Convention 2013

2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Convention

“We Love. We Serve. We Grow.” This was the theme for the 112th Iowa Knights of Columbus Convention held in Coralville 26-28 April 2013. Attendees included Knights, their wives and families who gathered from across Iowa for this annual meeting focused, as their daily lives are, on the four principles of the Order - Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism.

The convention started Friday with 108 Knights participating in an exemplification advancing them to the highest degree of the Order - the Fourth Degree.

Based on the principle of Patriotism, Fourth Degree Sir Knights are the visible arm of the Order with their colorful capes and chapeaux that add dignity and the pride of Church and country to any event. During the Friday night banquet, Sir Knight Michael ‘Sully’ Sullivan of Des Moines, a Staff Sergeant with the Iowa National Guard, presented the Fourth Degree Iowa Knights of Columbus with a flag flown in theatre during his most recent deployment. Sully presented the flag in recognition of the Knights’ support of patriotism at home and of current and veteran service members and their families.

For the delegates to the convention, the required business meetings occupied the majority of Saturday’s agenda. At these meetings, State Deputy Joseph A. Ramirez of Christ the King Council 13159 in Des Moines stressed the Four Mores, More Members → More Hands → More Charity → More People, which builds off the Order’s principles and puts them into action as called upon by Pope Francis. Ramirez also encouraged each Iowa Knight to donate just one more hour of service this year which would equal over 32,000 hours to accomplish great tasks for Christ.

All attendees also had the opportunity to explore booths featuring the various Knights of Columbus service programs to organizations like Mary’s Choice, Humble Angel Honey, Innervisions Healthcare, Project Moses, Informed Choices, Catholic Charities, John Paul II Institute, Habitat for Humanity, Trappist Caskets, and Birthright from which they gathered information and connections they can take back to their communities.

The Iowa Knights, their wives, and families daily reconfirmed to their Catholic faith during the convention through Mass and a Perpetual Memorial Chapel. The Iowa Knights were blessed to have their Saturday Mass celebrated by His Excellency The Most Reverend Martin J. Amos, Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport. 

Highlights of the convention are always the presentation of various awards and the leadership election.

2013-2014 Iowa Knights of Columbus Leadership

  • State Deputy Joseph A. Ramirez of Christ the King Council 13159 in Des Moines;
  • State Chaplain Father Brian J. Danner of Manson-Pomeroy Council 14494 in Manson;
  • State Secretary Daniel J. Werner of Saint Francis of Assisi Council 12422 in West Des Moines;
  • State Warden Jon C. Aldrich of Father Dan Clarke Council 13109 in Altoona;
  • State Treasurer Francis E. Schlueter of Msgr. J.M. Hanson Council 5038 in Ankeny;
  • State Advocate Brian W. Thul of Council 952 in Algona;
  • Third Degree Representative to the Executive Committee John McGinness of Father Thomas J. Schwinn Council 11942 in Fairfax-Walford;
  • Third Degree Representative to the Executive Committee Jason Follett of Msgr. J.M. Hanson Council 5038 in Ankeny;
  • Immediate Past State Deputy Michael P. Laake of Council 2021 in Estherville.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Diocese of Davenport Chaplain of the Year - Father Martin Goetz

Father Goetz is Chaplain for Council 568 from Burlington. He serves as pastor of SS. John & Paul Parish. Throughout his time with his current council, he has challenged his Brother Knights to be more active in both spiritual formation and continued awareness of the Knights. Fr. Martin cajoled and then led the council through the “Father Wants You” as well as a church blitz membership recruiting drives. He pursued the reactivation of the local Squires Circle. He continues to promote the works of the Knights of Columbus throughout the parish as a viable tool in the work of the New Evangelization.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Archdiocese of Dubuque Diocesan Chaplain of the Year - Monsignor Cletus Hawes

Msgr. Hawes, pastor of Saint Francis DeSales in Ossian and Our Lady of Seven Dolors in Festina, is Chaplain for Council 2073 in Ossian. In addition to serving as the Ossian Council’s chaplain, he is also the Faithful Friar for the local Fourth Degree Assembly and Chaplain of the local Catholic Daughters of America Court.

