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Sept Columbia 2016 ENG_Layout 1 10/11/16 3:00 PM Page 1

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K N I G H T S O F C O LU M BU S September 2017 ♦ VOlume 97 ♦ Number 9




Dunkirk in Reverse Together with other Catholic organizations, the Knights of Columbus is working to rescue those who want to stay in their homeland. BY JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

12 The Love of a Shepherd Through his life of service and martyrdom, Father Stanley Rother exemplified the call to missionary discipleship. BY MARÍA RUIZ SCAPERLANDA

16 ‘Where They Need Me’ Fifty years ago, Father Vincent R. Capodanno valiantly sacrificed his life while ministering on the battlefield in Vietnam. BY ROY WENZL

20 ‘The Solid and Sturdy Bridge’ A former communist officer in Vietnam describes how Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuân transformed his life. BY PAUL NGUYEN HOAI DUC WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY COLUMBIA STAFF

24 Christopher Columbus and Fake History Once the target of anti-Catholic sentiment, Columbus is often slandered by those who misrepresent his legacy.

Father Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma-born martyr who worked as a priest in Guatemala, is pictured at a festival in the village where he served the poor. He will be beatified Sept. 23 in Oklahoma City.



Building a better world

CNS photo/Archdiocese of Oklahoma City archives

Through our practice of charity and fraternity, we are called to bring the joy of the Gospel to others. BY SUPREME KNIGHT CARL A. ANDERSON


Learning the faith, living the faith We are called to look beyond our own immediate concerns and to reach out to those most in need.



Knights of Columbus News

27 Knights in Action

Order’s Gift Displayed as a Sign of Unity During Presidential Visit

30 Scholarship Recipients

Fathers for Good An Old Testament book offers abundant wisdom about the vocation of fatherhood. BY KEVIN DI CAMILLO


PLUS: Catholic Man of the Month



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‘A Yes Without Conditions’ LAST MONTH, The Wall Street Journal ran an article with a title unexpected from a mainstream media publication: “The Priesthood Is a Heroic Vocation.” In anticipation of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s feast day, Aug. 14, the article began with the story of Kolbe’s martyrdom at Auschwitz in 1941. “Catholic history is replete with heroic stories like Kolbe’s,” the author affirmed. “The Church could do a better job of telling them.” This issue of Columbia includes several such stories of saintly priests who, like St. Maximilian Kolbe, bore outstanding witness to Christ in the 20th century. Consider, for example, Father Vincent Capodanno, a missionary turned U.S. military chaplain in Vietnam (see page 16). This selfless priest continuously put himself in harm’s way to serve Marines on the front lines, and Sept. 4 marks 50 years since he was killed while caring for wounded soldiers on the battlefield. In 1975, eight years after Father Capodanno’s death, a Vietnamese bishop named François-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuân was appointed archbishop of Saigon and subsequently imprisoned for over 13 years by the communist government (see page 20). In his homily at Cardinal Thuân’s funeral Mass in 2002, Pope John Paul II quoted the cardinal’s own words: “The martyrs taught us to say yes — a yes without conditions and limits to the love of the Lord. But the martyrs also taught us to say no — no to flattery, to compromise, to injustice — even with the intent of saving one’s own life.” Cardinal Thuân’s life, the pope concluded,

was “marked by heroic configuration with Christ on the Cross.” This past May, Pope Francis signed a decree of heroic virtue, granting Thuân the title Venerable. Thuân’s 13 years of imprisonment overlapped with the 13 years of Father Stanley Rother’s ministry to the native Tz’utujil people of Guatemala (see page 12). Raised in a farming community in Oklahoma, Rother did not set out to become a foreign missionary, let alone a martyr, when he entered seminary. However, when his vocation took him to a remote area of Guatemala amid a civil war, he served his parishioners with great devotion. He refused to abandon his flock in the face of mortal danger and was martyred in 1981. On Sept. 23, he will become the first U.S.-born male to be beatified. The lives of Servant of God Father Vincent Capodanno, Venerable Nguyen Van Thuân and soon-to-be-Blessed Father Stanley Rother offer examples of courage not only for priests but for all of us. They teach us to be faithful witnesses in our own vocations and attentive to the needs of others — those “on the peripheries.” Knights can look to these holy men, along with our founder Venerable Michael McGivney, for inspiration. Whether we are serving our families and parishes or giving much needed assistance to our brothers and sisters in places such as Iraq (see page 8), we are called to give our own unconditional “yes” in a joyful spirit of fidelity and self-sacrifice.♦ ALTON J. PELOWSKI EDITOR

Road of Hope: The Spiritual Journey of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan The documentary Road of Hope: The Spiritual Journey of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan is currently available on DVD, Netflix and Amazon. Produced in 2008 by Canada’s Salt and Light Media Foundation with a grant from the Knights of Columbus, the 60-minute film tells the story of the cardinal who spent more than 13 years as a political prisoner in Vietnam (see article on page 20). For more information, visit♦ 2 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦



Venerable Michael McGivney (1852-90) Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Intercede for Us. ________ HOW TO REACH US MAIL COLUMBIA 1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326 ADDRESS CHANGES 203-752-4210, option #3 PRAYER CARDS & SUPPLIES 203-752-4214 COLUMBIA INQUIRIES 203-752-4398 FAX 203-752-4109 K OF C CUSTOMER SERVICE 1-800-380-9995 E-MAIL INTERNET ________ Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See. This means that an applicant or member accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church.


Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved ________ ON THE COVER Iraqi Christians returning to their ancestral land raise a wooden cross April 24 near St. George’s Monastery in Mosul.

COVER: CNS photo/Omar Alhayali, EPA


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The Witness of Fraternal Communion Through our practice of charity and fraternity, we are called to bring the joy of the Gospel to others by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson IN MY COLUMN last month, I Elsewhere in Evangelii Gaudium, discussed some of the ideas I pro- Pope Francis urges Catholics to “live posed in my keynote address to the in fraternity” (91) and to share “a fraU.S. Conference of Catholic Bish- ternal love capable of seeing the sacred ops-sponsored Convocation of grandeur of our neighbor, of finding Knight should take these words of Catholic Leaders. I would like to fol- God in every human being” (92). Pope Francis to heart as he approaches low up in this column with some adHe writes: “I especially ask Chris- the work of his local council. ditional thoughts. tians in communities throughout the Second, we must make a greater efIn July, approximately 3,000 world to offer a radiant and attractive fort to demonstrate within our Catholic leaders from organizations witness of fraternal communion. Let parishes how the Knights of Columand dioceses around the country met everyone admire how you care for bus offers an authentic model of fraon the topic of “The Joy of the one another, and how you encourage ternal communion. We can offer a Gospel in America.” The convocation and accompany one another” (99). witness of fraternity to show how all was inspired by the apostolic of us as Catholics can do a exhortation of Pope Francis better job of caring for one titled Evangelii Gaudium another and how we can en(The Joy of the Gospel). We should ask ourselves how we courage and accompany one There were many impresanother in our parishes. care for each other as brother sive aspects of the convocaIt might be too much to tion. But to me, one of the say that Knights of ColumKnights and for our families. most important was the evibus are experts in building dence that the Knights of fraternal communities, but Columbus in every diocese for more than 135 years, throughout the country is already Last month, I wrote that this is a Knights have experienced a fraternal bringing the “joy of the Gospel” to special responsibility for every communion based upon the princimillions of our fellow Catholics and Knights of Columbus council ples of charity, unity and fraternity. to those outside our Church through throughout the world. The insights of Evangelii Gaudium our works of charity. It is a special responsibility in two can help us live those principles as In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Fran- ways. brother Knights in a more profound cis calls Catholics to be “an evangelFirst, the pope’s words are a good and authentic way. izing community” that is “filled with way for us to measure how our counThe convocation was a historic opjoy” (24), a community that is “per- cils are living up to our principles of portunity given to us by our bishops manently in a state of mission” (25), charity, unity and fraternity. We to respond to the pope’s call for “a and a community that practices a should ask ourselves just how our new chapter of evangelization.” But “fraternal communion and mission- councils offer “a radiant and attractive its lasting importance will only be reary fruitfulness” (89). witness of fraternal communion” and alized if enough Catholics respond to We don’t often think of our local how we care for each other as brother this opportunity and write a new councils in precisely these terms. But Knights and for our families. Many of page in the history of Catholicism. if we do, we can see how our coun- our councils offer such a witness, but Let each of us do our part in the cils meet these criteria in so many for others there may be room for im- days ahead. different ways. provement. In any event, every Vivat Jesus!



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Peripheral Vision We are called to look beyond our own immediate concerns and to reach out to those most in need by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori

PERIPHERAL VISION — what we work, or long-term financial goals. see “out the corner of our eye” — is It’s even possible to be so wrapped up important. If you’re driving along a in our own spiritual lives that we canbusy highway, peripheral vision en- not see the spiritual and material ables you to glimpse that car just needs of those around us. us to develop, with the help of God’s emerging from your blind spot. In a In the Gospels, Jesus teaches us, grace, “a heart which sees” — to use crowded room, peripheral vision “The lamp of the body is the eye. If a phrase from Pope Benedict XVI’s helps you see people around you. It the eye is sound, your whole body encyclical Deus Caritas Est. Our can also help you to notice a person will be filled with light; but if your hearts must see those who are on the who is off to the side, overlooked or eye is bad, your whole body will be margins of the Church and society. In in need of attention. in darkness. And if the light in you is fact, “a closed heart,” Pope Francis People sometimes suffer a loss of darkness, how great will the darkness has observed, “cannot understand peripheral vision with age and what Christianity is.” declining eyesight, while even those with 20/20 vision can BEYOND OUR We need to be aware of what miss what should be visible to COMFORT ZONES hampers our vision, such as them. At a restaurant, for inWhere, then, are these periphstance, otherwise attentive eries to be found? Surely, they attitudes of defensiveness, fear waiters sometimes seem to are found in the poorest, most suddenly lose their peripheral undeveloped countries on and indifference. vision if you’re anxious to pay earth. Pope Francis drew atthe check. tention to such peripheries, Something similar can also happen be” (Mt 6:22-23; see also Lk 11:34- for example, when he visited the in the depth of one’s heart. The pe- 36). Just as our physical eyes perceive Central African Republic in 2015. ripheral vision of our hearts dimin- natural light, so too the eyes of our Such countries are out of the line of ishes if we do not make it a habit to hearts are meant to perceive the light sight of many, if not most, who live see beyond our own wants and needs. of God’s love and truth and the dig- in highly developed countries. The If our hearts ignore inconvenient nity of our neighbor. pope has called our attention to the truths and realities on the right and Pope Francis has repeatedly called plight of refugees and immigrants by on the left, our field of spiritual vi- us to “go the peripheries.” He once his visit to the Italian island of sion will narrow. said in an interview, “We need to Lampedusa. Thousands lose their come out of ourselves and head for lives in the Mediterranean as they try THE EYES OF OUR HEARTS the periphery. We need to avoid the to make their way to mainland EuWe may think that our spiritual vi- spiritual sickness of a Church that is rope in rickety boats. sion is 20/20 because we see clearly wrapped up in its own world.” Pope Francis has likewise called us what is right in front of us. A hobby The Holy Father tells us that a self- to focus on the plight of those persemight claim most of our attention, or referential Church will grow old and cuted for their Christian faith in the we may be rightfully concerned dim. He challenges us not to focus so Middle East and elsewhere. So often about things such as the well-being intently on our own concerns that we we miss the fact that our fellow of our families, our performance at fail to see the needs of others. He urges Christians are losing their lives and 4 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦


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suffering dreadfully simply because they are Christians. The pope also calls our attention to the poor and the sick in our midst. In the city of Baltimore, where I reside, there exist devastated and violence-ridden neighborhoods where a sense of hopelessness pervades the streets. There are also spiritual peripheries. Think of the many people in every parish who no longer attend Mass or take part in parish activities. We might sometimes lament their absence but, in the end, adopt an attitude of “out of sight, out of mind.”

