Father Gervan Menezes named State Chaplain for Tennessee Knights

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Father Gervan Menezes, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Cookeville and director of campus ministries for the Diocese of Nashville, was installed as the new Tennessee Knights of Columbus State Chaplain on Saturday, July 1. He is pictured with the other new officers of the state. Pictured, from left, are State Advocate Alan Stanley, State Secretary Eric Pelton, State Deputy William Markiewicz, Father Menezes, Immediate Past State Deputy Fred Laufenberg, State Treasurer David Zwissler, and State Warden Donald Castillo. Submitted photo

From becoming a Knight of Columbus to rising to Grand Knight of his seminary council to serving four years as the associate state chaplain for the Tennessee Knights of Columbus, Father Gervan Menezes’ 13-year journey with the Knights of Columbus has been an interesting one.

Now, his journey with the organization only continues as he was officially installed as the Tennessee Knights of Columbus State Chaplain on Saturday, July 1.

“There was no hesitation when (State Deputy Bill Markiewicz) asked,” said Father Menezes, who currently serves as pastor of St. Thomas the Aquinas Church in Cookeville and director of campus ministries for the Diocese of Nashville. “I was happy to do it. It was an honor. I’ve served with the Knights throughout the diocese for many years, and this was my chance to be able to serve the whole state.”

Father Menezes serves as state chaplain under the newly elected Tennessee State Deputy Bill Markiewicz, who said his decision to ask Father Menezes to serve as the state chaplain stemmed from his history as chaplain of University Catholic.

“Part of the reason I became very interested in Father G was the relationship and spiritual rapport he has with college students through University Catholic, as well as his role in starting college councils for the Knights of Columbus,” Markiewicz explained. “It is significant because we’re on a path in the Knights of Columbus not only on the traditional charitable and service activities from our Faith in Action Programs, but in what the Knights of Columbus do for the spiritual development of people.  

“One of the key parts of our mission today is to focus on the prayer and faith side of a person’s life and helping them to develop their own faith formation,” he continued. “If we’re not leading the way in that then we’re not appealing to the young people.”

Father Menezes said he was first introduced to the Knights of Columbus while studying at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas, officially becoming a Knight in September 2010.

“At the beginning, I didn’t know what they were or what they did, but everybody was coming in and joining, so I did, too. As I started to learn about what they do, the charity, the unity, the fraternity, it all started to make sense,” Father Menezes explained.

Father Menezes eventually rose to grand knight of the seminary council and did a lot of work in making sure all 105 seminarians had the support of the Knights of Columbus, all the while, “I made sure that I was the last one to be supported.”

Upon arriving in the Diocese of Nashville and upon his ordination to the priesthood in 2014, Father Menezes continued to be involved with the various Knights of Columbus councils throughout the diocese’s parishes, including at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, St. Philip the Apostle Church in Franklin, and now St. Thomas Aquinas Church. Later, he became the chaplain for the University Catholic council.

“After becoming a priest, you realize that the Knights are the right arm of the priests,” Father Menezes said. “They are there to help the Church and the priests to grow in whatever way they can.”

Now, as he prepares to serve as the state chaplain, Father Menezes says he has one main goal.

“Six years ago, the Knights of Columbus really started focusing on taking care of the members in a more spiritual way,” he said. “That’s my goal, to help the men to grow in their faith.”

Assisting Father Menezes as associate state chaplains are the Diocese of Knoxville’s Father Michael Nolan, pastor of St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Cleveland, Tennessee, and the Diocese of Memphis’ Father Dexter Noblefranca, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Memphis.

The Tennessee State Council of the Knights of Columbus will have its kick-off meeting for councils in Middle Tennessee at Holy Family Church in Brentwood on Saturday, July 22.

For more information, email Markiewicz at StateDeputy@kofc-tn.org.

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