In his spare time, Msgr. Hawes is on two Catholic school boards, celebrates Mass weekly at the local hospice, is coordinator of the local school of religion, and visits those who need someone to talk.

He has guided the Council through the remodel of the KofC facility, informs the Council on various important figures in church history while tying their importance to our lives today. His monthly reports at Council meetings are without doubt the best five minutes of the meeting.

Msgr. Hawes has faithfully served the church as a priest for the past 61 years. But right behind him is his brother, Father Donald Hawes, who will soon celebrate 60 years of his priesthood ordination.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Diocese of Sioux City Chaplain of the Year - Father Siby Punnoose

Father Siby Punoose is a member of Father Brennan Council 2064 in Fonda, where he serves as Pastor of both Our Lady of Good Council Parish in Fonda and Saint Columbkille in Varina. He came to the United States as a missionary 12 years ago and fell in love with the culture and life here that he recently became a United States citizen.

Fr. Siby has been instrumental in both the council and the parish as he led the effort to build a new parish center after the devastating tornado of 2011. He has established a ‘poor fund’ in both parishes that people can contribute to so that when a situation in the community arises, he can help with some of their immediate needs.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Diocese of Des Moines Chaplain of the Year - Father George Komo

Father Komo is a member of Saint Francis of Assisi Council 12422 in West Des Moines. He serves the parish of Saint Francis of Assisi as its Parochial Vicar. Father is special to the council as he volunteers to help in the manual work of the council - pushing a broom, serving food, and assuming a role in the annual Live Nativity.

He encourages the participation of the council activities like the Campaign for People with Intellectual Disabilities, the Saint Nicholas breakfast, the Lenten fish dinners, and their annual blood drive.

Father Komo has shared with his council of his experience regarding his life in Kenya. As a youth in Africa, he walked many miles to and from school each day and even further on Sundays. Father is currently planning to take a group of Knights to Kenya observe the Church there in action.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Religious of the Year - Deacon Butch Stone

Deacon Butch Stone serves the parishes of Saint Mary’s in Sac City, Sacred Heart in Early, and Saint Joseph’s in Wall Lake. His ministry includes preaching and Eucharistic minister at Mass; Communion minister to nursing homes and the homebound; teaching CCD and RCIA; presiding at baptisms, marriages, wakes, and funerals; and counseling alcoholics.

But he also has many talents and gifts from God that he truly loves to share. Loren Burbach, Financial Secretary of St. Mary’s Council 10464 in Sac City stated it best in the awards application:

“It is often said the converts make the best Catholics and Deacon Butch is a great example. He uses his personal life experiences and struggles with alcohol to bring out a very down to earth and real relationship with God. He teaches us that we are all sinners but that is okay because God is truly a loving and forgiving God, just waiting for us to let him help. He has a very big infectious smile that he shows very often and it is really genuine especially when he witnesses children being active in Mass and while sharing a blessing for them when they go through the Communion line. He helps Father John McQuirk take care of three parishes, easing his load. He gives unselfishly of his time by attending or helping at nearly every parish event, Mass, wake, funeral, etc., all while still being a very active community member and a very committed family man. In other words, Deacon is such a deserving servant of God.”

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Grand Knight of the Year - Pedro Ceballos from Father Tom Pfeffer Council 14267 in Des Moines

The role of the Grand Knight is of vital importance to every Council. It is a true dedication to overcome humbleness and become a leader, a guide, and an example to his fellow brothers. It is presenting your limited gifts to Jesus and asking him to multiply them as he did when presented with the bread and the fish. This ‘job description’ has found a solid role model in Pedro Ceballos, Grand Knight of Father Tom Pfeffer Council 14267 in Des Moines.

