Emcee Joe Baye addresses guests at the annual appreciation dinner honoring clergy and religious in the Diocese of Superior. Held at Tee-Away Golf Course and Supper Club in Ladysmith, the event is hosted by the Ladysmith Knights of Columbus Council with help from the Bruce KC Council. (Catholic Herald photo by Jenny Snarski)

Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

Laughter and lively conversation accompanied the meal at the clergy appreciation dinner in Ladysmith on June 12. The annual event is hosted by the Ladysmith Knights of Columbus Fr. Riesenmy Council #2481.

Organizer Bob Krejcarek said they’ve hosted the dinner for more than 10 years, and it is an event they look forward to every year. Emcee Joe Baye commented on the great turnout as he welcomed those in the dining room.
Honored guests include both active and retired priests of the Diocese of Superior, seminarians, religious sisters, and permanent deacons with their spouses. Numerous Knights of Columbus from local councils attended, as well as district and state officer representatives.

A short presentation of acknowledgement and appreciation took place after the meal.

Baye gave a heartfelt thanks to their honored guests, who “work for the Church and the people of the Church.
“We appreciate you and stand with you in solidarity,” he said and received a spontaneous standing ovation. Each member of the clergy, religious sister and permanent deacon was recognized individually.

When he came to Dcn. Joe Stefancin, who will start his last year of seminary this fall, there was some friendly haggling from the crowd. Dcn. Stefancin, a permanent deacon for 24 years, said, although he is in the transitional period of diaconate before priestly ordination planned for 2020, his heart will always be united in a special way with his brother deacons.

After thanking former KC State Chaplain Fr. Dennis Mullen for his service, Fr. Ed Anderson, who now serves in that role, was invited to share some words.

The Rice Lake cluster pastor shared his appreciation to the Knights of Columbus for their appreciation, calling the men “such the great witnesses.” He noted their great programs and understanding of what goes into planning and successfully implementing them.

Fr. Anderson then commented on the need for ministry with the Hispanic population in the region and encouraged the councils and officers to engage with and invite these men and their families. Describing the Latino men he has worked with and ministered to in his cluster as “honest, hard-working and a joy to be around,” he said, “You would be blessed to have them in your councils.”

Former state deputy Tim Guski addressed the priests in the room: “We are not just behind you, but out in front of you.” He spoke of the Knights of Columbus’ efforts as an organization to support vocations and the strengthening of the domestic church. He invited married couples present to stand and share in a recited marriage prayer.

After other state officers were introduced and each shared some words, Guski spoke again, reassuring the priests.

“Fathers, know that you can depend on us. You’re amongst friends, and we’ve got your backs.”