It may not have been the first year Knights from St. Francis of Assisi Council 16839 in Jefferson, N.C., participated in prison ministry, but it may end up being their most important.
On April 8, the day before Holy Thursday, the Knights — Bob Breton, Charles Flederbach, Rick LaBonte and Luis de la Cerda — dropped off 135 bags filled with toiletries, candy, prayer cards, Bibles and other Catholic literature at Ashe County Detention in Jefferson. They filled one bag for every prisoner.
“This is the first time we did it as the Knights,” de la Cerda said. “It used to be handled by a local group at the church and they got overwhelmed with work, so they asked us to help and we said yes.”
To collect the items, the Knights organized a drive at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Jefferson. They took precautionary measures necessary to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic by not only wiping everything down, but also remaining more than six feet apart.
The council’s efforts are just some of ways Knights around the world are helping those in need during the coronavirus pandemic, especially through the new Knights of Columbus of “Leave No Neighbor Behind” initiative. The initiative was formed to inspire Knights in serving their communities, especially through helping food banks, blood centers and other essential services that have been depleted of their vital supplies. They are also called to spiritually lead their communities through novenas and other prayer resources.
Prison ministry is part of that service to neighbor, and it’s uniquely important to Knights of Columbus. Founder Father Michael J. McGivney paid daily visits to a man in prison who was sentenced to death after killing a policeman during a drunken brawl.
And today, Father McGivney’s Knights are continuing this dedicated prison ministry, as Bob Breton shared. He has been visiting prisoners for years, reading them the Bible in English and sometimes in Spanish.
“They too are in need of being loved. Bottom line,” Breton said. “They’re people who are often lonely, desolate and sometimes they are abandoned. Sometimes they have no one to visit them.”
Share your story of how your council is helping strengthen people’s faith and offering support during this time. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in a special bi-weekly edition of Knightline, a resource for K of C leaders and members. Access Knightline’s monthly archives.
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