SPOTLIGHTKnights in Action

Alberta council combines student creativity with pro-life promotion

Knights 'Help Save a Life'

by Mike Mastromatteo

An Alberta council has enlisted the artistic talent and creativity of students for a pro-life calendar intended to promote the right-to-life ethic.

The "Help Save a Life" project, spearheaded by the 150 member Brother Anthony Council 10014 in St. Albert, just northwest of Edmonton, will see the distribution of thousands of 2001 pro-life calendars in Alberta and the Northwest Territories this fall. Other councils have been invited to share the calendar with members.

Each month of the new calendar features pro-life artwork and poetry by 12- to 17-year-old students in the St. Albert Catholic school system. Brother Anthony Council solicited about 70 pieces of art and poetry from students. Their work was then reviewed by judges before selections were made for the calendar.


Judging the artwork included in the pro-life calendar were (from left):
June Fuller, president of the local Catholic Women's League chapter;
Knight Hugh Brown; Father Karl Raab, council chaplain;
Irene Vanderveen, Alberta Pro-Life representative; and
Dawn Kirvan, representative of the St. Albert Catholic school system.

The project also includes a fund-raising component that benefits the council and other groups selling the $10 calendars. Additional proceeds will be used for scholarships and to help Alberta Pro-Life.

Knight Fred Holtslag said the calendar should prove effective in promoting right-to-life awareness in Alberta and western Canada. "We believe that by having the calendar in the kitchen, for example, where families can mark down their activities and important dates, it will remind them on a daily basis of the pro-fife issues we all struggle with," he said. "The artwork submitted by the students is both attractive and effective in conveying a message of concern. Parents and children will be inspired by the messages found on the pages of this calendar."

Holtslag, who created and maintains the council's Web site, scanned the artwork, poetry and graphics in preparation for printing. He said a prototype of the calendar was presented to Alberta's pro-life community last May at the Life 2000 Conference in Calgary and to the Alberta State Council convention in Edmonton. The Knights of Alberta agreed to help distribute the calendar. The calendar is also being made available to Catholic Women's League councils, pro-life groups and individual supporters.

Father Karl Raab of Holy Family Church in St. Albert, council chaplain, helped judge the student artwork. He said the calendar is typical of what he has come to expect from a council known for zeal and activism.

"The brother Knights themselves really carried the ball with this effort," Father Raab said. "As well as promoting right-to-life themes, this project has the added benefit of inspiring local young people to pro-life and pro-family values."

Knight Robert Mollot is vice president of Alberta ProLife. He paid tribute to a number of brother Knights, including Holtslag, Brad Cody, George Rodziewicz and George Amyotte, for taking on important roles with the calendar project.

"The whole endeavor was made possible by the knightly virtues of service, teamwork, ingenuity and perseverance," Mollot said. "It will have a significant effect on our society as it reminds everyone that pro-life is also the choice of the next generation:'

Mollot also said the project will assist pro-life work in Alberta in a number of ways. Among these are raising public awareness of the sanctity of life, encouraging a pro-life attitude within a new generation, and ensuring an infusion of cash for hard-pressed right-to-life groups.

"Funding is a constant struggle for us. We have limited resources, both people and time, to focus on fund raising," Mollot said. "This project will be a tremendous help and we hope it may be the beginning of many cooperative ventures between like-minded groups."

Grand Knight Eric Schickle said the calendar is an ideal way to promote pro-fife ideals among young people, while supporting education and general pro-life work. Despite the progress of the project to date, he added, a great deal remains to be done.

"We feel the calendar effort is only at the half-way point. We have to ensure that it gets properly promoted throughout North America. The second half of this project is to make people aware of this calendar and to make it available to anyone who requests it," Schickle said.

Mike Mastromatteo is a freelance writer from Toronto.

Columbia/November 2000