Knights of Columbus Council 15020 at University Catholic, the campus ministry for Vanderbilt University, Belmont University and other colleges and universities in Nashville, was recently honored during the order’s 55th College Council Conference by finishing third for the Outstanding Council Award.
The award is given each year to the college council that best exemplifies the mission and ideals of the Knights of Columbus and has gone above and beyond to make a difference on campus and in the surrounding community. The award is normally presented during the College Council Conference in New Haven, Connecticut, but this year the conference was held as a virtual event.
In its application for the award, the University Catholic council listed several of its activities, including its annual Valentine’s Day Dinner.
The council members serve dinner for the young women of University Catholic on Valentine’s Day, explained Grand Knight Peter Martin, a senior at Vanderbilt University from Jackson, Mississippi. The council also provides personal prayer cards for each of the women attending, Martin added.
Other events included: a virtual fish fry during Lent, after restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic made gathering in person impossible; a fundraiser to support a veterans group each fall that features council members completing “Amazing Race” style tasks to raise money; and a spring corn hole tournament to raise funds.
All the proceeds from the council’s fundraisers are used to support the council’s programming and charitable work, Martin said.
The council also sponsors a Saturday morning Mass on the second Saturday of the month at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, followed by Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. “It’s been great for the spiritual life of the community,” said council Chancellor Nick Selser, a Vanderbilt senior from Salisbury, Maryland.
The council also received a Five Star Council Award after it exceeded its membership goal by 550 percent.
This year, the council has planned several activities open to all eligible Catholic college students to encourage fellowship and introduce them to the Knights of Columbus and the council’s activities, Martin said.
The council sponsors a pizza night every Wednesday for the young men at University Catholic and a Frisbee game twice a month at Centennial Park.
“I just wanted to have people interact,” Martin said. “That’s been a big hit. A lot of people are coming.”
Father Gervan Menezes, the chaplain at University Catholic, is the chaplain of Council 15020 as well as the Associate Chaplain for the Tennessee State Council from the Diocese of Nashville.