Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Gerald Korson

7/22/2009 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Knights of the Holy Eucharist represents part of the resurgence of vocations in the Catholic Church.

Knights of the Holy Eucharist leading the faithful into a deeper love for the Lord in the Holy Eucharist through their work at the magnificent Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Angels Monastery in rural Hanceville, Ala.

Knights of the Holy Eucharist leading the faithful into a deeper love for the Lord in the Holy Eucharist through their work at the magnificent Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Angels Monastery in rural Hanceville, Ala.

Highlights

By Gerald Korson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/22/2009 (5 years ago)

Published in U.S.


HANCEVILLE, AL (Catholic Online) — In medieval days, knights were men who were elevated by their king and consecrated to a position of trust. These noble and faithful men would pledge to give their very lives to the service and protection of their lord and his kingdom.

Today, members of the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, a vibrant community of consecrated young men deeply committed to the Catholic faith, provide that very service for their Lord and King, Jesus Christ, through their work at the magnificent Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Angels Monastery in rural Hanceville, Ala. Situated on 400 acres of lush farmland along a remote country road some 45 miles north of Birmingham, the Shrine receives thousands of pilgrims each year who seek to nourish their faith amid this sacred and peaceful environment.

The Shrine and monastery, home to a cloistered community of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, were founded by Mother Angelica, the beloved nun who entered religious broadcasting in 1981 on little more than a prayer and developed the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the largest and most popular religious media network in the world. EWTN is headquartered some 50 miles to the south in the Birmingham suburb of Irondale, where the nuns resided in the original monastery until their relocation to the present site in 1999.

In the spirit of St. Francis

The Knights of the Holy Eucharist represents part of the resurgence of vocations in the Catholic Church developing from the “new evangelization” promoted by Pope John Paul II and continued by Pope Benedict XVI. Its members have as their primary focus the fostering of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament as well as the assistance and protection of the nuns of the monastery. Along with maintaining the grounds and facilities, the Knights host clergy, brothers, and seminarians on retreat; serve as acolytes at Shrine liturgies; and provide assistance for pilgrims.

Community members live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience but do not profess public vows. In their daily work and personal contact with pilgrims, the Knights also seek opportunities to evangelize by performing works of charity and providing instruction and comfort when necessary. Putting aside the things of this world, they live by the motto of their patron, St. Francis of Assisi: “My God and my All.”

The Knights strive for a structured balance of work and prayer. In addition to their assigned labors, Knights participate daily in Mass, the Rosary, Morning and Evening Prayer, and two hours of scheduled adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. They also take formation classes three days a week, make a Holy Hour on Thursday evenings, and plan a monthly one-day retreat.

Luke Johnasen, whose religious name is Brother Laurence, finds the life of a Knight to be very fulfilling. He entered the community in 2006 after visiting his younger brother Nyles (Brother Philip), who had joined the Knights a few years earlier after making a retreat at the Shrine.

“When I saw the Knights and how they lived their lives in work and prayer, with daily adoration, it really seemed to speak to me,” said Brother Laurence, 28, who is originally from Hilo, Hawaii. “Even when we are not physically in the chapel of adoration, we are doing work around the chapel all day long, so we are still doing work centered on the Blessed Sacrament.”

David Rodriguez, known as Brother Juan, became part of the community at the age of 18. The formation he has received there has given him “a deeper understanding of how God’s grace works in each and every one of our hearts,” he said.

Now 21, Brother Juan said that the sacrifices he has made to pursue his vocation bring him “a fulfillment largely in the joy that comes from answering God’s call.”

Called to serve

Like EWTN, the Knights of the Holy Eucharist was the inspiration of Mother Angelica herself. In the summer of 1998, with the Shrine under construction and nearly 18 months from completion, the foundress decided to start a new community of men dedicated to maintaining the facility, assisting at liturgies, and providing hospitality for pilgrims. Among those she invited to consider this vocation in consecrated life was 35-year-old James Fazzini, who had only recently come to work at the monastery. “What have you got to lose by trying it?” she asked him. He joined the Knights that August and in December received Brother David as his religious name.

Initially, the Knights boarded temporarily in a house just down the road. “We took an existing pole barn on the monastery grounds and converted it into living quarters because Mother wanted us to be on the property,” said Brother David, who presently serves as the Brother Guardian of the community. “We’ve added to it ever since, and now we receive 200 priests each year who come to the Shrine for retreats.”

One of the original seven Knights is Brother Pio, who is named after St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), the 20th-century mystic who suffered the stigmata, the wounds of Christ on his own body. Like his namesake, Brother Pio is a “victim soul,” having been disabled since he sustained a serious spinal injury in a fall several years ago. Brother Pio presently lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but visits the community once or twice a year.

“We felt in the early stages that we needed to have a victim soul, one who was called to suffer for the community, and Brother Pio is our victim soul,” said Brother David, a native of West Virginia. “Because he is confined to a wheelchair, all the suffering he endures and all his prayers are offered for the community.”

Two years ago, the Knights of the Holy Eucharist became affiliated with the Heralds of the Gospel, a rapidly growing evangelistic community that was founded in Brazil in 1999 and canonically recognized as an “association of the faithful of pontifical right” in 2001. The Heralds and their founder, Msgr. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, had developed a relationship of mutual support and admiration with Mother Angelica and were very receptive when the Knights petitioned Msgr. Clá to join the Heralds family.

