BY Ryan McDougall | April 12 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

The Knights of St Columba, 96th Supreme Council and Opening Mass for the Centenary year20th & 21st  October 2018, Mass in Holy Redeemer RC Church Clydebank.Principal Celebrant Archbishop Malcolm McMahon Archdiocese of Liverpool and Bishop to the KSC.Entrance procession.Photo by and copyright of Paul Mc Sherry 07770 393960 @Paulmcsherry2

Knights fighting for the Faith

Ryan McDougall investigates the fraternal Order offering men ‘friendships for life’

When John O’Donnell talks about the Knights of St Columba, his face lights up.

“Every single thing that I do for the knights, I’ve got to admit, I get a massive buzz out of it—I really, truly do,” he said.

Mr O’Donnell is the provincial deputy grand knight for Glasgow and has been a member of the Catholic fraternal organisation for most of his adult life.

As an enthusiastic promoter of the order’s benefit—‘it has made me a far greater Catholic and much better person’ he says—he’s been given the task of filling the ranks with a new generation of recruits.


Centenary recruitments

The order will celebrate its centenary on October 5 this year, and it hopes to mark the 100th anniversary with a revitalised membership.

The knights are looking for men aged 18-65 to join up and assist with helping clergy and others in need, to get involved with the charitable and pro-life work they do in Scotland and to spread the word of the work of the Scottish Catholic Church.

Mr O’Donnell explained that they are hoping for men from all walks of life, regardless of their age, and added that his decision to join over four decades ago has deepened his Faith.

He explained that the knights have a lot of young members, and the order is setting out to challenge the misconception that it is intended for older men only.


Newly joined

Speaking of one individual, a teacher, who recently joined, he said: “[The man] was only Baptised last year, and I had to find out why it had taken him this length of time.

“He said he’d always been involved with the Church and that he’d been going to Mass for years with his wife and said there was always a yearning for him to become Catholic.

“So he will be joining the knights in May—he’s very interested.”

Mr O’Donnell believes the young man’s skills as a teacher will be put to good use with the knights, stating he is ‘very confident in public speaking’ and is ‘exceptionally Catholic-minded.’


Exploring Faith

Charlie McCluskey is a former supreme knight of the order, having held the top position from 2014-2017.

He said the knights ‘give an opportunity to men who want to explore a bit more of their Faith and to do good work for pro-life organisations and other charities.’

“Some of the men in the order have been helping in soup kitchens as part of living out their Faith, which is so much of what the ethos of the order is,” he said.

“It’s also a way for people to socialise with likeminded men. One of the things I was told many years ago is that when you join the knights, you make friends for life.”


Parish appeal

It has been just over two weeks since the order asked parishes to include their appeal for new members in bulletins, and so far a number have come forward expressing their interest.

Mr McCluskey said: “What’s interesting is that the guys who are coming in are mostly in their 30s and 40s—their families have grown up a bit and maybe they’ve got some more time on their hands to give back to the Church.”

Mr O’Donnell added: “We’re not a secret society, we wear our badges openly, and talk about the knights—and we’re always looking for men to join, especially young men.”

If you are interested in joining or want more information, contact Mr O’Donnell on 07854886425 or Paul Laird on 07875499608

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