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Running with the Knights for Vocations

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by Susie Bergman

Every runner knows that the act of running a race is not without difficulties and challenges. There are things that can trip them up, or even slow them down, along the way. Good runners need proper training, endurance and discipline. The same can also be said for living a chaste, Christian life.

So it seems fitting that during National Vocation Week, the Coldwater Knights of Columbus Council #1991 hosted their annual “5K for Vocations.” This is the seventh year for the event, held on the beautiful grounds of the St. Charles Center (formerly the St. Charles Seminary) in Mercer County.

According to Steve Schmidt, race coordinator, fellow runner and Knights of Columbus member, the idea for the event came to him one day when he was out on a jog and ran into Father Rick Walling, pastor at Holy Trinity Church in Coldwater.

“The Knights of Columbus are always looking for ways in which we can support seminarians and lay people who are actively pursuing vocations,” said Schmidt. “When I presented the idea of a 5k to the Council, they supported it, and it didn’t take long for St. Charles to support it, too.”

The event draws people from all over Ohio and Indiana. Avid runners, from as far as Ottawa and Pickerington, look forward to the event because of its unique, glorious setting.

“Runners know to expect amazing sites when they come to this event” said Schmidt. “It’s so different than running in a city or more urban area.”

Indeed, it is. St. Charles Center, the motherhouse of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, is peacefully nestled on 500 acres outside the tiny town of Carthagena, OH. It currently serves as a senior living community for priests, brothers and lay people, and has been a beacon of faith for over 100 years. It is known for its long entryway, adorned with rows of trees that turn colors with the seasons and frame the majestic architecture of the main building.

Despite the windy and cool weather conditions on the day of the race, 129 enthusiastic runners and walkers (including Father Matt Keller and Brother Nick Renner), ranging in age from 5 to 77, participated in the event. Many retired priests and brothers were also there showing their support, including Father Steve Dos Santos, Sister Martha Bertke and Brother Theophane.

Organizers were both creative and purposeful with their race prizes and attire. The event t-shirt included a passage from the Prayer for Vocations: “Grant us the grace to know the path You have planned for us in this life and to respond with a generous ‘Yes.’” Winners from each age group received a St. Christopher pocket medal and a delicious pumpkin pie.

Schmidt summed up the 5k by saying “We are very thankful to those who took part in the event. We are also appreciative of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood for allowing us to use St. Charles Center. It is our Council’s goal to raise money to support seminarians and to increase awareness of Catholic vocations. On a cool, November Saturday morning, both were accomplished.”

The eighth annual Knights of Columbus 5k Run/Walk for Vocations will be Saturday November 14, 2020. For race results and additional information, visit mercerhealth5kchallenge.com/knights-columbus-5k-vocations.



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