Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 27, 2009
Knights order saints medals for Afghanistan troops
Sts. Christopher and Michael medals are the soldiers' protectors of choice
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON – Knights helping in the war effort may sound like something from medieval times, but the concept still holds true today.
Edmonton Council #1184, the father of all councils in Alberta, will provide prayer books and St. Christopher and St. Michael medals for 2,500 troops from the Edmonton Garrison going to Afghanistan this summer.
“I am ex-military myself. I know that these things will be very much appreciated by the guys,” said Past Grand Knight Joe Smith.
He decided recently that the local Knights ought to show their support somehow for the Canadian troops overseas in Afghanistan. Upon speaking with Padre (Captain) Steven Defer, a chaplain at Lancaster Park’s Our Lady of Loretto, Smith learned that religious medals were in high demand by the deployed troops.
“It’s a bit surprising that even so-called atheists, when they realize that their life is on the line, are asking for these very things. We hope to provide them and show our support for the troops,” said Smith.
TURN TO GOD
The power of Catholic medals is that they remind the user to turn to God in prayer for their needs. They are reminders of beloved figures or aspects of their faith, treasured somewhat in the same way as family photos.
The military personnel requested St. Christopher and St. Michael medals in particular. Two thousand of each medal were ordered.
St. Michael is the patron saint of the warrior and, therefore, an oft-requested medal by soldiers.
“St. Christopher is the patron saint of the traveller. There has been some controversy as of late whether he actually did the things that he was accredited for.
“However, that doesn’t seem to bother the guys over there in the line of fire. They are still asking for St. Christopher medals,” said Smith.
Devotion to St. Christopher continues unabated in the military. In cases where a soldier is unable to wear or keep a medal on his person, he might carry a St. Christopher prayer card in his pocket.
In addition, the Knights learned there is a prayer booklet distributed to the American troops by Supreme Headquarters in the United States.
“They are coming out with a Canadian version, so I have our state deputy, the most senior knight in the province, working on acquiring a number of these pamphlets so that they can also be given with the medals to Steven Defer to take to Afghanistan with him,” said Smith.
Capt. Defer, also a brother knight, goes to Afghanistan in August or early September.
The total cost of this project exceeds $2,000. So far the Knights have raised about $1,750. If there is a funding shortfall, Smith expects that St. Joseph Assembly will provide the remainder.
“The response from the Edmonton councils in the area has been very good,” said Smith.