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Knights of Columbus Present Home to Priest who Lost Rectory in Hurricane Michael

11/8/2018

By Victoria Verderame

  Photos

K of C Supreme Knight Carl Anderson delivered a camper trailer to Panama City pastor and $100k Donation to Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocese to aid relief work

A new home for a pastor displaced by Hurricane Michael was part of the $526,000 Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson distributed on a visit to the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. Those donations included a gift of $100,000 to the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee to assist with the rebuilding of churches and schools and a meeting with Bishop William Wack.

Supreme Knight Anderson personally delivered the 29-foot camper trailer to Fr. Anthony Nguyen, Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church—a mostly Vietnamese parish in Panama City. Fr. Anthony has been sleeping in a classroom inside the parish hall since Hurricane Michael destroyed the rectory.

Supreme Knight Anderson sees the gift as not only practical and necessary but also as meeting a spiritual need for the Sts. Peter and Paul parish community.

“The gift of the camper trailer is an important sign of recovery for the parish families and communities of Sts. Peter and Paul,” said Supreme Knight Anderson. “While many organizations provide disaster relief services to the general public, it is the Knights’ unique mission to serve Catholic religious institutions like Sts. Peter and Paul and others in the Pensacola-Tallahassee diocese in such times of disaster.”

Fr. Nguyen expressed deep gratitude to the Knights of Columbus and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson by saying “It will be nice to have home to sleep in tonight.”

Along with the presentation of the camper trailer, the Knights of Columbus made several monetary donations to assist Catholic facilities in post Hurricane Michael recovery efforts, including the $100,000 to the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. Joining Supreme Knight Anderson was Knights of Columbus Supreme Master Dennis Stoddard and Florida State Deputy Donald Kahrer.

Bishop Wack said the visit from the Knights provided a much needed morale boost and the involvement of Knights volunteers will be critical as they begin to rebuild.

“For us it's important to have not just the local Knights involved, but also Knights from the state and national level as well. It's important because we feel like we're all alone. It’s been critical for our morale but also just literally to help us rebuild,” said Bishop Wack.

Providing relief from natural disasters is a key part of putting faith into action for the Knights of Columbus and its members. Members of the Knights of Columbus both young and old and Knights of Columbus insurance agents have been on site since the hurricane hit, helping with cooking and distributing food and other supplies to as many as 4000 people a day.

“We talk about evangelization all the time, and then it comes to our doorstep,” said Fr. Michael Nixon, pastor of St. Dominic’s Parish in Panama City, of the Knights assistance in relief efforts.

Other Hurricane Michael relief contributions from the Knights of Columbus include $25,000 to Lovers of the Holy Cross, a religious community of sisters whose convent was completely decimated during the hurricane and $10,000 to Catholic in America, a TV station that operates out of St. Dominic’s Parish in Panama City, which was also obliterated during Michael. In addition, the Knights of Columbus made singular contributions totaling $345,000 to individual parish and school hurricane relief projects. Overall, the Knights of Columbus donated $526,000 to Hurricane Michael disaster relief efforts in the Florida Panhandle.

So far this year, the Knights of Columbus have raised nearly $1.2 million for disaster relief. This money has been critical in not only aiding victims of Hurricane Michael but also Hurricane Florence, where the Knights of Columbus also donated $100,000 to the Diocese of Raleigh.

Victoria Verderame, Victoria.Verderame@kofc.org