More than 200 people joined the annual Catholic Charities Tribute Dinner in Wilmington on April 27 to honor Knights of Columbus from Delaware and Maryland councils that include thousands of members in two states.
Bishop Koenig, numerous priests and parishioners, and leaders from Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Wilmington gathered at the Chase Center on the Riverfront to recognize the work of the Knights of Columbus and their core principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.
“Many times, people think of us as the guys who carry swords and wear feathers,” said Rick Johnson, state deputy for the Delaware Council, referring to former uniforms of the group.
“We are the largest Catholic lay organization in the world,” he said. “We promote the dignity of the human person.”
“I am proud, humbled and grateful to be sharing this honor with our brother Knights in Maryland.”
Chris Powers, state deputy in Maryland, echoed his brother deputy in recognizing Knights in 33 councils in Delaware and eight on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He said it’s important for Knights to stand together and be seen in their efforts to promote human dignity.
“Our Knights of Columbus family can live our faith in the public square,” Powers said.
Bishop Koenig, Msgr. Steven P. Hurley, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the diocese, and Xavier DeCaire, board of directors chairman for Catholic Charities, each cited Frederick “Fritz” Jones, executive director of Charities. They said Jones has decided after more than 40 years with the organization that he will retire at the beginning of next year.
Jones said the work of the social services arm of the diocese will continue.
“We’ve done this work now for 193 years and we’re going to keep doing it,” Jones said.
Both Johnson and Powers remembered Andrea Rotsch, the diocesan employee who worked for both Catholic Charities and the Development Department and was the point person for the annual dinner. Rotsch, 59, died unexpectedly last week. Many of those who were part of the program remembered the popular colleague of so many at the diocese.
“The first time you sat down and met her it was like you knew her forever,” Johnson said. “She had that kind of personality.” Johnson said her husband, George, is a brother Knight and was present at the dinner.