Why did I become a Knight of Columbus? As I look back, there were a couple reasons. To be honest, there was a slow progression in my understanding of what the Knights did. My exposure to the organization was scant, and their work not entirely evident to me. In time, the seed was planted in a conversation with Dan Smith when he asked me if I ever considered joining the Knights. That conversation lead me to a better understanding of the basic nature of the organization and its work. Service was the key in my mind. My wife was a very active volunteer in both the church and school and with my kids becoming independent I could foresee opportunities to get more involved with what I consider one of the basic tenants of being human…service to others. Still, it took a year or two before I actually joined. What did it? Well, to be honest the deciding incident involved no other than our own Mr. Tony Petraca. In going about the normal business of what Tony does so well, he sold me a raffle ticket at a spaghetti dinner. I won. My wife turned to me and said “Pat, it is a sign. I think it is time for you to join”…and so I did.
What did I find? I did find the service opportunities I was looking for. Chris Damo as Community Director, ensured I was given ample opportunities to express my faith through service. Chris had been in that position for a decade, and when he suggested I take over as Community Director I was humbled, and overwhelmed. Long story short, with support and help, all turned out well and I felt good about being able to participate and provide other Knights with the chance for service events. Ah, but here is the kicker, and the point of my commentary. I learned another lesson. What I also found, are true heroes. Those heroes gentlemen, are you. You, who most likely consider yourselves ordinary. As I go about my business, I see so many of you involved with helping others. I see purpose in your actions. Not surprisingly, the service goes beyond just Knights events, so many are involved with other groups as well. I even hear and see evidence of your work through others outside of St. Michael parish. Maybe most importantly, through all this I watch and notice how so many of you live through, struggle through, life challenges with faith and dignity, usually silently. It inspires me.
I see you day in and day out living what God tells us is the key and fabric that binds humankind, and that is actively participating in the care and feeding (figuratively and literally) of the community of humanity. I have never considered my self as not having a purpose, but through you all I am better able to see a more defined purpose being actively lived out, not for the good of the individual performing the act but for the good of God’s community as a whole.
The irony of it all, goes back to something Fr. Pendolphi is often fond of saying. God will not let you give more than He gives to you in return. For myself, I joined a group so I could help others. Through that experience God is giving me greater gifts through you. A sense of more determined purpose, humility and the desire to work on living my life more faithfully. Funny thing is, all that is needed to receive these infinite gifts are for us all to continue to go about our daily life, living as God has asked us to. What a cool plan He put together!