Company is coming to the Davenport Diocese to participate in the Iowa Knights of Columbus State Convention this weekend, April 6-8, in Davenport. Convention organizers expect around 500 Iowa Knights and their spouses to attend the celebratory event at the RiverCenter. Children will be present, too, because the KCs have a deep commitment to the family. Please welcome them warmly!
Described as the world’s largest lay Catholic organization, the Knights of Columbus boast more than 1.8 million members around the globe. Membership in the Iowa Knights of Columbus totals 32,685. Service is the hallmark of this fraternal group. You’ve seen KCs in action: cooking at fish fries, distributing Tootsie Rolls to raise funds for individuals with intellectual disabilities and flipping pancakes at parish breakfasts to raise money for various parish activities. You’ve seen KCs advocating on behalf of the right to life, serving as honor guards at Masses and participating in parades to demonstrate appreciation for our country and the individuals who serve in the military.
The KCs do plenty of work behind the scenes as well, assisting priests and parishioners to help strengthen parishes. “We have a number of Knights who do the driving for priests who travel from parish to parish for Mass on the weekends,” said State Secretary Paul Lee. Some KCs also assist priests with moving when they are assigned to another parish.
In a YouTube presentation, State Chaplain Father Bill Reynolds delivers a heart-felt litany of what the Knights of Columbus do in addition to one of their most visible efforts, promoting the right to life. He spoke of the general activities — already mentioned here — and some poignant, specific works of mercy. He told of Knights teaching second-graders preparing to receive their first Communion and cleaning up the church hall so that younger families could enjoy the reception with their guests afterwards. He talked of KCs going fishing with a boy whose dad was killed in a military conflict.
“Knights offer hope and witness to a disheartened world. Knights offer their hearts and souls and strong bodies for others to lean on in times of crisis, sorrow and pain,” said Fr. Reynolds, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Newton. “Knights offer their presence as pillars of the church in what they say and do and in what they do not say and do not do…. We are the strong right arm of the church. We are the protectors of the innocents and the most vulnerable among us.”
A special aspect to this year’s convention will be the initiation of Bishop Thomas Zinkula into the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus. Bishop Zinkula will be the honoree in his class of 75. Honorees are chosen because they serve as a role model to others or have provided meritorious service to the organization. Bishop Zinkula and his fellow honorees will be initiated on Friday, during a private ceremony.
The bishop will give the keynote address at the Friday night banquet, when awards will be presented to the State Knight of the Year; Chaplain of the Year; Deacon of the Year and Youth of the year. Other awards will be presented the following night at the Saturday banquet.
Bishop Zinkula will preside at Mass on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. in the RiverCenter’s Mississippi River Hall. The public is invited to the Mass and to Sunday morning Mass — same time, same place. Fr. Reynolds will preside. Davenport was selected as this year’s convention site because the conference rotates annually.
Some 136 years ago, the Knights of Columbus began in response to unmet need. Father Michael McGivney organized the Knights to provide welfare and security for families during times of sickness and death. Eighteen years later, Dubuque initiated the first council in Iowa in 1900, followed later that year by Davenport. Fr. McGivney dreamed of a KC council in every parish. That dream is moving toward reality in Iowa. We are blessed by their presence, and their commitment to serve others; for providing a shoulder to lean on.
Barb Arland-Fye, Editor