Knights of Columbus Round Table just the beginning for St. Stanislaus Kostka 

MICHIGAN CITY – It’s been a long time coming for St. Stanislaus Kostka parish, but on Feb. 11 a Knights of Columbus Round Table was established at the parish following the exemplification of 10 men as third-degree knights.
The first step in setting up a new council is to set up a round table.
“It’s a semi-autonomous subcommittee of the Queen of All Saints council 1295. The meetings and leadership would be here. If it grew large enough to be a separate council, then it would develop into another council. If not, it could continue under QAS council,” said Marty Campanella, Indiana Knights of Columbus district deputy 6.
Since its beginning in 1891, St. Stanislaus has never had a Knights of Columbus council or organization.
The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic brotherhood founded by Father Michael McGivney in 1882. Father McGivney sought to strengthen the faith and families of fellow Catholics through promoting the organization’s principles of charity, unity and fraternity. 
Those exemplified at St. Stanislaus were Anthony Banks, John Bunton, James Gallas, John Gardner, Jr., John Gardner, III, Kevin Higdon, Wesley Higdon, Ryan Labis, David Mankowski and Cliff Wozniak.
“We’ve been very happy with the success here,” said Campanella. “Mike Eisele went out of his way and recruited people.” 
Eisele was officially appointed the round table coordinator, which serves as the liaison between the round table and the parent council.
Eisele recalled that he spoke to Campanella about setting up a council following Mass “and it snowballed from there. Through the ‘Polish network’ we went from a couple men to 12,” he said.
He added the response was “very positive” from members of the parish, although one question kept popping up, “why haven’t we had this before?” 
Every one of the exemplified men is a second or third generation St. Stanislaus member. “We grew up in the church. We grew up in the school. It’s us now. By being a knight, we’re here to help the parish, to help people,” said Eisele.
Campanella shared that the QAS council and other councils will offer whatever help they can, including advice or funding, to name a few. “We’ll probably sit there and advise at the first few meetings, but the real goal is to allow them to develop themselves – how they want and with what sort of projects they want to undertake.”
Bruce Garwood, grand knight for Queen of All Saints Council 12951, explained that the QAS council had membership drives at the area churches. “We had an interest by a couple guys here at St. Stan’s and it just exploded. I was surprised by how many guys were here. It was really nice to see all the guys here.”
He said he is also looking to offer guidance, along with members of St. Francis Xavier in Lake Station, for a group of Spanish-speaking men who have expressed interest in forming a Knights council. 
There is also interest from men at Notre Dame parish in starting a council. “It would be interesting to see if we end up with three different councils here in Michigan City. It would be a beautiful thing. It’s not a competition by any means.”
Family is a key piece of the Knights. The newly formed round table welcomed two sets of fathers and sons. John Gardner, Jr. and his son, John III, along with Kevin Higdon and his son, Wesley, as they shared their feelings on becoming Knights together.
John Gardner Jr. and his son, John, III, are excited to become knights together and said it’s very special to be part of the first round table as the beginning of forming a St. Stanislaus Knights council. “It came pretty quickly and I’m not sure what it’s all about, but we’re going to find out,” said John, Jr. “It’s really good. It’s an opportunity to help the parish. The Church is very important to our family.”
John, III said, “It’s really neat to do this with my dad.”
Kevin Higdon said bringing the Knights to St. Stanislaus has been a desire for a long time. He added that with the number of youth joining, like his son, it helps bring unity and compassion to the Church. “It’s really special. It’s good to do it together.”
“Having my dad there is a good support system. Then from there we can grow quickly with the other brothers in the Knights of Columbus,” said Wesley Higdon, Kevin’s son.
Wesley said the involvement of his maternal grandfather, Gene Fowler, and brother, Kyle, in the organization sparked his interest. “My grandfather has passed away and now that there is a Knights of Columbus at St. Stan’s, it was an opportunity I jumped at. Family ties for me are huge,” he said.
Standing at Wesley’s side was his wife, Maddie, and their six-month-old son, Sebastian. Although it will be more than a few years before Sebastian will be eligible to become a knight, Maddie feels the family will grow in their faith through the Knights community.
“I really like the idea of fraternity,” she said. “We’re not meant to walk along. We’re meant to grow in faith and community together. It will be a great opportunity to grow our little family community into a bigger community.”


Caption: Bruce Garwood, Grand Knight for Queen of All Saints Council 12951, presents newly exemplified third-degree knights with rosaries during an initiation ceremony at St. Stanislaus Kostka parish on Feb. 11. (Bob Wellinski photo)