Reflections from the Pastor

Good People of Epiphany,

A few weeks ago I was standing outside of the main Church, shaking hands and greeting people after Mass, when I felt a sharp tug on my vestments, I looked down and there was one of our kindergarten students. He had a question for me.

"Where are the Knights?"

He had heard me announce at the end of Mass that the Knights of Columbus were serving coffee and donuts in the cafeteria and he seemed ager to find them. I was just so pleased that a boy so young had been paying attention at Mass that I really didn't think too much about it. I simply pointed him to the doorway that lead to the cafeteria, figuring that what he was really looking for was a donut, and I sent him on his way.

A short time later he came back. This time he had a donut, part of it in his hand and much of it all over his face. Again, he asked, "Father, where are the Knights?" At that point I began to suspect that this young man had more on his mind than just donuts. So I asked him, "Didn't you see the Knights serving donuts when you went into the cafeteria?"

He tried to explain himself, but through all of the "kindergarten-ese" I couldn't understand exactly what he was saying. Then the young boy struck up a pose as if he were one of the guards at Buckingham palace. It didn't take long after that for me to realize what he had been hoping to see the fourth-degree Knights in their their full regalia - as we often find them at so many of our Catholic festivities and liturgies. His imagination had been won over by those noble looking men in their striking red capes and white gloves, brandishing swords and wearing hats with colored plumes.

Granted his hopes were not exactly fulfilled on that particular day. Nonetheless, I was encouraged to know that at least here was a young man who had claimed for himself some worthy role models. With all of the negative influences that compete for the hearts of our young people today. I was heartened to see that here was a good example of Christian service to which this young person could aspire.

This past month the Knights of Columbus marked their 125th anniversary. Since their founding in 1882, the Knights of Columbus have grown to become the world's largest lay Catholic organization. With as much as the Knights of Columbus have done for the Church and for Epiphany, I could hardly let the anniversary pass unnoticed.

Maybe I should have explained to the young kindergartener that day that the Knights of Columbus don't always wear their fancy, feathered hats. I should have explained to him that, as a matter of fact, there are many, many different "hats" that a Knight will wear. Providing hospitality after Mass is one example of the many and various acts of service that the Knights model at Epiphany.

In many parishers, Knights are regarded as the right arm of the Church. I know of many pastors who call on the Knights to do just about anything from promoting vocations of Catholic Education to supplying the man-power at any opportunity of service where a Parish or an individual just might need some strong backs and muscle.

I think that's what I've grown to appreciate most about the Knights in my time as pastor. They stand always willing to adapt their service or mission to conform themselves to whatever particular need jor vision the Parish might embrace.

The Knights of Columbus are supported and strengthened by an equally capable and generous Ladies Auxiliary. I have come to believe that there could be no service to our Parish that these good men and woman together could not be willing to offer. Maybe they'd even let me borrow a hat and cap for the next time I go to teach the school children. I just might be able to keep their attention a little longer.

Congratulations to the Knight of Columbus for 125 years of faithful service. May we always grow strong, as the Knights have, in service and fellowship in Christ.

Fr. Zehren, Pastor
The Church of the Eipiphany
Coon Rapids, MN
April 22, 2007

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Posted 29 Jan 2008