Saturday, December 10, 2005

Knights come late in the game

Most of my regular readers and listeners, those who have been regulars to this weblog since we began it last year, doubtless know by now that I am a proud Knight of Columbus. I am a firm believer in the overall Columbian mission of serving God and serving the Catholic Church. The four principles of the Order (Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism) are the principles upon which I try to govern my life, and that is why I was so attracted to the Knights in the first place.

When Hurricane Katrina hit and displaced so many people along the Gulf Coast, of course we gave everything we could. When the Diocese of Knoxville asked Catholics to give beyond their normal tithes and offerings to help Catholic Relief Services bring some small measure of peace to the region, of course, we responded with all we were able to put forward. When the Bishop asked us to help dislocated children and their families who were living here with their tuition to Catholic school, of course, we put forth from our meager resources for this cause we felt was right.

Yesterday I finally get a mailer from the Supreme Council saying that Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson had visited the area and recounted the devastation to Catholic schools, churches, and to Knights of Columbus councils in the area, all terrible (as if we didn't already know this), and begging me for yet more money.

I should point out that I am more than a little partial to any fund drive for hurricane relief that involves the Knights of Columbus because I know that the money I give to such a drive will not only go to families devastated by this terrifying disaster, but that very likely a good portion of my donation might go to help some Brother Knight and his family who are suffering as a result, and as a Knight, I have no greater duty than the care of a Brother Knight. With that in mind, I should have gotten this letter in the post a week after the storm, and I most certainly did not. Instead, I get an appeal for help from the Knights three weeks before Christmas. Needless to say, in this time of disaster, my budget to assist with the catastrophe is nearly exhausted, especially since, like most people impacted by this tragedy, I certainly did not plan for a hurricane in my budget.

Knoxville (and Tennessee in general) has been more heavily impacted by Hurricane Katrina than many communities to our north, since evacuees by the thousands came here, and so many have elected to settle here. They don’t call Tennessee the Volunteer State for nothing: Many of these people were met with offers of housing, jobs, and help of all sorts. The whole community poured out its heart to help. Knoxville, it should be pointed out, has adopted the town of Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, and a whole lot of people are putting forth resources, personal and corporate, to bring relief.

Nearly four months after the fact, I finally hear something from the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus.

Why did the Supreme Council wait so long when other worthy agents of relief were surely going to get to so many Brother Knights before they did?


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