POPE FRANCIS: CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters — BLESSED FRANCESC: Photo courtesy of La Comisión pro Canonización del Beato Francisco Castelló, Lleida, Spain


Offered in Solidarity with Pope Francis PARISHES: That our parishes, animated by a missionary spirit, may be places where faith is communicated and charity is seen.

The pope tells us that we must not allow these fellow Christians to escape our field of vision. Instead, we must reach out to them, listen to them, come to know their concerns, and look for opportunities to invite them back to the faith. How, then, can we increase the peripheral vision of our hearts? First, we need to be aware of what hampers our vision, such as attitudes of defensiveness, fear and indifference. Next, we need, with God’s grace, to become adept at going beyond our comfort zones and encountering those whose

lives, viewpoints and concerns are very different from our own. This is not easy, but it is the attitude of each true missionary disciple. Our field of vision broadens as we encounter others with deep charity, a sense of fraternal solidarity, and a desire to break down barriers, to create unity. In a phrase, we must bring to those encounters an awareness of God’s merciful love. And once our field of vision broadens, those on the peripheries are no longer peripheral. They are squarely in our line of sight.♦


Blessed Francesc Castelló Aleu (1914-1936) FRANCESC CASTELLÓ Aleu was born April 19, 1914, in Alicante, Spain. After his father’s death three months later, his widowed mother moved north to Catalonia with her three young children. She worked as a teacher and instilled in the children a love for Christ and the Church. At age 13, Francesc enrolled in a Marist high school and excelled at his studies, especially the sciences. Two years later, his mother suddenly died. Francesc told his sisters, “We are now orphans, but God will not abandon us.” The siblings consecrated themselves to the Blessed Virgin, and an aunt came to their aid. In 1931, Francesc received a scholarship to the Jesuit college in Barcelona, and the transition resulted in a spiritual crisis for him. Jesuit Father Román Galán then invited Francesc to make the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. With his prayer life revived, Francesc soon became involved in various apostolates, including Catholic Action. After graduating with a chemistry degree in 1934, he accepted an engineering job in Lleida. There, he fell in

love with Mariona Pelegrí, also a member of Catholic Action. They became engaged May 30, 1936 — on the brink of the Spanish Civil War. By July 1, Francesc had to report for military service. After the July 18 coup d’etat against the government, he was imprisoned as a suspected fascist. He retained a joyful spirit, praying and encouraging others. Before a Republican tribunal Sept. 29, he rejected charges of fascist affiliation but affirmed his Catholicism. After penning three letters — to his sisters, Father Galán and his fiancée — he was taken before a firing squad. “I forgive you all,” were his final words. Pope John Paul II beatified Francesc Castelló Aleu with 232 companions on March 11, 2001.♦



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Order’s Gift Displayed as a Sign of Unity During Presidential Visit

ON JULY 13, U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited the tomb of Marshal Ferdinand Foch, allied supreme commander during World War I, at the royal chapel of the Hôtel national des Invalides in Paris. With French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, they viewed the golden baton that was given to Marshal Foch by the Knights of Columbus during a K of C pilgrimage to France in 1920. As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I, President Macron chose to visit Foch’s tomb and exhibit the baton in recognition of the historic bonds between the two countries. He also invited President Trump to participate in Bastille Day celebrations, including a parade featuring U.S. servicemen, including soldiers from the Army’s 1st Infantry Division — the first U.S. unit to set foot on French soil in 1917. Ferdinand Foch took command of the Allied troops in March 1918 and was responsible for winning the Second Battle of the Marne in July 1918, which proved to be a turning point in the war. On Aug. 6, Foch received the honor of marshal of France. The dramatic victories on the western front prompted the Supreme Council’s unanimous vote, during the 36th Supreme Convention in New York City, to honor Foch with a marshal’s baton. On Aug. 7, 1918, Supreme Knight James A. Flaherty sent a message to Foch, informing him of the resolution. It read in part: “We have enthusiastically cheered your glorious name when we heard of the supreme honor conferred upon 6 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦


the victor of the second Battle of the Marne. Allied forever with heroic France, America never forgets that generous Lafayette formerly left his Garrison of Metz to help our ancestors fighting for Liberty.” Foch was held in such esteem that the Order commissioned Tiffany & Co. to produce the most illustrious baton ever presented to a marshal of France. Crafted largely of California gold, it also contains lapis-lazuli enamel from Oregon, sapphires from Montana, copper from Colorado and ore alloy from Pennsylvania. Set in a field of blue, 51 stars bear the names of states and territories. At the base of the 21.5-inch baton are embossed the names of Marshal Foch’s major victories together with the words Terror belli, decus pacis — “Terrible in war, gentle in peace.” The inscription “Marechal Ferdinand Foch, 19141919” is surrounded by the arms of France, the United States, Lorraine’s dual cross and the emblem of the Knights of Columbus. Supreme Knight Flaherty, accompanied by 250 Knights, presented the baton to Marshal Foch in 1920 in Metz, France, following the unveiling of a statue of Lafayette commissioned by the Order as a gift to France. Marshal Foch brought the baton to the United States the next year, when he became a member of the Knights of Columbus in Chicago Nov. 6, 1921. While in France for the 2014 Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson had the opportunity to examine the baton during a visit to the Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides in Paris, where it is housed.♦

LEFT: Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archive — RIGHT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool

From left: During the 1920 K of C pilgrimage to France, Supreme Knight James A. Flaherty stands with Marshal Foch, the supreme allied commander during World War I, to whom he presented a ceremonial baton. • Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson is granted a special viewing of the baton in 2014, in the Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides in Paris. • French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to Foch’s tomb July 13, where the baton is specially displayed for the U.S. president’s visit.

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Tobit Knows Best An Old Testament book offers abundant wisdom about the vocation of fatherhood by Kevin Di Camillo

Tobiah Meets the Archangel Raphael, c. 1640, by Andrea Vaccaro (1604-1670) / HIP / Art Resource, NY


ho is your favorite father figure in the Bible? For good reason, St. Joseph is invoked as the patron of fathers. Yet for all his virtues, no words of Joseph are recorded in the Bible. Surely, I am not the only dad who could use more guidance from the guardian of the Redeemer. When I seek some biblical fatherly advice, I often look to the Old Testament Book of Tobit, which features a father-son relationship that is a timeless model for us who are both fathers and sons. Tobit, who becomes blind at the beginning of the book, teaches his son Tobiah the importance of caring for his elders, including the respectful repose of their remains, as well as the need to care for his mother when she becomes a widow. Tobit says to his son, “When I die, give me a decent burial. Honor your mother, and do not abandon her as long as she lives” (Tobit 4:3). A series of admonitions follows: “Keep the Lord in mind, and suppress every desire to sin.… Perform good works all the days of your life.… Give alms from your possessions. Do not turn away from any of the poor, and God’s face will not be turned away from you. … Be on guard, son, from every form of immorality” (4:5-12). Tobit then stresses loyalty to family and tribe, urging his son to “love your kinsmen” and take a wife from among them (4:13). Yet he also tells him to be fair and just to strangers and sojourners by paying his laborers promptly and refraining from doing to others “what you yourself dislike” (4:15). If Tobiah follows these fatherly commands, God will reward him, just as Tobit leaves his son a great sum of money that ultimately symbolizes God’s blessings. “You will be a rich man if you fear God, avoid all sin, and do what is right before the Lord your God” (4:21). The Book of Tobit is much more than a list of wise sayings and fatherly instructions. Fourteen chapters long, it

tells a gripping tale of human and divine action that could be packaged today as a bestseller. There are angels and demons; a killer fish and a loyal dog; true love and faithful friendship; hymns and laments; miraculous healings; money and revenge; secret signs, spells and signets; a dramatic wedding; death and burial; and a happy ending. One memorable character is Raphael, an angel disguised as a young man, who accompanies Tobiah on his journey to claim his father’s money. As they travel, the two form a fraternal bond — a model of masculine friendship that men need so much today. The plot thickens as the two reach their destination. Tobiah proposes marriage to Sarah, a woman from his tribe, but is warned that she has had a succession of seven husbands who were killed on their wedding night by a jealous demon. Prompted by true love, and following Raphael’s instructions, Tobiah drives off the demon. But before lying with his wife, Tobiah leads her in a prayer that many couples today use for their wedding Mass: “Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and her and allow us to live to a happy old age” (8:7). As the story continues, Tobiah returns with his wife and the money, the identity of Raphael is revealed, and Tobit is cured of his blindness, proclaiming a lengthy hymn of praise that begins, “Blessed be God who lives forever, because his kingdom lasts for all ages” (13:1). Tobit dies a happy man because he planned for the future, handled money wisely, dealt with others fairly, raised his son to be righteous, and trusted God and his messenger. In my own vocation as a father, I find that there is much to learn from Tobit’s compelling story and enduring wisdom.♦ KEVIN DI CAMILLO, a freelance writer and editor, is a member of Don Bosco Council 4960 in Brooklyn, N.Y.




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Together with other Catholic organizations, the Knights of Columbus is working to rescue those who want to stay in their homeland


ight now, movie theaters are featuring the summer blockbuster Dunkirk. Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, it is about the famous World War II evacuation of trapped Allied troops, which most Brits regard as among their finest hours. That evacuation, in which hundreds of ordinary people joined an impromptu flotilla to bring the troops home, occasioned Winston Churchill’s famed 1940 speech: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” Obviously, the WWII-era Dunkirk was a moment of high, world-changing drama, and it deserves to be memorialized. 8 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦


However, there’s an equally dramatic, but as-yet uncelebrated, Dunkirk going on right now before our eyes — in this case a moment of great Catholic heroism. The difference is that it’s actually a Dunkirk in reverse — the idea isn’t to get threatened people out, but to help them stay. One compelling recent example of this is a new initiative by the Knights of Columbus to raise and donate $2 million for the predominantly Christian town of Karamles. Located in the Nineveh Plain region of Iraq, some 18 miles from Mosul, the town was liberated from ISIS late last year but with much of it essentially left in ruins. The Knights of Columbus Board of Directors approved the

CNS photo/Warner Bros.

by John L. Allen Jr.

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A Chaldean Catholic family stands in front of their damaged house Aug. 9 in Karamles, Iraq, a predominantly Christian town in the Nineveh Plain that was overrun and ravaged by Islamic State militants in 2014. The town was liberated by Iraqi forces with U.S. military support in October 2016, allowing families to return and begin repairing their homes. • Opposite page: British soldiers trapped on the French shore anticipate an aerial attack in a scene from Dunkirk, which was released in U.S. theaters July 21.

