

Associate Editor

Paul Haring

Manager of Photography

Blessed Michael McGivney

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


COLUMBIA 1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326


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Hope That Saves

Passing on the Catholic faith to our children is a crucial antidote to a growing epidemic of anxiety and despair

I WAS RECENTLY talking with a priest who serves as a chaplain at one of the top universities in the United States. I asked him what his Catholic students are struggling with the most. His response was immediate: anxiety and feelings of low self-esteem. I was bit surprised because these students are among the best and the brightest. But I shouldn’t have been. This is a symptom of our age.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 3 in 5 (57%) teenage girls in the United States felt persistently sad or hopeless, and nearly 1 in 3 (30%) have seriously considered attempting suicide. Both statistics are up nearly 60% from just a decade ago, and it’s likely no coincidence that these disturbing trends coincide with the rise of smartphones.

The pressures upon young people are daunting, and they are often intensified by social media: hypersexualization, fashionable ideologies, the temptation to compare oneself to illusory personas projected by peers and “influencers.” It’s no wonder so many young people struggle with depression and despair as they try to make their way in a culture that has lost its moorings.

Faced with this situation, what can Catholic parents do? Putting aside the question of how parents should regulate the use of smartphones and electronic devices, the most important foundational thing we can do is pass on the beauty of our Catholic faith to our children. It is the most powerful bulwark against the false gospels being pushed on our children. It alone can provide them with the perspective, security and confidence they will need to make sense of the world.

Our faith offers a coherent — and attractive — vision of the human person. It makes clear to our children that they have inherent dignity and are deeply loved by God, who has willed them into existence for a purpose. It establishes that, as members of the Church,

they are part of something much larger than themselves — participants in an ancient struggle between good and evil, light and darkness, and surrounded by a great “cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1). Finally, it reaffirms that victory is possible through Christ, who died for us and calls us to be children of the light (Eph 5:8).

Witnessing to our children the truth of this faith is a tall order for parents, myself included. But it can be done.

Christian Smith, a sociologist at the University of Notre Dame known for his study of adolescent spirituality, has observed four traits in parents who successfully pass on their faith to their children.

First, these parents are genuine and authentic in their practice of the faith. If the faith of the parents is joyful and life-giving for the family, the children will be attracted to it.

Second, they adopt a parenting style that is authoritative but also abundantly affectionate. Children need rules, of course, but they also need personal warmth. This combination helps children embrace faith for the long haul.

Third, they regularly talk to their children about their faith — what they believe, what they do, and why. Discussions about faith need to be a consistent part of our everyday life, not compartmentalized or awkward.

Lastly, these parents introduce children to relationships that reinforce their beliefs. Children need to be around friends and other families who take their faith seriously.

None of this is easy, to be sure. But we need to have confidence that the God who brought order out of watery chaos at the beginning of creation (Gen 1:2) can do so again, helping us bring order out of the cultural chaos of our day. Swimming against the current, our children can experience real joy and genuine hope in Christ — and in so doing, become a light to the world.

Vivat Jesus!

Photo by Laura Barisonzi
Our faith offers a coherent — and attractive — vision of the human person. It makes clear to our children that they have inherent dignity and are deeply loved by God, who has willed them into existence for a purpose.

The True Power of Prayer

Far from wishful thinking or a way to manipulate God, prayer opens our hearts to receive God’s love and transform the world

WHEN A TRAGEDY OCCURS, such as a school shooting, we pray for the victims and their families. We pray for the grieving community and for first responders. We pray for those who perpetrated such violence and for an end to violence in our society.

These days, however, when someone publicly calls for prayer, the criticism is often severe. “What good is prayer?” some ask. “If it were effective, such tragedies wouldn’t happen.” Others concede that people can pray if they choose, but insist that what really matters is better laws and policies. Anything else, they say, is futile.

It should not come as a surprise that prayer is in the crosshairs of an increasingly secular society. To the nonreligious, prayer seems, at best, a distraction from the work at hand. But prayer doesn’t absolve people of faith from working for a more just and peaceful society. Instead, it elevates and informs both our reason and resolve as we strive to work for peace and justice.

As the family of the Knights of Columbus, we are committed to prayer. Sunday Mass and the Eucharist are at the heart of our lives as Catholics and as members of the Order. We are urged to read Scripture prayerfully, to frequently pray the rosary, and to pray daily for the canonization of our founder, Blessed Michael McGivney.

When we pray for our families, for the Church, for our society, what are we doing? We are not engaging in wishful thinking. Nor are we telling God what to do. Prayer is not a way of manipulating God. Above all, it is conversation — it is how we enter into communion with God and deepen our friendship with him. And if prayer is conversation, we cannot do all the talking. That is why Jesus tells us that when praying we should not “babble” like the pagans (Mt 6:7). Prayer involves listening to and

responding to God, receiving his love and expressing our love for him. Experience teaches us the importance of listening to others before we speak. All the more should we listen to God when we pray. How can we do this? One way is by reading Scripture prayerfully, what is called lectio divina (divine reading). Here we take just a few lines of Scripture and savor them. We spend time in silent meditation and allow his word to resonate in our hearts. What happens when we do this? St. Paul tells us that our hearts are “open wide” (2 Cor 6:11). As we listen to God’s word, we make more room in our hearts for God and others. Our relationship with God ceases to be transactional; we begin to love God for who he is in himself and to love others in the same way. We are prepared to receive God’s gifts, even if they are not the gifts we want or think we need. Instead, we open ourselves to God’s superior wisdom and merciful love. When we take this all-important step in prayer, our response to God is praise, thanksgiving, loving amazement and humility in his presence. We express a filial trust in his mercy, a desire to ask for and receive what he wants to give us. We will pray, not only for our own needs, but for the needs of others, especially for the conversion of minds and hearts — our own and those of others. We will have the grace to entrust to God’s mercy both those who have been harmed and those who have harmed others. Indeed, if we have prayed well, we will be better equipped to discern and work for positive change in society!

When the archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be the mother of God, he found her at prayer. As we pray the rosary, let us ask Mary to help us meditate on the mysteries of her Son and so deepen our friendship with him. ✢

Above all, prayer is conversation — it is how we enter into communion with God and deepen our friendship with him. And if prayer is conversation, we cannot do all the talking.

Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge

“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (Gospel for May 14, Jn 14:18)

Jesus keeps his promises to us. He does not leave us orphans. He appeared to the disciples several times after he rose from the dead. He gave us the Eucharist, his real presence, to nourish us until the end of time. He said he would return at his Second Coming. And there’s another way he did not leave us orphans: He gave us his own mother to be ours. Let us turn to the Blessed Mother often with our needs and prayers of intercession.

Catholic Man of the Month

Blessed John Sullivan


IN COLLEGE, John Sullivan was known as “the best dressed man around Dublin,” and women considered him “a catch in the matrimonial market.” He defied all expectations when he became a Jesuit priest with a special love for the ill and dying.

Sullivan was born in Dublin in 1861, the last of five children. His father, a future lord chancellor of Ireland, was Protestant, and his mother a devout Catholic; following a custom of the time, the boys were raised as Protestants and the girls as Catholics. Sullivan, an exceptional student, studied classics and then law at Trinity College. By the time his father died in 1885, he had stopped attending church.

Left with a large inheritance, Sullivan began visiting people who were sick, bringing them clothing and other small gifts. In the early 1890s, he read St. Augustine’s Confessions and recognized his mother’s prayerful imitation of St. Monica. Sullivan shocked the rest of his family by converting to Catholicism in 1896. He spent the next years volunteering at hospitals and convents before entering the Jesuit novitiate in 1900.

Liturgical Calendar

May 1 St. Joseph the Worker

May 2

May 3

May 10

Challenge: During this month of Mary, I challenge you to draw closer to Our Lady by offering one decade of the rosary each day for her motherly aid and help. Second, I challenge you to participate in the Faith in Action Rosary program in your parish.

St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Sts. Philip and James, Apostles

St. Damien de Veuster, Priest (USA)

May 13 Our Lady of Fatima

May 18/21 The Ascension of the Lord

May 26 St. Philip Neri, Priest

May 28

May 29

May 31

Pentecost Sunday

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

After his ordination in 1907, Father Sullivan began teaching at Clongowes Wood College. A frequent visitor to the sick and needy in County Kildare, Father Sullivan also welcomed countless visitors seeking absolution or spiritual direction.

His reputation for holiness and asceticism spread. He was known to walk with stones in his boots, and he frequently slept only a few hours a night, spending as much time as possible in prayer. Several people reported miracles after receiving his blessing, including a young boy suffering from infantile paralysis, whose crippling leg pains vanished after Father Sullivan prayed over him.

Father Sullivan died at age 71 in 1933 and was beatified in 2017. His feast day is May 8. ✢

Holy Father’s Monthly Prayer Intention

We pray that Church movements and groups may rediscover their mission of evangelization each day, placing their own charisms at the service of needs in the world.

FROM TOP: CNS photo/courtesy Irish Jesuit Communications — Nuestra Señora de Gracia c. 1412/Museo del Prado, Madrid/Photo by Alberto Otero Herranz— CNS photo/Holy See Press Office
A monthly reflection and practical challenge from Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori

Texas Knights Host Father McGivney Relic Tour

A FIRST-CLASS RELIC of Blessed Michael McGivney visited Texas in early March, traveling almost 900 miles through three dioceses and drawing thousands to venerate the Knights of Columbus founder.

From March 5 to 9, the reliquary made stops at five parishes, including two cathedrals, in Keller, San Angelo, Odessa, Lubbock and Wichita Falls. At each church, Masses were said, Father McGivney’s story was shared, and Knights and other parishioners had the chance to pray in front of his relic.

