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Posted on 07/07/2004 5:06:48 PM PDT by Coleus
|Wed, Jul 07, 04||
|Serving with Faith and Fraternity|
by Steve Gust
Knights have given their lives on the battlefield, and offered support and prayers for troops seeking to make the world a safer place
|In keeping with a resolution passed at last year's 121st annual Supreme Council meeting, Knights continue to offer prayer and strong support for military personnel involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Both at home and abroad, members are banding together in the hope of giving the world a brighter future.
Archbishop OBrien and Supreme Knight Anderson hold second edition of prayer book.
In 2003, working with the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, the Order produced and distributed 100,000 Armed with the Faith spiritual handbooks and sent 50,000 rosaries to troops stationed in the Middle East. Due to the book's popularity, another 100,000 copies were printed and distributed this spring.
Earlier this year, the Knights also suspended a war-time exclusion on its accidental death benefit for members killed while serving in the military or as civilian contractors in Afghanistan or Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
|Honoring a Hero and a Knight||Back to Top|
|One of those was Army Spc. James Richard Wolf, 21, of Father Timothy Molony Council 2681 in Scottsbluff, Neb. His father Robert D. Wolf, grand knight of the council, said James had his Third Degree membership card and rosary on him in November when a roadside bombing claimed his life south of Mosul, Iraq. Wolf was assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 52nd Engineer Battalion of the 43rd Area Support Group.
"We got the news at 8:30 a.m., Nov. 6, and the first Knights were here by 9:15 a.m.," Wolf said. "There was a steady stream of Knights from then on and everyone has remained supportive."
Field Agent Allen G. Lonowski immediately offered support, Wolf said. "He was first a friend and then was invaluable with the insurance paperwork, not only with the Knights' insurance but with James' Army insurance."
Wolf, 2003 Nebraska Knight of the Year, said about 350 people attended a memorial rosary service for his son. A 50-man Fourth Degree honor guard served at the funeral.
"We had Fourth Degree Knights travel more than two hours to be here," Wolf said. "Some made it from Denver."
James Wolf, at age 18, filled out a Membership Form #100 at a pancake breakfast at the home of Council 2681. That prompted his father to join, too. James also had filled out his Fourth Degree membership application, but his military service led to a scheduling conflict with the exemplification.
Robert Wolf said support from Knights and their families has meant a lot to him and his wife Chris, and daughters, Elli, 23, and Rachael, 19. James' older brother, David, 25, also joined the Knights, and his grandfather Robert reinstated his membership.
"James was proud of his service in Iraq," his father said. "We were fortunate to see him on leave two weeks before he was killed. He kept telling us that the real story of what was going on in Iraq wasn't being told. He said America was welcomed there and doing good for the people. James was helping to build bridges and schools."
|Praise for Prayer Book||Back to Top|
|Another Fourth Degree Knight has been in the thick of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war against terrorism in Afghanistan. Though he often wears a flak jacket in the field, his mission is to bring Christ and the faith to the troops. Father Steven V. Carlson, a Knight for more than 20 years, has been in both nations and is now chaplain for the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).
He has a particular understanding of the military, having retired from the Army in 1991 after serving in Ranger and Special Forces units for more than 20 years. In 1996, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C. He is a member of Cardinal Gibbons Council 2838 and Cardinal Gibbons Assembly in Fayetteville.
"I became an Army chaplain so that our soldiers could share in the sacramental life of the Church when they are far from home," he said.
In March 2003 he was with some of the first troops to enter Iraq. With military protection, he was driving in the city of Najaf during Holy Week. He wrote about it later:
"When driving through the cities the other day, people were cheering and waving palm branches! Reminds me of the victory our Lord achieved through his passion, death and resurrection. I hope and pray that what we do here is in the name of peace and justice, and that God will work mighty things through our presence."
What most impresses him is the camaraderie among the young troops, especially when faced with deadly situations. It reminded Father Carlson of Psalm 133, "How good and pleasing it is when brothers dwell as one."
After service in Iraq, Father Carlson was transferred to Fort Bragg, N.C., and then to Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he expects to stay until fall. While at Fort Bragg he distributed some of the Order's Armed with the Faith prayer books.
