Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
April 30, 2001
Calgary council shows spirit
'We do a lot of work, but we have fun doing it,' they say
SPECIAL TO WCR
CALGARY — "Access for everyone."
That simple phrase used to describe an award-winning parish project sponsored by the Knights of Columbus at Calgary's Holy Name Parish may well sum up the reason for the council's ongoing success.
The Msgr. Leo Sullivan Council 7183 was named fraternal council of the year at last year's state convention for Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
The council boasts both a high level of involvement by its members and a high level of visibility among parishioners, making it easier to recruit new members and keep them active, says Gary Marriott, grand knight of the 65-member council.
The council received top honours from state officials for the year 1999-2000 after receiving awards in all five activity categories of youth, Church, council, family and community, as well as recognition for its newsletter and increasing its membership by 120 per cent over its annual quota of five.
"Our council is really active," says Marriott, who along with past grand knight Gerard Gottselig, cited several reasons for their success.
For starters, council executive leads by example, says Marriott. "Our wives have threatened to build us a bedroom here," he laughs, referring to the fact that the members are involved in so many activities both with the Knights and the Church.
"That's the big thing in the Knights of Columbus," says Marriott, who has been a knight for 13 years. "It's involvement."
Moreover, parishioners are aware of their involvement. As much as possible, members wear their golf shirts emblazoned with the Knights' logo and their Knights' name tags. "People in the church here, they know what we're doing," says Gottselig, a member for five years.
Another key is encouraging new knights, like Gottselig, to become involved in leadership early on, with longer-serving Knights acting as mentors.
Fresh ideas are encouraged and no idea is ever discouraged. Marriott says they always try and find a way to make an idea or project work.
Furthermore, the council encourages latent talent, both among the youngest and oldest members. No members are ignored.
With their Catholic faith as a common link, Holy Name Knights emphasize the spiritual component of the council's monthly meeting.
Finally, the Knights focus on the needs of Holy Name parishioners.
A few years ago, a handicapped knight complained that he didn't come to many meetings because the parish hall washroom was inaccessible.
The council quickly decided to do something about it by renovating a washroom, converting it into a handicapped facility in the summer of 1999.
Demolishing the old washroom, the walls were removed and rebuilt. Handrails and a new sink with special taps were installed.
It took five knights about 100 hours to complete the work. The cost was split with the CWL. "Handicapped members of our council and the CWL have expressed their pleasure with the renovation," Gottselig said in the winning entry dubbed Access for Everyone.
Another award-winning project in the family category was a Memorial to the Unborn erected a year ago at the front of the 25-year-old church.
Rather than contributing to the construction of a memorial at the Catholic cemetery, Holy Name Knights decided they would make more of an impact if it was erected in the front of the church where passersby see it regularly.
For council activity, Holy Name picked up the award for its Chefs in Action program, serving brunches and suppers at a variety of church functions. In doing so, 38 members (82 per cent of their membership) put in 850 man hours serving more than 3,300 meals.
With youth always a major emphasis for the council, Knights published a colourful Advent calendar in November 1999 that featured paintings and drawings depicting Advent scenes created by parish children. The pastor provided Scripture readings for each day.
Distributed to all members free, the calendar offered a point of reflection and discussion for families at dinnertime.
In the community category, several council members picked up an award for their involvement in a monthly evening of cards for seniors with disabilities at the Glamorgan Care Centre.
"We do a lot of work," says Marriott, "but we have fun doing it."
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