U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson talked about the economy, housing, education and energy technology, a number of people received awards and Jefferson Community College and Franciscan University of Steubenville were honored at the 108th anniversary dinner of Immaculate Heart of Mary Council 472 of the Knights of Columbus. But the hot topic for most of the speakers was their experiences during Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States.
Wilson attended the Mass celebrated by the pope in Washington, D.C., and took Communion with 46,000 people. He called it “the most moving experience of a lifetime, the most gratifying.”
Larry Molding, state K of C deputy, traveled to New York City for the Papal Mass. He shared his experience there, as did retired Bishop Gilbert Sheldon, who also discussed the pope’s words on the sexual assault crisis in the church in the United States.
He said the church had been “riding high” during Pope John Paul’s quarter of a century as pope and the Devil took aim at “middle management,” finding “a few weak individuals,” in an attempt to hurt the church.
“What do we do now?” Shelton asked. “Pope Benedict said we should be faithful to the church, we have to witness to our faith, we have to serve as an example.”
Bishop R. Daniel Conlon said the U.S. visit was his first opportunity to be in the presence of the new pope. He had met Pope John Paul and wondered if his successor would live up to John Paul’s “star power.” “But Pope Benedict has a very wonderful way, a sincere, warm, intense way,” the bishop said.
Wilson closed his remarks with an observation on the changes in the economic climate of the area and the country, saying, “Right now America is going through a reinvention of ourselves. It is going to take some hard shoulder to the wheel to maintain steel jobs and expand to energy. I believe we can make that transition and make it in a good way.”
Larry Campbell, district deputy, commended the chapter on its 108 years of service.
Richard Fornal, grand knight, presented plaques to Laura Meeks, president of JCC, and the Rev. Terrance Henry, TOR, president of Franciscan University.
Award winners were Joe Zamberlan, a Catholic Central High School senior, youth of the year; Tom Sweda, Scoutmaster of Labelle Troop 3, volunteer of the year; Carol Fornal, lady of the year; Monsignor Gerald Calovini, religious of the year; JoAnna and Bernie Ravasio, family of the year; Don Hall, knight of the year; and the Rev. Mark Moore, chaplain of the year.
Hall presented the religious of the year award to Calovini and read several letters commending Calovini’s pastoral contributions. Wintersville Mayor Bob Gale also presented Calovini with a proclamation naming him Wintersville mayor for April 28.
The council presented a check to Conlon for his favorite charity. Vicki Nurczyk, principal of Aquinas School, and Terry DiPiero, Holy Rosary School principal, accepted checks for their school scholarship funds.
Members of the dinner committee were Joseph Lancia, chairman, and Al Furka, John Calabria, Ed Calabria, Hall, Ron Fallert, Fornal, Guy Auteri, Rocco Auteri, D.L. Romel, Russell Harbert, Charles Manfresca, Ray DiBerardino, Reggie Mitchell, William DiMarzio and Clyde Morelli.