By Lindsey McMillan
The Knights of Columbus representing the Diocese of Tyler have had an active charitable presence within Catholic communities across East Texas. With thirty councils and 2,600 members, the Knights have set goals and surpassed them each year in their quest to meet the needs of the diocese. Since 1988, the Knights have contributed over $500,000 in charitable donations to the Diocese of Tyler.
The focus of each council encompasses four areas: Family, Community, Life, and Faith. The councils average approximately sixteen events yearly. Each council is also responsible for adopting at least one service project each year.
David Zeigler, a member of the Marshall Council, is the current Education, Training, and Communications Director for the Texas State Council. A Fourth Degree Knight and active since 1986, Zeigler previously served as the Diocesan Deputy for two years.
Zeigler recalls an important mission, after six years of preparation, when in 2020 his council collaborated with the American Wheelchair Mission to raise the necessary funds and purchased 115 wheelchairs to be distributed across the diocese. This was the first of such projects in the area and it is Zeigler’s hope that this will continue with one container of chairs being obtained every two years. One container of ten wheelchairs costs $4,700. The American Wheelchair Mission has been working with the Knights of Columbus to aid physically disabled children, teenagers, and adults since 2003. Because charity is one of their sole objectives, such a project exemplifies the dedication of the councils of East Texas.
Zeigler is proud to announce that the councils of the Tyler Diocese are number one in charitable giving in the state, which has had a presence of Knights for 117 years.
The 2021 state convention for the Knights of Columbus will be April 30-May 2. The Knights are holding a membership drive online where any practicing Catholic man, eighteen years and older, may join for their first year free. This drive will continue through June 30th. With dues averaging $25-30 per year, this is a chance for many men to get involved with this exceptional organization. Information can be found on www.kofc.org/joinus. Use the promo code: McGivney2020.
The Knights of Columbus got started in 1882 under the stewardship of Father Michael McGivney. Fr. McGivney set an example of charity and a vision for Catholic men to work in service with one another to help their communities. There are now over two million members with a goal to continue Fr. McGivney’s legacy.
The Knights in the Diocese of Tyler are always busy with projects making them a competitive portion of the state council seeing as Texas has over 100,000 active members. Seventy percent of the money they raise returns to Bishop Strickland to be utilized for seminarian support.
The Knights of Columbus throughout the diocese are dedicated to their humble service and bless the area with their charitable actions. As quoted in the Faith In Action Guidebook, the Knights focus on the four premier points of service and duty: “The Faith in action model allows us to come together to share our faith, celebrate fraternity with our families, and do what we do best — stand shoulder to shoulder in service to our community and to defend life at all stages and in every condition.”
You can learn more about the Knights of Columbus in the Diocese of Tyler here.
Lindsey McMillan has lived in Texarkana for nineteen years and is a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church. There she is active on the Parish Council, ACTS community, and is a lector. Lindsey is an adjunct English instructor at Texarkana College and Texas A&M University-Texarkana. She has been a freelance writer since 2005 and enjoys travel, reading, and spending time with family and friends. She has been married to her husband Chris for twenty-six years and they have two college-aged children, Emily and Patrick. She’s also mom to shelties Honey and Trixie and cat Hallie.
Cover Image: Members of the Knights of Columbus from throughout the Diocese of Tyler with Bishop Strickland at the wheelchair delivery in September of 2020.