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Style Magazine

Knights of Columbus

Dec 30, 2011 08:57AM ● By Style

Photo by Dante Fontana

The Knights of Columbus may not wear shining armor, but they do help damsels in distress.

“We hold an annual Mother’s Day fundraiser to raise money for Mother Teresa’s Maternity Home in Placerville, which provides shelter, food and clothes for pregnant women who need help,” says Ed Lewandowski, Grand Knight of the Holy Trinity Council of the Knights of Columbus (K of C). “It’s just one of the ways we strive to serve our community.”

As one of more than 14,000 K of C Councils worldwide, Holy Trinity is fulfilling the organization’s century-old mission to serve the Catholic Church and its local communities, families and young people. The Knights were founded in 1881 in New Haven, Connecticut, when then 29-year-old parish priest Father Michael McGivney had a vision for a fraternal organization dedicated to the principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. Little could he have known that 130 years later, his small band of men would become the world’s largest fraternal Catholic service organization and be praised by popes, presidents and other world leaders for its good works.

The Holy Trinity Council, operating within the Holy Trinity Parish in El Dorado Hills, was founded in 1999 and its 150 members have been living up to K of C’s billing as the “strong right arm of the Church” ever since. They serve free pancake breakfasts to the hungry every other month, hold regular blood drives, and sponsor school programs to educate kids about drug abuse. They’re also big participants in the annual “Walk for Life” event held every January in San Francisco. Other annual activities include a Christmas social, Valentine’s Day dinner/dance, Parish Harvest Festival, basketball free-throw contest, essay contest, and a Tootsie Roll Drive to support local agencies serving people with intellectual disabilities; and that’s all in addition to providing extra manpower to cook, clean and serve at fundraising events that benefit the many ministries of the parish. In short, it’s not an organization for sedentary types.

Joining the group is an option open to men, 18 years or older, who are practicing Catholics and in good standing with the Church. When new members join, they become “First Degree” Knights through an exemplification ceremony, which explicates the value of charity. After participating in the subsequent degrees, each focusing on a different principle, a Knight rises to the second and third degree, at which point he is considered a full member. With their colorful plumed hats, capes and swords, fourth degree knights are probably who most people recognize. Fourth Degree membership fosters the spirit of patriotism and encourages active Catholic citizenship. “I think what makes the organization so special is not just the work it does, but that you can see how your efforts are really helping people,” Lewandowski says. “That’s more rewarding than any pat on the back could ever be.”

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