By Andrew Butler
KNIGHTS WHO LIVED AS SAINTS
By Andrew Fowler
The Knights Of Columbus Council 506 are hosting the traveling icon, Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians in our Church from the week of July 7 through the 13th.
Thank you to Mike Smith for the photos.
TRIKES FOR TYKES
7 FACTS ABOUT THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS
A DROP TO DRINK
By Andrew Fowler
VIRGINIA KNIGHTS HELP BRING MEDICAL CARE AND CLEAN WATER TO REMOTE AFRICAN VILLAGE
KITAKYUSA, Uganda — One Knight’s determination to “give the children a fighting chance” turned into a mission of providing water and medical care to an African village.
In January 2012, Father Gerald Musuubire was traveling to visit family in Uganda. He took parishioner Robert Maher, a fellow member of St. Peter and Paul Council 11475 in Palmyra, Va., with him on the visit to the remote St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Parish in Kitakyusa. Upon arrival, Maher was shocked by the poverty and lack of medical care.
“There was nothing there,” Maher said. “People put fruit into the collection baskets because they don’t have money. That’s how bad this area is.”
Maher asked Father Musuubire what happens to villagers if they get sick. The priest’s response was dire: they get better on their own or they die.
In fact, two in five village children were not surviving to their fifth birthday. This moved Maher to act.
After the flight back home, Maher said he was determined to “give the children a fighting chance.” He approached his council about raising money to build a clinic at St. Francis parish — where the Knights were given permission to build a facility.. Council 11475 raised $60,000 and received donated medical equipment from the University of Virginia. In January 2014, the clinic opened.
Since then, the clinic has treated 9,000 people per year for malaria, arthritis, breathing problems and also administers vaccinations.
Father John Vianney Kitoolo, former pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, noted just how much the Knights’ assistance has helped the people there, “From the long distances they used to move to access health services, from the long hours they would sit in a queue waiting to receive medical assistance, all those are now memories to narrate to next generation because what they need is now just a stone’s throw away.”
Maher and Council 11475 raised an additional $24,000 to construct living quarters nurses adjacent to the clinic which opened in 2017 for the nurses working there.
But then there was another need: clean water.
Children from Kitakyusa carry jugs for miles to the closest water source, which is a swamp. The children then boil the water to make it potable. The lack of readily available clean water is a major concern for the clinic.
“We have an increase in patients since the completion of the facility,” Father Denis Wamala, the current pastor of St. Francis of Assisi wrote to Maher. “There is no supply of running water at the parish itself. … We request(ed) the Knights of Columbus to come to our rescue.”
Council 11475 has raised nearly $15,000 to have a water-well dug next to the clinic. Maher says construction for a 30 foot-well cost between $25,000 to $30,000.
The Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus made a donation to a $1 million fund to construct an additional 94 clean water projects to bring clean water to 48,236 people in southeastern Uganda. The Knights’ contribution funded 8 drilled wells and 2 rehabilitated wells in partnership with charity: water.
Funding the water wells is just one way Knights serve the most disadvantaged. Through the Helping Hands initiative, Knights councils worldwide organize programs as they see fit to assist the needy.
“[As Knights], we do what we can to help people,” Maher said. “It’s time for me to give back.”
To learn more about the Knights, click here.
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FAMILY OF KNIGHTS CHAPLAIN SEEKS PURPLE HEART
By Joe Pappalardo
LAST U.S. OFFICER KILLED IN WORLD WAR I NEVER RECEIVED AWARD
When a German artillery shell killed 1st Lt. William F. Davitt on Nov. 11, 1918, the Knights of Columbus chaplain became the last American officer to die in World War I. That same morning, the fighting would stop at 11 a.m. on Armistice Day.
Davitt would leave the trenches to drag wounded soldiers out of no man’s land to safety. The volunteer Knights of Columbus chaplain also continued to celebrate Mass, hear confessions and give last rites while supporting the troops in France. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre and recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross for leading a rescue party through machine gun fire to save 40 wounded soldiers.
Despite all of this, he never received a Purple Heart for his ultimate sacrifice. His family is on a quest to change that.
Robin Davitt, the chaplain’s great-niece and a retired Air Force Colonel, visited the Knights of Columbus museum’s World War I exhibit in early May, along with her cousin Christina Davitt Dubis. A Gulf War veteran herself, Col. Davitt is seeking a posthumous Purple Heart for her great uncle.
“If he were royalty he would be the people’s prince,” she said, noting the strong bonds he held with his parishioners and family in western Massachusetts.
Before he was braving bullets and saving lives, Father Davitt was a priest at St. Ann Parish in Lenox, Mass. There, the local Knights, Council 2412, is named after him. Several other landmarks across Massachusetts bear his name, including the Father William F. Davitt Memorial Bridge in Chicopee and a memorial square in Worcester. Each year, football players at his alma mater —College of the Holy Cross— see his name on the awards for most outstanding offense and defensive player.
