By Dan Kudulis
On July 15th, the newly elected officers for the Knights of Columbus Council #12144 took their oaths of office in an installation ceremony held in the Parish Hall. In addition to the council officers, the event was attended by many other members of the council, along with spouses, family, friends, and parishioners. The Knights were also honored to have Tom Kato, the Arizona State Deputy for the Knights, join in the celebration and festivities. Immediately after the ceremony, attendees enjoyed a pot luck dinner (organized by the Catholic Daughters of the Americas) and great conversation as the Knights begin planning for another year of activities designed to help their members, as well as the parish, continue to grow in our faith and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through their actions. After the event, new Grand Knight Robin Clark was kind enough to sit down and discuss with “The Family Seton” a bit of his personal history, as well as his plans for the Council during the coming year. Robin will bring a fresh perspective to the leadership of the council because, 5 years ago, Robin wasn’t even a Catholic!
“Never in my life did I even think about becoming a Catholic.” says Robin. “I was raised a Baptist when growing up in Tennessee, and I was kind of religious, but not overly so.” That all changed a few years back when Robin and his wife Brenda were visiting their son and his family up in Wyoming. Their son had converted to Catholicism after being introduced to the faith while in the military. During their visit one night, completely out of the blue and with no forethought, Robin blurted out in front of everyone “I’m going to become a Catholic!” No one in the room was more surprised by this more than Robin himself! “I guess the Holy Spirit decided it was time for me, and the words just came out of my mouth.” After returning back to Phoenix, both Robin and his wife Brenda completed the RCIA program, and they were welcomed into the Church at the Easter Vigil Mass in 2021. A week later, he joined the Knights of Columbus and immediately got involved with their activities (although limited because of Covid). As the Parish emerged from the Covid restrictions, Robin has increased his time spent volunteering, not only with the Knights, but also with the Hospitality Ministry at the 11 AM Mass on Sunday.
His vision for the Knights of Columbus Council is very simple. “Our main goal as Knights is to assist our priests and deacons to grow the faith not only in our members, but in the entire Parish community. To do so, we will continue to develop programs and activities that are faith-based but also offer opportunities for the parish community to bond together at social functions.” With the decline in Mass attendance in recent years, the Knights of Columbus want to not only help lead people back to our faith, but also strengthen the faith in devoted Catholics. “Our state motto this year is “Faith Over Culture”, and a lot of our planned activities focus on strengthening our Faith so we can overcome the evils that our culture continues to push.” Activities already planned for this year include a Silver Rose Prayer Ceremony (dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe), a free bus ride for all parishioners to attend the Arizona Rosary Celebration downtown (also a free event), a Blood Drive, a country music concert, a Pro-Life Fundraiser, and a Eucharistic Procession to celebrate the Feast of St. Elizabeth Seton. More events will continue to be added as the year progresses.
Planning the events is the easy part. Staffing the events is much more difficult. “We need as many men in the Parish as possible to step up and join us in our efforts.” says Robin. “Many hands make light work. Living in a retirement community, a lot of our members can’t volunteer as much time as they used to. We have a few younger guys, but most of us have lost a step or two. Having more men join us allows us to continue to do the work we need to do.” The Knights hold several recruiting drives throughout the year, but men can join at any time, and can even do so on-line in about 5 minutes. “Your Church needs you, and the Knights need you to carry out God’s work in our community.”
For more information about joining the Knights of Columbus, please contact:
Robin Clark, Grand Knight