Wednesday, February 12, 2020

(243) Family of the Year For 2018 (Tim & Chrissy Stapleton) and 2019 (Scott & Bernadette Lewis) and Other Awards at St. Louis Church, Gallipolis, Ohio


       Each year the Knights of Columbus Council 3335 recognizes an outstanding family and others who have made significant contributions to the parish of St. Louis Church in Gallipolis, Ohio.  The February 2020 and the October 2018 issues of the Council's newsletter is dedicated to them and is reproduced here..  Some of their stories are inspiring and worth sharing with the readers of this blog. 

February 2020

The Lewis Family receives the St. Louis Knights of Columbus Council’s most important and prestigious award, “Family of the Year 2019”.  Mama Bernadette is standing on the extreme left behind Madison (11).  Toby (8) is holding the plaque.  Next to him is little Gianna (6) with big sister, Faith (15) behind her.  Giving his acceptance speech is Papa Scott while holding baby Anna (1).  On the right are Noah (12) and Elijah (14).  One of the children is missing.  Kolbe (4) is there, but where?  Bernadette can only conclude that he’s lost in the temple……hiding behind the podium on the left.  The Lewis Family is amazing!  They not only live in a domestic church; the kids go to their own home school that their mother runs.  On February 22 they are all going on a mission trip to Costa Rica for a week……..being witnesses as they give a testimony after Mass and meet Costa Rican families; helping to build a chapel; and visiting the home bound.  If the Lewis Family discerns a calling, they will return for at least a year.  Both husband and wife must agree.
The Lewis home is a beautiful Christ centered model of what a domestic church should be.  They have daily prayer time which includes the rosary.  Story time features the saint of the day.  In preparation for Sunday Mass that they attend as a family every week without fail, they discuss the readings.  As part of their homeschooling, they set aside time for some Bible reading according to each child’s age.  Scott is a super convert, having entered the Church almost five years ago.  During lulls while helping patients with kidney dialysis at Holzer Hospital, Scott does spiritual reading.  According to his wife Bernadette Stapleton Lewis, “Scott will go to any Catholic event up and down the state with his family, including a family retreat, conferences, visiting shrines, etc.”   He wants to show the kids that things Catholic are fun!  They have gone to the March For Life in Washington as a family in January, help out in the Right to Life booth at the Flea Market, and participate in the Life Chain along Route 7 in October.  The family is very active in our parish.  The three older boys are altar servers at even some daily Masses.  Our thanks to Mike Stapleton for taking the photos in this issue.

Fr. Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus to promote, preserve, and protect families.  The current national campaign is to promote the domestic church in order to strengthen both the family and the parish.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR YOUR MARRIAGE TODAY?  In his apostolic exhortation, “Familiaris Consortio, on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World”, St. Pope John Paul II explained how the married state is designed by God to lead toward mutual sanctification of both husband and wife. By virtue of the mystery of the death and Resurrection of Christ, conjugal love is purified and made holy.  The graces of the sacrament of Matrimony accompanies the couple throughout their lives.  The goal of any marriage should be mutual sanctification and so much will follow.  In difficult times pray and tap the graces of Matrimony.  Help to make your wife holy.  

Gretchen McConnell & Justin McClelland after the Graduation Mass in May.  They both received Knights of Columbus $1000 scholarships.  Gretchen is currently a student at the University of Rio Grande.  She played varsity soccer at Gallia Academy.  Justin is a business major at Capital University in Columbus, where he is continuing his football career as a quarterback.  Even though a freshman, he got considerable playing time.  At Gallia Academy he played varsity football, basketball, and baseball.  Both were altar servers and continue to serve when not away at school.

