FOR THE MEN IN BLUE

Chicago council ‘trivia night’ fundraiser assists Police Chaplain Ministry outreach

Strong turnout to package food for pantries near and far
Father Dan Brandt, the Director of the Chicago Police Chaplains Ministry, during sports trivia night. Father Dan Brandt, the Director of the Chicago Police Chaplains Ministry, during sports trivia night. Father Dan Brandt, the Director of the Chicago Police Chaplains Ministry, during sports trivia night. Father Dan Brandt, the Director of the Chicago Police Chaplains Ministry, during sports trivia night. Father Dan Brandt, the Director of the Chicago Police Chaplains Ministry, during sports trivia night.

The Knights of Columbus not only has a mission for service, but it also frequently pays tribute to others who serve – whether they be our clergy and religious, members of the military, first responders, or those who keep our cities and streets safe through law enforcement.

Father Perez Council 1444, which supports St. Christina Parish and other Catholic churches in the Mt. Greenwood area of Chicago, recently raised more than $2,500 for the Chicago Police Chaplains Ministry by way of a trivia night conducted at the Father Perez Clubhouse.

As with most “trivia night” fundraisers, the evening had participants compete as teams in answering to a series of multiple-choice questions on selected topics. The table with the most points at the end of the game is declared champion.

When all was said and done, the winning team was the Four Horsemen, composed of five brother Knights and one spouse: Neil and Megan Dorigan, Jim Davey, Dan Sheehan, and brothers Mike and Dan Osborne.

“This is the second year we’ve put on the trivia night, and both times it benefited the Chicago Police Chaplains Ministry,” said Deputy Grand Knight Matt Stevens. “The first year it was strictly sports trivia, but I wanted more involvement, so we added music, television, and movie categories, among others.”

For example, this year the contest included a category called “Father Knows Best,” Stevens explained, in which each question or answer pertained to a priest, whether real or fictional, such as “Who played the priest in the movie On the Waterfront?” (That would be Karl Malden as Father Barry, of course.)

The evening was made all the more festive by broad council effort. Knight Scott and Sharon Heskin donated DJ services and equipment; Knight Bill Donnelly donated lamps he made from used Jameson Whiskey bottles, which were then raffled off by Dawn Crescent; and Knight John Mikrut provided valuable assistance wherever needed.

Including funds raised for the cause in other events throughout the year, the council contributed some $3,500 to the Police Chaplains Ministry. The funds will be used for outreach to Gold Star families – those who are close family members of Chicago police officers killed in the line of duty.

Father Dan Brandt, director of the ministry and a 4th-degree Knight of St. Michael the Archangel Police Council 12173, was on hand to accept the council’s gift and speak to those gathered about the chaplaincy’s work.

“The Police Chaplains Ministry hosts two events each year to bring together Gold Star Family members,” Father Brandt said afterward. “By bringing them together, we help foster their support and nurturing of each other. These good folks belong to a club to which nobody wants to belong. We are also able, by bringing them together twice a year, to remind them that their loved one who died in the line of duty will never be forgotten.”

Those outings include an early summer luncheon cruise along the lakefront on the Spirit of Chicago and a more formal pre-holiday banquet held on the Club Level at Soldier Field. “It's a very classy affair,” Father Brandt said.

The ministry’s motto in communicating with the officers it serves, he pointed out, is: “Your partner has your back, but we’ve got your soul!”

By supporting the Police Chaplains Ministry, the Knights of Columbus “has our back -- not just in our outreach to Gold Star families, but in our day-to-day pastoral care and 24/7 crisis ministry to 12,000 officers, 8,000 local retirees, and their families,” said Father Brandt.

And there may be a very special reason why Council 1444 takes such interest in the Police Chaplains Ministry.

“Including me,” said DGK Stevens, “I would estimate about 10 percent of our membership at Father Perez is a current or retired Chicago Police Officer.”

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