Members of the Michigan State Council of the Knights of Columbus and their families and friends celebrate a memorial Mass at Sacred Heart every November.They come together to recognize those Michigan Knights who have passed away during the previous year. As part of the moving ceremony, a seminarian reads out from the lectern the names of each deceased. These names are etched onto a memorial plaque that hangs in a place of honor in the main chapel.
This year’s memorial Mass took place on Sunday, November 6, with about 250 people attending. Second-year theologian Adam Nowak of Detroit was the honored seminarian to read out the list of deceased during the time of intercessory prayer. State Deputy Kenneth Unterbrink and his wife, Elenor Unterbrink, did the first and second Scripture readings.
The presence of the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard in full ceremonial dress, wearing plumed hats and carrying ceremonial swords, gave the Mass a dignity that fits the occasion. After Mass, the attendees met at a brunch for fellowship, which is another longstanding tradition.
Michigan Knights of Columbus members have donated many member-hours and many thousands of dollars to support seminarians who are pursuing a calling to Holy Orders. At Sacred Heart’s Archbishop’s Gala in June, rector Msgr. Todd Lajiness received from the Knights a check for an astonishing $135,000. This donation completed a pledge of $1.25 million to the Fr. Michael J. McGiveny Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart.
The chair is named after Father McGiveny, founder of the Knights of Columbus, who is known as the “Defender of Christian Family Life.” The Michigan Knights of Columbus is the sole endower of the chair, which is held by bioethicist Dr. Janet Smith.