Knights of Columbus: Take Your Candle, Go Light Your World

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Lindsay Steele
Knight of the Year Rick Jacoby of St. Mary Parish in Grinnell holds his
hand to his heart as he accepts a standing ovation from Iowa Knights
of Columbus 2022 State Convention participants April 30 at Hyatt
Regency Hotel & Conference Center in Coralville. His family and pastor,
Father Scott Foley, cheered him on.

 

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

Knights of Columbus and their families gathered face-to-face for the annual Iowa State Convention. “We’re excited to be in person again,” said Steven Harvey, a past grand knight of St. Paul the Apostle Parish Council #15725 in Davenport as he enjoyed a banquet dinner with more than 400 KofCs, wives and children.

The convention, with the theme “Take Your Candle, Go Light Your World,” took place April 29-May 1 at Hyatt Regency Hotel & Conference Center in Coralville. Guests enjoyed fellowship and took part in activities, meetings and worship opportunities.

Every four years, the Diocese of Davenport has the opportunity to host the annual convention. The dioceses of Sioux City and Des Moines and the Archdiocese of Dubuque also take turns hosting. Eric Field of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine co-chaired this year’s event with Bill Wieland of St. Mary Parish in Solon. Planning began in August 2021. “We’ve worked well as a team and had great support from our state family, Field said. The KofCs is “not just a boys’ club,” so they planned the convention as a family event with activities for women and children. Eric’s wife, Erin, said she enjoyed a paint-and-sip event with other wives on Saturday. Of the 425 registered guests, 80 were women and about 10-15 were children.

Lindsay Steele
Eric Field, Iowa Knights of Columbus 2022 State Convention co-chair, selects a raffle winner during a banquet April 30 at Hyatt Regency Hotel & Conference Center in Coralville. Field, a member of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine, co-chaired the event with Bill Wieland of St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville, second from left.

Participants came together Saturday night for a banquet that included a video message from Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly. He highlighted the work KofCs have done locally and abroad, especially concerning pro-life issues, vocations and the war in Ukraine. This includes monetary aid and volunteerism. “Where there is a need, there is a Knight,” he said.

Antonio Banuelos, a former Iowa state deputy who serves as a supreme director for the international Knights of Columbus, emphasized this message in an address to convention guests. He said there is reason to hope that Roe v. Wade will be overturned this summer, but if that happens, pro-life advocates will need to work harder than ever. “It’ll be a kick to the wasp’s nest” of pro-choice advocates, he believes. “We have to be ready for that.” Additionally, he said KofCs and their families must be a “driving force” in bringing people back to the Church post-pandemic. “We need to evangelize with love and care… The future is cloudy but our faith is strong.”

“We will get back the people we thought we had lost to the pandemic,” State Deputy Steven Vonnahme said in his keynote address. “How do we do that? We ask! Everyone in this room needs to ask someone to come back to church… We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We can light the world, so let us take our candles and light somebody’s world.”

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Lindsay Steele
Jeff and Megan, Will, Cameron and Dawson Schulte of St. Mary Parish in Williamsburg earned Family of the Year honors at the Iowa Knights of Columbus 2022 State Convention April 30 in Coralville. They are joined by State Deputy Steven Vonnahme and his wife, Rose.

Several diocesan Catholics received awards at the banquet Saturday night. Jeff and Megan Schulte and their three sons, Will, Cameron and Dawson, earned Family of the Year honors. Jeff is a past grand knight of Council 2818 in Williamsburg and serves as program director and trustee. He spearheads the KC CANS4LIFE program, helps with coffee and doughnut socials and fifth-Sunday breakfasts and directed the St. Mary Parish confirmation class of 2022. Megan is a religious education teacher and lector for the parish. Will, Cameron and Dawson are altar servers. State leadership said the Schultes are “a shining example of a faith-filled Catholic family.” Jeff told The Catholic Messenger that the award came as a huge surprise because there were so many deserving families in his parish, let alone the state.

Rick Jacoby of Council 4248 in Grinnell earned Knight of the Year honors. Jacoby joined the KofCs in 1994, following in the footsteps of his father, and has held many council positions including grand knight, faithful navigator and district deputy. At the state level, he has been a membership specialist, program director, warden and treasurer. In a nomination letter, the Grinnell council recognized Jacoby as someone who “has a problem of not saying no, never wanting to see a job, office or position go unfilled.” State leadership said he “continuously exemplifies the traits of a solid Catholic man and is a great example for all Knights.” Jacoby felt honored but said there are “so many deserving Knights who do so many wonderful things to help their communities and parishes. I’m honestly surprised!”

State leadership named Father Charles Fladung, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Solon, as Chap­lain of the Year for the Dav­en­­port Dio­cese. Nomin­a­tors from the Solon parish wrote that Father Fladung is “a deeply spiritual man who inspires and cares for the council and parish members.”

Dan McEleney of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton earned District Deputy of the Year honors. He is a fifth-year district deputy who assisted in the formation of one of Iowa’s newest councils. He and his wife, Rose, serve as cantors and participate in marriage encounter weekends.

Gregory Waddle, formerly of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City and now a field agent for Knights of Columbus Insurance in Des Moines, received Agent of the Year recognition for selling $32 million in coverage. In his acceptance speech, he thanked his parents “who taught me to love God” and his wife, Rachelle. He also recognized Deacon Chris and Julie Kabat of the Iowa City parish for their role in his faith journey.

Bishop Thomas Zinkula celebrated Mass with convention guests on Sunday morning, encouraging the KofCs and their families to commit to God throughout every stage of life.

 


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