Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 28, 2003
K of C blesses Maronite unity
Cultural roots thrive as the Arab people unite under K of C
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
The presence of St. Maroun Council 13032 within the Maronite Catholic community in Edmonton has brought closeness to the community.
This is how Father Esper Antoun, Grand Knight Bassam Mounsef and Deputy Grand Knight Ely Aboud assess the council's presence in the growing community of Catholics belonging to the Maronite rite.
"A lot of people that we see now we never saw or knew before," Mounsef told the WCR. "It's nice to have that sense of feeling of belonging to something good, and K of C is a good organization to belong."
Antoun said, "(The K of C) helps in the parish life.
"It also makes a lot of sense because it's one way of asking men to be active in the Church. That is the teaching of the Church - that the whole family be active in the life of the Church to enhance family life and faith life."
Often women are seen as more visible and active members of the Church. But through the K of C, the involvement of men is growing, said Antoun, who also leads a Maronite Catholic community in Calgary.
"It also allows a way to hand down our culture because of the various activities the Knights sponsor for the community," he noted.
Antoun also believes the Knights' sense of responsibility is enhanced with their involvement in the organization.
When somebody follows an organization, they have more sense of responsibility because they become more aware of their obligations and duties, he explained.
As a member of the K of C, Aboud's priority "is the brotherhood in the name of Christ and the charity work behind it."
Everything is new to them - the meetings, the format, the forms, the fundraising activities.
But it has been fun too, from Sunday brunch they organized, to entertainment like backgammon tournament and bingo.
The last brunch they sponsored at St. Anthony's Church attracted a record number of people.
They even went camping with the families. Most of the wives and children of the member knights are also active in the council activities.
"The K of C is also a good vehicle for bonding together," said Aboud.
"We organized to assist our parish to be able to purchase our own church. And we're also talking about opening an Arabic school."
They want to teach their community Arabic, so that they can read the Arabic version of the Bible.
The community has found five language teachers and lessons will be held at the church basement and at the church rectory beginning next month. St. Maroun Council will sponsor the purchase of books and other materials for the lessons.
Arab Catholics have never had a church of their own in Edmonton, but they are a growing community.
They presently celebrate Mass at St. Anthony's Church while they are waiting to occupy Immaculate Heart Church along 76th Avenue. Palm Sunday Mass saw 350 people attending the celebration at St. Anthony's.
Even before they had their own priest, the people have been going to different churches in the city and outlying areas.
Aside from the Maronites, council members include Catholics from Chaldean and Assyrian rites, predominantly from Lebanon and Jordan.