Ceballos knows that the best way to lead a group of men is through example. He is active in the Council’s activities from cooking, cleaning, and organizing. He pushes his Council to make a stronger commitment to their parish and their community.

In his first year as Grand Knight, he led the Council to achieve its first ever Star Council Award which was elevated to a Double Star Council Award. Council 14267 also received two Program Service Awards last year.  From the get go Ceballos set the goal of Star Council to his officers, and made sure the dream came true. This year Council 14267 is already at 380% of its membership quota with Ceballos himself recruiting four new Knights. When challenged by his priest to make the Council more committed to faith formation he helped to implement 24-hour adoration once a month. He is a reflection of Jesus saying in Mark’s Gospel “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Knight of the Year - Pablo Martinez from General Shields Council 888 in Ottumwa

Being a true Knight means to be a champion of faith in action, a true prophet of the new evangelization, and a dedicated worker in building God’s Kingdom. This latter job is critical in modern day Iowa with its growing Hispanic/Latino population. A true bridge of two cultures and two languages who is committed to the Catholic faith is Pablo Martinez from General Shields Council 888 in Ottumwa. 

Since joining Council 888, Martinez has become the guy that always says ‘yes’. He is not afraid to put on an apron and help with setup, cooking, or anything else that needs to be done. This dynamic personality has brought new energy to the council.

Martinez is also an active recruiter and has recruited over 20 members into the council. Not only does he invite them but he makes sure they advance to the higher degrees of the Order. Two weeks before convention he helped 12 Hispanic brothers receive their Second and Third Degrees. At the convention, nine of these recruits advanced to the Fourth Degree, the highest degree of the Order.

As stated earlier, Martinez has been instrumental in closing the gap between the Anglo and Hispanic/Latino communities.  In closing this gap Martinez is bringing the Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney’s dream to life: a fraternity of Catholic men united regardless of national origin and true children of God.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Family of the Year - Family of Robert and Michelle Millar from Father Kaufman Council 6977 in Glenwood

Submitted by the members of Father Kaufman Council 6977 in Glenwood, the family of Robert and Michelle Millar, along with their children Conrad, Megan, Catherine, and Laura has faith bursting off their domestic church and touching others in their community.

Robert is a Past Grand Knight of Council 6977, Michelle teaches in Sunday school, all of the kids participate either as altar servers or in the children’s choir, and Conrad is a member of the newly established Squire Circle in Glenwood.

Despite a “normal” busy family, in September 2012 they became foster parents of three children under the age of six. The Millar’s as a whole took on the role of caring for these three children and have made them part of their family, where the three children have thrived.

The family as a whole is involved with the Arthritis Foundation. They have shown a true dedication to inform and support families that face many questions about this disease and have been able to organize walkers for the fundraiser efforts of the foundation exceeding $4,000.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Youth of the Year - Sean Pilcher

Every year, the Iowa Knights of Columbus selects an outstanding young person at the high school age to be named Youth of the Year. We are trying to bring to the light the good things that our youth is achieving today beyond what our media tells us. The members of Joseph C. Carroll Council 5390 in Marion nominated Sean Pilcher, son of Craig and Susan Pilcher.

Sean is a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Cedar Rapids where he serves as Usher, Lector, Altar Server (in the Latin Rite), Lay Distributor, Sacristan, and Confirmation Teacher.

A very special project that Sean led was his Eagle Scout project in which he asked for the help of the council to fund and build a Memorial to the Unborn. He led this project which is shown here with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, mother of the civilization of love.

Sean is an exemplary young man committed to the Culture of Life and to building the Kingdom on Earth.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Council Service Program of the Year - Deacon Timmerman Council 14678 in Davenport for the project Holy Family Rosary Garden.

For many years the Holy Family Parish in Davenport had a drainage problem. This had caused damages to the foundation and sidewalk which would cost around $100,000 to repair. The parish council was not ready to face these repairs.

Motivated by Ben Menke, Council 14678 took on the project and decided to involve the parish community in the fundraising by means of purchasing stones, pavers, and planting for a Rosary Garden that would be placed in the area of the drainage problem.

