Special to the Register by Fr. Kenneth Borowiak
LINCOLN (SNR) - Supporters of Nebraska football and the Knights of Columbus will team up Feb. 12 for a benefit fundraiser to highlight the Huskers’ 2019 recruiting class, and to support the works of the Knights and the local Church.
The event, “Husker Recruiting Knight,” will be led by St. Michael parishioner Sean Callahan, publisher of HuskerOnline.com, which is a part of the Rivals.com network. Callahan has covered Nebraska football since 1999. He also reports for KETV Channel 7 in Omaha, along with Big Red Radio 1110 KFAB in Omaha. He also serves as a sideline reporter for NET and a recruiting analyst for their weekly Husker show Big Red Wrap-Up.
“I do around 50 different Nebraska football related speaking events per year, and noticed for whatever reason there weren’t any Husker recruiting related events that went on in Lincoln,” Callahan said. “I’ve belonged to St. Michael since 2010, and I was more than happy to help put together an event. The response has been outstanding, and each year the event has gotten bigger and better with the help of the parish and the Knights of Columbus.
“I am very excited about our 2019 event,” he said, “as it has the potential to be the biggest post-signing day event in the state.”
Callahan will facilitate a roundtable discussion featuring members of the Huskers’ 1997 national championship team.
Panel discussion will include recollections from the 1990s championship years as well as analysis of the 2019 Nebraska recruiting class. The presentation will include video from each of the new recruit’s high school careers. Following the presentations there will be an opportunity for questions and answers.
This is the fifth year for St. Michael’s Husker Recruiting Knight. The brainchild of St. Michael’s Knights of Columbus Council, the annual event is unique among the Knights’ many types of fundraisers which include a sportsman’s raffle, soup suppers, pancake breakfasts, and more.
Members of St. Michael’s Knights council said that the two areas – the works of the Church and Nebraska football – are fun, important and worthy of support of the Knights. St. Michael Grand Knight Dan Mickells spoke of the unique opportunity to combine Nebraska football and the work of the Knights into one event.
“Early on our Knights council was looking for new ways to engage and increase membership, find new opportunities to build upon brotherhood/fraternity and raise additional revenue to give back to our parish,” Mickells said. “I ran into Sean and pitched the idea. We approached Father Borowiak and the St. Michael Knights about doing this and the response was, ‘let’s try it!’
“We started small in the parish’s commons area, and the event was so successful that this year we decided to expand the reach beyond our parish community to see how it is received,” Mickells said.
The Knights of Columbus are very active in St. Michael Parish. In addition to organizing multiple fundraisers for the Knights and the parish’s many initiatives and outreach, they have taken the lead in promoting parish ministries such as pro-life initiatives, have provided resources for the celebration of the sacraments, assisted children with intellectual disabilities and have been instrumental in the planning of the proposed new St. Michael Church.
In total, more than 60 St. Michael Knights are involved in different parts of the planning of the Husker Recruiting Knight, gathering sponsorships, food, raffles and door prizes, publicity and organizing the setup and teardown for the event. The Knights council held four organizational meetings over several months to put the event together.
The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Their main apostolates include faith, community, family and life. Some of their most notable works include the Christian Refugee Relief Fund, disaster relief, an ultrasound initiative to provide ultrasound machines to pregnancy centers, and Coats for Kids. The Knights also partner with international charities including Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission and Habitat for Humanity.
One of the Knights’ most effective and prominent works is the Building the Domestic Church Initiative, in which Knights and their families participate in a variety of activities that deepen their faith, promote the New Evangelization and strengthen parishes.
As part of the Building the Domestic Church Initiative, a special focus this year for the Husker Recruiting Knight will be vocations to the priesthood. Some of the funds from this event will be used to support three young men – parishioners of St. Michael – who are currently studying for and discerning a vocation to the priesthood, as well as several other seminarians who have been assigned to St. Michael Parish in recent years. One of the three parishioners is preparing to be ordained a priest in May 2020. Part of the revenues from Husker Recruiting Knight will be used to purchase a chalice for the newly ordained priest.