“The purpose of the tour is to raise awareness of Blessed Michael’s life and mission and charism, but also to increase devotion, to let people know that they can ask his intercession,” explained Dominican Father Jonathan Kalisch, the Order’s director of chaplains and spiritual development, who accompanied the relic.

A steady stream of people came to ask for that intercession.

“Not one minute was Father McGivney alone,” noted Knights of Columbus General Agent Chris Stark, who organized the pilgrimage. Stark had to ask for an additional shipment of prayer cards and other materials from the Supreme Council only a day into the tour.

The turnout at Holy Redeemer Church in Odessa, where the relic traveled escorted by a group of Knights on motorcycles, was particularly large. Hundreds of people venerated the relic before a packed weeknight Mass on March 7.

During the week, Father Kalisch and Stark also brought Father McGivney to three schools, two K of C exemplifications, a priests’ retreat, a pediatric hospital, and even the grave of a Knight who had died a few days before.

Everywhere they went, Stark said, he could feel Father McGivney at work — but nowhere more so than during this graveside visit on the last day of the pilgrimage.

Brad Wolf, the grand knight of Ketteler Council 1824 in Windthorst, had died March 3, leaving his wife, Dena, and their 11-year-old daughter, Riley. He was 39. Stark, whose agency handled Brad’s life insurance policy, o ered to bring the relic to his family in Windthorst. Dena, Riley and other family members met him and Father Kalisch at their parish before going together to the cemetery where Brad had been buried the day before.

“When Father Kalisch put the relic in Dena’s arms, she just hugged it with a sense of peace on her face,” Stark later recalled. “ is is what Father McGivney founded us for, to aid the widow and the orphan. He had to come there. Father McGivney is still working — he’s working hard.” ✢

Honoring Our Blessed Founder

Bishop William F. Murphy, emeritus bishop of Rockville Centre, N.Y., leads Supreme Officers in prayer for the canonization of Blessed Michael McGivney at the priest’s sarcophagus following Mass at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., on March 29. Bishop Murphy was the principal celebrant of the Founder’s Day Mass, which marked the 141st anniversary of the chartering of the Knights of Columbus and was attended by Connecticut Knights and state officers, relatives of Father McGivney, and others.

TOP: Photo by Shannon Faulk — BOTTOM:
Photo by Paul Haring Knights of Columbus General Agent Chris Stark touches a prayer card to the reliquary of Blessed Michael McGivney at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Keller, Texas.

Ukrainian Knights Prepare, Deliver Easter Care Packages

IN THE SPRING OF 2022, Knights of Columbus in Poland assembled 10,000 Easter care packages for families in Ukraine displaced by war. is year, Knights in western Ukraine took up the project, preparing boxes of food to help their countrymen in hard-hit regions to the east.

e people there “are currently in very di cult circumstances,”

Ukraine State Deputy Youriy Maletskiy said, “without electricity, without gas, without means of livelihood, where shops are not open, and food is delivered intermi ently.”

With support from the Ukraine Solidarity Fund, Ukrainian Knights purchased food staples from local producers. Members and their families in Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk met in April to assemble the groceries into 10,500 packages, some of which were transported to Kherson in southeastern Ukraine; others to Poltava, about 215 miles east of Kyiv.

In addition to food, each box contained a letter with words of hope and support from Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly: “As we await that final victory, I assure you that we are with you today … surrounding you with our prayers and fraternal solidarity.” ✢

Knights in Mexico Make Pilgrimage to Christ the King Shrine

Supreme Director Jorge C. Estrada Avilés (left) leads state deputies and other K of C leaders carrying relics and sacred images in procession before Mass at the Sanctuary of Christ the King in Guanajuato, Mexico. The annual nationwide pilgrimage of Knights and families took place Sunday, March 19, and drew nearly 1,500 people to the shrine, located atop Cubilete Hill, in the geographical center of the country. The Mass was preceded by the recitation of the rosary and the Mexican anthem and concluded with a consecration to St. Joseph by all in attendance.

New Supreme Warden, Supreme Master Installed

ON FRIDAY, APRIL 14, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly ceremonially installed Supreme Warden Andrzej Anasiak and Supreme Master Michael McCusker, who were elected by the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors in early February. The installation took place at the Cathedral of St. Louis in New Orleans, at the conclusion of Mass celebrated by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore for the assembled board of directors.

Anasiak, a past state deputy of Poland (2014-2017), has been instrumental in the continued growth of the Knights in Poland, in promotion of the cause for canonization of Blessed Michael McGivney, and in the Order’s relief efforts for victims of the war in Ukraine. He is the first member from

Europe to serve as a Supreme Officer. McCusker, a past state deputy of Tennessee (2019-2021), was elected a supreme director last August and now succeeds Dennis Stoddard as supreme master. A Fourth Degree Knight since 2004, McCusker is a veteran of the U.S. Army and Tennessee National Guard and received several military awards for his service in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2006. ✢

— TOP RIGHT: Photo
by Andrey Gorb
by Alejandro López Bautista
by Beebe Tran

Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division carry the remains of Father Emil Kapaun into St. John Nepomucene Church in Pilsen, Kan., on Sept. 25, 2021. The casket remained in the chaplain’s home parish for two days before being placed in a tomb at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.



How a Columbia article contributed to the discovery of Servant of God and Medal of Honor recipient Father Emil Kapaun’s remains

Ray Kapaun remembers li ing the remains of his uncle, Father Emil Kapaun, for the rst time a er his skeleton was positively identi ed in a laboratory in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2021.

“I know he held a lot of soldiers as they died in his arms when they were on the ba le eld. But here I could actually pick him up and hold him and carry him and lay him onto the gurney where he was going to go out. I never thought I would have that moment,” he told reporters.

“He has carried me for a lot of my life,” he said, “and it was the greatest honor in the world for me to be able to pick him up and carry him once.”

Father Emil Joseph Kapaun, a chaplain of the U.S. Army, died in a North Korean prisoner-of-war camp in 1951. For

his valor on the ba le eld and as a POW during the Korean War, he posthumously received the Medal of Honor in April 2013, making him one of only ve 20th-century chaplains to be given the military’s highest award for valor.

In 1993, Father Kapaun was named a Servant of God, and his cause for canonization opened in 2008. e Church is now investigating miracles a ributed to his intercession to determine whether he may be canonized a saint. But his family and friends feel as if they have already witnessed one miracle: the return of his remains to his home state of Kansas in September 2021, 70 years a er his death.

e chances of his return home increased dramatically when a certain magazine — most likely a copy of Columbia — found its way into a medical clinic waiting room in 2003.



William Hansen was one of the prisoners Father Kapaun served in Camp 5 in North Korea, in conditions so horrific that he su ered from nightmares for decades a erward. Hansen, who worked as a bus driver in New York City before his retirement in Naples, Florida, sought relief at a Veterans A airs medical clinic in Naples in 2003. It was in the waiting room that he saw a picture of Father Kapaun in what he later described as “a Knights of Columbus magazine” — probably the March 2003 issue of Columbia, which featured an article titled “A ‘Saint’ Among Soldiers.” It told the story of the heroic chaplain and his potential cause for canonization in the Diocese of Wichita. All of a sudden, something clicked.

“I know this man,” he told the doctor. “I buried him.”

Hansen added that he had signed an Army nondisclosure agreement never to talk about his POW experience. e doctor replied, “ at was 50 years ago,” and recommended that he get in touch with the diocese.

In late November 2003, Hansen did so, making contact with Father John Hotze, who had been assigned to investigate Father Kapaun’s possible cause for canonization in 2001.

e priest listened to Hansen’s story with incredulity.

“I thought, ‘ is can’t be true,’” recalled Father Hotze, the current vice postulator of the cause and a longtime member of the Knights. He remembers thinking that even if Hansen believed that he recognized Father Kapaun from the magazine, likely le at the VA clinic by a local Knight, there was no way that he could have buried the chaplain. Most of the

approximately 1,600 men who died in Camp 5 were buried in mass graves along the Yalu River.

Despite his doubts, Father Hotze decided to call Philip O’Brien, a senior analyst at the Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel O ce, one of whose many tasks was to try to identify everyone who had died in Camp 5. If anyone could gauge the veracity of this tale, it was likely O’Brien, who had conducted hundreds of interviews with POWs.

A er interviewing Hansen, O’Brien stunned Father Hotze by telling him, “All of this rings true.”

Hansen shared previously unknown details about how Father Kapaun died and, crucially, what happened next: In May 1951, a er a brutal winter in Camp 5, the 35-year-old chaplain was taken to the camp’s dreaded “death house,” a pagoda where ill soldiers were brought and from which they almost never returned alive. Hansen was also a patient there, but he could walk and thus o er limited care for others.

Father Kapaun’s slim food rations were placed at the doorway of his sick bay, and Hansen would help the priest by bringing it to him until guards ordered him to stop.

Knowing that death was near, Father Kapaun asked to be buried away from the mass graves near the river. “Try to bury me on higher ground,” he told Hansen, “where I can still look over things.”

When Father Kapaun died, Hansen and two other prisoners were ordered to dispose of his body, supervised by a guard. Prior to the spring thaw, a dead prisoner would have been buried in a mass grave and covered with a minimal

10 COLUMBIA ✢ MAY 2023
Photos courtesy of the Diocese of Wichita Above: Father Kapaun is pictured with a group of schoolboys in Pilsen, Kan., in the 1940s. After his ordination June 9, 1940, Father Kapaun served his home parish of St. John Nepomucene in Pilsen until becoming a military chaplain several years later. • Opposite page: An undated photo of Father Kapaun shows him in his U.S. Army uniform.

amount of dirt. By May, the ground was no longer frozen, and though the guard did not like the idea of burying Father Kapaun near the pagoda, he relented.

