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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Knights of Columbus focus on community service

by Sylene Argent

Essex’s Knights of Columbus Council (#3305) is based out of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, and its membership is focused on serving the community in a variety of ways.

  Grand Knight, Peter Youngson, noted the Knights of Columbus members typically host biweekly fish fries from the local church, with proceeds going to various local charities, but the Coronavirus pandemic has made raising funds difficult this year.

  To date, six fish fries have been cancelled as a result of the pandemic. This means six local charities missed out on raising needed funds, especially during this unprecedented time, Youngson said.

  One of the charities that benefits from the fish fries is the St. Vincent de Paul. Typically, up to 350 people attend this fundraiser. “They make a lot of money,” he said.

  “Our whole focus is charity,” Youngson commented. So, he added, it has been difficult to not host those fish fries for those groups in need of the funding. He is looking forward to that time when the fish fries could resume, in some way, but noted the Knights of Columbus not only have to follow Provincial regulations as it relates to the pandemic, it also has to adhere to the rules set out with the London Diocese, which is currently halting the use of church facilities for fundraising at this time.

  Youngson noted the London Diocese made the decision for all the right reasons. So, the local service club may need to look at alternatives ways to host their fish fries temporarily when the time comes.

  New members are always welcome to join the Knights of Columbus, Youngson said. Recruiting new members, however, has been next to impossible during the pandemic. Members have been hosting online meetings over the past several months, and any executive meetings have had lower than usual attendance.

  Having had to host virtual meetings during the pandemic inspired the Knights of Columbus. In the future, a hybrid method of hosting meetings will be offered to its membership. This will include welcoming members in person, in addition to allowing additional members to call in to listen. There are members who simply can not make meeting times, due to work obligations or other reasons, and this will offer those individuals a way to keep informed, even if they can’t physically attend a meeting, Youngson noted.

  Youngson has missed being able to socialize with fellow members during the pandemic, noting comradery is also a large benefit of being involved with the Knights of Columbus.

  “It is rewarding to be a Knight,” Youngson said, adding what attracted him to join the group was the work it does to support local charities. The part he gets the most reward from is being involved in those fundraisers, especially when he hears a local charity was able to do something special, in part because of the funding or support the Knights of Columbus was able to provide.

  Youngson has a personal mission of leaving the world a better place, and he believes he is working towards that goal with his membership with this local service club.

  Looking ahead, Youngson and fellow Knights will connect with the other Knights of Columbus groups that are now a part of the Central Essex County Catholic Family of Parishes. As of September 1, Holy Name of Jesus Church in Essex Centre, St. Mary’s Church in Maidstone, St. Clement Parish in McGregor, and St. John the Evangelist in Woodslee, were named under the main title.

  In addition to fish fries, the Holy Name Knights of Columbus Council also hosts an annual Free Throw competition inside the gymnasium at Essex District High School, which gives area youth a chance to have some fun and show off their basketball skills.


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