Alexandria man named Knight of the Year

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Nathan E. Murray, a parishioner of St. Louis Church in Alexandria and a member of Fitzgerald Council No. 459 in Alexandria, was named Knight of the Year at the Virginia State Convention of the Knights of Columbus.

Rosemary Paulson of Church of the Nativity in Burke received the Young Woman of the Year Award. She was nominated by Fr. Vincent S. Sikora Council No. 7992. The winner of the Young Man of the Year Award was Brian Vincent Seimtetz, who was nominated by Chesapeake Council No. 8240.

Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde, Virginia state chaplain, was the celebrant and homilist of the closing Mass April 30. (See page 9 for the text of Bishop Loverde's homily.) Father John C. Cregan, associate state chaplain, delivered the opening prayer at the awards breakfast Saturday morning.

The Knights presented Bishop Loverde with a plaque thanking him for his many years of service as state chaplain, as well as a $15,000 check to support vocations in the diocese. He also accepted a $15,000 check for vocations on behalf of Richmond Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo.

The annual convention was held last weekend at the Hyatt Regency Dulles Hotel in Herndon.

The new state deputy is Michael J. Gasper of Richmond. He succeeds outgoing State Deputy Stephen P. Raschke of Gloucester, a retired Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army.

Gasper has lived in Richmond since 2003. He worked for 40 years in the field of transportation logistics in New York and Houston before moving to Virginia.

Other state officers elected at the convention are: State Secretary Stephen J. Kehoe of Fairfax; State Treasurer Roy F. Blakeburn of Virginia Beach; State Advocate Edward R. Polich of Glen Allen; and State Warden Robert Szerszynski of Montclair. Officers of the Virginia State Council of the Knights of Columbus serve one-year terms.

Murray has been a Knight for 31 years, serving as Grand Knight, Deputy Grand Knight, Advocate, Trustee and Faithful Navigator. During a recent renovation of his church, he arranged to have the marble being removed from the walls donated to another church, and also used pieces to make memorial plaques for the bishop, pastor and parishioners.

Murray developed an area of the church grounds with a statue of Mary, as well as walkways, a prayer bench and lighting. He was instrumental in raising the $50,000 needed to make the idea a reality. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, Murray delivered food to needy families and purchased toys at his own expense for their children. His Grand Knight described him as "the spark plug that makes our council work."

The Youth Activity of the Year Award was presented to Fredericksburg Council No. 4034.The council implemented the order's annual Coats for Kids campaign with a twist: It raised money by holding fundraising dinners at local restaurants, which donated a percentage of each dinner purchased. The Coats for Kids program teams with local parishes and Catholic schools to deliver winter coats to kids who most need them. Many have never owned a new coat.

At the awards breakfast Saturday morning, Raschke presented a $5,500 check to Frank Stevens, representing Special Olympics of Virginia.

In brief remarks, Stevens urged the Knights to use their influence to encourage youths in their parishes to participate in Special Olympic events across the state. He recognized that in recent years people with mental and physical disabilities have "come out of the shadows and into the light of families and communities."

This changed mindset "acknowledges that we are part of your community," he said. "Special Olympic athletes long for your attention and friendship."

Raschke said that one way Virginia Knights will raise funds for Special Olympics during the coming year is through the "Polar Plunge," a statewide event held each February.

The Family of the Year Award went to Jerry and Esperanza Foronda of San Lorenzo Council No. 12378 in Virginia Beach.

Other program award winners included:

Church Activity of the Year Award - Kempsville Council No. 10515 in Virginia Beach;

Community Activity of the Year Award - Edward Douglass White Council No. 2473 in Arlington;

Council Activity of the Year Award - Joseph P. Solari Council No. 11172 in Glen Allen;

Family Activity of the Year Award - Fr. Edwin F. Kelley Council No. 5750 in Woodbridge;

Youth Activity of the Year Award - Fredericksburg Council No. 4034 in Fredericksburg;

Culture of Life Activity of the Year Award - Mother Teresa of Calcutta Council No. 12117 in Virginia Beach.

The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 in New Haven, Conn.,and now has nearly 2 million members worldwide. The Virginia state council was chartered in 1901.

Find out more

More detailed information about the Virginia Knights of Columbus awards is available by sending an email to, or by calling state communications director Patrick Korten at 703/450-4266.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016