Father Hotze recalled Hansen telling him that “they dug down about a foot and a half , then pushed the dirt over the body and put whatever they could nd on top of it to keep it safe from animals.”

Several years later, when hostilities ended and the United States arranged for the return of soldiers’ remains, the rocks and debris Hansen le alerted the Chinese to the presence of the body, which was buried well above the river’s ood plain.

Father Kapaun was one of approximately 560 Americans whose relatively intact remains were returned from Camp 5 in 1954 and brought to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Paci c in Honolulu’s Punchbowl Crater. About 70 of these soldiers, including Father Kapaun, were not identi ed at the time, and his remains lay there for years beneath a plaque marked “Unknown.”


For decades a er his death

May 23, 1951, Father Kapaun’s mother, Elizabeth, longed for her son’s body to return home. Late in life, she su ered from dementia and forgot family members’ names — but she never forgot her son, repeatedly asking if Emil was returning home until the day she died in 1986.

“No man le behind” is a sacred promise the U.S. military works tirelessly to keep. But the return of remains from North Korea has been particularly complicated, and the best e orts to retrieve and identify U.S. service members sometimes fail. Hansen helped to change that for Father Kapaun. His account of the chaplain’s burial, shared a er seeing the Columbia article, con rmed what O’Brien suspected: that Father Kapaun’s body was probably in Hawaii, not among the commingled, fragmented remains that North Korea had begun returning from mass graves in 1990. It gave renewed impetus and focus to the e ort to identify Father Kapaun among the interred unknowns. is the military laboratory did March 4, 2021 — with “100% certainty,” matching not only the skeleton’s DNA, but also its teeth, height and age.

Later that year, Father Kapaun’s nephew, Ray, traveled to Honolulu to reclaim his remains. As a teenager in the 1970s, Ray hadn’t appreciated his uncle’s story until he read the 1954 account of Mike Dowe — a former POW who served with Father Kapaun — in e Saturday Evening Post (see page 12).

“It just amazed me,” Ray recalled. “I saw what he did. What he was. How they felt about him.”

In Hawaii, he visited the Punchbowl Crater where his uncle had lain for more than 60 years.

“Someone asked me if I was upset, because he was out here all this time,” Ray Kapaun said while interviewed at the cemetery. “And I said, ‘Just look at where we’re standing. He was out here with all his buddies.’”

But he could also imagine the priest saying, “Take me back to Kansas.”

e whole return trip was an epic homecoming.

Everywhere, from the laboratory in Hawaii to the streets and Catholic church in Father Kapaun’s hometown of Pilsen, people paid their respects as his body made its way to a nal resting place in Wichita’s cathedral. Among those who came were several former POWs whose lives were changed by Father Kapaun.

Herbert Miller, one of many soldiers whose life Father Kapaun saved on the ba le eld, was the only one named in the chaplain’s 2013 Medal of Honor citation. e citation read, in part: “Shortly a er his capture, Chaplain Kapaun, with complete disregard for his personal safety and unwavering resolve, bravely pushed aside an enemy soldier preparing to execute Sergeant First Class Herbert A. Miller.”

The stunned enemy soldier watched the chaplain lift the wounded Miller on his back and carry him away. Miller later told reporters, “Why that man never shot him, I’ll never know.”

Seventy years later, Miller, Mike Dowe and other POWs — by this time in their 90s — traveled to Kansas for Father Kapaun’s funeral Mass and burial at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita on Sept. 29, 2021.

ey will never forget the opportunity to spend time privately in the presence of their beloved chaplain’s remains. Dowe, who is a member of St. Ignatius Loyola Council 10861 in Spring, Texas, had advocated for decades that Kapaun be awarded the Medal of Honor. He was present for the 2013 White House ceremony, but never did he imagine he would ever a end the priest’s funeral.

“We were there with the corpse before the funeral. And they opened the casket and allowed us to touch the remains of Father Kapaun,” Dowe recalled. “ at was a very emotional moment.”

e priest who carried them had nally been carried home. ✢

MAY 2023 ✢ COLUMBIA 11
TOM HOOPES is vice president of college relations at Benedictine College and a member of Sacred Heart Council 723 in Atchison, Kan.

The Ordeal of Chaplain Kapaun

Editor’s Note:The following text is abridged from an article by 1st Lt. Ray “Mike” Dowe, as told to Harold H. Martin, that originally appeared in the Jan. 16, 1954, issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Captured during the Battle of Unsan in November 1950, Dowe and Father Emil Kapaun spent six months together in a Chinese-run prison camp in North Korea until the chaplain’s death on May 23, 1951. Dowe endured two more years as a POW before he was released Sept. 6, 1953. For the next six decades, he championed Father Kapaun as a candidate for the Medal of Honor, which the chaplain was posthumously awarded April 11, 2013. Dowe joined the Knights of Columbus in 1960; a retired Army colonel and nuclear physicist, he is now 95 years old and a member of St. Ignatius Loyola Council 10861 in Spring, Texas.

He wore the cross of the Chaplain branch instead of the crossed ri es of the infantry, but he was, I think, the best foot soldier I ever knew, and the bravest man, and the kindest. His name was Emil Joseph Kapaun, and he was a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. But the men he served in the prison camps of Korea didn’t care whether he was Catholic or Baptist, Lutheran or Presbyterian. To all of them, Catholic, Protestant and Jew alike, and to men who professed no formal faith at all, he was simply “Father,” and each of them, when trouble came, drew courage and hope and strength from him. …

In his religious services, which he doggedly held even though the Chinese threatened him, his brief sermons were deep, but every point he made struck home. … Because of those sermons, which gave us hope and courage, and because of the food he stole for us and the care he gave us when we were sick, many of us came back who never would have survived our long ordeal without him. He had become a legend among the troops long before the Chinese captured him. … He seemed to have no fear that he himself might be killed. At Kumchon early in the war, when word came back that there was a wounded man on the le ank of the rst ba alion, in a position so exposed that the li er men could not reach him, Father and another o cer went a er him and brought him back, crawling and ducking from rock to rock through re so thick his pipe was shot out of his mouth.

It was his devotion to the wounded which nally cost him his freedom, and his life. It was at Unsan, on the second of November in 1950. … At dusk, the order came for every man who could still walk to try a breakout through the surrounding enemy. Father, who was unwounded, might have escaped with them. He refused to go. Of his own free will he stayed on, helping Captain Clarence L. Anderson, the regimental surgeon, take care of the wounded. And there, just at dark, the Chinese took him as he said the last prayers over a dying man….

12 COLUMBIA ✢ MAY 2023 TOP: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images — LOWER LEFT: OSV News photo/Bob Roller
Mike Dowe


Soon a er we reached the valley, the wounded in the sick house — the Chinese called it the hospital — began to die by dozens, poisoned by their untended wounds. … en began Father’s most hazardous exploits. On days when there was a ration run, he’d stop and steal food at the warehouse.

en with his pockets full of cracked corn, or millet, dodging the Chinese roving patrols that watched the trail, he’d move on to the house where the wounded were. …

He scrounged co on undershirts to make bandages. He took their old bandages, foul with corruption, and sneaked them out and washed them and sneaked them back again. He picked the lice from their bodies, an inestimable service, for a man so weak he cannot pick his own lice soon will die. He let them smoke his pipe, loaded with dry co on leaves, and he joked with them, and said prayers for them, and held them in his arms like children as delirium came upon them.

But the main thing he did for them was to put into their hearts the will to live. For when you are wounded and sick and starving, it’s easy to give up and quietly die. …

In his soiled and ragged fatigues, with his scraggly beard and his odd-looking woolen cap made of the sleeve of an old GI sweater, pulled down over his ears, he looked like any other half-starved prisoner.

But there was something in his voice and bearing that was di erent — a dignity, a composure, a serenity that radiated from him like a light. Wherever he stood was holy ground, and the spirit within him — a spirit of reverence and abiding faith — went out to the silent, listening men and gave them hope and courage and a sense of peace. By his very presence, somehow, he could turn a stinking, louse-ridden mud hut, for a li le while, into a cathedral. …

As our bodies weakened, the Reds stepped up the pace of their propaganda assault upon our minds. Hour a er hour we sat in lectures…. Without losing his temper or raising his voice, [Father would] answer the lecturer point by point, with a calm logic that set [the lecturer] screaming and leaping on the platform like an angry ape. Strangely, they never punished him, except by threats and ominous warnings. …

We realized then what we had half known all along. ey were afraid of him. ey recognized in him a strength they could not break, a spirit they could not quell. …


On Easter Sunday, 1951, he hurled at them his boldest challenge, openly outing their law against religious services. In the yard of a burned-out church in the o cers’ compound, just at sunrise, he read the Easter service. …

He fashioned a cross out of two rough pieces of wood, and from a borrowed missal he read the Stations of the Cross to the scarecrow men, sitting on the rubbled steps of the burned church. He told the story of Christ’s suffering and death, and then, holding in his hands a Rosary made of bent barbed wire cut from the prison fence, he recited the Glorious Mysteries of Christ risen from the tomb and ascended into heaven.

As we watched him it was clear to us that Father himself at last had begun to fail in strength. On the starvation diet we were allowed, a man could not miss a single day’s meals without growing too weak to walk, and for months Father had been sharing his meager rations with sick and dying men.

The week after Easter he began to limp, hobbling along on a crooked stick. … Then a fearful dysentery seized him, and as he so often had done for us, we cared for him as best we could. …

But the Chinese did not intend that he should live. He was sitting up, eating and cracking jokes, when the guards came with a litter to take him to the hospital. We knew then that he was doomed….