Photo by Martyn Aim

effort several days before it was announced during Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson’s annual report Aug. 1. “The terrorists desecrated churches and graves and looted and destroyed homes,” Anderson said. “Now we will ensure that hundreds of Christian families driven from their homes will return. We will give them and many others hope for the future.” A BETTER FUTURE Since the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, every religious minority in the region has suffered, with Christians leading the pack because of their numbers and visibility. A variety of international groups, including the U.S. government, has recognized those Christians as victims of genocide. The devastation has been staggering. In Iraq in 2003, there were an estimated 1.5 million Christians, while today the high-end number for those left is usually set at around

300,000. Similarly, Syria’s Christian community is believed to have been cut in half. Given the lethal violence directed at Christians, as well as the general social and political chaos, the real question probably isn’t why so many have left, but why a brave few have remained. Therein lies the tale of the Catholic “Dunkirk in reverse.” Essentially, the answer is because private Christian organizations around the world, most of them Catholic, have stepped up for the last five years or so, ensuring those Christians are fed, sheltered and have access to medical care — and, more importantly, that they have the promise of a better future, thereby offering them reason to ride out the storm. One might think that such a responsibility for humanitarian rescue would fall to the entire world, especially the major Western powers and intergovernmental bodies such as the United Nations. Indeed, the U.N. and Western governments SEPTEMBER 2017


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A Chaldean Catholic man works with a young neighbor in Karamles, Iraq. The town was liberated in late 2016, and the Knights of Columbus is raising money to help families return and rebuild their homes.

10 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


there’s been a special and remarkable mobilization by U.S.based Catholic organizations. ‘WE SHALL NOT FAIL OR FALTER’ Since 2011, Aid to the Church in Need, a pontifical organization serving persecuted Christians, has spent $35.5 million helping Christian refugees in Iraq and Syria, especially those taking shelter in Erbil and elsewhere in Kurdistan. The U.S. branch of ACN has been a major contributor to that effort. Since 2014, the Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief Fund has donated more than $13 million in humanitarian assistance primarily in Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region. The Catholic Near East Welfare Association, another pontifical organization based in New York, has spent $7.3 million directly on Iraq and Syria since 2014 and another $9.8 million on Christian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. With its new effort, the Knights of Columbus will make it possible for hundreds of Christian families to return to the homes from which they were evicted in the summer of 2014. It matches a similar action by the government of Hungary to save another predominantly Christian town of Telskuf. About 1,000 families have already moved back to that town, showing that such actions can actually work in restoring pre-ISIS populations to their homes and towns. The effort is part of the Nineveh Reconstruction Project, in partnership with Aid to the Church in Need and local Christian communities. The Knights of Columbus is now

Photos by Martyn Aim

have invested major resources in Iraq and Syria, but the overwhelming majority has never reached Christian victims of the conflict, and doesn’t to this day. Here’s why: The bulk of public humanitarian aid in Iraq and Syria is delivered through major refugee camps, either in places such as Erbil, Iraq, or to camps in Jordan and Lebanon. However, Christians typically don’t go to those camps, fearing infiltration by jihadist loyalists and thus further exposure to persecution and violence. As a result, the Christians take refuge with Church institutions — churches, schools, clinics, hospitals, social service centers, even the private homes and properties of other Christians. What that means is that from the beginning, those Christians, numbering in the hundreds of thousands by now, have been basically abandoned by most international relief efforts. So, who’s giving them food, water, clothes and medicine? Who, in effect, has kept them alive? To begin with, it’s been the local churches in Iraq and Syria who have done absolutely astonishing work in supporting people in the most difficult circumstances imaginable. The bishops, clergy and religious in those two nations are among the most unacknowledged moral heroes of our time. However, they’re far from having deep pockets, so who’s making that heroism possible? The answer is, “We are” — as in North American Catholics. Certainly Catholics, other Christians and people of good will from all around the world are also involved, but

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urging councils, parishes, and other groups and individuals to donate $2,000 to help move one family home. Just 1,000 such donations would reach the goal of $2 million. When announcing this goal Aug. 1, Supreme Knight Anderson paraphrased a speech of Winston Churchill during World War II: “Let us say to our brothers and sisters in the faith, ‘Put your confidence in us…. We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. We will give you the tools, and together we will finish the job.’” At the original Dunkirk, some 330,000 Allied troops were rescued. Although exact numbers at this stage are impossible, it’s a slam-dunk certainty that at least that many Christians have been kept alive, able to remain with their families, and given some hope of better things to come by the current “Dunkirk in reverse.”

Going forward, here’s something else to dream about: That one day, the courage and the commitment of these Catholics who have put everything on the line — their money, their blood, sweat and tears, even their lives — to save the world’s most beleaguered Christians, and to help ensure that Christianity doesn’t vanish from one of its antique strongholds, will also be captured in a Hollywood blockbuster. For sure, it’s a drama that lends itself to celluloid. It’s also one that calls for vigorous effort to bring the story to conclusion, so that the final scene isn’t leaving anybody on the beach.♦ JOHN L. ALLEN JR. is the editor of Crux, specializing in coverage of the Vatican and the Catholic Church. Visit


Father Thabet Habib, a Chaldean Catholic priest, inspects the inside of a church desecrated and burned by Islamic State militants in Karamles, Iraq. SINCE THE EFFORT to save the Iraqi town of Karamles was announced Aug. 1, K of C councils, parishes or other Church groups, and individuals who want to help have been urged to donate $2,000 — the approximate cost of resettling one family. One-hundred percent of the money raised will be used for this project, and the rebuilding work has already begun.

Knights of Columbus Charities Inc. is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations can be made at or by calling 1-800694-5713. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Since 2014, the Knights’ Christian Refugee Relief Fund has donated more

than $13 million for humanitarian assistance primarily in Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region. The Knights’ documentation of ISIS’ atrocities and advocacy on behalf of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East were decisive in U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2016 declaration that Christians and other religious minorities in the region were suffering genocide.♦ SEPTEMBER 2017

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The Love of a Shepherd Through his life of service and martyrdom, Father Stanley Rother exemplified the call to missionary discipleship


ne hot summer afternoon in Oklahoma, a tan sedan set out through Kingfisher County. The year was 1973, and one of the passengers was Father Stanley Rother, a missionary priest who would later become the first U.S.-born martyr. “I was in the eighth grade. My friend Jerry and his father, Vince Mueggenborg, and I were taking Father Rother and two of his parishioners to different farmers,” recalled Supreme Treasurer Ron Schwarz, an Oklahoma native. “We were looking for usable farm equipment — things he could use at the Oklahoma mission,” explained Schwarz, who will never forget that day listening to Father Rother’s stories. What really stood out to 13-year-old Schwarz was the way Father Rother talked about life in rural Guatemala. “When he spoke of his parish and his parishioners in Santiago Atitlán, you could tell how he dearly loved them. You could see it in his face — his love and his dedication for the people.” Father Rother served the parish of Santiago Apóstol (St. James the Apostle) in Santiago Atitlán for the rest of his life. In 1981, Guatemala’s bloody civil war reached the remote mission. Father Rother was threatened and told to leave the country. Though his name was put on a hit list, he chose to remain among his beloved parishioners. On July 28, 1981, Father Stanley Rother was murdered at age 46 by three unknown assailants who broke into the parish rectory. Pope Francis formally recognized him as a martyr Dec. 2, 2016, and his beatification will take place in Oklahoma City Sept. 23. FROM FARMER TO MISSIONARY How a priest from a small German farming community in Oklahoma came to live and die in a remote Guatemalan village is a story full of wonder and God’s providence. Stanley Francis Rother was born in Okarche, Okla., during an Oklahoma dust storm on March 27, 1935. The oldest of five children, he was raised on a farm in a devout Catholic family and attended Holy Trinity Catholic School in Okarche 12 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


for 12 years. As a seminarian, Stanley returned home between semesters to help with the harvest. In this ordinary life in rural Oklahoma, Stanley first experienced a personal encounter with Christ, the Good Shepherd. He learned to be a man of prayer and a hands-on servant with a resolute desire to become a priest. He gained the perseverance needed to trust God when academics proved to be a painful challenge in the seminary. And he learned the love and compassion that led him to lay down his life for the Gospel and for his sheep. “This extended family, along with the experiences of the church and school communities, was interlinked with our immediate family in developing a deep faith life,” explained Sister Marita Rother, a member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ religious community in Wichita, Kan., and Father Rother’s sister. “Religion classes, daily Mass, sacramental preparation, daily rosary in the home, and Sunday evening Holy Hour and Benediction, along with other seasonal religious practices, were integrated into our daily lives.” When Pope St. John XXIII requested in the early 1960s that North Americans send missionaries to South and Central America, the Church in Oklahoma responded. In 1964, the then-Diocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa took over the care of the church of Santiago Apóstol, the oldest parish in the Diocese of Sololá, Guatemala, dating back to the 16th century. No resident priest had served the indigenous Tz’utujil community of Santiago Atitlán for over a century. As a newly ordained priest in 1963, Father Stanley would not have been considered for that initial mission team. But after five years as an associate pastor in various parishes in the state, he volunteered to serve in the dynamic Oklahoma mission. When he arrived at Santiago Atitlán in 1968, Father Rother instantly fell in love with the volatile and stunning land of volcanoes and earthquakes — and, above all, with its people. He learned Spanish and the Tz’utujil language to minister to his parishioners, who called him “Padre Apla’s,” the Tz’utujil translation of Francis, his middle name.

CNS photo/Charlene Scott

by María Ruiz Scaperlanda

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Above: Father Stanley Rother (1935-1981) baptizes a child at a mission church in Guatemala. • Opposite page: Father Rother, who will be beatified Sept. 23 in Oklahoma City, is pictured in an undated portrait.

Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

Over his 13 years of priestly service in Guatemala, Father Rother helped develop a farmers’ co-op, a nutrition center, a school, a hospital clinic and the first Catholic radio station in the area, which was used for catechesis. He was a critical driving force in developing Tz’utujil as a written language, which eventually led to translations of the liturgy of the Mass, the Lectionary and the New Testament. PATRON OF THE PERIPHERIES Oklahoma priests, sisters and lay workers served the mission of Santiago Apóstol until 2000, when sufficient growth in local vocations allowed the diocese to resume pastoral care. From the outset, the Oklahoma missionary team understood that the Tz’utujil are an agricultural people who retain much of their ancient Mayan culture and pride. “Even before Pope Francis began speaking to us about the urgency of going to the ‘peripheries,’ Father Rother had dis-

covered his place and his mission among Tz’utujil Mayans in a remote part of Guatemala,” explained Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City. “He had moved well beyond his comfort zone to embrace a life of missionary discipleship far from the familiar comforts of Oklahoma.” Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson likewise named Father Rother among a number of North American “patron saints of the peripheries” in his keynote address at the historic Convocation of Catholic Leaders, which recently took place in Orlando. In a letter dated September 1980 to the bishops of Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Father Rother described the political and anti-Church climate in Guatemala. The nation’s decades-long civil war between the authoritarian government and leftist guerrillas — a conflict estimated to have claimed 200,000 lives — was escalating. Then, in his final Christmas letter to Oklahoma Catholics, published in two diocesan papers, Father Rother wrote: “The SEPTEMBER 2017

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Above: Father Rother is pictured with a Tz’utujil child in Guatemala. • Opposite page: Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City and Sister Marita Rother, who is Father Rother’s sister and a member of Adorers of the Blood of Christ, examine the nameplate on the exhumed vault containing Father Rother’s remains at Holy Trinity Cemetery in Okarche, Okla., May 9. As required for the beatification process, his remains were examined by medical professionals and re-interred in the chapel at Resurrection Memorial Cemetery in northwest Oklahoma City. 14 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


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Photos courtesy of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

reality is that we are in danger. But we don’t know when or what form the government will use to further repress the Church. … If it is my destiny that I should give my life here, then so be it.” He concluded: “The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger. Pray for us that we may be a sign of the love of Christ for our people, that our presence will fortify them to endure these sufferings in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom.” Father Rother, who was urged to flee following death threats, spent a few months back in Oklahoma in early 1981. During a homily at his home parish in Okarche, he then announced that he was returning to Guatemala. That Mass was the last time Ron Schwarz saw Father Rother. “He was trying to explain to the parish why he was leaving, and it was evident it was out of love for his people. That’s why he had to go back rather than stay safe in Oklahoma,” recalled Schwarz. “Not too many people would make that decision,” he added. “Father Rother knew that Guatemala was where he needed to be. He didn’t do it for the glory. He had a calling from God to be there.” A MODEL FOR KNIGHTS Father Rother returned to Guatemala in time to celebrate Holy Week with his parishioners there. On his way to the mission, Father Rother stopped at the home of Sololá’s Bishop Angélico Melotto, who urged him not to go, warning him that it was too dangerous. But Father Rother responded, “My life is for my people. I am not scared,” and the bishop did not forbid the missionary’s return. His martyrdom in solidarity with his flock was nothing less than a proclamation of God’s love for the poor of Santiago Atitlán. Archbishop Coakley first learned about Father Rother’s life while studying at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. — Father Rother’s alma mater. “The impact of his heroic witness and martyrdom has been an inspiration and a challenge to me ever since,” said the archbishop, who is a member of Oklahoma Council 1038 in Oklahoma City. In a homily at one of the mission’s satellite churches on the 30th anniversary of Father Rother’s death, Oklahoma City Archbishop Emeritus Eusebius J. Beltran noted, “He knew the dangers that existed here at that time and was greatly concerned about the safety and security of the people. It is very clear that Padre Apla’s died for you and for the faith.” Archbishop Beltran served as bishop of Tulsa at the time of Father Rother’s death in 1981. Also a member of Oklahoma Council 1038, he has been associated with the Knights of Columbus since his childhood, when he was a member of the Squires. In their charitable work, the Knights can take inspiration from Father Rother, who “put much of his energy in seeing that the widows and orphans were cared for,” Archbishop Beltran said. “Many husbands and fathers were killed in the terrible massacres of that time.”

When Knights in Okarche, El Reno and Kingfisher formed Assembly 2854 in 2004, they all assumed it should be named after the Oklahoma priest. “There was no doubt that we should name it in Father Rother’s honor,” said Faithful Comptroller David Krittenbrink. Many who cherish the memory of Father Stanley Rother will gather for the beatification ceremony Sept. 23 — including Supreme Treasurer Ron Schwarz and his mother, Emalene, who was one of Father Rother’s classmates. In honor of the beloved missionary and martyr, the Supreme Council made a donation to the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to financially support the celebration as well. Father Donald Wolf, pastor of St. Eugene Church and a member of St. Eugene Council 10822, both in Oklahoma City, will be among Father Rother’s many relatives in attendance. According to Father Wolf, his deepest connection to his cousin Stanley is their priesthood. “His willingness to die in service to the ones he pastored is the bond that touches my heart,” he said. “I won’t be called on to do such a thing, but to see the everyday invitation to serve in even the smallest way as part of my priesthood is a connection to him. It is a bond I am often not worthy of but one that I still celebrate.”♦ MARÍA RUIZ SCAPERLANDA is a freelance writer based in Norman, Okla, and a writer-in-residence at St. Gregory’s University. She is the author of The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run: Fr. Stanley Rother, Martyr from Oklahoma (OSV, 2015). SEPTEMBER 2017

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‘WHERE THEY NEED ME’ Fifty years ago, Father Vincent R. Capodanno valiantly sacrificed his life while ministering on the battlefield in Vietnam by Roy Wenzl


aryknoll Father Vincent R. Capodanno began the day of his death, Sept. 4, 1967, by disregarding repeated orders from Marine Corps sergeants to stay off the helicopters and away from combat. He told them, “I need to be with my Marines,” and eventually jumped on a chopper after receiving reluctant consent from the battalion commander. A 38-year-old Navy chaplain on his second tour of duty in Vietnam, Father Capodanno refused to use a weapon but had a habit of running through gunfire — as he did during this battle in the Que Son Valley, some 30 miles southwest of Da Nang. Several hundred Marines were trapped on a bare knoll while thousands of North Vietnamese Army regulars, hidden in the tree lines, shot them one by one. Capodanno arrived in the afternoon with the already outnumbered reinforcements. He grabbed wounded Marines by their armored jackets, dragged them to safety and bandaged them up. And he continued to do so after receiving wounds from an exploding mortar round. “This battle was by far the worst I’d ever seen,” said Cpl. George Phillips, who was a 20-year-old weapons squad leader that day. “Father kept running up and down that knoll for at least two hours,” recalled Phillips, 70, president of the Father Vincent Capodanno Guild and a member of Potomac Council 433 in Washington, D.C. “He pulled Marines to safety, prayed with them and anointed the wounded. He had this thing he’d say: ‘You’re not alone. God is with you. You’ll be all right.’” Father Capodanno was killed in a hail of machine gun fire later that evening while rushing to the aid of several dying Marines and a corpsman. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969, and the archdiocesan phase of his cause for canonization was completed this past May, nearly 50 years after his death. 16 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


MISSIONARY AND CHAPLAIN The 10th child of Italian immigrants, Vincent Capodanno was born Feb. 13, 1929, in Staten Island, N.Y. He grew up in a Catholic home grounded in faith, patriotism and hard work. On his 10th birthday, Capodanno’s father, Vincent Sr., died while at work in the shipyards. Three of his brothers later served in World War II. After high school, he took night courses at Fordham University while working as a Wall Street clerk by day to support the family. A daily communicant, Capodanno was drawn to the priesthood from an early age. The faith-filled stories published by the Catholic Foreign Mission Society, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, kindled his desire to evangelize. One of his heroes was Brooklyn-born Bishop Francis Xavier Ford, who arrived in China in 1918 with the first Maryknoll missionaries there. At age 20, Capodanno applied to become a Maryknoller, and after nine years of formation he was ordained in 1958. That year he was sent to the island of Formosa (present-day Taiwan). During a home visit after six years of missionary service in parishes and as a teacher, Father Capodanno received an unexpected transfer to Hong Kong. There he discerned a new call to service — as a chaplain to the increasing number of U.S.

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CNS photo/courtesy Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers

Maryknoll Father Vincent R. Capodanno, a Navy chaplain who was killed while serving with the Marines in Vietnam, is pictured leading a field prayer service for the “grunts” of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines in the Muo Douc area, Vietnam, Sept. 11, 1966. troops in Vietnam. With permission from his superiors, he joined the Navy Chaplain Corps, and in 1966, Father Capodanno shipped out to Vietnam to join the 7th Marines. According Father Daniel L. Mode, a military chaplain and priest of the Arlington Diocese who initially served as the postulator for Capodanno’s cause for canonization, the missionary priest arrived with a plan. “As a Maryknoll missionary in Taiwan, he learned how to literally live peoples’ lives with them,” said Father Mode, who is a member of St. John’s Council 11806 in McLean, Va. “When he got to Vietnam after that, he didn’t just go on patrols with Marines. When they carried 40-pound backpacks, he carried 40 pounds. When they marched in rain, he marched with them. If the guys he was with had to stay up all night at a forward listening post, he stayed up all night with them.” That’s how Father Capodanno earned the moniker the “Grunt Padre,” which became a name of honor. “‘Grunt Marine’ is a term that by rights should only be used by enlisted infantry Marines … usually 18 or 19 years old and

just out of high school,” Father Mode explained in his book The Grunt Padre: Father Vincent Robert Capodanno, Vietnam, 1966-1967. “What set Father Vincent apart was the way he lived his ministry … as a Grunt Marine. Wherever they went, he went. Whatever burdens they had to carry, he shared the load. No problem was too large or too small to take to Father Vincent — he was available to them day and night.” Father Capodanno also visited outlying company bases and hospitals to offer prayer for those soldiers whom he had joined in combat, while most of his spare hours were spent writing letters of condolence and information to parents of wounded and dead Marines. So engaged was Father Capodanno that during his 16 months of military service, he became the most recognizable and most sought-after chaplain serving the Marine Corps. MARINES REMEMBER THEIR PADRE Father Capodanno’s ministry included both heroic dedication and small acts of kindness. One such act has stayed for decades in the memory of Thomas E. Byrne, 81, a member SEPTEMBER 2017

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TOP: Photo courtesy of CMJ Marian Publishers — BOTTOM: Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA

Father Vincent Capodanno is pictured with children whom he had prepared for First Communion at his missionary church in Taiwan October 1962. • Below: Father Capodanno stands with a U.S. Marine in front of a makeshift chapel that had been built by “grunts” in Chu Lai, Vietnam, circa 1966.

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CNS file photo

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of Holy Trinity Council 3413 in Severna Park, Md. “These four or five Marines come walking into Mass,” recounted Byrne, who was a 30-year-old Marine Corps captain at the time. “They were bedraggled-looking, their clothes dirty, so they’d obviously worked all night on some operation. “Father turns from the altar and says, ‘Where you been?’ The Marines said they’d just come out of the field. So, he said, ‘I won’t start Mass for these other guys here until you leave. The good Lord wants you in bed, so that’s where you’re going.’” The Marines obeyed. Tony Grimm, 80, a member of John Paul I Council 7165 in Woodbridge, Va., who also served as a Marine Corps captain in Vietnam, remembered Father Capodanno as “a Pied Piper.” “Everyone would come to Mass, regardless of religion,” Grimm recalled. “He’d say, ‘There is this constant need for prayer because we are all stretched to the limit out here. The only way we will get by is by asking for help. And do we all know that help is available to us, just for the asking?’” Grimm’s relationship with Capodanno got prickly at times, as he was assigned the duty of keeping the chaplain alive. “Father got me thoroughly chewed out many times,” Grimm said. “If a patrol went out of the compound, he’d hide away and wait until the tail end of the column went past. Then he’d take off running and fall in with them.” In a similar way, Father Capodanno raced to administer the sacraments to the exposed Marines trapped on the knoll in Que Son Valley. One of the very last men to see Father Capodanno alive was 18-year-old Lance Cpl. Frederick W. Tancke, who had been shot in the hand. “We had so little to hide behind and he kept running from one wounded guy to another, out in the wide open,” recalled Tancke, 68. “That’s part of why what Father did that day was so courageous.” Tancke’s M16 rifle jammed repeatedly that day. When he encountered a North Vietnamese machine gunner hunched over a Chinese machine gun just yards away, he was unable to shoot. He tried to fish a grenade from his pouch, but his wounded hand made that impossible. All he could do was sprint a few yards and fall into a shell hole to find cover. The next thing Tancke saw was Father Capodanno running to the aid of Marines who had been shot — and straight for the machine gun. Frantic, Tancke stood up four feet from Capodanno and yelled, “Watch out for the gunner!” Tancke saw “a look of incredible intensity” on the chaplain’s face just before the gunner fired a burst into Father Capodanno’s back.

