Knights of Columbus host cleanup

Published 9:45 pm Monday, September 27, 2021

The Suffolk Chapter of the Knights of Columbus did a cleanup service project at Oak Lawn Cemetery on the morning of Sept. 25.

The cemetery is located behind the Registrar’s Office by Pender Street. Unlike other cemeteries in the city, Oak Lawn does not seem to have any regular caretakers for upkeep. So this is where the Knights of Columbus were happy to step in.

“Anytime we hear of a need anywhere, we do what we can to fill it,” said Kerry Holmes, one of the Suffolk Chapter Knights of Columbus.

The morning started with the members cutting grass that had grown taller than the headstones. As the mowers slowly made progress across the cemetery, other members pulled weeds, raked the loose grass and took care of the details around each plot.

The Suffolk Chapter of the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternity organization sponsored by St. Mary of the Presentation Catholic Church on South Broad Street. The organization regularly serves the community in different ways when the opportunity arises. For example, annually the organization collects money at Peanut Fest and hosts a Christmas tree sale to raise money for local charities.

“It’s easy to just collect money and donate a check,” said Andrew Gaf, head knight of the Suffolk Chapter of the Knights of Columbus. “It’s much harder to give back through sweat and hard work.”

According to Deputy Grand Knight Chris Francis, this cleanup is an example of two of the organization’s four principles, fraternity and charity. These pillars focus on taking action together to “love thy neighbor” by helping those who need it.

As praying for the dead is a part of the Catholic belief, the workers took this opportunity to pray for those buried at Oak Lawn as they cleaned.

“We pray for the dead, and this is a great way to do that,” said Francis. “It’s a small way to honor those gone before us. Like the Bible says in Hebrews, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.”

The organization hopes to work with the owners of Oak Lawn Cemetery to help maintain the property. If it does become a regular event, the Suffolk Chapter of the Knights of Columbus wants to open the invitation to help to other organizations in Suffolk as a way to serve together.

“As the book of James says, faith without action is dead,” said Holmes. “This is an example of putting our faith into action.”