Father himself made no protest. He looked around the room at all of us standing there, and smiled. He held in his hands the pyx in which, long ago, he had carried the Blessed Sacrament. “Tell them back home that I died a happy death,” he said, and smiled again. …

Then he turned to me. “Don’t take it hard, Mike,” he said. “I’m going where I’ve always wanted to go. And when I get up there, I’ll say a prayer for all of you.” …

A year later, on the anniversary of his death, Ralph Nardella asked the communists for permission to hold a service in his memory. They refused. I was glad they did. For it told me that even though he was dead, his body lost forever in a mass grave, they still were afraid of him. They feared him because he was the symbol of something they knew they could not kill — the unconquerable spirit of a free man, owning final allegiance only to his God. And in that sense, I know, he and the things he believed in can never die. ✢

MAY 2023 ✢ COLUMBIA 13
Photo by Army Col. Raymond Skeehan Above: Chaplain Emil Kapaun smiles as he holds up a pipe broken by a sniper’s bullet. • Opposite page: Father Kapaun (right) and Capt. Jerome A. Dolan, a medical officer with the 8th Cavalry Regiment, help an exhausted soldier off the battlefield in Korea, early in the war.

In the Footsteps of Faith and Valor

Growing devotion to Father Emil Kapaun draws hundreds of pilgrims to follow his path of holiness

This June, Catholics from throughout Kansas and beyond will participate in the 15th annual Father Kapaun Pilgrimage, a 60-mile trek across the plains that starts outside Wichita and ends in the priest’s tiny hometown of Pilsen. What began with three people in 2009 has since become a four-day event that draws hundreds of participants each year.

Father Eric Weldon, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita and a longtime K of C chaplain, started the pilgrimage as a way to honor Father Emil Kapaun’s grueling 87-mile march with fellow prisoners of war to a camp in North Korea in 1950.

“I always think about how many miles he walked to that POW camp,” Father Weldon told reporters last year. “I thought, ‘What if I just do something for three days?’ He did it for more than three weeks under threat of death with no food in bi er cold. Surely we can do something here in Kansas to commemorate who he is.”

Over the last ve years, the number of participants has steadily increased, with last year’s event a racting more than 300 people. Pilgrims march between 8 and 22 miles a day, with periodic stops for “Father Kapaun Stations,” re ections

on his life compiled by Father Weldon. Rosaries and silence mark other portions of the walk. e group camps each night at sites along the way. Mass is celebrated daily, and the pilgrimage ends with Mass at St. John Nepomucene Church in Pilsen, the parish where Father Kapaun grew up and rst served as a priest a er his ordination in 1940.

Tim Baxa, grand knight of Father Kapaun Council 3423 in Pilsen — one of 23 K of C councils and assemblies named in the chaplain’s honor — has never actually made the pilgrimage. at’s because he and a group of brother Knights are busy ensuring that the parish is ready to host the closing Mass. eir responsibilities that day include se ing up basic care stations for pilgrims, coordinating parking for visitors and providing the luncheon that follows.

“It’s a great thing when we have these pilgrimages,” Baxa a rmed. “It takes something that’s almost become ordinary to us and reminds us how extraordinary it is. When they arrive, the pilgrims are in awe.”

Scott Carter, coordinator of the Father Kapaun Guild for the Diocese of Wichita, who has made the pilgrimage multiple times, said that devotion to the priest from Pilsen is growing.

“It’s been amazing to see the uptick in recent years of people interested in Father’s cause for canonization and asking for prayers,” said Carter, who joined the Order in 2010. “It runs the spectrum from older retired veterans to young schoolkids who want to dress up as Father Kapaun for Halloween or All Saints’ Day, and not only across all 50 states but in other countries as well.”

Father Kapaun was declared a Servant of God in 1993, and the Diocese of Wichita o cially opened his cause for canonization in 2008. In addition to promoting the pilgrimage to Pilsen each year, the Father Kapaun Guild fosters devotion in a variety of ways: sending out prayer cards and booklets, developing the Guild’s website and social media, and organizing special Masses and events. e Guild also promotes Kapaun’s Men, a growing spiritual formation group that strives to pray daily and live out the chaplain’s virtues.

Rob Knapp, president of Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School in Wichita, is an enthusiastic supporter of Kapaun’s Men.

Photo by Bethany Patterson
14 COLUMBIA ✢ MAY 2023

“Using Father Kapaun’s virtues, we have awakened the faith of literally thousands of men, within our diocese and literally around the world,” said Knapp, who is a member of Magdalen Council 10408 in Wichita. “There’s a Kapaun’s Men group in Korea and Germany right now.”

He also underscored that young people are powerfully a racted to Father Kapaun’s courage and faith.

“Our students here at Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School are deeply moved by his life,” Knapp said. “His remarkable faith in the face of his captors, who tried to get him and his fellow prisoners to renounce their faith in God, is something our students consistently report that they want to emulate. A devotion to Father Kapaun helps them have the courage to live out and pass on their faith, even in a culture that encourages them to abandon it.”

One of Father Kapaun’s most fervent admirers is Father Matthew Pawlikowski, who retired from the Army Chaplain Corps as a colonel in 2020. His devotion is so great that he has made it a kind of personal mission over the years to present dramatic readings of the 1954 Saturday Evening Post article “ e Ordeal of Chaplain Kapaun” by Mike Dowe (see page 12).

He has walked the Father Kapaun Pilgrimage three times and plans to do so again in June. One year, dressed in a vintage Army uniform, Father Pawlikowski gave a performance akin to a one-man play before a rapt audience of pilgrims.

Now a civilian chaplain at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, as well as chaplain of the school’s Msgr. Cornelius George O’Keefe Council 8250, Father Pawlikowski shares Father Kapaun’s story — and his witness of loyalty, leadership, service, courage and humor — with as many young soldiers as he can.

“At the Catholic Plebe Retreat for incoming cadets we have o ered di erent topics each year, but they always insist that we maintain ‘ e Ordeal of Chaplain Kapaun’ as a centerpiece,” Father Pawlikowski said. “At the other end of the spectrum, at the capstone course on o cership for our senior cadets, I have told ‘ e Ordeal of Chaplain Kapaun’ to a mix of faiths and those holding no faith; his story never fails to inspire and always brings at least a few to tears.”

Father Pawlikowski even knows of several young o cers who have given the name “Emil” to their children.

Carter welcomes these signs of increasing devotion, which have been especially pronounced since the return of Father Kapaun’s remains in September 2021 (see page 9).

“I’m more encouraged than ever that the Holy Spirit is behind the movement and increased activity,” Carter said. “But we must keep praying and sharing the story.” ✢

MAY 2023 ✢ COLUMBIA 15 Courtesy of the Diocese of Wichita
Above: Participants the 14th annual Father Kapaun Pilgrimage walk down a country road on their way to Pilsen in June 2022. • Opposite page: Pilgrims arrive at St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church in Pilsen, the destination of the 60-mile pilgrimage. JOHN WOODS is a freelance writer and editor. He is a member of St. Agnes Council 2548 in Rockville Centre, N.Y.


Order partners with Kraków-based organization to care for Ukrainian refugees with disabilities

In the best of circumstances, many people with disabilities need daily support and assistance. Imagine yourself in their place if a war breaks out and you are forced to flee, or you are prevented from escape and remain in constant peril.

Before the Russian invasion Feb. 24, 2022, approximately 2.7 million people with disabilities lived in Ukraine. ousands crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border almost immediately, desperately seeking safety and care.

“Disabled people were o en evacuated in the same way as others — unexpectedly, and they suddenly arrived in Poland without anything,” said Grzegorz Sotoła, president of Klika, or the Catholic Association of People with Disabilities and eir Friends, which has provided care for people with disabilities in Kraków, Poland, for more than 50 years. rough the Order’s Ukraine Solidarity Fund, the Knights of Columbus has partnered with Klika to provide care for disabled refugees living in Poland and to bring humanitarian aid to those who remain su ering in Ukraine’s war zones.

“We are grateful for what we have managed to do together with the Knights to support people with disabilities,” said Sotoła. “Amid circumstances as tragic as war, only interpersonal cooperation and reaching a hand to a neighbor can change the world for the be er.”


In Poland’s communist past, disability was a taboo subject, and people with disabilities were o en hidden away. ose living in the upper stories of apartment buildings o en did not leave their homes for many years.

Klika was established in 1971 to a rm the human dignity of disabled people and change these degrading conditions. Emerging from the student ministry at the Dominican monastery in Kraków, it was spurred by the energy of young people and their willingness to care for the vulnerable. e movement began with university students helping people with disabilities to a end Mass on Sunday and to take simple strolls. e organized walks eventually turned into holiday camps and retreats away from the city.

“Today, the aim is to help disabled people to take up a job in the free market and manage independently in life,” said Sotoła, who uses a wheelchair himself. “Klika is a place where people with disabilities can realize their plans and dreams.”

16 COLUMBIA ✢ MAY 2023
A Klika volunteer chats with a guest during a picnic in July 2022.

Klika helps people with disabilities receive an education by transporting them to schools and universities, coordinating treatment and rehabilitation, and supporting artistic projects and workshops.

“Dreams are not disabled,” a rmed Grażyna Aondo-Akaa, an academic lecturer and social sciences scholar focused on disability. A Klika volunteer for nearly 20 years, she was instrumental in establishing the K of C-Klika partnership to assist Ukrainian refugees.

“ e association is based not on pity, but on friendship,” emphasized Aondo-Akaa. “We see every person, regardless of their condition, as someone with value, as a human being whom we can befriend,” she said.

Last year, the scope of Klika’s activities suddenly expanded, as the association opened its doors wider to care for disabled victims of war.

“Help was urgently needed the day a er the Russian invasion,” Sotoła recalled. “We knew that the rst refugees would be mothers with children and people with disabilities, and the Knights of Columbus quickly responded with generous support for our e orts.”

A donation from the Ukraine Solidarity Fund provided support to an intervention center near Kraków, where disabled refugees could apply for needed supplies, arrange assistance for treatment and rehabilitation, and nd respite while awaiting a new residence.

MAY 2023 ✢ COLUMBIA 17

e Order also collaborated with the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation to provide wheelchairs for those in need and sponsored two summer camps organized by Klika for disabled refugees from Ukraine.

“We knew that so many people with disabilities who had to be evacuated from Ukraine would nd it very di cult to nd themselves in Poland,” said Szymon Czyszek, the Order’s director for international growth in Europe. “We saw the partnership with Klika as a key way to respond to their needs.”

Tomasz Adamski, who serves as nancial secretary of Blessed Father Michał Sopoćko Council 17667 at Kraków’s Divine Mercy Shrine, is among the Knights who have visited the refugees being served by Klika. “Visiting a center run by Klika, you see that this association is not about big words, but big deeds,” he said. “Day a er day, they practice openness, friendship and charity. I believe that this experience equipped and uniquely prepared the association to provide its fearless assistance in this time of crisis.”


The number of disabled refugees from Ukraine turned out to be far fewer than initially expected, and the conclusion was painfully obvious: Many people with disabilities were unable to evacuate. As a result, a decision was made to organize help in Ukraine.

Last July, Grażyna Aondo-Akaa traveled to Ukraine for a month to join Kamil Moskal, a Klika volunteer who had been

helping people with disabilities since the outset of the war. Shortly a er the shelling of Zhytomyr, a city 140 kilometers west of Kyiv, Kamil helped to organize the evacuation of disabled people and their caregivers.

e scenes were painful and traumatic.

“Some were imprisoned in their own homes or abandoned by their loved ones, who in some cases ran away or simply died,” Grażyna recounted at the time. “ ese people are alone and rely on neighbors of good will. … When you see scenes like this, nothing is the same anymore.”

Grażyna later rejoined Kamil in Kharkiv, and from there, they regularly embarked to look for more disabled and

18 COLUMBIA ✢ MAY 2023
“The association is based not on pity, but on friendship. We see every person, regardless of their condition, as someone with value, as a human being whom we can befriend.”

elderly people in need. As Christmas approached for Orthodox Christians in early January, they organized deliveries of traditional Ukrainian Christmas dishes and small gi s for children. “We wanted to give people a li le bit of Christmas — to leave a ray of light and hope,” said Grażyna.

However, traveling in a war zone carries great risk. On Jan. 6, during the Christmas cease- re, Kamil and Grażyna were shot at while unloading a transport of food and holiday treats at one of the “centers of invincibility” in Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine. An artillery shell hit a block of apartments 100 feet away, and Grażyna was severely injured. Shrapnel pierced her le knee, sha ering the joint, and her right foot was torn o .

“I felt an overpowering pain in my le leg,” Grażyna recalled. “I couldn’t feel anything in my right leg except blood owing out; I was unable to move.”

Kamil miraculously avoided major injuries and, despite being in the line of re, managed to treat Grażyna’s wounds with tourniquets and gauze while calling out for help.

“I had no right to survive that. Kamil saved my life,” said Grażyna, who was transported to a hospital in Pavlohrad, a three-hour drive away.

“Fortunately, I slept through the amputation of my right leg,” she said, “But not during the insertion of Kirschner wires [to stabilize the bones] in my le one.”

Grażyna returned to Poland and is learning how to walk with a prosthetic leg at the hospital in Kraków. After years of caring for persons with disabilities, she has become one herself.

Indeed, she is now more con dent than ever that her place is with the people she was forced to leave.

“I want to continue to give myself for others,” she said. “The fact that it is difficult for me does not obscure my perspective that there are still people who are in more difficult situations.”

e dedication of volunteers like Grażyna and Kamil re ects the words of Dominican Father Jan Andrzej Kłoczowski, a philosopher and theologian involved in Klika’s early work in the 1970s and ’80s. e association, he said, “helped people realize that Christianity cannot be content with its spiritual perfection, but that the evangelical life expresses itself in the service to others.”

As long as volunteers continue to bring hope to the most vulnerable, the mission of Klika will continue.

“Young people have been coming here for 50 years, eager to help others and eager to get involved,” said Grzegorz Sotoła, the group’s president. “We trust that the Lord will continue to bless us and allow us to operate 50 years more.” ✢

MAY 2023 ✢ COLUMBIA 19
MATEUSZ SOLARZ writes from Kraków, Poland. Above: Tomasz Adamski (left) and Janusz Żebro, members of Blessed Father Michał Sopoćko Council 17667 in Kraków, visit participants in a Klika art class in February. • Opposite page: Guests at a Klika picnic, organized for Krakow’s Week of People with Disabilities, enjoy a laugh together. Photo by Sebastian Nycz


Filipino police council attracts hundreds of members with evangelizing charity

Children watched with wonder as a magician performed at an elementary school for special needs students last November in Anilao, in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. The magic show served as the joyful finale to a free medical and dental clinic for

the students organized by Camp Martin Delgado Council 16966 in nearby Iloilo City.

A council-sponsored charitable project such as this is not so unusual, but the council itself is — Council 16966 has nearly 900 members, and 95% of them are active police o cers.

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Hands-on community projects like the medical clinic have been key to the council’s growth since it was established five years ago amid growing concerns about corruption and violence within the Philippine National Police.

Dr. Vincent Cavan, a lieutenant colonel and physician in the PNP and a Knight since 1992, knew that the Order had much to offer policemen and believed it could play a role in developing ethical law enforcement leaders for the Philippines. As the charter grand knight, he helped to found Council 16966 in 2018 to strengthen young Filipino policemen in their faith and inspire in them a spirit of service to the poor and vulnerable.

“Police officers live by our motto, ‘To serve and to protect.’ Same as the Knights: ‘In service to one, in service to all,’” explained Cavan, 55. “In times of war, pandemic, calamity and in necessity, both police officers and Knights serve their country, church, community and family.”


When the Philippine National Police embarked on an “internal cleansing” program in 2019 to rid rogue cops from its ranks, Father Noel Ponsaran and other police chaplains insisted that reforms should not be merely punitive, but also preventive and restorative.

“It is imperative that our PNP personnel be transformed from within with sound moral and spiritual values,” said Father Ponsaran, former head of the chaplain service.

Father Ponsaran thought it was especially important to engage the Catholic Church and Catholic organizations like the Knights of Columbus in the reform e ort. More than 70% of PNP personnel are Catholic, he said, yet more than 90% of police chaplains belong to other Christian denominations.

In addition to helping establish the K of C council and serving as its chaplain, Father Ponsaran has encouraged Knights to volunteer in a new PNP program that assigns every squad a trained “life coach” from different community and faith organizations. Several Knights who are retired police officers and active in the Church as lay ministers have gotten involved.

“They are really doing well,” Father Ponsaran said. “I hope that their witness will serve as a model to further promote the Knights of Columbus.”

Meanwhile, Council 16966 has rapidly added Knights to its original 100 members.

“At present we have 867 members,” Grand Knight Reynaldo Jalandoni, a retired police lieutenant, said. “By God’s grace, we hope to reach more than 1,000 members soon.”

But council leaders said numbers are not their focus — instead, quality is of the essence. Two things are most important for the council: recruiting good men into the fraternity and developing them, by example, as future leaders.

“We should not just teach them how to cross the bridge, but show them how to cross the bridge,” Cavan said.

Approximately 90% of Council 16966’s members are in their 20s. Jalandoni, 63, affirmed that the Knights’ mission and emphasis on putting faith in action makes the young men better officers.

“Being a Knight brings us closer to God and helps us develop self-awareness to be better public servants,” he said. “As police officers, we are called to serve our country, God, our families and the community, which is further strengthened by being Knights.”


Leaders of the council attribute its impressive growth to the Knights’ charitable work in the community, which has been their priority from the start.

MAY 2023 ✢ COLUMBIA 21
Photo by Leo Solinap Members of Camp Martin Delgado Council 16966 gather in front of Police Regional Office 6 in Iloilo City, Visayas. More than 9 in 10 members of council, chartered in 2018, are active police officers.

“As Knights, we are called to help the less fortunate,” Cavan said. “Those who have less in life must have more of our concrete love,” he said.

Soon after it was chartered, the council adopted a public elementary school, where most of the 1,700 students come from impoverished backgrounds. Cavan volunteers as the school physician, providing free medical services and tapping other health agencies for medicines needed by the students. Other council members serve in the Brigada Eskwela, or School Brigade — cleaning, painting and repairing chairs and tables to get the school ready for the academic year. The Knights also donate various goods such as school bags, school supplies, rosaries and water cans.

The council has since adopted two more public schools and sponsors feeding programs and cleanup drives to protect students from diseases such as dengue fever. The council also supports female prisoners in the Iloilo City jail and Asilo de Molo, a home for the aged, most of whom are abandoned and dealing with psychiatric problems.

“We don’t have enough resources, but everybody contributes from at least $2 to $20, so we’re able to provide some needed assistance,” said Immediate Past Grand Knight Onofre Valdellon, who works for the judiciary in the region.

This far-reaching charity, council leaders say, is their most effective recruitment strategy.

