Growing the KCs with motorcycles and yard signs

A few signs have been sprouting up recently in yards around St. Christopher the Martyr Church in Metairie. They herald that the homeowner is affiliated with the parish’s Knights of Columbus Council 4508.

  “We wanted to let people know that we are a Knight family,” said member Roy Dodson, who is on the Bible and sign committee of the Knights Council 4508.

Grand Knight Joe Matherne Jr. said 30 signs were ordered initially as a way to create interest about the council. The majority are now in the yards of council members now. 

“Each member of the council bought one and put in their front yard – so anybody passing in front of our house could see we are a Knights family,” he said. “We are hoping the outcome – that if a person passes by and sees it – they will call the rectory and ask about it. And, hopefully we can get some people to join.”

The popularity of the signs convinced Matherne “to bring the idea of the signs to the Metro meeting and spread the news of Knights of Columbus not only within our church parish but through Knights in parishes throughout the city,” Matherne said.

The idea progressed from an initiative Council 4508 started in January – presenting a new Bible to families who were baptizing their children. They have distributed eight so far, Matherne said.

“Hopefully, the parents will study and read the Bible to enhance the Catholic idea of a Catholic life as their children go older,” Matherne said. 

Both ideas are meant to bring people closer to their religion and God, Matherne said.

Charity first 

After discussing the first two initiatives, members in Knights Council 4508 began further discussions on spreading word about the Knights of Columbus within the church parish.

“We just had a church blitz recently to get new members,” Matherne said. “Some of our Knights gave their experiences of being a Knight and handed out information cards to those who were interested. Those interested were then invited to a social meeting.” The result was not only letting people know about what the Knights do but gaining a new member.

The Knights of Columbus, founded in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney, is the “world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization.” It is open to anyone age 18 and older who believes in the Catholic faith and charity towards others. Its emphasis is “serving one’s church, community and family with virtue.” Recent figures detail how the Knights have donated more than $177 million to charitable causes and more than 75 million hours of service. 

The council at St. Christopher donates to several charities, including St. Michael Special School and St. Mary Special School in Pineville, Louisiana, Matherne said.

Other initiatives

The St. Christopher Knights Council also has a baby bottle shake benefitting ACCESS Pregnancy; does Coats for Kids in October (new or gently worn coats or money to buy new coats) for Catholic Charities’ Hispanic Apostolate; holds a twice annual patriotic rosary (June 29 at 7 p.m. at St. Christopher with parish choirs singing patriotic songs and Nov. 7 dedicated to Armed Forces and military with refreshments); a large parish bingo and turkey and prize giveaways in November; blood drives; parish ice cream socials; and donuts after Mass for fellowship.

Several members of the St. Christopher Council are also members of the Knights on Bikes, a group of Knights who promote the Knights on motorcycle rides nationwide. Just recently, a local Knights on Bikes motorcycle brigade (15,000 members worldwide) escorted the Hymel family to the chapel and bell tower dedication in honor of Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Hymel, a graduate of St. Charles High and a Knights member who died in 9/11. 

Members also regularly host a Stations of the Cross ride and lunch meeting the second Saturday of the month at six churches. The ride ends with 4 p.m. Mass at a parish. It is coordinated by Stanlucky@cox.net. They also are planning a motorcycle ride in 2019 to the Catholic cathedrals in Louisiana from Shreveport to New Orleans.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Doug Richardson, Louisiana president of Knights on Bikes. “Anything we can do to promote our faith is worthy of doing. Knights on Bikes go out in the streets and evangelize and bring people to the Catholic faith.”

Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarionherald.org.

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