On June 29, 2007, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Knights of the Holy Eucharist thus became “a branch within the Heralds of the Gospel,” said Brother Thomas Walsh, who lives and works in a Heralds community in Houston. With that union, the Knights of the Holy Eucharist share the Heralds’ pontifical blessing.

That fall, the Knights enrolled its first candidates for the priesthood at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn. This coming academic year, the Knights will have six seminarians at various stages of formation.

Twenty-four-year-old Damien Pellerin, now Brother Michael, was one of the first Knights to enter the seminary four years ago. He was working in construction for his father in southern Louisiana five years ago when the two of them happened to stop by the monastery en route to a builders’ convention in Florida. Having already decided to spend a year to discern his vocation, Damien was impressed with the Knights and applied for acceptance shortly thereafter.

“After I was there just a short time, I felt this was it,” said Brother Michael. “It was really the charism of the community, the great spiritual life, the solid formation. Life at the monastery is a great gift to all of us.”

Developing a sense of vocation

By fall, the community will have 12 members in all. Many more are envisioned for the future.

“Mother Angelica has felt for a long time that the vocations are truly there, that God continues to call young men to the consecrated life. Unfortunately, with all the distractions of today, they don’t hear God’s voice calling them,” said Brother David.

As a result, “many young men today are not thinking about their vocations,” he said. “There’s a sense of a lack of fulfillment in the soul, and the soul can’t be at peace where it is, and ultimately that leaves them unhappy. They have to develop not only the awareness that they have a vocation from God, but also how to carry out that vocation plan in their lives.”

The community seeks applicants between the ages of 17 and 21 and hopes to draw more young men right out of high school. Part of the vision is to establish an academy near the Shrine that can begin the formation of young men separated from the world, Brother David said.

As the vision continues to unfold for the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, many more community members will be needed to serve the Shrine and monastery, form young men in the academy, and provide priestly ministry to pilgrims, sisters, and fellow Knights alike.

There is further expansion planned for the monastery grounds as well. Among these plans is the Pope John Paul II Eucharistic Center, conceived as an educational center designed to lead both Catholics and non-Catholics to a deeper appreciation of Christ’s Eucharistic Presence — which is what the Knights of the Holy Eucharist are all about.

For young men still trying to discern the path upon which God is calling them, Brother Michael offered simple and straightforward advice.

“Seek to do the Lord’s will,” he said. “That’s where we find our peace and joy.”

(Editor’s note: The Knights of the Holy Eucharist will be featured for the first time on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock” program on Thursday, July 30, at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.)

Readers,and those who may seek to discern a possible vocation,may communicate with the Knights of the Holy Eucharist:

Brother David Mary
3222 County Road 548,
Hanceville, AL 35077
Telephone: 205) 795-5720
Online at: (knightsinfo@gmail.com)

----

Gerald Korson, a longtime Catholic journalist, writes from Indiana.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Archbishop Chaput Speaks at the Napa Institute Conference on Pope Francis and Economic Justice

Image of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is one of the preeminent Churchmen of our age. He offers a prophetic voice for this important time. He not only grasps and articulates Catholic Social Doctrine well, he also understands the real treasure we have been given in this Pope who took the name Francis. I believe that his insights into Pope Francis need to be read by as many people as possible.

By Catholic Online

In matters of economic justice, Francis' concerns are the same as Benedict's and John Paul II's and Pius XI's and Leo XIII's. He understands economic matters through the lens of Church teaching in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Like his ... continue reading


Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


Bridget of Sweden, Marriage and Family, and the Need for Canonized Married Saints Watch

Image of St Bridget of Sweden, her husband Ulf, and all the modern Popes call Christian married couples to become the 'Sweet and Smiling Face of the Church' in this age. This is an age which is desperately in need of all kinds of saints. I suggest we particularly need examples of married, canonized Saints. That is precisely because this is an age where faithful marriage is now counter-cultural. We need examples of men and women who not only embraced it in Christ, but lived it as a but a path to heroic virtue.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The clear teaching of the Bible, the Christian tradition and the re-emphasis of the last Council in the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, make clear - we are ALL called to holiness in life. That  is what the Catholic Church regularly refers to as ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading


Obama demands that illegals be allowed to enter U.S. Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of illegal, unaccompanied minors have flooded into the United States since 2014 began, often escaping violence in war torn Central American countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's administration is considering whether or not it will allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras and other war-torn Central American states to enter into the United States illegally and without crossing into the country ... continue reading


Are you ready for the next dust bowl? California is! Watch

Image of A new study suggests that the Colorado River Basin is rapidly running out of water, which may be disastrous for the seven states it supplies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report published by the American space agency and the University of California, the water crisis that is punishing the southwestern United States is likely to worsen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report found that the prime source of water ... continue reading


PLAGUE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Mayflies descend on Wisconsin Watch

Image of When summer arrives, Mayflies take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust. Photos coming out of Wisconsin is sure to send viewers itching - so beware of some of the sights in ... continue reading


Catholic Bishops Decry Obama's LGBT executive order as imprudent act of religious discrimination Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have been strong in their condemnation of President Obama's legislation on LGBT employees. "Today's ... continue reading


A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading


Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 13:1-11
1 Yahweh said this to me, 'Go and buy a linen ... Read More

Psalm, Deuteronomy 32:18-19, 20, 21
18 (You forget the Rock who fathered you, the God who ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:31-35
31 He put another parable before them, 'The kingdom ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2014 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became Pope, succeeding ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter