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Fenwick Squires promote faith, service

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Friday, April 3, 2009

By Carmen M. Hubbard

HAMILTON DEANERY — A newly formed organization at Bishop Fenwick High School in Middletown is providing young men with leadership training and the spiritual and moral guidance they need to grow in life.

The high school has become the first school-based Columbian Squires circle in the state of Ohio — the Columbian Squires is the official youth organization of the Knights of Columbus. Squires are dedicated to promoting service and the Catholic faith, along with having the chance for fun and developing their leadership skills. The Fenwick Squires circle is sponsored by the local Knights of Columbus and is officially called the Bishop Edward D. Fenwick Circle #5266.

“The Squires are for the body of Christ,” said Paul Ault, chief counselor of the Squire circle at Fenwick.

Pictured here are members of Bishop Edward D. Fenwick High School’s Columbian Squires Circle No. 5266. (Courtesy photo)

Ault is a member of the Knights of Columbus in Middletown and was a Squire during his teenage years in Piqua. He and Fenwick vice principal John Griffith, also a member of the Knights of Columbus, serve as advisors to the circle at the high school.

The Columbian Squires began on Aug. 4, 1925, with the Duluth Circle No. 1 in Minnesota. The group remains rooted in “spiritual, cultural, civic, social and physical improvement of its members, and the development of their leadership qualities,” according to “The Laws and Rules of the Columbian Squires.” There are four components to the Squires including spiritual, service, circle and membership. Membership is open to boys ages 11 to 18 years old. There are approximately 25,000 members and more than 1,400 circles worldwide. In addition to the Squire circles nationally, they are also located in Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, parts of Central America and the Caribbean.

Joe Krug, 16, a junior at Fenwick and chief Squire, is one of the 22 members in the circle, which hopes to build its membership to 45.

“I enjoy helping other people,” he said. “The biggest thing for me is to increase membership. We really want to people involved. It’s such a great opportunity.”

“When the circle formed, at first I was not interested. Then I looked at (what they had to offer). It seemed like a nice way to help,” said Adam Griffith, 16, a sophomore at Fenwick and member of the Squires. “There’s a lot of school opportunity. We learn parliamentary procedures, we pray and attend Mass regularly.”

Griffith is a catechist for fourth graders at St. Henry Church in Dayton. He has also achieved first rank in the circle. The project normally takes six months to complete and consists of community outreach, parish activities and spending time with family. Griffith finished in two weeks.

Among the community service projects the Squires have been involved in are volunteering at soup kitchens, fundraising for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, praying for religious vocations and cleaning neighborhood parks. They are currently participating in a letter-writing campaign to oppose the Freedom of Choice Act, collecting 25,000 diapers for a nurse’s patients and collecting teddy bears for the Middletown Police Department.

The group continues to construct a labyrinth at the high school; they expect to have it completed by the end of the school year. In addition, the Squires host raffles, benefit breakfasts, car washes and coin collections.

This month is Squires Month, during which circles are encouraged to volunteer at their parishes and in their neighborhood to celebrate the founding fathers.

Vincent Haenni, 15, a freshman at Fenwick and co-chairman of the circle, said becoming a Squire gives members a head start on available community service projects.

“My parents thought it might be a good idea to get involved,” he said. “I know it will eventually help me get service projects done.”

Plans are currently underway to begin a circle for young women at Fenwick. 

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