Knights’ tradition bestows gratitude for priests and religious

by Jacqueline Burkepile

North Texas Catholic

August 11, 2017

Bishop Michael Olson accepts a check from the Knights of Columbus for more than $200,000, which is earmarked for vocations and deaf ministry. (NTC photo/Mary Ann Adelman)

KELLER — Prayer, generosity, and thanksgiving were in the air as the Knights of Columbus in the Diocese of Fort Worth held their 22nd annual Priest and Religious Appreciation Dinner Monday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Keller.

Approximately 400 priests, religious, deacons, seminarians, Knights, and their families gathered for dinner and fellowship in appreciation of the clergy and religious in the diocese. The Knights presented a check of more than $200,000 to Bishop Michael Olson. The funds are earmarked for vocations and deaf ministry in the diocese.

“Our goal is to make this a fun, relaxing evening for all the priests and religious,” said Pat Henz, chairman of the Western Metroplex Chapter and emcee of the event. “Seeing the seminarians together, along with so many sisters, deacons, and priests, really makes it special for us.”

The evening began with a social, followed by the Presentation of Colors by the Knights of Columbus San Juan Diego Assembly 2857 of Keller. Bishop Olson then led the blessing for the evening’s meal. An hour-long program followed, which recognized and honored various diocesan groups.

Father James Wilcox, director of vocations for the diocese, introduced each of the 30 new and returning seminarians.

Director of Vocations Father James Wilcox introduced each of the seminarians to those attending the Knights of Columbus Priest and Religious Appreciation Dinner. (NTC photo/Mary Ann Adelman)

“People often ask, ‘What is the most important thing we can do for religious vocations?’ The answer is prayer,” Fr. Wilcox said. “Please continue to pray for our seminarians, and know that they pray for you.”

The event then recognized the special anniversaries of various religious and clergy throughout the diocese, which ranged from 25-70 years of religious life. The Knights offered a moment of silence and a photo presentation in memory of the recently deceased religious and clergy who have served in the diocese.

Following clergy and religious recognition, Deaf Ministry members performed a skit in thanksgiving for the Knights’ support. LeRoy Terrio, president of the Fort Worth Catholic Community for the Deaf, expressed his heartfelt appreciation in American Sign Language, while his wife, Suzanne, interpreted.

“We truly appreciate your support and your service. I would like to express this gratitude on behalf of my community,” Terrio said.

The evening concluded with the presentation of the charity check to Bishop Olson, which totaled $204,169. The Knights then presented retirement annuities to Father Stephen Hauck, Parochial Vicar of St. Michael Church in Bedford; Father John Martin, Parochial Vicar of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Grapevine; and the recently retired Father Robert Strittmatter. The Knights also donated an additional $4,100 through the “Pennies for Seminarians” fund.

Bishop Olson thanked the Knights for their support, generosity, and fidelity to the mission of the group’s founder, Father Michael McGivney, “especially in support of family life, and within that, vocations.” He also expressed his gratitude for the priests and religious of the diocese.

“Thank you, especially to our priests and religious who give of themselves daily to their vocation and in service of God and to his Church,” Bishop Olson said. “I want to thank all of you for your attendance tonight, and for your ongoing prayers and support for vocations.”

Several clergy and religious expressed their personal gratitude for the event to the North Texas Catholic. Sister Anna Imelda Nguyen, OP, of the Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate Province, explained that the evening reminded her of her vocational call.

“It reaffirms us of where and how we are called to serve in the Church — that this is not what we choose, but what God chooses us to,” said Sister Nguyen, who teaches at Nolan Catholic High School.

Knights of Columbus San Juan Diego Assembly 2857 of Keller (NTC photo/Mary Ann Adelman)

Reed Proctor, a first-year seminarian from St. Francis of Assisi in Grapevine, also expressed his gratitude prior to the program.

“I’m very excited to get to know all the people who support me, and to spend some more time with my seminarian brothers,” Reed said.

Father Raymond McDaniel, pastor of St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Lewisville, said he enjoys that the dinner offers an opportunity “to see other clergy from the parishes, to interact with the Knights of Columbus, to enjoy some fellowship, and to continue to pray for our Church and for vocations.”


KELLER — Prayer, generosity, and thanksgiving were in the air as the Knights of Columbus in the Diocese of Fort Worth held their 22nd annual Priest and Religious Appreciation Dinner Monday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Keller.

Published (until 8/11/2030)