On the right is Paul Sebastian giving an acceptance speech after receiving the Knight of the Year award.  He talked about his struggle to maintain a balance of priorities even though retired…….1) God; 2) Family; 3) Job to support the family; and 4) Service.  Paul advocated that each knight specialize in at least one activity instead of simply paying dues and never showing up to help.  Sebastian attends every meeting as lector where he gives a brief five minute talk on diverse subjects and organizes the Knights of Columbus Mass five times a year.  Previously Paul was treasurer for two years.  He writes this monthly newsletter and other articles subject to the approval of our pastor.  Together as a team, Paul and his wife Jaga bring Communion to the sick every Sunday and advise the Catholic Newman Club at the University of Rio Grande.  Paul is on the Steering Committee for putting on the annual Diocesan Men’s Day of Renewal since 2010 and tries to mobilize our men to attend.  They are generally patient with him.


*Our grateful thanks to the Ours Family for another stellar job with the Giving Tree

*Many thanks to Allen White, his son Alex, and his nephew Frederick Michael Edelmann for their work with the Coats For Kids campaign.

*Don’t forget our Coffee and Donuts Breakfast after the Sunday Masses on February 9.

*We need your participation at the next Knights of Columbus meeting.  Your presence makes a difference and animates everybody present……..great fellowship and most of all, your ideas.  Since our chaplain cannot make the usual 4th Monday, the meeting may be changed to another day.  Our Council is as strong as its members.

Patty Hays receives the Lady of the Year award from our grand knight, Tyler Reynolds.  A professional photographer, Patty has taken many wedding and First Communion photos.  She’s a real prayer warrior who mobilizes those on her Prayer Line to pray for those in distress by e-mail and Facebook, which she uses as an apostolate.   Hays also organizes the women to participate in retreats and mini-pilgrimages.  Patty was at Fr. Bill’s side when he died, comforting and caring for him in Dayton.  Similarly, she helped Blanche Champer in her last days.

Bill Griffith, who entered the Church only about seven years ago, has helped enough for a lifetime.  An expert in the culinary arts, he has cooked at many a wedding, fish fry, parish festival, and other gatherings in the parish.  Even though he’s not a knight, Bill helped us sell raffle tickets to his brothers in the Elks, raising over a $1000.  He even helps out with maintenance in the parish.  Thus he earned the Volunteer of the Year award.

Our pastor, Fr. Thomas Hamm, was chosen as Chaplain of the Year in appreciation for attending all of our meetings and keeping us on track in regard to the parish.  He blesses our meals and leads prayer at the beginning of our meeting and for those members who are ailing.  Thank you, Father, for your faithful service.

The Awards Breakfast

Krystal Davison receives the Youth of the Year Award.  Krystal continues as an altar server, especially when her Mom is lector.  Krystal often helps out at the fish fries.

Frederick Michael Edelmann receives the Bluecoat of the Year Award from Grand Knight Tyler Renolds.  Frederick Michael works with a company that sells cabinets.  He is a member of the National Guard that could be deployed with little notice.  In his spare time Frederick Michael is a volunteer fire fighter…….risking life and limb to protect us.  He was very helpful with the Catholic Newman Club at the University of Rio Grande a couple of years ago.
The awardees, all together.  Coach Jared McClelland is a stand-in for his son Justin.  Thank you for all that you have done for the parish community.  And the Lewis Family found little Kolbe on the far left.  His mother has her hand on him, just to make sure he doesn’t get lost again.  The Lewis Family is intact.  

October 2018

Grand Knight Tyler Reynolds in the blue Knights of Columbus shirt presents the St. Louis Council’s most important and prestigious award, “Family of the Year” to the Stapleton family.   From oldest to the youngest, tallest to shortest are Aubree on the left, Riley on the right, Eden behind the plaque, Josiah to the left of it and Ezekiel to the right.  Mama Chrissy has her hands on Lucia and Papa Tim is holding baby Lilian.  Chrissy homeschools the kids while Tim restores salvage cars totaled by insurance companies and resells them at a moderate price to support the family.  Their home is a domestic church with Jesus Christ the center of their home and the Holy Family their model.  They all feel at home at Catholic Familyland every year where large families are not unusual.  Tim is an amazing apostle, having brought an extraordinary number of people into the Church by his witness and sharing the faith.  The husband and wife team work together with the Confirmation class.  The Knights of Columbus was founded by Fr. Michael J. McGivney to promote, preserve, and protect families.   
WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR YOUR MARRIAGE TODAY?   Do something together each day.  It could be a rosary walk, going to daily Mass, eating out, watching a movie or video, doing volunteer work in the parish or community, doing a home project together as a team, host a dinner together for friends, go on a date together or a family outing, etc.  They say that crawling into bed together at the same time is a help.  Pray for her daily and together too every day.

