Young Knights Find Fraternity Through Service

Posted on October 01, 2022 in: General News

Young Knights Find Fraternity Through Service

Young Knights Find Fraternity Through Service

Ontario council attracts young men seeking faith, friendship and service


Andrei Dias was 23 years old when he joined the Knights of Columbus in Mississauga, Ontario, and 33 when he became charter grand knight of Blessed Carlo Acutis Council 17693 in Bond Head in March 2021. He was looking for fraternity with other young Catholic men who shared his faith and life circumstances, and he especially wanted to recruit men who would be active, engaged and committed to building fraternity. It turns out that he was not the only young man looking for that kind of connection, and the council quickly grew to 40 members, many of them married men in their 30s and 40s.

“As a Catholic and a Knight, fraternity to me means bonding and brotherhood,” Dias said. “There’s the saying, ‘Iron sharpens iron,’ and that’s basically the Knights of Columbus. You go to church and you’re sitting in a pew, you don’t necessarily know the person on the left. … With the Knights you get to know some guys, and so you have this family, this fraternity that grows out of it, and soon, the person sitting in the pew is someone you know.”

All but one of the officers of Council 17693 is under the age of 40, and its members are focused on learning more about their faith, growing in friendship and serving their community. One of their recent projects was working with the Sisters of Life, distributing clothing and toiletries to people living on the streets of Toronto. Last year, they also hosted special events to support single moms in their community, collected donations for a local food pantry, and volunteered at their parish, providing woodworking, painting and other maintenance services.

“I think the biggest thing our grand knight has been focusing on is on the ground outreach to those who lack basic necessities,” said Ryan Mascarenhas, the council’s financial secretary. “Reaching out to moms in difficult situations, reaching out to the homeless and physically giving them food and water. It’s one thing to give to a charity, but it’s another thing to go on the ground and see poverty with your own eyes and try to alleviate it with your own hands.”

Council chancellor Tharaka Perera also is grateful for the opportunity to participate in community service and believes that the council has especially grown in fraternity as they serve, pray and share life together. “My brother Knights help to strengthen my own spiritual life, just through their presence,” he said. “Having the opportunity to pray with them is a really big thing for me, coming from a smaller family. So just being able to do something as simple as praying together is a really important thing. Just to know that know that there are other people who share the faith.”

Perera noted that he joined Council 17693 because of its energy and leadership, and his membership has become deeply personal and an important part of his identity as a Catholic man. He hopes that the council’s faith and fraternity in action will inspire other young Catholic men to do the same.

“What I would say to the younger guys considering becoming a Knight of Columbus is to try it out,” Perera affirmed. “What have you got to lose? Just give it a shot. I would say you stand to gain a lot.”