Why Am I a Knight? Antonio Bañuelos 3

Antonio BañuelosName:   Antonio Bañuelos-Acosta

Originally from:  Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico

Occupation: Enterprise Solutions Architect for Unitypoint Health

Joined K of C:  I joined the Order in October 2005, at St. Anthony’s in Des Moines. It was on the fourth time I had been invited to join the Order. This time it was Phil Muñoz from Our Lady of the Americas who invited me. I took my Second and Third Degree in November of the same year at St. Anthony’s as well.

Degree:  I am currently a 4th Degree member joining the Patriotic Degree on November 2008 at Christ the King in Des Moines. It was a Sunday exemplification and I had to run to it as our Council meeting went long that day.

Offices held in the Order: recorder & DGK 644; GK & FS at 14267; Hispanic Outreach Director, Hispanic Communications Specialist, State Family Director, 3rd Degree Executive Committee, State Program Director, State Warden, and State Secretary. On the Fourth Degree I have been Faithful Pilot, Faithful Captain and Faithful Navigator.

Hobbies and Interests:  I like to read a lot although sometimes there isn’t enough time. I enjoy being involved with my kids’ school and activities. I am part of a few boards outside the Knights (Catholic school, parish, and Diocesan Hispanic Commission). When I am not binge watching series on Netflix, I am at the movies with my wife or doing Knights work

What comes to mind when I think of the K of C: Show me your faith with no actions and through my actions I will show you my faith.

K of C projects involved in:  I presented our State Deputy with a 5 year plan to reach out to the Hispanic community. I am helping wherever I can especially translating and interpreting materials into Spanish. I manage both English and Spanish web pages and translate all Four Degrees. We are kicking off two Second/Third Degree teams in Spanish. I am involved in the Executive Committee and work in any way I can to grow the membership of the Order.

For more see my profile page: http://iowakofc.org/profile/AntonioBanuelos

Why am I a Knight of Columbus:

I think in the first place I have to blame my wife Mayra. Her family was (and still is) very involved with the Knights of Columbus in her hometown Parral, Mexico.  When we got married and moved to Des Moines, she would talk about the Knights’ activities, the Knights’ Conventions, etc. We went to the Tulip Festival in Pella, IA and she saw a man with a KofC hat and ran to greet him and told him how her dad, uncle, and brothers were Knights.

After four invitations to join the Order, it was Phil Muñoz at Our Lady of the Americas who convinced me. So I joined Council 644 in the Basilica of St. John in Des Moines. The meetings were only 6 – 8 guys and there were not many things going on. I started paying more attention to the Columbia magazine, the State newspaper The Knight Today, and started researching on the web about what the Order does and saw a lot of potential for my Hispanic friends at Our Lady of the Americas. I started inviting them to join the Order but the answer was that they wanted something in Spanish so they could feel more comfortable.

I mentioned the crazy idea of a Hispanic Council to our then District Deputy John Martinez and he sent the big guys my way. First it was Diocesan Membership Director Pat Kelly who approached me carrying a large box of materials in Spanish to start a new council. Then he invited me to a meeting with some guy from Supreme to talk about Hispanic development. I remember it was during a blizzard on February 9, 2007 that I went to St. Mary of Nazareth to meet this guy from Supreme. There I met then State Deputy Mike Gaspers and remember how he turned a plan I had to start the council in a few months into four weeks. I remember going home that night telling my wife how I was suddenly surrounded by the State Officers.

After a Church blitz in the first weekend of March we started Council 14267 along with now Past State Deputies Pat O’Keefe and Joe Ramirez with the bare minimum 30 members required to start a Council.  Leading this Council gave me a life task: to make sure this wonderful Order is presented to all Hispanic men and families in Iowa.

I then became involved in State and now as a State Officer I advocate extending the invitation to Hispanic men. I believe in the insurance program of the Order and see the wonders it could to our families. I have witnessed taco sales and raffles organized by parishes in order to pay for the funeral of a loved one. I have seen the struggles that families have when they lose the breadwinner. Looking back at the history of the Knights of Columbus when we were founded in 1882, I see history repeat now in the Hispanic community in the United States. Hispanics take on the heaviest and most dangerous jobs, which are by the way the lowest paying ones. Hispanic in general do not have a culture of insurance or have great distrust in financial institutions. What we offer as an Order is ethical and responsible financial protection while providing opportunities to come closer to Him, who provides and protects us.

I am a Knight of Columbus because by being so I have multiple opportunities to put my faith into action. My favorite passage is from the Letter of James 2:18 “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” This is what the Knights of Columbus help me accomplish. I see the need to learn much more about our faith and through the Knights I have learned true Catholic values: protection of life from womb to tomb, dignity of life for all regardless of mental of physical health, keeping our children warm, providing mobility to those who don’t have the means, celebrating our faith out loud regardless of how unpopular it has become.

I am a Knight because I have a son and two daughters who need to see how a Catholic man should look and act. I have not achieved the ideal, but I am surrounded by over 31,000 Knights in Iowa that can back me up on such vision.

I am a Knight because I want to change the world and it is only through strong men who are weak enough to put their trust and confidence in the Almighty, that we will be able to change the culture of death, indifference, materialism, and redefined values.


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