The five minute lecture at the September meeting by Lector Paul Sebastian was on St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day we will celebrate on October 4. In a time of crisis, laxity, and corruption for the Church in the 13th Century, the Lord told him: “Rebuild My Church”. Our Supreme Knight Carl Anderson challenged the Knights of Columbus, each one of us, to get to work on that task, beginning with renewing the domestic church as fathers and heads of family in our own homes. That includes each knight making our own council the best. Francis once kissed the consecrated hands of a notoriously corrupt priest, showing that the Mass and sacraments celebrated by the most corrupt priest is still valid and no excuse for missing Mass on Sunday or leaving the Church. Now is the time to be pillars of the parish in helping our pastor to renew and purify our parish.

Big Mike McConnell receives the Volunteer of the Year award along with Keith Davison (center).  Mike refinished all of the pews……first sanding off all of the old brown paint and varnish.  Then he made the natural wooden  pews look like new although well over 60 years old.  It was a long and painstaking job, really an exquisite work of art.  Big Mike is often an usher at the Saturday 5:30 pm Mass and could pass for a bouncer at the same time.

Keith Davison is still recovering from a liver transplant, used his electrical engineering skills to plan a complete rewiring of the church.  The original wiring was antiquated and unsafe.  Now the wiring and lighting is state of the art.  The members of the parish mobilized their resources along with a loan to finance the over $400,000 undertaking from September 2017 to Lent 2018 while we had Mass in the parish hall.  Our pastor had to act as a construction superintendent, overseeing the project at every step. 

Chris Davison (right) received the Knight of the Year award.  When work needs to be done in Knights of Columbus projects, clean-up of the grounds, maintenance of the cemetery, etc., Chris is front and center. 


Paul Sebastian introduces Fr. Donald Maroon and accepts the “Chaplain of the Year” award for him in abstentia as Grand Knight Tyler Reynolds on the left and Master of Ceremonies Allen White look on.  Fr. Maroon was a very dedicated pastor of St. Peter & Paul in Wellston for the last 19 years.  His parish included a parish hall and an elementary school above the church in the same building.  As pastor and chaplain, he gave the local council of the Knights of Columbus ample support and was always available for them. 

Grand Knight Tyler Reynolds presents the Lady of the Year award to Kitty Griffith.  When work has to be done with the Lenten Fish Fries, the summer Spaghetti Dinner, and other parish function, Kitty is right there and her husband Bill teams up with her as one of our chefs.

Grand Knight Tyler Reynolds presents the Youth of the Year Award to the McConnell sisters Gretchen and Gaby.  Both have done their share, working at our Lenten Fish Fries and other functions.  Both are altar girls.  Gretchen competed with boys on the Gallia Academy soccer team before the girls finally got their own team.

Catie White receives the Knights of Columbus scholarship for $500 from Tyler Reynolds.   She is often the soloist in the choir.  Catie is currently a nursing student at the University of Rio Grande, following in the footsteps of the great healer.

Tony Easton, shown in the right photo, was named “Bluecoat of the Year”.   Even though he is a student in Industrial Technology at the University of Rio Grande, Tony volunteered to be a firefighter despite all of the required training, risks, and dangers.  We take fire departments for granted until our own house is on fire. 

Finally, all of the awardees are together as the Knights of Columbus Council 3335 Award Class of 2018.  Thank you all for what you have done for our parish community.  May your efforts stimulate others to step up and do their share. 

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