EVEN AFTER DEATH It was no surprise to the men who served with him that Father Capodanno was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, along with the Navy Bronze Star medal, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star and the Purple Heart Medal. Nor is it surprising that a Navy ship, the USS Capodanno, was named in his honor together with a number of military buildings, chapels and scores of other memorials across the country. Nearly 20 Knights of Columbus councils and assemblies also proudly bear his name. It is similarly not a surprise that the Catholic Church, with Father Mode doing much of the research, has compiled thousands of documents as part of the investigation into his cause for sainthood. According to Father Mode, many people have returned to the Church because of Father Capodanno’s witness, and he is also credited with vocations to military chaplaincy. In life, and after death, his spirit moved ordinary people to do exceptional things, said Father Mode, who attributes this to the deliberate emphasis on charity that marked Father Capodanno’s every action. In The Grunt Padre, Father Mode wrote, “Father Vincent went to Vietnam expressly to be with the troops, to learn and to live the full meaning of Maryknoll Bishop Ford’s motto to suffer with, and by doing so save souls and give glory to God.” Father Capodanno’s spirit of generosity and compassion is also summed up in an official citation from Maj. Edward Fitzgerald recommending Father Capodanno for the Bronze Star: “Invariably, he sought out that unit which was most likely to encounter the heaviest contact. … His bravery, his humor, his right word at the right time contributed to the success of the unit. … He was particularly adept in observing a Marine who was troubled by the press of events and/or personal problems and who needed help and encouragement. … At Christmas he gathered gifts from friends and organizations all over the world to ensure that no man in the battalion was forgotten.” Tony Grimm, the Marine captain who was tasked with keeping Father Capodanno out of peril, remembered the conflict between his own duty and Father Capodanno’s dedication to accompanying the troops no matter the danger. “We’d argue, and I’d ask him, ‘Why do you keep doing this?’” Grimm recounted. “Father replied, ‘I need to be where they need me.’” For more about Father Capodanno, visit♦ ROY WENZL is a journalist based in Wichita, Kan., and the author of The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier and Korean War Hero (Ignatius, 2013). SEPTEMBER 2017

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‘The Solid and Sturdy Bridge’ A former communist officer in Vietnam describes how Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuân transformed his life by Paul Nguyen Hoai Duc, with an introduction by Columbia staff 20 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


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n May 4, Pope Francis signed a decree recognizing the He was the most loving, intelligent, disciplined person that heroic virtue of Vietnamese Cardinal François-Xavier I have ever met. He was in my life the potent grain of yeast Nguyen Van Thuân and declaring him “Venerable” — a stage that gave rise to a deep faith. To this day, I am still struggling toward sainthood. with many challenges ahead of me, but I no longer doubt: Born April 17, 1928, in Hue, Vietnam, Thuân was raised God is my great strength. in a strong Catholic family with many ancestors who died for As a student graduating in 1979, I specialized in counthe faith during persecutions between 1698 and 1885. He was terinsurgency, a division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs ordained a priest in 1953, and Pope Paul VI appointed him in Vietnam. At the beginning, I was assigned to the Citizens bishop of Nha Trang 14 years later. Department, and from there, I was transferred to Religious Bishop Thuân later became archbishop of Saigon in 1975. Affairs. In part because his uncle, Ngo Dinh Diem, who was assassiOnce I landed my new post, I read and heard many good nated in 1963, had been the first president of the Republic of things about Archbishop Thuân, namely that he was very talSouth Vietnam, Vietnam’s communist government opposed ented and spoke eight languages. He was loving to everyone the appointment. Within months, the archbishop was arrested around, and despite being in captivity, he always displayed and sent to a reeducation camp. He was imprisoned for 13 hope and serenity. I examined his file and learned that he was years, including nine years in solitary confinement. the founder of the lay movement HOPE and that Ngo Dinh The faithful sent him a small bottle of wine — under the Diem was his uncle. guise of “medicine for stomach aches” — and he was able to At the time, Archbishop Thuân was under house arrest. By celebrate the Eucharist with other prisoners. Archbishop then, I had been promoted to senior rank. When my boss Thuân later recounted that his palm became an altar each asked if I had any special request, I told him that I wished to day, and “three drops of wine and a perfect my verbal French with the drop of water” became “the medicine archbishop. I was allowed to spend of immortality.” two days a week with Thuân. Prior to He added: “At night, the prisoners that first meeting, I was formally cauwould take turns for adoration. With tioned not to let myself be brainCONTINUE TO REGARD his silent presence, the eucharistic washed by him. MY ENCOUNTER WITH Jesus helped us in unimaginable ways. So, early in 1987, I went to see him. Many Christians returned to a fervent The building where he was held was ARCHBISHOP THUÂN AS faith-life…. Even Buddhists and other two-storeyed, of French colonial style. non-Christians came to the faith. The The first floor was reserved for the THE MOST MOMENTOUS strength of Jesus’ love was irresistible.” guards assigned to his watch. The secArchbishop Thuân was released ond floor had two rooms: one was for EVENT IN MY LIFE.” from prison in 1988 and then exiled him, and the other, larger room was from Vietnam in 1991. Pope John furnished with a table and chairs for Paul II named him president of the high level officials whenever they came Pontifical Council for Justice and for interrogations. Peace in 1998 and created him a cardinal in 2001. He died From the very first moment we met, I immediately felt a of cancer Sept. 16, 2002. special closeness with him, and for his part, he seemed happy In honor of Venerable Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuân’s in- to have someone to chat with. domitable faith, Columbia presents here a never before pubTo combat loneliness during all that time, he wrote many lished account by Mr. Paul Nguyen Hoai Duc, a former books, including a lexicon in eight languages. high-ranking communist officer who studied French with CarOne day, after studying with him for a while, I said, “Mr. dinal Thuân during his house arrest. The reflection, written Thuân, I read the Catholic Bible, along with many other books around the year 2000, was shared by Elizabeth Wong, the late on Buddhism. I notice that Buddha speaks in philosophical lancardinal’s sister, and is published here with permission. guage, but Jesus, on the other hand, uses very simple words.” Calmly and slowly he replied, “Buddha is a philosopher. ❦❦❦ Jesus uses simple language because he is the Creator of the universe. He wants to use simple language for everyone to unIT’S BEEN MORE than 10 years now since the day I had the derstand him. He created the universe and has complete ungood fortune to meet Archbishop F.X. Nguyen Van Thuân. derstanding of his creation, while Buddha is searching for A philosopher once wrote, “A rock, if placed at the right answers and an understanding of the universe.” spot, could change the course of the river.” My eyes were opened from that day on, and I no longer Archbishop Thuân was the rock that changed the course of needed to ask further. my life, from mundane to one with faith in God. More to the Archbishop Thuân always exuded sincerity, perseverance point, I continue to regard my encounter with Archbishop and optimism. Most of the time, he sang. He sang while carThuân as the most momentous event in my life. rying water to his room or working in the garden. He sang



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the psalms and loved to tell us stories, religious as well as regular ones. Everyone experienced peace around him. Personally, I felt deeply touched. After a short period of studies with him, I visited my younger brother’s family. My sister-in-law uttered, “Oh, brother Duc looks like a religious man these days.” I re-examined myself and wondered, could it be that my way of looking at things, my personal attitude, my whole being, have changed for the better? I have become a better person, and for that I would have to thank Archbishop Thuân. One day, he showed me a letter from a man called Vinh. That man received a jail sentence for corruption, and he had been placed in the same cell as Archbishop Thuân to spy on him and report to the government. In the end, however, overcome by Thuân’s faith life and his friendship, Vinh confessed to him his true mission. Upon his release some time later, Vinh joined the Catholic faith and received baptism. In his 22 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


letter, Vinh thanked the archbishop for his moral support and for implanting in him his faith in God. Around the end of 1987, Archbishop Thuân prepared his own letter to the government appealing for his release, and he read it aloud to me, asking me for advice. In his letter, he mentioned his duties within the Church and the need for his freedom to be able to pursue his ministry anywhere, in any city, including the leprosy village in Qui Nhon. He also gave a clear, detailed picture of his activities and responsibilities as a citizen. His letter was rather lengthy, and after listening to it, I pointed out that the application was supposed to be to the government and not the Church, and as such, it would be preferable to focus more on his love for his country. Being a very humble man and a good listener, he rewrote the letter and presented it to me again before sending it to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. I was deeply touched by his humility.

Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Wong

Clockwise from top left: Archbishop François-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuân is pictured writing while under house arrest circa 1980 in Giang-Xa, Vietnam. • Archbishop Thuân arrives at the home of relatives in Sydney, Australia, shortly after his release from prison in 1989. • Pope John Paul II greets Archbishop Thuân in Rome within weeks of the archbishop’s release. • Archbishop Thuân is pictured with Mother Teresa in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 1990. The Vietnamese government denied him permission to remain in the country to serve the Church.

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A month later, there were rumors surrounding the possibility of good news. One day, the archbishop proudly showed me a new pair of leather shoes he had just received from his family in Australia. “When I’m freed, I will be wearing these,” he said, with the joyful smile of a child receiving ice cream. Noticing the surprised look on my face, he added, “In life, we must learn to look for happiness in the little things.

