2010 International Church Service Award

Brother Anthony Council 10014
St. Albert, Alberta
Victoria Council 1256
Victoria, British Columbia

This year, there was a tie for the First Place Church Activities.

Brother Anthony Council 10014, St. Albert, Alberta

When Pope Benedict XVI declared the “Year for Priests” in 2009, Brother Anthony Council 10014 in St. Albert, Alberta, decided to begin a special year-long program of offering support to men studying for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s Seminary.

While the council members traditionally provided financial support to seminarians through the RSVP program, their “Supporting our Seminarians” initiative increased the level of spiritual and social support as well.

Through the initiative, all council meetings concluded with a prayer for vocations, and the council newsletter, The Anvil, spotlighted seminarians with articles that included photos and brief biographies.

The council also awarded four $500 scholarships to deserving seminarians, selecting the recipients with the assistance of the seminary’s formation team.

Members gave money to purchase gift cards for each seminarian, which were presented at the council’s Italian Night celebration.

All the seminarians were invited and were transported from the seminary to the parish hall in a luxury bus.

Upon arrival, they were each escorted to their places of honor in the hall,and were introduced and presented with their gift cards. The seminarians all expressed their appreciation to the councils, as did a bishop, who noted that “a strong bond of solidarity has been created between the seminarians and your brother Knights.”

Victoria Council 1256 Victoria, British Columbia

How do we as Knights best show our appreciation for the many sacrifices made by our priests and bishops? Perhaps by publicly recognizing those sacrifices and the men who make them? Or by raising funds that make it easier for more men to prayerfully discern their vocation to the priesthood?

If you’re a member of Victoria Council 1256 in Victoria, British Columbia, you do both.

Each year, the council’s annual Priest Appreciation and Vocations Fundraiser dinner raises more than $10,000 for the Bishop’s Vocation Fund, while recognizing and honoring the diocese’s bishop, priests and sisters.

About 270 people attended the dinner and enjoyed delicious food, entertainment by the Victoria Police Pipe & Drum Band, and a moving presentation by the abbot of a local abbey on the struggles and discoveries along his path of discernment.

There were many logistical requirements for the event. Forty two council members spent nearly 1,300 hours in preparation for the dinner that was attended by 30 priests and sisters, five seminarians and the bishop, who received standing ovations at the beginning and end of the event.