By T. Waldmann-Williams
For The Catholic Messenger
KNOXVILLE — In the tapestry of family history, traditions are woven, creating a rich and enduring fabric that shapes the identity of generations to come. The Hatch family of St. Anthony Parish in Knoxville, specifically Bill Hatch, Brian Hatch and Mason Hatch, have forged a remarkable tradition rooted in faith, service and the pursuit of knighthood. Their story reflects the transformative power of familial influence and the profound impact of setting examples for the next generations.
Bill Hatch, the family patriarch, embarked on a spiritual journey when he married into a devout Catholic family. Although not initially Catholic himself, he embraced the faith by attending church with his wife, Carol. Bill’s commitment laid the foundation for a legacy of faith. His decision to accept an invitation to join the Knights of Columbus, influenced by the camaraderie and service-driven ethos of Jim Brees and Gary DeMaria, unknowingly set the stage for his son and grandson.
Brian Hatch, Bill’s son, found his calling to the Knights of Columbus approximately 20 years ago. Drawn to the organization’s spirit of generosity and service, Brian saw it as an opportunity to give back to his parish and the wider community. Brian’s dedication to the Knights was further fueled by his desire to share this experience with his own children, beginning with serving Mass with Mason.
Mason, the youngest in this lineage, grew up witnessing the commitment of his father and grandfather to the Knights. Inspired by their actions, Mason eagerly participated in church activities from a young age, even helping clean tables at local fish fries. As he matured, Mason expressed his desire to join the Knights, a decision that inspired his father and grandfather to pursue higher degrees within the organization. Mason accepted his invitation to join the Knights.
The unique opportunity for Bill, Brian and Mason to achieve their 2nd and 3rd degree knighthood simultaneously marked a special chapter in the family’s tradition. Mason’s enthusiasm and determination to complete all three levels before heading to college demonstrated the continuity of their commitment to service and faith.
Mason’s journey underscores the influence of positive role models within a family. He expresses admiration for his father and grandfather’s dedication, coupled with the welcoming environment created by all the Knights.
The Hatch family’s tradition of knighthood can serve as a beacon, illuminating the potential for familial influence to inspire spiritual growth and service. Their story prompts reflection on the origins of traditions, the power of role models and the importance of extending invitations to others. As families consider their own traditions, the Hatch legacy encourages embracing faith, service and the fearless pursuit of a noble cause.
Ask the Knights about what it means to them to be Knights. I encourage the Knights to be role models, to serve, and to invite others first to serve and then to join.