C’est la vie!” A few years after his release, I asked to resign from my post. On April 19, I was baptized and became a child of God. It all happened thanks to Archbishop Thuân. He was the solid and sturdy bridge that made possible my journey toward becoming a citizen of justice, a citizen of the eternal kingdom. I give thanks to God and I am forever grateful to Archbishop Nguyen Van Thuân.♦

Photo by Randy Bacon Photography

VENERABLE CARDINAL NGUYEN VAN THUÂN: AN INSPIRATION TO THE KNIGHTS THE LIFE OF Venerable Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuân is a particular inspiration to Knights of Columbus councils based in Vietnamese communities. The first of these, Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Council 9655 in Arlington, Va., was chartered in 1987. Since then, approximately 30 councils consisting primarily of Vietnamese immigrants have sprung up in the United States and Canada. Three of these — Council 15501 in New Orleans, La.; Council 16495 in Orlando, Fla.; and Council 15806 in Glen Ellyn, Ill. — are named in honor of Cardinal Van Thuân. Mai Nguyen, the charter grand knight of Council 15806, even met then-Archbishop Nguyen Van Thuân and asked for his prayers during the difficult years before Mai fled the country with his family, eventually settling in Illinois. Mai said that when the council was chartered in 2014, “People asked me, ‘What should be the name of Council 15806?’ So I recommended Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuân. One day soon, he will be a saint.” These K of C councils take their place in a vibrant community of Vietnamese Catholics, which traces its roots back to evangelization in the 16th century. The first Vietnamese priests were ordained in 1668, and the Church in Vietnam grew over the centuries despite periods of intense persecution. Many priests, religious and laypeople suffered martyrdom; Pope John Paul II canonized 117 of the martyrs in 1998. Today, many K of C councils join Vietnamese Catholics throughout North America to celebrate Marian

Pilgrims escort a float and reliquary dedicated to the 117 Vietnamese martyrs — after whom seven Knights of Columbus councils are named — during a procession at Marian Days, a festival honoring the Immaculate Heart of Mary and celebrating Vietnamese culture, in Carthage, Mo., Aug 5. This year’s Marian Days event drew some 100,000 pilgrims. Days, an annual pilgrimage in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In recent years, Knights have increasingly become a presence at this festival of faith, which since 1978 has taken place outside the monastery of the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix in Carthage, Mo. Now drawing more than 80,000 faithful each year, it is one of the largest religious pilgrimages in North America. In addition, the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council has long recognized

the heroic witness of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuân. In 2008, the Knights financed the documentary film Road of Hope: The Spiritual Journey of Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, produced by Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation. The film, which debuted at the 2008 Eucharistic Congress in Québec City, features interviews and exclusive material from the Thuân family and conveys the cardinal’s message of hope and forgiveness. For more information on the film, visit♦ SEPTEMBER 2017

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Christopher Columbus and Fake History Once the target of anti-Catholic sentiment, Columbus is often slandered by those who misrepresent his legacy


riven in large part by political correctness and partisan academics and activists, it has become fashionable in recent years to criticize Christopher Columbus and the holiday named in his honor. A closer look, however, reveals the famed explorer to be a man of faith and courage, not a monster. Many of Columbus’ modern critics rely on a warped and politicized reading of history, and it is not the first time the explorer has endured such attacks. When a resurgence of anti-Catholic bigotry erupted in early 20th-century America, Columbus was a favorite target then as well. Despite animus among some groups today, the majority of Americans view the explorer positively and with pride. In a K of C-Marist poll from December 2016, 62 percent of Americans expressed a favorable opinion of the explorer and 55 percent said they were in favor of Columbus Day, the holiday named for him. By contrast, fewer than 3 in 10 view Columbus unfavorably and only 37 percent oppose the holiday named for him. Nonetheless, there have been political efforts to strip Columbus of honor, and the question of whether to continue to recognize Columbus Day is under review in many places. Some states and municipalities have removed the explorer’s name from the holiday or eliminated the observance entirely. A COURAGEOUS JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY Unfair attacks on Columbus, past and present, should not be allowed to obscure the truth about the man, his voyage and his motives. Born in Genoa, Italy, Columbus was a deeply Catholic explorer who was willing to go against the grain. He believed he could reach the shores of Asia by sailing a mere 24 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦


3,000 miles west across the Atlantic. Such a passage would establish faster and easier trade routes than were possible through overland travel or by sailing south and east around Africa. Scholars of his day calculated the distance to the Orient across the Atlantic at well over 7,000 miles, out of practical range for ships of the day. Those who were skeptical of the admiral’s proposal did not hold that the earth was flat, as popular myth has suggested, but rather that it was much larger than Columbus believed. Despite his miscalculation, after 10 weeks Columbus did indeed find land — not the outskirts of the Orient, as he went to his grave believing, but an entirely new continent. Later, as a nation began to coalesce out of the American colonies, its leaders recognized the admiral’s legacy. “Columbia” served as an informal name for what would become the United States of America. The eventual designation of the nation’s capital reflects the esteem the founders had for the Genoese explorer. Beginning in the 1840s, waves of European immigrants swelled the ranks of Catholics in the United States, and along with that came an increasingly anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant backlash from the Protestant majority. Catholics were subject to discrimination, slander, ridicule, anti-Catholic propaganda and sometimes mob violence. It was within this hostile climate that Father Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882. He and the founding Knights chose as the Order’s patron Christopher Columbus — one of the few Catholics considered a hero of American history. Father McGivney believed

Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archives

by Gerald Korson

Landing of Columbus, 1846, by John Vanderlyn / Photo courtesy of Architect of the Capitol, Washington, D.C.

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An 1846 painting depicts Christopher Columbus and members of his crew on a beach in the West Indies after arriving on his flagship Santa Maria Oct. 12, 1492. The work was commissioned by the U.S. Congress and installed in the Capitol Rotunda in 1847. • Opposite page: This statue of Christopher Columbus, dedicated by Italian-American residents in New Haven, Conn., was erected in 1892 in Wooster Square Park. In 2004, restoration of the statue was partially funded by the Knights of Columbus. the explorer represented both Catholicism and patriotism at the very root of America’s heritage, thereby symbolizing that faithful Catholics also can be solid American citizens. A decade later, as the Order celebrated its patron on the 400th anniversary of his discovery, President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed a national Columbus holiday. He called for “expressions of gratitude to Divine Providence for the devout faith of the discoverer, and for the Divine care and guidance which has directed our history and so abundantly blessed our people.” Colorado became the first state to establish Columbus Day in 1907, and others soon followed. In 1934, with strong urging and support by the Knights, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress made Columbus Day a federal holiday, mandating its first annual observance on Oct. 12, 1937. ATTACKS OLD AND NEW As the 1992 quincentenary of Columbus’ arrival in the New World approached, vocal opposition to Columbus was heard

from partisan and revisionist historians and activists who were often critical of Western civilization as a whole. That year, the city of Berkeley, Calif., changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, and several other municipalities have made similar moves, often explicitly as a means of dishonoring Columbus. In response to one such initiative in Baltimore, Eugene F. Rivers III, founder and president of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies, published an op-ed article Dec. 2, 2016. “To celebrate one cultural group does not require that we denigrate another,” he wrote. “Rather than renaming Columbus Day, why not add another holiday, Indigenous Peoples Day, to Baltimore’s calendar in honor of Native Americans?” The 20th century ended with criticism of Columbus and Columbus Day in certain quarters, just as the early 20th century had seen similar opposition. When the Ku Klux Klan was revived in 1915 and targeted Catholics, Jews and minority groups whom they considered a threat to the nation’s “Native, White, Protestant” identity, SEPTEMBER 2017

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one of their targets was Columbus. the abuse of the native peoples are often cited in an effort to imThe Klan opposed the observance of Columbus Day, trying pugn Columbus. But while de las Casas lamented the suffering to suppress celebrations of the holiday at the state level. Klan of indigenous people, he also admired and respected Columbus members published articles calling Columbus Day a “papal for his “sweetness and benignity” of character, his deep faith and fraud” and even burned a cross at a Knights of Columbus ob- his accomplishments. servance in Pennsylvania. “He was the first to open the doors to the ocean sea, where Today, one can still hear echoes of anti-Catholic prejudice he entered the remote lands and kingdoms which until then in the modern attacks. For some, Columbus’ sponsorship by had not known our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his blessed Spain and introduction of Christianity and Western culture name,” de las Casas wrote in his History of the Indies. While to the lands he discovered make him immediately suspect. cognizant that Columbus was human and made mistakes, de The new wave of anti-Columbus attacks go so far as to say las Casas never doubted the explorer’s good intentions, writthat Columbus intended nothing good. ing: “Truly, I would not dare blame the admiral’s intentions, “These criticisms primarily charge Columbus with perpe- for I knew him well and I know his intentions are good.” trating acts of genocide, slavery, ‘ecocide,’ and oppression,” According to Delaney, Columbus “fervently believed it was explained Robert Royal, president of the Faith and Reason In- the duty of every Christian to try to save the souls of nonstitute and author of 1492 and All That: Political Manipula- Christians,” and it was this passion that “led him on a great tions of History (1992). adventure, an encounter such as the world has never seen.” Nonetheless, a closer examination of the record reveals a Not surprisingly, popes since the late 19th century have different picture. praised Columbus’ mission of evangelization. Pope John “The dominant picture holds him responsible for every- Paul II, while celebrating Mass at a Columbus monument thing that went wrong in the New in the Dominican Republic near the World,” wrote Carol Delaney, a former 1992 quincentenary, said the crossprofessor at Stanford and Brown unishaped memorial “means to symbolize versities, in her book Columbus and the the cross of Christ planted in this Quest for Jerusalem (2011). In her land in 1492.” OLUMBUS’ FAITH “LED opinion, “we must consider his world In a speech to the young people of HIM ON A GREAT ADVENand how the cultural and religious beGenoa in May, Pope Francis talked liefs of his time colored the way he about how a disciple of Christ needs the TURE, AN ENCOUNTER thought and acted.” “virtue of a navigator,” and he pointed In a 2012 Columbia interview, Deto the example of Columbus who faced SUCH AS THE WORLD HAS laney further explained that Columbus “a great challenge” and showed found the native peoples to be “very “courage,” a trait he indicated was essenNEVER SEEN.” intelligent” and his relations with them tial to becoming a “good missionary.” “tended to be benign.” He gave strict As it did a century ago, the Order is instructions to the settlers to “treat the defending Columbus today. When native people with respect,” though some of his men rebelled Colorado lawmakers weighed a bill to repeal Columbus Day and disobeyed his orders, particularly during his long ab- as a state holiday earlier this year, the Knights of Columbus sences, Delaney added. helped lead the opposition. Recalling the Klan’s earlier efforts Columbus’ voyage made the Old and New Worlds aware of to oppose Columbus Day, the K of C noted that the measure each other for the first time, eventually leading to the found- was not a progressive step but rather “regressive as it takes us ing of new countries in the Western Hemisphere. Diseases in- back to what the Klan outlined in the 1920s in order to proadvertently carried to the New World by the Europeans mote ethnic and religious resentment.” caused the greatest number of casualties by far, killing some The Knights of Columbus has defended its patron from 90 percent of native populations according to some estimates. unfair attacks, urging that he continue to receive official “There were terrible diseases that got communicated to the recognition as a man of faith and bravery. Columbus reprenatives,” Delaney said, “but he can’t be blamed for that.” sents the kind of heroic courage and religious faith that inspired the establishment of the United States. Although he A RENEWED DEFENSE surely holds special meaning for Catholics and for ItalianAccording to Royal, arguments against Columbus by modern Americans, Columbus is a figure all citizens of the New critics often constitute a “new, contemporary form of the World can celebrate. ‘Black Legend’” — anti-Spanish propaganda dating back to For this reason, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in his the 16th-century that stereotypes Spanish explorers as annual report this year, “We will continue to defend the truth uniquely cruel and abusive. about Columbus and Columbus Day.”♦ The writings of Bartolomé de las Casas — a 16th-century Spanish Dominican priest, historian and missionary — exposing GERALD KORSON writes from Fort Wayne, Ind.


