The Knights of Columbus Triune Council #2052 celebrated their 96th anniversary with a Charity Ball, held at the Colonial Manor in Norwood, N.J., on June 5. The event honored Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, and Chris Bell of Good Counsel Homes for their dedicated years of service to so many ministries.
Grand Knight John Rio welcomed the guests and presented the honorees, who were escorted into the ballroom by the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Honor Guard.
The program opened with the introduction of Fr. Apostoli by Fr. Frank Samoylo, longtime Rockland County resident, now pastor of St. Columbanus parish in Cortlandt Manor, and one of last year’s co-honorees for his work with the prolife movement.
Fr. Andrew is a member and co-founder of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. He is a frequent host on the Eternal Word Television Network. Ordained in 1967 by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, the famous preacher and TV pioneer of the 1950s, Fr. Andrew now works to advance the cause of the canonization of the bishop, whom he called a “great man who touched many hearts.”
In his talk, Fr. Andrew described some of the miracles attributed to the bishop, and asked the guests to pray for him to be declared a saint.
Fr. Andrew also spoke of his great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and urged the audience to heed the Fatima message to pray the Rosary, which he said is “powerful enough to stop wars and bring peace,” and protect the Christian culture now beset by abortion, euthanasia, and attacks on religious freedom and marriage.
Next at the podium was Richard Bruno, coordinator of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Rosarians, who introduced Chris Bell, co-founder of the Good Counsel Homes for Babies and Mothers, and welcomed Chris’ wife, Joan Andrews Bell, who has been on the front lines of the prolife movement for decades, and their son, Emiliano.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Good Counsel Homes, founded by Chris and Fr. Benedict Groeschel in 1985 to serve homeless, pregnant and parenting mothers and their babies.
Chris began by thanking the prolife people of Rockland for their efforts to save unborn babies. He noted that over the years from the “rescues” in the 1980s — peaceful sit-ins blocking the doors of abortion clinics led by the Vicar of Rockland Msgr. Harrington — to today’s 40 Days of Life vigils, the number of facilities in the county that provide surgical abortions declined from six to zero.
He also pointed out that Rockland has the lowest abortion rate in all the counties that comprise the Archdiocese of New York and attributed this to prayer and the Blessed Sacrament.
Many women who seek abortion do so under great pressure and despair, Chris said, and told the audience that many of the women who come to Good Counsel seeking help have had previous abortions because at the time, they said, it seemed they didn’t have a choice.
Good Counsel Homes offers them the choice of life for their babies and provides a program called Lumina to help women who have had abortions to heal. God’s mercy is infinite, Chris said, and to share that mercy and love of Christ with those in need is the mission of Good Counsel.
The final speaker of the evening was Rockland County Supervisor Ed Day who presented certificates of appreciation on behalf of the people of Rockland to the Triune Council’s honorees and to Good Counsel Homes on the occasion of their 30th anniversary.
The program ended with the announcement of the council’s Knight of the Year: Kevin McGovern.
Rev. Gerry Deponai, pastor of St. Anthony’s Church in Nanuet and the chaplain emeritus of the Triune Council, said of Chris and Fr. Andrew, “The Triune Council is deeply honored to acknowledge and honor these two dedicated man of the Church!
Our Church, our nation, and the cause of life have been blesssed with their charisms.”
Photos below courtesy of Frank Traina