“Many joined us perhaps because they have seen the accomplishments of our council,” Cavan said. “Helping the victims of fire and typhoon, the poor, the needy and the sick, prisoners, indigent Indigenous groups, the elderly, and now children with special needs.”

Grand Knight Jalandoni agreed: “The best thing has been publicly showing who we as Knights really are, and what we do for our families and community.”

Valdellon, a former seminarian, acknowledged that he joined the police council to revive his spiritual passion and to help others.

This year, he said, the council plans an outreach activity at a rehabilitation facility for youth offenders.

“We’ve just started,” Valdellon said. “Yet we know that here we have another important mission ahead of us.” ✢

22 COLUMBIA ✢ MAY 2023
TOP: Photo by Leo Solinap ROY LAGARDE is a staff writer and photojournalist in the media office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and a member of Manila Council 1000. Above: Dr. Vincent Cavan (foreground), the charter grand knight of Council 16966, is pictured with other council leaders. Right: Knights from Council 16966 participate in a pro-life demonstration.


A council founded during the pandemic draws together Canadian first responders

While some K of C councils were slowing down in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, a small but determined group of Knights in Québec were gearing up to charter the first council in Canada dedicated to first responders.

Francis McKen, a 21-year law-enforcement veteran, was inspired by an article in the April 2020 issue of Columbia featuring St. Michael the Archangel, Patron of Police Council 12173 in Chicago. The U.S. council, which has grown to hundreds of members, was established specifically for police officers 25 years ago.

After consulting with some colleagues, McKen adapted the idea to include first responders of all kinds.

“It struck me that the groups of police and security officers around me, as well as the firefighters, military, and so on, are already committed to serving our communities,” McKen said. “Yet the idea was not to have a council exclusive to first-responder professions, but one in which such groups would have a greater sense of belonging.”

In a few weeks, through word of mouth, he had recruited the 20 men required to establish a council — five of the

men, including his father, transferred from other councils, and 15 were new recruits.

“I thought it was good that most of the founding members were young fathers of families,” recalled McKen, a 48-yearold father of two. “So we all more or less shared the same kinds of experiences, values and backgrounds, both personally and professionally.”

e new St. Michael the Archangel Council 17555 in Québec City was chartered Sept. 11, 2020, commemorating the day in 2001 when hundreds of rst responders were called to the scenes of terrorist a acks in the United States and demonstrated the extent of their commitment to serve and protect.

“9-1-1 is also the universal emergency telephone number to reach rst responders, the number that sets emergency response in motion,” McKen noted.

Council 17555’s membership has grown each year, and the average age of members is 47. Monthly business meetings are held online — a convenient setup for the majority, who work full time and have children at home. e council is based at Blessed Dina Bélanger Parish in Québec City but includes members from across the region.

MAY 2023 ✢ COLUMBIA 23
Officers of St. Michael the Archangel Council 17555 in Québec City — including (back, from left) Charter Grand Knight Francis McKen, Grand Knight Jesse Morissette and Father Léandre Syrieix, chaplain — meet at St. Charles Garnier Church in Québec City. Photo by Castletown Studios

While the council aims to provide first responders a community to gather in faith and find support among others with shared values and experiences, it remains open to all men, said McKen, who served as the charter grand knight.

Jesse Morissette took over as grand knight in the council’s second year. It hadn’t taken much for McKen to convince Morissette, a special constable for Québec’s Ministry of Public Security, to join the new council.

A Knight for about 12 years at the time, Morissette said he had been “more in the shadows,” not taking on any leadership positions in his previous council, due to his work and family commitments. He and his wife have three children and foster six.

“I thought it was important to get involved with this type of a council, this large family of first responders, who are often cast aside,” said Morissette. “Within our council, we are able to meet and understand each other.”

Last November, the council welcomed Father Léandre Syrieix, 39, as its new chaplain. Born in Cameroon and ordained in 2020, Father Syrieix was recruited by McKen during the pope’s visit to Québec in July 2022. The young priest knew little about the Order at the time, except that he had benefited from K of C financial support during his formation at the Grand Séminaire de Québec.

Father Syrieix was struck by the vision of the Knights as conveyed by McKen. “That’s what grabbed me,” the chaplain recalled. “Here were these professional people who meet and live their faith according to the charism of the Knights of Columbus, and I thought, ‘That deserves an investment.’ Especially since most of them are young parents with children who must be educated in the current social context of North America — where there is no longer any respect for human life or the dignity of the person, where things are going in all directions.”

He was also drawn to the role the Knights can play in engaging first responders, noting that due to past abuses, there is a lack of trust toward the police today. “I think about how we can accompany and give these first responders their voice back, by giving them spiritual and human support through a work of the Church that has existed for years,” said Father Syrieix.

COVID-19 made some aspects of the new council challenging, but the Knights “found ways to be creative, to hold some activities, despite the pandemic,” Morissette said.

In addition to supporting various parish programs and local food banks including La Brouchée Généreuse, the edgling council has fundraised for several community initiatives. One, La Vigile, provides counseling and other services to rst responders in crisis throughout Québec. Another, Les Maisons Oxygène, o ers housing and other help to fathers experiencing personal or family crises, including issues related to child custody. e council has also supported a group of young people headed to World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, later this year.

St. Michael the Archangel Council 17555 was recognized as a Star Council in its rst and second years, and Morisse e is hoping to make it three years in a row.

“I think it’s important to have a place for men who carry out the same jobs as we do and who understand our reality,” said Morissette. “This council is innovative, and I think there could be similar councils across Canada.”

Father Syrieix, too, expressed his hopes for Council 17555, comparing it to a seed that is sown, like the word of God.

“I hope that this seed might help rejuvenate and reenergize the Order here, so that it will grow and spread,” he said. ✢

24 COLUMBIA ✢ MAY 2023
LAURA IERACI is assistant editor of ONE magazine, the official publication of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. FROM TOP: Photo by Pascal Ratthe — Photo by Castletown Studios Past Grand Knight Francis McKen (right) and other council members gather at the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Recouvrance in Québec City. The council is based at Blessed Dina Bélanger Parish but draws members from across the region. • Council 17555 was chartered two years ago on Sept. 11, a date chosen for its symbolic significance to first responders.

At Home with Mary

Fostering Marian devotions, such as a family rosary, gives space for Our Lady to enter the domestic church

MY FATHER-IN-LAW welcomed Mary into his home by leading the family rosary with his wife at 9 p.m. every night of the week.

at’s right: every night. My wife and her 11 siblings don’t recall their dad missing a day. ough the Church and the surrounding culture were anything but stable, he planted a ag. In his family, you could count on the rosary. So much so that his younger children developed their own tradition of feigning sleep near the end of the prayer, for they knew that dad would carry any sleeping bodies o to bed. ose childhood memories now rank among their most treasured. is nightly tradition of the family rosary, however, took time to develop. e rosary was not part of my fatherin-law’s upbringing, and he went back and forth on the practice of praying it. Early in his married life, he would consistently lead it for a time, until life’s incidents — long work hours, a newborn — got in the way. But his daughter Lucy, adopted when she was a teen, was insistent. “Dad,” she’d say whenever things got too busy, “we forgot to pray the rosary.” And you didn’t argue with Lucy. She was un agging and endearing.

“She wasn’t yet a Catholic, but she was entranced by the rosary. It had to be said!” my father-in-law recalled. Lucy felt something di erent in the home on evenings when Mary was pushed to the side. So, for her sake, he stepped it up, and Mary became more than an occasional guest. She became a permanent xture in the home.

“Our family was by no means perfect,” my wife recalled, “but in the area of devotion to the Blessed Mother, my parents de nitely came close. Having 12 kids, they intuitively knew they couldn’t give us everything we needed, but they could at least introduce us to the perfect parents: our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph. And this they did, every day, without fail.” e family’s devotion also had a vocational impact — two of the eight daughters, including Lucy, entered religious life.

When I incredulously asked my father-in-law how he stayed on track all those years, he said, “Work times varied, and so did Li le League games, choir, band commitments and our date nights, but the rosary was always said.” He added, “ e kids were never forced to join, but it was such a routine that they all eventually did.”

In our own domestic church — or, as we like to call it, our “Trinity House” — my wife and I welcome Our Lady in a similar way. A beautiful statue of her adorns our home altar, and we do our best to pray the rosary with our children each evening. I haven’t a ained my father-in-law’s consistency, but I aim for it, and he inspires me. My wife and I love one of Mary’s ancient titles, “Tabernacle of the Word,” and we want our home to be a tabernacle in which our children come to know and love the Word, Jesus Christ.

Each of our kids deserve to grow up in a home where space is provided to develop a unique relationship with our Blessed Mother. And maybe, like Lucy, they’ll also keep us on track on those days when fatigue, busyness or distraction threaten to sideline this relationship.

St. Teresa of Calcu a o en spoke of doing “something beautiful for God,” and my in-laws undoubtedly did that through their daily faithfulness to the rosary. Each family’s ways of welcoming Mary may di er — whether they include a consecration to the Blessed Mother, a pilgrimage to a Marian shrine or other Marian devotions. e point is that every family can do “something beautiful for God” by honoring his mother, whom he gave also as our mother (Jn 19:27).

Sometimes, the best moments for us as dads might just be those quiet ones when we li a sleeping child o the couch and tuck him or her in, safe under Mary’s loving mantle and Joseph’s watchful patronage. ✢

SOREN JOHNSON is a member of Holy Family Council 6831 in Leesburg, Va. He and his wife, Ever, are co-directors of Trinity House Community. Photo by Spirit Juice Studios


Members of Roanoke (Va.) Council 562 provided an honor guard for a Divine Liturgy celebrated at St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church by Bishop Gregory Mansour of the Maronite Catholic Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, a longtime member of the Order. e eparchy is composed of 36 parishes throughout the eastern United States.


