Knights devoted to diversity

Father Joseph Sia, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Columbus Junction, prays with Burmese members of the parish’s Knights of Columbus council earlier this year.

By Lindsay Steele
For The Catholic Messenger

When the Knights of Columbus were founded in 1882 by Father Michael McGivney, the goal was the protection of Irish Catholic families who had no access to public services when they lost their breadwinner.

One-hundred-thirty-five years later, the Knights of Columbus continue reaching out to Catholic immigrants. Antonio Banuelos, state deputy for the Iowa Knights of Columbus, noted that the organization’s outreach efforts are not limited to charitable works. “We want to call them brothers.”

Banuelos noted that there are currently five Spanish-speaking councils in Iowa with over 300 members. A Spanish-speaking council in Ottumwa is set to begin meeting this month. “Councils all over the state have Hispanic presence and are looking for more resources in Spanish to better serve their parishes and their families,” Banuelos said.


The Iowa Knights of Columbus have also reached out to the refugee community, specifically Burmese refugees. Several Burmese Catholics are members of the council in Columbus Junction, and, recently, 12 new members joined Council 15336 at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines. Most of these members have also benefited from the life insurance protection that the Order offers, Banuelos said.

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