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For Father's Day, Knights of Columbus families reflect on shared bonds, values

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Steve Kehoe likes to claim credit for his father getting involved in the Knights of Columbus in the late 1970s. When Steve was 6, a childhood friend had a dad in the Knights, who recruited his dad.

“That started my dad on his path,” said Steve, a parishioner of St. Leo the Great Church in Fairfax. His dad is Don Kehoe, a retired IRS executive who went on to serve in many local, state and international Knights roles, from Grand Knight of Father Diamond Council 6292 in Fairfax to Virginia state deputy (the highest state office) in 1990, to various international positions including Supreme Secretary of the Order, based in New Haven, Conn., in 2007. Don also served on the Catholic Herald’s board of directors 2011-21.

As a father, nothing can make you more proud or happy than to see your son continue your faith in such a visible way.” Andrew Zaso, Grand Knight, Santa Maria Council 4654, Vienna

When Steve became state deputy in 2017, “we were the first father-son state deputies in Virginia,” and the seventh internationally, he said.

Steve’s son, Ryan, 21, is involved in the Knights as well: he’s finishing up a year as Grand Knight at James Madison University in Harrisonburg.

“When Dad joined, it became a family thing for all of us,” Steve said, reflecting on their involvement as Father’s Day approaches. “It’s a fraternity, but it’s a family service fraternity. You meet people with the same values and morals.

“That’s what drew me in, and what drew my dad in,” Steve said, adding that his grandfather was a Knight and his father-in-law, David Todd, is also a member of the Father Diamond Council. “I joined when I could at 18 and it’s been a part of our life and how we live each and every day.” 

QUALITY TIME TOGETHER

Among the many father-son Knights in the diocese are Mike Moore of Sterling and his son, Christopher, a part-time community college student. They joined Our Lady of Hope Council 12791 in Potomac Falls three years ago.

“It’s very rewarding for me as a father — it’s an opportunity for quality time with my son, and it’s beneficial for Christopher,” who has autism, Mike said. The Moores went through all the phases of initiation together to become fourth-degree Knights. They now usher at church and work on charitable projects together for the council.

Joining the Knights gives young men an opportunity to “see other men besides their fathers living out their faith,” Mike said. “It’s a wonderful group of men; they just treat him as one of their own.”

He added that there are many things fathers and sons can do together but being involved in the Knights is special. “We love watching baseball together, but this is a way to make a positive impact.”  

EMBRACING THE FAITH

Andrew Zaso is Grand Knight of Santa Maria Council 4654 in Vienna and gave his three children a good Catholic upbringing. But he worried that when his son, Nick, went away to college, “he wouldn’t have a good network of friends who were Catholic.”

Andrew had been involved in Knights councils around Northern Virginia for 20 years and had been a Grand Knight twice; his family had always joined in to help with events. But he was still surprised when Nick called last year and said, “Guess what, Dad — I’m going to be Grand Knight” of the collegiate council at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

“He's seen how the Knights can support a parish and he’s done the same thing down there at Virginia Tech,” Andrew said. “I’m not trying to take complete credit, the Knights he’s met have planted that seed.”

Nick just graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He is finishing out his term as Grand Knight, then will work in youth ministry as a lay member of the Youth Apostles. He’ll spend the next year as a missionary at St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Chantilly.

“He’s 22 and has really embraced the Catholic faith and lives it,” Andrew said. “As a father, nothing can make you more proud or happy than to see your son continue your faith in such a visible way.”

A KNIGHT ‘SINCE I WAS BORN’

Tim Hogan of St. Leo the Great Church in Fairfax notes that his father, Tom, now 87, has been a Knight for more than 65 years and is a former state deputy. He “invited me into the Knights when I was about 20 years old,” Tim said.

At 61, Tim has been a Knight for about 40 years, and has served as Grand Knight and district deputy, among other offices. He also has run his council’s concession stands for the Fairfax Fall Festival and served as regional coordinator of the Keep Christ in Christmas campaign.

All of his four brothers were involved in the Knights, and when his sons turned 18 or 19, “I brought them all in” as well. “It only strengthens our religious faith by being a Knight. We’re the right arm of the church and help our pastors, priests and bishops with whatever they need,” he said.

Tim’s youngest son, James, 26, a senior studying IT and web development at George Mason University in Fairfax, has been involved in the Knights “pretty much since I was born.”

“The faith part of it is really important to me,” James said, but also, “it feels like a second family. There are a lot of people I’ve known since I was a child.” He’s newsletter editor and this year will be warden for the Fairfax council.

When Tim talks about being involved in the Knights with his father and his son, you can hear the pride in his voice. And it’s obvious the joy it gives him will last long beyond Father’s Day. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021