Father Albert Lacombe Council 8969 in Lacombe, Alberta, gave a K of C vestment set to their pastor, Father Simmy Joseph, to welcome him as a Knight and council chaplain, and thank him for his leadership of two churches and three Catholic schools. Following the presentation a er Mass at St. Stephen Catholic Church, the Knights hosted a breakfast a ended by more than 100 parishioners.


In an e ort to combat the spread of airborne viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, Sunrise Council 6607 in Bohemia, N.Y., raised $7,700 to purchase an air puri cation system for St. John Nepomucene Parish. e system uses ultraviolet light to destroy viruses and other germs.


More than 50 Knights from Westerville (Ohio) Council 5776 served as volunteers at the 26th annual Catholic Men’s Conference in Columbus, held under the theme “Called to Be Saints.”

e council was also one of 14, together with the Columbus Diocese Chapter, that supported the conference with a nancial donation.


St. Jude’s Council 11293 in Allen, Texas, raised $34,000 at its annual dinner in support of priestly vocations. From this amount, the council was able to make $5,000 donations to two local seminaries, as well as individual donations to 17 seminarians for the Diocese of Dallas and two candidates for the permanent diaconate. e funds were also used to purchase Christmas gi s for the clergy at St. Jude Catholic Church.


St. Catherine Labouré Council 12811 in Harrisburg, Pa., hosted the Order’s pilgrim icon of St. Joseph during the week of the saint’s feast day. e council held a Pilgrim Icon prayer service at St. Catherine Labouré Parish and also arranged for the image to visit the parish school, where the seventh and eighth grade students received a lesson about the icon and St. Joseph.

Msgr. Ross Shecterle, pastor of St. Mary, Mother of God Parish and chaplain to Saints Council 4240 in Menomonee Falls, Wis., blesses YouCat Bibles to be given to young parishioners receiving the sacrament of confirmation this spring. The Bibles were donated through a program of the Wisconsin State Council, which covers half the cost of the Bibles with the other half paid by local councils.

26 COLUMBIA ✢ MAY 2023
Knights from Mission San Gabriel (Calif.) Council 3517 serve as marshals during a eucharistic procession led by Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles. The 6-mile procession, which began at the San Gabriel Mission’s Chapel of the Annunciation on March 25, was organized for the National Eucharistic Revival’s Year of Diocesan Revival.
ABOVE LEFT: OSV News photo/courtesy Archdiocese of Los Angeles



Since May 2022, members of Benedict XV Council 2355 in Cliffside Park, N.J., have been producing KnightsClub, a series of 30-minute episodes on Catholic topics that is broadcast on local television throughout Bergen County.


Our Lady, Star of the Sea Council 7122 in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., partnered with WorldServe International to help fund the drilling of a well in Kambai Village, Kenya, the hometown of their pastor and chaplain, Father Cosmus Wambua. e Knights raised more than $10,200 from parishioners at Our Lady, Star of the Sea Catholic Church to support the project.


Deputy Jose Geralino Felicia

and another member of Consolatrix Council 5330 in Guindulman, Visayas, serve meals to students at Canhaway Elementary School during a council food distribution. The Knights’ effort fed 40 children.


When Marty Martin, a member of St. Christopher’s Council 10718 in Hobe Sound, Fla., suffered a stroke and entered hospice care soon after moving to Colorado Springs, Colo., he asked to be visited by a brother Knight. Council 10718 contacted Knights from St. Mary Cathedral Council 14806, who visited and prayed for Martin in his final days.

Knights from Edward J. Kitts Council 7170 in Bartlett, Tenn., and Columbian Squires from St. Joachim Circle 5086 held a canned food drive at St. Ann Parish to benefit Catholic Charities of West Tennessee. The drive collected more than 1,000 pounds of food.


Knights from Crescenta Valley Council 3254 in Montrose, Calif., hosted a breakfast fundraiser at St. James the Less Catholic Church in Glendale. e event raised more than $2,000 for scholarships at Holy Redeemer-St. James School.


For more than 25 years, Our Lady of Lourdes Council 9924 in Venice, Fla., has sponsored a monthly food drive at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish to support people in need throughout the Diocese of Venice. In 2022, the council collected more than 5 tons of food and nearly $35,000 in donations for several local food pantries.


Following the devastating earthquakes that a ected more than 24 million people in Turkey and Syria, Father John Barre Council 8365 in Villa Park, Ill., donated ve cases of children’s coats to the Turkish American Cultural Alliance Center in Chicago. e center was collecting living essentials to send to victims in Turkey.

MAY 2023 ✢ COLUMBIA 27
District (left)
RIGHT: Photo courtesy ActualitésL’Étincelle
Knights from Windsor (Québec) Council 2841 interact with a customer during the council’s annual sale of Good Friday loaves. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used by the council to support more than 70 underprivileged families during the holiday season.

of the Knights of St. Columba, with a plaque commemorating their generous donation to the Ukraine Solidarity Fund. The Knights of St. Columba, a fraternal service order in Great Britain, contributed 20,000 British pounds to the fund, an amount the K of C military council matched. The presentation was made during the annual Diocese of Westminster pilgrimage to the Catholic National Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady in Walsingham. Both American and


Holy Name of Mary Council 4730 in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., held a drive to benefit veterans in the VA Hudson Valley Healthcare System. The drive received donations of various necessities and collected $5,000 for VA programs that support quarantined patients, veterans who are new mothers and others.


Members of Msgr. Malcolm Rafferty Council 10731 and Deacon Charles L. Troncale Assembly 2416 in Prattville, Ala., helped collect and sort food and clothes that had been donated for victims of a tornado that ripped through nearby Autauga County. Joined by members of Montgomery Council 893, Knights also assisted with cleaning and repairing the home of a family that had been displaced.


Father Nagle Council 5420 in Goderich, Ontario, helped to sponsor an “Amateur Radio on the International Space Station” event, part of a program that enables students around the world to contact astronauts working on the ISS. With help from a special antenna installed on the council hall, a group of Royal Canadian Air Cadets spoke with U.S. astronaut Josh Cassada, asking him questions about space travel and life aboard the space station.


In collaboration with parishioners at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Charlo e, N.C., Bishop Michael Begley Council 770 collected more than $7,000 for the Ukraine Solidarity Fund. Following the drive, the students at St. Patrick Catholic School emptied their piggy banks to donate an additional $1,860.

Assembly 922 in Washington, Pa.,

Hugh C.

behind boxes of socks the assembly collected for veterans in need. Parishioners at 13 local Catholic churches participated in the assembly’s “Socks for Souls” campaign, contributing more than 2,700 pairs. The Knights donated the socks — the clothing item most requested by veterans — to the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.


Knights from St. Paul the Apostle Council 15365 and St. Paul the Apostle Assembly 2976 in Horseshoe, Texas, together hosted a gathering to honor local veterans for their service. e event included prayer and Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, followed by a meal.

28 COLUMBIA ✢ MAY 2023
Grand Knight Patrick Davis (center) of St. George Council 14233 on Royal Air Force Lakenheath in Suffolk, England, presents Henry Welsh (left), supreme knight British Knights assisted at the pilgrimage Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Vincent Nichols (right).
Gary Koenig (left) and Faithful Captain Chris Scott of Bishop Boyle stand Photo by Mike March Pilgrim Photography




St. Jude Council 12733 in Kapolei, Hawaii, donated baby supplies and $500 to the Mary Jane Home, a pregnancy resource center operated by Catholic Charities Hawaii. The contribution was made through the ASAP (Aid and Support After Pregnancy) initiative, so the Supreme Council will donate an additional $100 to the center.

Members of Msgr. Robert C. Pollock Assembly 3586 in Bountiful, Utah — including Scotty Bonn (back, center), a Knight with Down syndrome — form a sword arch to welcome guests to a Night to Shine dance. Night to Shine, which is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, o ers a fun prom experience to people with disabilities around the world. The Knights in Bountiful have been involved in the local event for five years, providing an honor guard and dancing with attendees.


Following their council’s corporate Communion, Knights and family members from Archbishop Patricio Flores Council 16748 in Seguin, Texas, prayed the rst prayer of a novena for life. e council then conducted a pro-life march around the area with parishioners from Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.


the Willame e River. e Knights’ plunge raised $950 for the organization through donations from the council and parishioners at St. Mary, Our Lady of the Dunes Parish.


Chris Clements, life director of Father Edward L. Richardson, S.M.A Council 11984 in Chesapeake, Va., places a Knights of Columbus Silver Rose before the sanctuary during a pro-life prayer service at St. Stephen, Martyr Catholic Church. The council-sponsored service was attended by Knights, family members and other parishioners.

Knights from St. Timothy Council 8782 in Toronto lled a pickup truck with donated baby supplies from council members and other parishioners of St. Timothy Parish in North York. e supplies were brought to Rosalie Hall, which supports young mothers and their children.


Knights from Our Lady of the Dunes Council 15773 in Florence, Ore., participated in the annual Eugene Special Olympics Polar Plunge into

St. Ladislas Council 16373 and St. Bernade e Council 16376 in Westlake, Ohio, worked with Father Ragan Council 3269 in Avon Lake to raise $23,800 for the Order’s Ultrasound Initiative. Matched by the Culture of Life Fund, the money purchased a new ultrasound machine for Cornerstone Pregnancy Services in Elyria. Over the last several years, Council 16373 has worked with multiple councils to fund four ultrasound machines for area pregnancy resource centers.

