Thursday, November 5, 2009

St. Thomas Knights of Columbus student council dedicates pro-life memorial

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Knights of Columbus Council #11949 from the University of St. Thomas recently funded a Memorial to the Unborn north of the Murray-Herrick Campus Center.
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Grand Knight Paul Shovelain of Knights of Columbus Council #11949 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul kneels by a Memorial to the Unborn recently funded by the council and installed on campus. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit


The monument includes an image titled Our Lady of the Streets and a quote from the first Vatican homily by Pope Benedict XVI: “Each of us is a result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed. Each of us is loved. Each of us is necessary.”

Grand Knight Paul Shovelain, a senior at St. Thomas, said that although other quotes were considered, this one was chosen because “it’s not in your face. It’s not criticizing, it’s just very hopeful.”

The memorial is a tribute to all aborted children and is a public witness against abortion, Shovelain said.

The monument was constructed by PenUltimate Monument based in Annandale. The company is owned by University of St. Thomas graduate Vince Hylla, who was a member of the St. Thomas Knights of Columbus council and gave the council a price break. The monument originally would have cost about $4,000 but was constructed for $2,000.

Not all St. Thomas students are Catholic and not everyone agrees with the council’s Memorial to the Unborn, Shovelain noted. “But we are a Catholic university and we want to promote Catholic values. We’re here to help Archbishop [John] Nienstedt and Bishop [Lee] Pichè however we can.”

Knight early on

The St. Thomas Knights of Columbus plans to use the momentum from the memorial to get crucifixes put back into every classroom, according to Shovelain. While older buildings on campus usually have crucifixes, the newer ones do not, he said.

“We always pray before my philosophy class,” Shovelain said. “My professor turns around and faces the blackboard to pray, but there’s nothing there. It’d be nice if there were a crucifix to meditate on.”

Shovelain, 22, became a Knight when he was 18 at his home parish in St. Michael, Minn. He transferred to the college council when he enrolled at the University of St. Thomas as a philosophy and Catholic studies student.

“It’s nice to have good relationships with people who have the same beliefs and desires as me,” he said. “It [the Knights of Columbus] has a great unity. The service aspect has been the best part.”

The college council holds food drives, coat drives and sweet corn fundraisers throughout the school year. They work closely with the Franciscan Brothers of Peace, Missionaries of Charity, and Sharing and Caring Hands.

Members recently participated in a 40 Days for Life prayer vigil. They prayed in shifts at Regions Hospital in St. Paul for 24 hours on Friday, Oct. 23. The event began Sep. 23 and ended Nov. 1.

One of three

There are about 75 active Knights of Columbus on the St. Thomas campus. Twenty new members joined this year. It was founded in 1996.

Father Paul Sirba, bishop-elect of Duluth, and Father Dennis Dease, president of the University of St. Thomas, are among its founders.

College Knights of Columbus councils are similar to parish councils. Both are dedicated to four principles: charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.

The St. Thomas Knights of Columbus is one of three Minnesota college councils. St. John’s University in Collegeville and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota also have college councils. Catholic Spirit
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