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REPORTS FROM COUNCILS, ASSEMBLIES AND COLUMBIAN SQUIRES CIRCLES fibrosis, a lung disease with no known cause or cure. The member received a lifesaving double-lung transplant, but the resulting medical expenses were substantial. Quickly coming to the family’s aid, Council 114 brought together their families, friends and parish community for a fundraiser spaghetti dinner, auction and raffle. More than 320 people participated, raising $21,782. LOOKING AHEAD

Richard T. Hellmich of South Milwaukee (Wis.) Council 1709 greets a child on his travels for the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. Council 1709 and the ladies’ auxiliary contributed $500 to cover the travel expenses of Hellmich’s son, James (in red shirt), so that he could accompany his father on this trip honoring his military service.


In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, St. Boniface Council 14439 in Springfield, Ga., came to the aid of

fellow parishioners of St. Boniface Catholic Church. Council members gathered their chainsaws and volunteered more than 100 hours to remove damaged trees and clear storm debris from the parishioners’ property.

Archdiocese Vocations League (DAVL). The event’s proceeds, along with funds raised through additional projects, enabled the council to offer $7,000 of support for seminarians and postulants.


Okmulgee (Okla.) Council 1677 heard a call for help from Open Gate, a community nutrition program, when their sponsor for an evening meal had to suddenly cancel. Within hours, the council made an action plan, purchased supplies, and prepared and served a delicious meal of soup, homemade cornbread and dessert for upward of 150 satisfied guests.

St. Ann by the Sea-Myles Standish Council 6649 in Marshfield, Mass., along with the Youth Missionaries of St. Ann by the Sea Church, co-hosted a well-attended spaghetti dinner at the parish hall. The event raised funds to help parish youth travel to the 2019 Panama World Youth Day.


A member of Bristol (Pa.) Council 906 cleans up a plant border at the St. Ann Worship Site of St. Mark Parish. Taking on the task of refurbishing a prayer garden, the council weeded and placed weed control on flowerbeds. Knights also donated flowers and mulch for the project, which took 48 hours over the course of a week.

St. Fabian Council 13362 in Farmington Hills, Mich., runs an annual “Crosses for Confirmation” project, during which handmade crosses, made by the council, are presented to the confirmation class of St. Fabian Church. Since 2011, the expanded program has given more than 500 crosses to confirmands, the RCIA group and St. Fabian School teachers. TAKE THE (PAN)CAKE


St. Paul of Tarsus Council 11689 in Clinton Township, Mich., held a pancake breakfast to support the Detroit

Pine Cone Council 114 in Bangor, Maine, rallied to aid a brother Knight dealing with idiopathic pulmonary

A participant at St. Mary of the Falls Parish Picnic buys a raffle ticket for a small Marian shrine built by Joe Fair of St. Mary of the Falls Council 14416 in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. The council raised $700 through the raffle, bringing its donation for tuition assistance at the parochial school to $2,000.


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La Petite Nation Council 3112 in Cheneville, Québec, organized a dinner of walleye. The fish dinner raised funds to repair the roof of Saint-Félix-de-Valois Church. PAELLA PROCEEDS

A family views a Knights of Columbus Silver Rose following a ceremony coordinated by St. Joseph’s Council 5958 in Orlando, Fla. More than 100 people — including a Fourth Degree honor guard, scores of children, Guadalupe dancers, singers, performers, carpenters and parking coordinators — collaborated in the event, which featured a procession, liturgy and reception. During the ceremony, children placed 44 roses — representing the number of years since Roe v. Wade — before a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn.


Msgr. Patrick R. Dunigan Council 695 in Flint, Mich., prepared hot dogs for attendees of the Faith in Flint

Festival at Powers Catholic High School. With the help of volunteers from Father John E. Madden Council 14031, also of Flint, and Father Louis P. Gauthier Council 10170 of Burton, Council 695 manned a food tent with K of C-donated hot dogs and chips for the five-hour event. PASTA PHILANTHROPY

After a procession in the streets of Brampton, Ontario, as St. Eugene de Mazenod Parish celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi, a member of Our Lady of Ludźmierz Assembly grills sausage for a family picnic. The council also provided an honor guard for the procession. 28 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

Pope John Paul I Council 7245 in Lake Placid, Fla., sold spaghetti and meatballs at the Lake Placid Arts & Crafts Festival. The sale raised $800 for the council’s ongoing support of parish and community projects. SVDP RAFFLE Thomas E. Power Council 1505 in Danvers, Mass., held a raffle for a large flat-screen television. The full proceeds of $1,060 were given to the


St. Vincent de Paul Society at the parish of St. Mary of the Annunciation to support the society’s ministry to local families in need.

Valley of the Moon Council 7951 in Sonoma, Calif., held a Paella Dinner benefiting the Facilities Renovation Fund of St. Francis Solano Church. The event generated more than $3,600, which will go directly to Project St. Francis. Some 200 people enjoyed food, music and each other’s company at the paella dinner, which the council plans to make an annual event. SALSA SALES

St. Peter’s at Baylor University Council 13577 in Waco, Texas, managed salsa sales and fundraiser dinners. The events netted $1,600 for the council’s Seminarian Fund and charitable activities, such as making sandwiches weekly for a homeless shelter and contributing toward a new church in Cameroon.


Bishop Marrocco Council 10283 in Brampton, Ontario, donated $20,000 to its home parish, St. Patrick’s Church. Funds were collected over the past three years from dinner dances, panettone sales and other fundraising events. The monies will go toward the building of the parish’s new church. The pastor, Father Vito Marziliano, expressed his appreciation to the council for all the efforts that went into this endeavor and asked the membership to continue their good work during the next phase of the church construction.

Members of Church of the Holy Spirit Council 12150 in Montgomery, Ala., install handmade crosses on the grounds of Holy Spirit Church. On display for one month, each of the 270 crosses in this temporary display represented 10 of the more than 2,700 abortions occurring daily in the United States.

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Future” capital campaign, which will support the construction of a new sanctuary for St. Thomas More University. One of the new sanctuary’s daily Mass chapels will be named after Father Michael J. McGivney. MAKING MUSIC A member of San Ignacio de Loyola Council 14068 in Mexico City, Mexico, visits with a resident of Tree of Life House, a center for people with illnesses who are unable to find service at other medical institutions. Since Lent of 2014, Council 14068 has made monthly deliveries of items such as clothing, shoes, milk, biscuits, medicines, diapers and cleaning products; assisted residents with personal hygiene; and visited to talk, pray and learn together.


Thanks to 15 years of selling parking and tailgating spaces during University of Oklahoma football games, Norman (Okla.) Council 8523 was able to pledge $100,000 toward the “Our Faith, Our

St. Brendan Council 11208 in Hilliard, Ohio, in conjunction with musical group The Navigators and the local Notes club, held a concert to raise money for Coats for Kids. More than 230 people attended the event, for which the Notes provided VIP tables, each valued at $100. The concert raised more than $3,054, which will enable the council to provide coats next fall to more than 160 children. SIMPLE NECESSITIES

Pere Marquette Council 1492 in Ludington, Mich., sold fried dough during a series of town street fairs. The 200 volunteer hours yielded $1,500 in sales, which the council donated to the Ludington High School Resource Center. The center provides basic necessities such as food, clothing and laundry detergent to youth

Maryland State Deputy Steve Cohen (left), members of the Fullerton Women’s Care Center staff, Ultrasound Program Chairman Dick Siejack and State Director of Culture of Life Programs Mike Furst celebrate the 17th ultrasound machine donation made by the Maryland State Council. The donation was made through a partnership with the Supreme Council, the Maryland State Council, Cardinal Gibbons Council 2521 in Nottingham and Father Burggraff Council 6021 in Perry Hall.

from families in need or to those living on their own while trying to graduate high school. The support services also extend into the summer months, when school is out of session. VETERANS DINNER

Mother Teresa Council 12696 in Tucson, Ariz., hosted its annual dinner for veterans. Partnering with organizations serving retired and homeless veterans, the council welcomed 100 veterans as guests. In addition to a meal, the event featured gifts, such as thank-you cards and knitted caps, from community groups. Guests were also provided with transportation to and from the event. OFFICER APPRECIATION

Members of San Atanasio Council 4882 in Long Beach, Calif., staff the kitchen during the council’s monthly food sale, which supports the local parochial school.

Prince of Peace Council 5903 in Englishtown, N.J., demonstrated its support for those who protect and serve by honoring Bryan Belardo as Police Officer of

the Year. The presentation event provided an occasion to express gratitude for all police officers serving their communities. FEELING BLUE

East Kildonan Council 4107 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, teamed up with other ministry groups at St. Alphonsus Church to coordinate a pool that followed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League. Ticket sales raised nearly $7,000 in prize money, and the program netted $14,129 toward the St. Alphonsus Beautification Fund. exclusive See more “Knights in Action” reports and photos at knightsinaction


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Supreme Council Awards College Scholarships FOR THE 2016-2017 academic year, the Knights of Columbus awarded scholarships totaling more than $1.27 million to 515 students. Most recipients are the children of Knights, or Knights themselves, attending Catholic universities or Catholic colleges in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico or the Philippines. These figures include $287,500 in awards given to 117 seminarians in the United States and Canada. For more information about the Order’s scholarship programs, visit


This scholarship was established in 1998 in honor of the Order’s 11th supreme knight. Recipients must be enrolled at a Catholic college or Catholic university in the United States and be a Knight, the wife of a Knight, or the son or daughter of a Knight. Widows and children of members who died in good standing are also eligible. In addition to the 29 new recipients listed here, 84 scholarships were renewed for the current academic year. New recipients are: Christopher J. Beirne, Karl R. Brine-Doyle, Michael J. Bursch, Alex E. Capozziello, Alexander L. Conway, Aaron J. Dlabal, John M. Edwards, Nora F. Fenton, Noah A. Furneri, Nicholas J. Giannotti, Jake V. Gilstrap, Patrick M. Harris, Clare E. Heinrich, Madison J. Kuehl, Patrick J. Kunst, Katherine C. 30 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

LaCosta, Casslyn M. McNamara, Bruce J. Patryn, Sofia M. Perez, Elliott I. Rysavy, Clement G. Say, Jacob G. Schmiesing, Mary E. Schreffler, Hannah C. Schwartz, Bridget A. Sullivan, Helena C. Tiller, Christopher O. Toudouze Jr., Maria N. Tran and Edyta A. Wolk. FOURTH DEGREE PRO DEO AND PRO PATRIA SCHOLARSHIPS

A total of 83 U.S. students received Fourth Degree Pro Deo and Pro Patria scholarships of $1,500 each. These scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence to incoming freshmen in bachelor’s degree programs at Catholic colleges or Catholic universities. The recipients are Knights of Columbus or Columbian Squires, the son or daughter of a Knight in good standing, or the son or daughter of a Knight who was in good standing at the time of


his death. Contingent on satisfactory academic performance, these scholarships are renewed for a total of four years. This academic year, 16 new scholarships were awarded and 50 renewed. The following are first-time recipients: Jacob G. Benne, John A. Blackman, Andrew M. Donofrio, Robert A. Fiegelist, Brendan R. Flood, Patrick J. Halpin, Mairead K. Kennon, Samuel S. Lafreniere, Claudia A. Magnussen, Margaret R. McDonough, Brandon T. Molzon, Sarah A. Moynihan, Megan E. Pfundstein, Teresa R. Pillifant, Natalie E. Santucci and Anna C. Wanner. FOURTH DEGREE PRO DEO AND PRO PATRIA SCHOLARSHIPS (CANADA)

These scholarships are for students entering colleges or universities in Canada, with requirements regarding K of C membership that is the same as for their U.S. counterparts. Ten new scholarships were awarded and 35 renewed for the current academic year. New recipients are: Annie M. Cormier, Nicholas G. Deagle, Nathan G. Holroyd, Victoria Lachance, Myra F. Luetke, Sarah M. MacInnis, Arielle A. McKay, Charles C. Meadows, Jacob J. Sperling and John T. St. Croix. ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS

Percy J. Johnson Scholarships are awarded to young men attending U.S. Catholic colleges or Catholic universities and are funded by a 1990 bequest of Percy J. Johnson, a member of Seville Council 93 in Brockton, Mass. Five scholarships were awarded and 18 renewed for the current academic year. New recipients are: Terrance Casey, Sean C. Fletcher, Martin D. Heli, Francisco Hernandez and Joshua P. Vallencourt.