See more at

Please submit your council activities to

MAY 2023 ✢ COLUMBIA 29
TOP: Photo by Stephanie Baughman — LOWER: Photo by David Hollingsworth


Left: Mike Mubrick, a parishioner of the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Knoxville, Tenn., twirls his daughters during a fatherdaughter dance sponsored by Sacred Heart Cathedral Council 5207. More than 300 people attended this year’s dance, which the council has been hosting annually for 12 years. • Right: Members of San Agustín Council 1390 in Havana carry a statue of St. John Paul II around Havana Cathedral following a Mass commemorating the 25th anniversary of the pope’s apostolic journey to Cuba in 1998. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Beniamino Stella, who served as apostolic nuncio to Cuba at the time of the pope’s visit. The Knights also provided an honor guard for the veneration of a reliquary containing John Paul II’s blood.


Knights from Our Mother Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace Assembly 3342 in Parañaque City, Luzon North, provide an honor guard before Santo Niño de Tondo during the treasured statue’s visit to Resurrection of Our Lord Parish. This image of Christ as a child king was brought to the Philippines in the 16th century.

TOP LEFT: Photo by John Black — TOP RIGHT: Photo by Adrián Martínez Cádiz/Palabra Nueva


Warden Joaquin Rodriguez García (left) and other members of Octaviano Marquez y Toriz Council 11849 in Puebla, Mexico South, give away blankets and tamales to people outside the Hospital General del Sur. The council regularly holds similar distributions to serve people who are homeless or have limited resources.


Members of St. Francis of Assisi Council 17533 in Gowino and Father Edmund Roszczynialski Council 15708 in Wejherowo pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet led by their council chaplains before preparing care packages for Ukrainians in need. The group, which included volunteers from other organizations as well, assembled 2,400 boxes of food to be transported to Ukraine in a K of C Charity Convoy.

Knights from Bathurst (New Brunswick) Council 1935 unpack food from a recent drive benefitting the Bathurst Volunteer Centre’s food bank. The e ort collected more than CA$200 in cash donations and 250 donated food items.

Knights from Sts. Boris and Gleb Council 17740 in Fastiv unpack a generator for St. Demetrius Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Power generators purchased by the Knights of Columbus have been delivered to several churches throughout Ukraine.

MAY 2023 ✢ COLUMBIA 31
Photo by Turquesa Fotografia
BOTTOM: Photo by Andrey Gorb

Every Mother Welcome, Everything Free

Inspired by ASAP, a West Virginia council starts its own baby pantry to serve local mothers

WHEN PAUL NIEDBALSKI, immediate past state deputy of West Virginia and a member of Archbishop Swint Council 4694 in St. Albans, learned of the Supreme Council’s ASAP initiative last summer, he knew his council had to participate.

“It’s important for Knights to support mothers beyond their pregnancy and get the message out there that they have options other than abortion,” Niedbalski said.

e council proposed donating $500 to the nearest pregnancy resource center, two towns over in Charleston. But Father Patrick McDonough, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church and council chaplain, suggested the council create its own baby pantry to serve local mothers and families. With that, Li le Blessings Baby Pantry was born.

e council used three-quarters of its meeting hall — located on the parish’s campus — to store diapers, formula, baby clothes and more. When parishioners and community members caught wind of the council’s plan, nancial support and donations

of baby supplies started ooding in.

Niedbalski’s wife, Diane, enlisted Liz Liberatore and Jean Ann Heindl — whose husbands are also Knights — to help lead a corps of women in managing the pantry, which is open twice a month.

“Being the wife of a Knight, I felt it important to participate in the mission,” Liberatore said. “A lot of moms out there need our love and support.”

Since opening in December 2022, the baby pantry has served more than 100 families. Many of those families, Paul Niedbalski said, have faced challenging pregnancies. One mother shared with volunteers that doctors had advised her to have an abortion a er detecting a brain disorder in her unborn child. She refused, and her baby is thriving.

“Everyone welcome, everything free,” Niedbalski said, echoing the mo o of Knights of Columbus eld secretaries during World War I. “We don’t judge what vehicle you come in, what type of family you come from. I hope other councils see the need and form pantries for their own community.”

— Elisha Valladares-Cormier is associate editor of Columbia


In compliance with the requirements of the laws of the various states, we publish below a Valuation Exhibit of the Knights of Columbus as of Dec. 31, 2022. The law requires that this publication shall be made of the results of the valuation with explanation as filed with the insurance departments.


The above valuation indicates that, on a basis of the

2001 C.S.O., 2017

2012 IAR – S G2 table and 1983 “a” Tables of Mortality with interest at 9%, 8.75%, 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4.5%, 4.25%, 4%, 3.75%, 3.5%, 3.25%, 3%, 2.75%, 2.5%, 2.25%, 2%, 1.75%, 1.5%, 1%, the future assessments of the society, at the net rate now being collected, together with the now invested assets of the General Account Fund are sufficient to meet all certificates as they mature by their terms, with a margin of safety of $2,738,569,731 (or 10.12%) over the above statutory standards.

Annuity 2000

STATE OF: Connecticut

COUNTY OF: New Haven

The o cers of this reporting entity, being duly sworn, each depose and say that they are the described o cers of the said reporting entity, and that on the reporting period stated above, all of the herein described assets were the absolute property of the said reporting entity, free and clear from any liens or claims thereon, except as herein stated, and that this statement, together with related exhibits, schedules and explanations therein contained, annexed or referred to, is a full and true statement of all the assets and liabilities and of the condition and a airs of the said reporting entity as of the reporting period stated above, and of its income and deductions therefrom for the period ended, and have been completed in accordance with the NAIC annual statement instructions and accounting practices and procedure manual except to the extent that: (1) state law may di er; or, (2) that state rules or regulations require di erences in reporting not related to accounting practices and procedures, according to the best of their information, knowledge and belief, respectively. Furthermore, the scope of this attestation by the described o cers also includes the related corresponding electronic filing with the NAIC, when required, that is an exact copy (except for formatting di erences due to electronic filing) of the enclosed statement. The electronic filing may be requested by various regulators in lieu of or in addition to the enclosed statement.

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 21st day of February 2023.


To owners of Knights of Columbus insurance policies and persons responsible for payment of premiums on such policies: Notice is hereby given that in accordance with the provisions of Section 84 of the Laws of the Order, payment of insurance premiums due on a monthly basis to the Knights of Columbus by check made payable to Knights of Columbus and mailed to same at PO Box 1492, NEW HAVEN, CT 06506-1492, before the expiration of the grace period set forth in the policy. In Canada: Knights of Columbus, Place d’Armes Station, P.O. Box 220, Montreal, QC H2Y 3G7 ALL MANUSCRIPTS, PHOTOS, ARTWORK, EDITORIAL MATTER, AND ADVERTISING INQUIRIES SHOULD BE MAILED TO: COLUMBIA, PO BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 06507-9982. REJECTED MATERIAL WILL BE RETURNED IF ACCOMPANIED BY A SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPE AND RETURN POSTAGE. PURCHASED MATERIAL WILL NOT BE RETURNED. OPINIONS BY WRITERS ARE THEIR OWN AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS.






32 COLUMBIA ✢ MAY 2023
ASSETS — Actual and Contingent
2 of Annual Statement: $29,361,297,183 LIABILITIES — Actual and Contingent 2. Reserve for Life Certificates — including D.I. and Dis. W. (net of reins): $16,818,348,678 3. Reserve for accident and health certificates: $915,028,867 4. Total per Annual Statement, page 3 items 1 and 2:$17,733,377,545 5. Deduct liens and interest thereon, not included in Admitted Assets, and not in excess of required reserves on the corresponding individual certificates: None 6. Balance — Item 4 less item 5 above: $17,733,377,545 7. Liabilities of the General Account Fund, except reserve (items 3 to 25 incl. page 3 of Annual Statement):$8,889,349,907 8. Liabilities — Actual and Contingent — sum of items 6 and 7 above: $26,622,727,452 9. Ratio percent of Dec. 31, 2022 — 110.29% Assets — Actual and Dec. 31, 2021 — 110.12% Contingent (Item 1) Dec. 31, 2020 — 109.12% to liabilities — Actual Dec. 31, 2019 — 109.40% and Contingent (Item 8) Dec. 31, 2018 — 109.21% EXPLANATION
1. Admitted Assets of
General Account Fund, item 26, page
1937 S.A.,
(5), 1941 C.S.O., 1958 C.S.O., 1980 C.S.O.,
G.I., 2017
Paul Niedbalski helps a woman pick out a book for her child at Little Blessings Baby Pantry. LEFT: Photo by Alec Ritter

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.

Brent Bruna, a member of Hanover (Kan.) Council 1743, helps his son, Cal, hunt for Easter eggs at Hanover’s Veterans Memorial Park. For several years, the town has asked the council to organize the event, which includes dyeing and hiding more than 1,000 chicken eggs donated by a local farmer.

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
Photo by Justin Wan

Our faith formation begins through the faith of others, and my Maronite parents were instrumental in teaching me to do God’s will. Still, religious life was not something I considered until I a ended a discussion about vocations as a teenager.

A er the talk, the thought came: “I guess it’s possible God is calling me to become a sister.”

Immediately, however, came a quick “No, I don’t think so.” Yet God gradually opened my heart as I grew in knowledge of him and his merciful love for me.

When we are open to God’s will, he makes himself known to us in a very personal way. His invitation persisted, and through prayer and the sacraments — the mysteries, as Maronites call them — I came to realize his will and my vocation with much joy.

When I met the Religious Sisters of Mercy toward the end of my fourth year of medical school, I knew I had found the community where God was calling me to love and serve him — to become a point of convergence between his mercy and the misery of mankind.

‘God gradually opened my heart.’
Photo by Rey Del Rio