"It is superb and the soldiers love it," he said. "On behalf of all the Catholic priests who serve in the United States military, we thank you [Knights] for your continued dedication to God and country."
|Star Council on Hold||Back to Top|
|Other Knights involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom have returned home and resumed their family life and involvement in the Knights.
Marc G. Anguiano of Abilene (Kan.) Council 1661 saw an abrupt end to his term as grand knight when he was activated as an Army reservist. Sgt. 1st Class Anguiano was the truck master of a supply line and hauled fuels from Kuwait into Iraq. He returned home in October with memories of the early days of the campaign.
"Some of us were worried about possible chemical attacks at first," he said. "Then a few trucks were hit by RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades). There was a lot of extreme heat and sandstorms."
Getting a letter was a big event at desert camps, although there was usually a two- to three-week time lag, he said. He left three children at home: Matthew, 7, Michael, 4, and 3-year-old Megan. His wife Kristi also is an Army reservist.
After six months, Anguiano took a 22-hour flight back home and had a joyous reunion with his family. His council sponsored a Mass of thanksgiving and breakfast in which Financial Secretary Robert J. Dick and other Knights presented him with a special award for patriotic service. Anguiano also received the Star Council plaque earned during his term as grand knight.
"The Knights were very supportive while I was there," he said. "They helped Kristi and the family while I was away."
|The Peace of Jesus||Back to Top|
|At about the time Anguiano was returning home, Father Donald J. Williams of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Plymouth, Pa., was blessing soldiers preparing to leave for Iraq. Father Williams, chaplain of St. Vincent de Paul Council 11901, urged soldiers from the 109th Field Artillery Battalion to bring God as well as security to the people of Iraq.
"I told them that ultimately they were working for the peace that Jesus would bring," he said.
His service was for 40 members of the battalion based in Wilkes-Barre. Among those headed to Iraq was his godson and nephew, Pfc. Jeff Williams. Father Williams told him he had been in touch, via e-mail, with another soldier, named Tony, in Baghdad.
"Tony said it was dangerous and hard there," he said.
The battalion's deployment brought challenges of another sort to relatives and loved ones remaining at home.
"Parents and others here have their own battles," Father Williams said. "Its important to stay focused and pray."
He said the men he prayed with in December, some non-Catholic, remained vigilant while on duty in Iraq and relied heavily on their faith.
Even simple gestures from Knights can mean a lot. Andrew J. Shine, the Ohio State Council's veterans and military chairman, led an effort to send 1,000 Christmas cards to troops from Ohio. The U.S. Postal Service provided a special rate since the mail was for military personnel. The cards also provided information on the Knights of Columbus.
"We received a nice thank you card on how the cards had picked up their spirits and how happy they were to get it," Shine said. "This is something any council can do."
Steve Gust, a member of Edmond (Okla.) Council 6477, is the Oklahoma State Council public relations chairman and bulletin editor.
Nice website. I'm sending the link to my son on board the USS Ronald Reagan.
Thanks. I'll pass this on to my brother.
Thanks for posting Coleus!
Ping KJ and Sarge.
BIG KofC Bump
Thanks for the ping. Nice idea - I'll have to pass this on.
BTW ... I recently (and finally) completed my 2nd and 3rd degrees. All I can say is ... WOW! It certainly was intense.
This Baptist thinks it's a great website. Thanks for posting it.
We should ALL adopt a soldier, and send them the Ranger Rosary, St. Michael Scapular and a miraculous medal. That, I'm sure would be stronger than a bullet proof vest.
Please FReepmail me if you'd like to be added to or removed from the KofC ping list.
Oops! Accidental cut and paste abuse in aisle five!
This post makes me think of the priest who used to post regularly and I think was sent as a missionary to Somolia.
Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.
Go for your 4th degree! I just completed mine this past April, and all I can say is, you'll love it :)
I've definitely been thinking about it. We have a 4th degree ceremony coming up later this year.
I'll be sure to put a link on our parish web site!
I like the poem on your home page.
Thanks, the soldiers need our help and prayers.