By T. Waldmann-Williams and Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
KNOXVILLE — Last month, the St. Anthony Parish Knights of Columbus Council 7874 vowed to continue its financial support of Birthright of Knoxville. The council also showed its support for 3rd Degree Knight Tom Hardie, who is in the deacon formation program.
Birthright of Knoxville recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Grand Knight Jim Brees said KC Council 7874 has supported the local Birthright for as long as he can remember. Birthright is an organization that provides love, support and hope to women facing unplanned pregnancies. Longtime director and current co-director Marilee Richardson “has helped a lot of women, and we’re proud to have her in our parish,” Brees said. The organization generally receives $500 annually from the Knights, with the possibility of additional donations as the need arises.
Birthright of Knoxville Co-Director Amanda Ohannessian said the Knights’ support through the years has allowed the organization to become “a pillar in our community, a beacon of light and hope to our clients, allowing our volunteers to fulfill the desire and passion God has placed on their hearts for these women and children.” She noted that Birthright of Knoxville will host the annual Iowa and Nebraska state meeting this fall for the opportunity to share information, support and encouragement.
The council helped deacon candidate Hardie offset travel expenses related to the diaconate program with a $500 check. God-willing, he will be ordained as a permanent deacon in July. Hardie said he is thankful for the Knights’ support and encouragement throughout his deacon formation, which began in 2011. Deacon candidates and their wives are required to participate in monthly, weekend-long classes, among other requirements.
Brees said these donations would not be possible without the generosity of those who attend and volunteer at Knight-supported functions including pancake breakfasts, fish fries and fifth-Sunday brunches.