A Young Knight’s Service on a University Campus

Bishop Conley holds the Eucharist by the Broyhill Fountain on the Nebraska Union Plaza as part of the Newman Center's annual Eucharistic Procession. 

Bishop Conley holds the Eucharist by the Broyhill Fountain on the Nebraska Union Plaza as part of the Newman Center's annual Eucharistic Procession. 

On a beautiful November night, over five hundred college students sang hymns as they journeyed through campus at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. From afar, only the glow of bobbing candles held carefully in the hands of students was visible. All thoughts drifted toward our Lord, Who demanded the most humble attention in the Blessed Sacrament at the front of the procession.

At the four designated campus altars, the crowd knelt on the grass as six Knights divided and stood on either side of the Eucharist, swords drawn. Joe Burr, a fourth degree Knight and college senior at the time, commented on this moment. “For me, it drove home the point that Jesus Christ is King. It felt like a glimpse of Heaven, with God’s knights and angels surrounding Him.”

Knights prepare for Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas on the campus of UNL. 

Knights prepare for Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas on the campus of UNL. 

The last three generations of Joe’s family were Nebraska Knights of Columbus. When he was a young boy and saw his great grandfather’s regalia for the first time, a real passion for the Knighthood was ignited. Upon arriving at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, he was already serving as a fourth degree.

Joe found a very community-based group of Knights at the UNL Newman Center. Retreats, pancake feeds, and monthly fellowship evenings in Father’s rectory were just a few activities that united the men in service and communion. Beyond that, Joe loved serving during Adoration. “As a Knight, sitting in the back of church with my sword and chapeau, being able to adore Jesus and know He is trusting me to keep Him safe, is a really moving experience.”

A recent graduate from the University, Joe feels a unique relationship with the broader Church because of his involvement in the Knights of Columbus at the Newman Center. “Being a Knight there opened the door to worldwide fellowship and a special mission in the Church. Knights can always find a place among their brothers in whatever parish they go to after leaving the University. It’s an honor to serve and protect Our Lord wherever you are.”

Contributing to the 36 years of growing membership for the Nebraska Knights of Columbus, fifty-five young men initiated an interest in involvement in Council #13015 when school started last month.

This year on the evening of November 2nd, our eleventh Eucharistic Procession through campus will light the sidewalks of the University. Please join us!

This article was originally published by Nebraska Knights of Columbus Courier, Sept. 2017