The members of this very young council planned the fundraising from parishioners, activities, and sponsorship from local businesses. After collecting $100,000, none of it from parish funds, the final project came at $45,000 so they excess funds will be used to repair the stain glass windows.

This could seem more as a Church Program but the brotherhood developed on over 2,400 hours in 14 weeks by over 50 council members (and the recruitment of three new members) and their family members feeding the workers has led the Iowa State Council to recognize Deacon Timmerman Council 14678 with the Council Service Program Award.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Culture of Life Service Program of the Year - Saint Wenceslaus Council 14385 in Iowa City for the project Culture of Life Dinner.

Being in the heart of the culture of death in Iowa City, the members of Saint Wenceslaus Council 14385 have done every effort to build the Civilization of Love. Back in 2010, the council assisted Dr. Stephen Pallone to fund his studies of the Creighton Natural Planning method. He is now providing grants for other doctors that want to learn the method which is widely accepted and approved by our Catholic practices. He is now providing us with a $2,500 grant for potential students out of which we need to match with $2,500.

The organized Culture of Life banquet with donations and collaboration from council members and invited Dr. Pallone, his wife Melinda, and the first ever receiver of Dr. Pallone’s grant, Dr. Monica Minjeur. They talked about the wonders of the method and how it works according to God’s plan. The council’s chaplain helped with opening prayer and blessing, and once the program was completed the donations combined for $2,500 matching the grant from Dr. Pallone so the council gave funds to three grant applicants so the Creighton method will be made available to more people.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Family Service Program of the Year - Saint Wenceslaus Council 14385 in Iowa City for the Fortnight for Freedom Picnic.

In solidarity with the Fortnight for Freedom and as a demonstration of love and unity, Saint Wenceslaus Council 14385 in Iowa City organized a Family Freedom Picnic held on June 24, 2012.

The picnic was held in a city park located within throwing distance of Saint Wenceslaus Catholic Church where the city has recently completely renovated with new playground equipment, sidewalks, landscaping, and a gazebo.

Council 14385 decorated the gazebo in the finest red, white, and blue and put up the largest American Flag they could find. In addition, the Knights set out a hundred 10x15 inch American Flags along the sidewalk which also served as mementos for attendees of the event and as a visual effect on the importance of religious freedom. 

Members of Council 14385 prepared hamburgers and brats, provided beverages, organized games for the kids plus set-up tents, chairs, and tables to help the estimated 150 families stay cool on the 95 degree day.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Community Service Program of the Year - Joseph C. Carroll Council 5389 in Marion for the project Three Phases Joplin Missouri Tornado Recovery Support.

Joplin, Missouri was devastated by an EF-5 Tornado in May 22, 2011. Charles Luster and Merle Ries organized a group of Knights and members of the Archdiocese of Dubuque in December 2011 to help for a whole week in the rebuilding efforts in Joplin.

Phase II came in May 2012 when members of Marion Council 5389 visited Joplin once again to continue reconstruction work in the still devastated areas of the city. Six council members visited and were assisted financially by their council.

Their efforts and dedication to helping those in need, regardless of distance and facing their own limitations, the group completed the third phase in September 2012 of the project by returning for three weeks this time.

2012-2013 Iowa Knights of Columbus Church Service Program of the Year - Saint Elizabeth Seton Council 5389 in Des Moines for the project Sunday 4:30 PM Mass Ministry

The Knights of Saint Theresa’s Parish in Des Moines identified a gap with their Pastor, Father Mark Neal, in the ministry for their Sunday 4:30 PM Mass, which is attended by 80% non-parishioners, which makes it difficult to have regular servers.

Council 5389 started formal training for ushers, Extraordinary Eucharist Ministers, Lectors, and even singers, with participation from his wives as well, and now the over 20 ministers so that Father Neal no longer has to worry about anything at Mass except providing spiritual service to people. This is what being a Knight represents.

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