Iowa Knights of Columbus honor Catholics’ service

The Family of the Year Award from the Iowa Knights of Columbus is the Meyer family of Newton. Pictured is the family of Kristi and Cory Meyer with their children Avery, Hudson, Kinsley, Hadley and Landon.

By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

Kristi and Cory Meyer of Sacred Heart Parish in Newton are grateful for the talents and skills with which they have been blessed and share these gifts with their parish and the broader community. When the Iowa Knights of Columbus chose Kristi, Cory, and their five children as Family of the Year, Kristi said she felt humbled. “It’s exciting, kind of humbling. You don’t think you deserve that,” she told The Catholic Messenger.

The Knights of Columbus also recognized the Newton parish’s pastor, Father Marty Goetz, as Chaplain of the Year for the Diocese of Davenport during the 2024 state convention held April 12-14 in Council Bluffs. Other honorees from the Davenport Diocese are Deacon Jeff Schuetzle of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, named Deacon of Year for the diocese, and the Clinton parish’s Knights of Columbus Council 707. The council received the Family Program of the Year award. Altogether, the Iowa Knights of Columbus bestowed 17 awards for outstanding volunteerism in the state’s four dioceses — Davenport, Des Moines, Sioux City and the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

The Meyer family — Cory and Kristi and their children, Avery, 17; Hudson, 14; and triplets Kinsley, Hadley and Landon, 10, participate in a variety of volunteer, civic, sports and agricultural-related activities. Cory, a Knight since 2010, served Newton Knights of Columbus Council 2663 as deputy grand knight and grand knight from 2018-2023. He shares his expertise in information technology, leading the parish to livestream Masses and update its digital network.


He and Kristi co-chaired the “Upon This Rock,” diocesan capital campaign in their parish and they serve as caregivers of the local Catholic cemetery. Kristi serves on the parish finance council, the Newton School Board, is the PTA treasurer, helps with field trips, runs the book fair and engages in fundraising activities. Avery and Hudson are altar servers and Avery serves as a lector. The kids are busy with soccer, swimming, 4-H and FFA. They participated in the making of Quilts of Valor for local veterans, as well.

The Iowa Knights of Columbus describes the Meyer family as a “faithful Catholic family that selflessly serves their parish and community,” and thus, earned the “Iowa Knights of Columbus Family of the Year.”

Applying their talents and gifts to their parish and civic communities is important, Kristi said. “We want to be good community members.” Their commitment requires a tag team approach. She admits, “It’s exhausting at times, but there are only so many years and then we’ll be wishing we had things to do.”

Fr. Goetz

In their nomination for Chaplain of the Year for the Davenport Diocese, the Newton Knights said Father Goetz’s “spiritual guidance and faithful attendance at our monthly meetings has led to more members attending our monthly meetings. He has come up with ideas to make us more visible to our parish by having a Sunday Mass where the Knights fill all the (liturgical) positions.”

The Knights said their pastor’s focus on “welcoming everyone to our parish has been outstanding.  He has a big heart of compassion for everyone.” As an example, they attached a  story published in The Catholic Messenger on Jan. 25, 2024 about fifth-grader Ethan Brandt, who has Down syndrome, and serves as a cross bearer at Mass with Father Goetz’s encouragement and appreciation.

“I see in our Knights of Columbus Council here in Newton a group of faithful and dedicated men who live their faith,” Father Goetz said. “It is an honor to journey with them in faith and to live up to our motto: ‘In service to One, in service to all.’” Being named Chaplain of the Year for the Davenport Diocese “is a great honor but it has to be shared with the faithful men from the council here in Newton. Without them, I wouldn’t win the award.”

Among those writing letters of recommendation for the nomination of Deacon Schuetzle as Deacon of the Year for the Davenport Diocese was Diocesan Administrator Father Ken Kuntz. The two have known each other for years and worked closely together when Father Kuntz served as pastor of Prince of Peace Parish from 2010 to 2022.

Dcn. Schuetzle

“I was always impressed with Deacon Jeff’s eagerness to serve in whatever way he could. He was very devoted to the parish in the areas of liturgy, adult faith formation, religious education, outreach to the homebound, the poor, and those in need, and in many other ministries as well. His humility, sincerity and dedication had a major impact on the lives of many, many people.”

Father Kuntz described Deacon Schuetzle as a faithful and faith-filled member of Clinton Knights of Columbus Council 707. “He is willing to assist in even the most menial tasks, like doing dishes or taking out the trash.” Referencing Deacon Schuetzle’s role as diocesan director of the Diaconate, Father Kuntz said, “His brother deacons appreciate his care, concern and willingness to listen as he offers wise counsel and direction.”

Deacon Schuetzle is reluctant to be singled out. “I’m honored but humbled as deacons are servant leaders. My motto for myself and for the deacons of the diocese is that the honor and glory go to God!” The deacon added, “The charity work that the KCs participate in feeds my soul, especially the Tootsie Roll drive for persons with intellectual disabilities.”

 The Clinton Knights of Columbus Council received its Family Program of the Year award for dedication to sponsoring a Community Christmas Dinner for individuals and families in need. The Knights took on that tradition after another group could no longer do so. “Expenses were covered by donations from local businesses and individuals, desserts were furnished by ‘bakery angels.”’ This past Christmas, the Knights delivered 220 meals to people unable to leave their homes, provided 70 carry-out meals and served 110 people in the parish hall.

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