The recent vandalism to the Columbus Statue in Baltimore and removal of statues honoring Columbus in other locales can be unsettling as we think about Columbus Day 2020. Add the Covid 19 crisis and the uncertainty it brings in planning any type of public celebration makes this question difficult to answer. Yet, it is still a time for us Knights to remember why Columbus was chosen as the namesake. Although the usual public celebrations of Columbus Day are certainly in jeopardy, there are still things your council can do to commemorate the day.
Educate our members and others why we are called the Knights of Columbus – The late 18th century was a time when anti-Catholic and anti-immigration hostilities ran strong. The American public embraced this famous explorer. Father McGivney and his Knights understood that using Columbus as their Order’s namesake asserted an important truth: that not only was there a place for Catholics and immigrants within American society, but that such a person had already played a part in creating the young, free world around them. Italian American organizations celebrate Columbus for many of the same reasons.
Provide resources so your members know the true history of Columbus – For decades now a false narrative on Columbus and his voyages has been taught and widely accepted as facts by many Americans. We have all heard the accusations that are treated as facts. One resource that is very good and easy to share is a YouTube video titled, Columbus, Fact and Fiction. https://youtu.be/jVOcXLHj6kQ
Commemorate the day with acts of Columbian charity – Ignore the negativity and turn it to a positive; helping the community. Charity – the first Principle of the Order. Ideas? Volunteer at a food bank or work with your parish or community organization to deliver food to the needy. Donate food or lead a food drive to restock a local food bank. Visit the sick and elderly. If Covid restrictions prevent that, send cards of encouragement. Leave No Neighbor Behind. And wish people a Happy Columbus Day!
Other ideas? – Here are a few that your council can do.
- Hold a Christopher Columbus/Columbus Day trivia contest.
- Good of the Order presentation on Columbus/Columbus Day. You can make it a series.
- Invite a speaker to your council meeting – live or virtual – for a Columbus Day presentation.
- Insert Columbus Day message in your parish bulletin.
- Have a Columbus Day display with information available at your parish
- Hold a membership drive in honor of Columbus Day
- Send me any other ideas you have and I will see they are shared.
Do not let Columbus Day go by without your council commemorating this important holiday!
For More Ideas and Information:
Steve Upton, Columbus Day General Chairman