Col. Davitt said it was incredible “for a priest back then to say ‘I’m going to give up the Berkshires and go minister to the troops and say Mass.’”
Father Davitt left the life of a parish priest to support soldiers fighting in France. Along with his famous rescues, he was known to assist in burying fallen troops and going over the top of the trenches alongside U.S. forces. Even burial parties could be shot while tending to the dead because it required them to leave cover for no-man’s land.
Still, Father Davitt has yet to receive the Purple Heart. He was confirmed to be eligible on November 13, 2018, but there’s a catch — only direct family members can receive the award on his behalf. For grand-nieces like Col. Davitt and Dubis, this means there’s more work to be done.
“I’ve been reaching out to just about everybody,” Col. Davitt said, listing the Secretary of Defense among the officials she’s contacted to appeal for the award.
Until then, the family remains proud of the efforts of Father Davitt.
For the full list of Chaplains and Knights like Davitt who lost their lives in World War I, click here.
If there are corrections to the list, they should be sent to email@example.com, Knights of Columbus Museum. She is keeping the master list of Knights who were killed in WWI.
To share your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org
#Knights4Life: 7 Ways the Knights of Columbus Amazingly Defend Life at Every Stage
Like other Catholic organizations, the Knights of Columbus defends life in its various stages from conception to natural death.
The Knights do so through a variety of unique initiatives, including:
1) The Knights of Columbus was founded to care for widows and orphans.
The needs of suffering immigrants and families inspired Father Michael J. McGivney to establish the Knights as a fraternal benefit society and this mission remains to this day.
2) The Knights stand against violent racial and religious discrimination.
3) The Knights have helped plan every March for Life in Washington since the first in 1974.
4) Knights sponsor a poll showing most Americans want restrictions on abortion.
Done each year for more than a decade, this poll points out that 3 in 4 Americans want significant restrictions on abortion.
5) Knights have donated over 1,000 ultrasound machines since 2009.
These ultrasound machines help mothers to better understand and bond with the life within them. If every Knights-donated machine prompts four moms per week to keep their babies, over 1 million lives have been spared.
6) Knights have collaborated with Special Olympics since its founding in 1968.
The Knights have embraced the organization, whose athletes demonstrate that all human lives have value.
7) Knights defend persecuted Christians throughout the world.
The Knights efforts since 2014 to aid persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East culminated in November with the signing by President Trump of a humanitarian aid package from the U.S. government.
Special Olympics Missouri is proud to announce that Jared Niemeyer, SOMO Board Member and Athlete Leader, has been selected to represent Special Olympics, June 10 in New York City, on the first-ever all-athlete panel for the 12th meeting of the UN Conference of States Parties for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The panel will be comprised of a total of 5 Special Olympics athletes who are accomplished leaders in sports, health, human rights, youth engagement, media, employment and advocacy for persons with intellectual disabilities. The panelists will discuss how sports helped them develop skills and gain the confidence to exercise their rights and take advantage of opportunities. This panel will showcase the talents of our athlete leaders in a way that will eventually impact UN governance and decision-making.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2006. The CRPD is a legally-binding agreement between the Member States who have signed the Convention to uphold, promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities as defined in the treaty. Article 40 of the CRPD stipulates that States Parties (signatories to the Convention) shall meet regularly in a Conference of States Parties (COSP) to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the Convention. Since 2008, the COSP has been held annually at the UN headquarters in New York, covering a range of themes and issues in round-tables, interactive dialogues, and side-events.
The overarching theme of the 12th session of the UN Conference of States Parties is Ensuring the inclusion of persons with disabilities in a changing world through the implementation of the CRPD.
Jared Niemeyer is a Special Olympics Missouri athlete who has been participating since he was 9 years old. Currently, Niemeyer plays the following sports with SOMO: Unified softball, basketball, bowling and track and field. “Special Olympics has given me a lot of opportunities – it’s made me a better person,” he said.
Niemeyer is a 2011 graduate from Kirksville High School. In addition to working at his local Hy-Vee store, he is active as a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church and Knights of Columbus. He has served as a state and national Youth Activation Council member and had remarkable opportunities because of Special Olympics, which includes: participating in the 2010 and 2014 USA Games in Lincoln, Neb., and Princeton, N.J., respectively; speaking at the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in June 2014; and as one of 14 Special Olympics athletes nationwide attending a “Unified Generation” program at the White House.
As a trained Global Messenger in addition to speaking at the United Nations and meeting President Obama, he has been afforded the opportunity to travel around Missouri and speak with different organizations about what SOMO is and how it affects his family.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said, “Through his athletic accomplishments and dedicated advocacy, Jared Niemeyer has shown the world what people of all abilities can accomplish when they have the opportunity to participate. I couldn’t be more proud to see him once again headed to the United Nations to promote inclusion across the globe. I was at the Special Olympics World Games, and it was clear the organization can bring people of all nations together in a uniquely inspiring and transformative way. I know Jared will do a great job sharing that message.”