In 2000, Knights of Columbus Charities Inc. received a $100,000 donation from Frank L. Goularte. A scholarship fund in his name was established to provide $1,500 in need-based grants that are administered, in general, according to the rules of the Pro Deo and Pro Patria Scholarships. Two new scholarships were awarded for the current academic year and eight were renewed. The new recipients are Lucy K. Simmons and Angela Weber. From 1995 to 1997, Knights of Columbus Charities Inc. received bequests totaling nearly $200,000 from the estate of Anthony J. LaBella. In his will, LaBella remembered the kindness shown to him by Knights when he was an orphan in Farmingdale, N.Y. The bequests have since been used to establish a scholarship fund in LaBella’s name. Earnings from the fund provide scholarships for undergraduate study in accordance with the rules and procedures of the Pro Deo and Pro Patria Scholarships. Two new scholarships were awarded and 12 renewed for the current academic year. First-time recipients are Emma R. Adams and David J. Phillips. In 1997, Knights of Columbus Charities Inc. received a bequest from Dr. Arthur F. Battista to establish scholarships for graduates of the Cornwall (Ontario) Collegiate and Vocational School. These $1,500 and $2,000 annual scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit, financial need, community service and extracurricular activities. Preference is given to Knights; to the children or grandchildren of members; to students recommended by the Ontario State Council; and to students bound for Catholic colleges or Catholic universities. For the current academic year, 32 new scholarships were awarded and

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26 grants renewed. New recipients are: Drake Adams, Charlie Babineau, Aronhiorronions Beauvais, Joey Beelich, Alexander Grant, Magdalin Grant, Umay Habiba, Sarah Hunter, Courtney Kingston, Mitchell Laffin, Carlie Lafrance, Sarah Lafrance, Nicholas LaMarche, Ashlea Laszewski, Larissa Lazore-Cook, Shaohong Liu, Mifda Lafir Madani, Madison Marsolais, Cole Owen, Destiny Perkins, Jonathan Ponnudurai, Kasia Ransom, Kiana Robertson, Cameron Roundpoint, Quinten Roundpoint, Cassidy Savard, Joshua Seguin, Yathusha Selvarajah, Alannah Taillon, Shraddha Timalsina, Madison Wolff and Mackenzie Wright. SISTER THEA BOWMAN FOUNDATION – K OF C SCHOLARSHIPS

This scholarship is named for Sister Thea Bowman (19371990), an African-American religious who inspired many people with her urgent and uplifting call for better education for children of the African-American community. In December 1996, the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors, in partnership with the Sister Thea Bowman Foundation, authorized a fouryear grant in the amount of $25,000 per year to support deserving African-American students pursuing a Catholic college education. Periodically, the board has approved continuation of the grant program. In August 2005, the amount of the fouryear grant was increased to $37,500 per year. For the 2016-2017 academic year, no new scholarships were awarded. GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS

The Order has an endowment at The Catholic University of

America in Washington, D.C., that provides Knights of Columbus graduate fellowships. One new fellowship was awarded and five renewed. The new recipient is Brian Killackey. One fellowship for the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America was renwed for the current academic year. Three new fellowships were awarded. The recipients are Michael Boland, Donald Rooney and Joseph Villanueva. MEXICO SCHOLARSHIPS

Six new scholarships were awarded in the amount of $500 each, renewable for up to four years. In addition, 14 were renewed. The new recipients are: Rosy Y. Acevedo Tacuba, Verónica Blas Toledo, Francisco Vallejo Carpio, José R. González Estrella, Claudia A. Rojas Márquez and Erick A. Loera Castillo. PUERTO RICO SCHOLARSHIPS

For the 2017-18 academic year, 11 new scholarships were awarded and five renewed. The new recipients are Nileyka Anais-Rodríguez, Juan J. Campos-Roig, Erick M. CarrerasAcosta, Karla N. CorreaTorres, Carlos MaldonadoZayas, José J. Ortiz-Garcia, Jonathan Pérez-Villegas, Gilberto Ramos-Rodríguez, Cesar J. Rodríguez-Padilla, Julio C. Rodríguez-Padilla, and Carlos E. Valentín-Butler. PHILIPPINES SCHOLARSHIPS

For the 2016-17 academic year, 17 new scholarships of $500 were awarded and 19 renewed. The new recipients are Vaniza J. Aparici, Julie F. Bacawag, Vinch M. Escomo, Danilo C. Esguerra Jr., Paul A. Estrada, Mac

Educational Trust Fund THE FRANCIS P. MATTHEWS and John E. Swift Educational Trust offers scholarships to the children of members who are killed or permanently and totally disabled by hostile action while serving with the armed forces during a covered period of conflict. In 2004, the Order declared that Matthews military conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan would be covered under the trust fund. Also eligible are the children of members who are killed as a result of criminal violence directed against them while performing their duties as full-time law enforcement officers or full-time firefighters. An application must be filed within two Swift years of the member’s death or the determination of his total and permanent disability. As of June 30, a total of 820 children have been recorded as eligible for benefits from the trust fund since its establishment in 1944. Thus far, 348 eligible children have chosen not to use the scholarships, three have died, and 125 who began college either discontinued their studies or fully used their scholarship eligibility before graduation. There are 44 future candidates. To date, 294 students have completed their education through the fund. During the 2016-2017 academic year, eight students pursued undergraduate degrees through the benefit of the Francis P. Matthews and John E. Swift Educational Trust Fund scholarship program. The following students are working toward their degrees: Mitchell J. Atkinson, Patrick L. Barta, Kellie E. Barta-Ramirez, Kristen M. Merchant, Lucas D. Miller, Nicole F. Palazzo and Melissa R. Stachowiak.

S. Johnson, John R. Jusayan, Rhea B. Lumiuan, Nina C. Ombrosa, Rovelyn A. Patay, Maria B. Pimentel, Gabrielle F.

Raymundo, Tricia R. Reyes, Princess G. Rosales, Shania S. San Diego, Paramisuli N. Sisi and Donna L. Sua.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Scholarship applications for the 2018-19 academic year will be available after Oct. 1, 2017. To obtain an application or request more information, visit, call us at (203) 7524332 or write to: Dept. of Scholarships Knights of Columbus 1 Columbus Plaza P.O. Box 1670 New Haven, CT 06507


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K OF C ITEMS OFFICIAL SUPPLIERS IN THE UNITED STATES THE ENGLISH COMPANY INC. Official council and Fourth Degree equipment 1-800-444-5632 • LYNCH AND KELLY INC. Official council and Fourth Degree equipment and officer robes 1-888-548-3890 • IN CANADA ROGER SAUVÉ INC. Official council and Fourth Degree equipment and officer robes 1-888-266-1211 •




Water-Repellent Lightweight Jacket This navy Devon & Jones® jacket has a lightweight, breathable 65% polyester/35% cotton shell with a mesh lining, plus elastic cuffs and waist. This jacket is available with the emblem of the Order or the Fourth Degree emblem embroidered on the left chest in full color. M, L XL: $50 each; 2XL: $52; 3XL: $53; 4XL: $54

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

Knit Hat & Reversible Scarf Set Made in the U.S.A., this royal blue knit scarf and matching knit cuff hat, both featuring the emblem of the Order, will keep you looking great and B. warm. Emblem, text and stripes are knit in gold, red and white feeling on a royal blue base. The scarf features reversible design. One size: $23.50

OFFICIAL SEPT. 1, 2017: 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 P.O. 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, P.O. BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 06507-0901. REJECTED MATERIAL WILL BE RETURNED IF ACCOMPANIED BY A SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPE AND RETURN POSTAGE. PURCHASED MATERIAL WILL NOT BE RETURNED. OPINIONS BY WRITERS ARE THEIR OWN AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS. SUBSCRIPTION RATES — IN THE U.S.: 1 YEAR, $6; 2 YEARS, $11; 3 YEARS, $15. FOR OTHER COUNTRIES ADD $2 PER YEAR. EXCEPT FOR CANADIAN SUBSCRIPTIONS, PAYMENT IN U.S. CURRENCY ONLY. SEND ORDERS AND CHECKS TO: ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT, P.O. BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 06507-0901.


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Personalized Long-Sleeve Pique Polo This long-sleeve, 3-button shirt in royal blue, black or navy has the emblem of the Order or Fourth Degree emblem embroidered in full color the left chest, with your council or assembly name and number around it. Please allow 10-12 business days for your personalized order to be produced. S, M, L XL: $35 each; 2XL: $37; 3XL: $38; 4XL: $39 These items and more available at Questions? 1-855-GEAR-KOC (855-432-7562) Additional shipping costs apply to all orders. Please call before mailing in an order.

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Photo by Dzoja Gunda Barysaite

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

Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Archbishop Gintaras Grušas (center left) of Vilnius, Lithuania; and Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, apostolic nuncio to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, stand with Lithuanian Knights following the beatification of Archbishop Teofilius Matulionis in Vilnius, June 25. The Knights provided a number of key services for the beatification celebration, including the installation of a sacristy for some 60 cardinals, archbishops and bishops at the Grand Palace of Dukes of Lithuania, as well as assistance during the Mass. Archbishop Grušas and Archbishop López are members of St. Ignatius Council 15900 in Vilnius and of Our Lady of Remedios Council 5681 in Malate Manila, Philippines, respectively.





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FATHER DEAN DOWLE Archdiocese of Edmonton Father Duncan MacDonnell Council 6363 Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

Photo by Ian Grant

As a child, I loved to serve in the church, be it as an altar boy or any other way. Often, my partners were the Knights, and I found that the lives of these men and their families shined with faith, purpose, integrity and joy. This was inspiring on many levels as a young man. While in high school, I received a letter of invitation that helped my vocation come fully alive. To me, it expressed in one simple and telling sentence what has proven itself more true with each passing day: “The priesthood is a beautiful and joyful way of serving God and his people.” Christ leads every person to a particular path. If we follow his example of humble submission and loving service, the ways to contribute toward the good in this life are limitless. Today, I am eternally grateful that the Knights and many others had faith in me, for I am now honored to share the best of our Catholic faith with them — and truly blessed to serve all of God’s people.

Columbia September 2017  
Columbia September 2017  

Columbia September 2017