“Larry Land” and its community garden at St. Louis Catholic Church will soon have a Stations of the Cross, thanks in part to Knights of Columbus Council 11658 St. Hubert-St. Round table of Louis.
The beloved deceased pastor of St. Louis Church, Reverend Larry Pettke, was memorialized with dedication by Larry Land, on the church grounds at 24415 Crocker Boulevard. About two acres of land adjacent to the church grounds became available to St. Louis shortly before the priest died in 2019 at the age of 75.
A fall 2020 celebration of him began with an outdoor mass followed by a picnic. There was a dedication to “Father Larry” – who often said, “just call me Larry” – on a 320-pound stone given with a plaque for him.
Linda Knopp, music director of St. Louis Church, is on the Larry Land committee.
“He worked so hard to acquire this land,” she said. “Everyone loved him so much we suggested he be called Larry Land with a sign that said ‘All Welcome.’ That was his philosophy.”
Knopp, a master gardener, led volunteers in planting several gardens with memorial benches and special areas, including a butterfly garden with milkweed for monarch caterpillars, and fennel, dill and parsley for swallowtail caterpillars.
She bought just the right tree for the priest.
“Larry loved the color red, so we had an Autumn Blaze Maple that turns bright red in the fall. He was a big Red Wings fan, too,” Knopp said.
At the dedication, the priest’s parents put dirt around the tree and Reverend Bill Siebert, who was a good friend of “Father Larry”, blessed the dirt. The rock and the tree are at the center of the gardens.
“We had 26 people donate memorial trees,” Knopp said. “We now have lilacs, redbuds and dogwoods and they have engraved plaques showing who they are dedicated to and who donated them.”
Birds frequent the birdbaths and 50 good sized rocks line the perennial garden.
“Last spring, we planted things like tomatoes, peppers, and green beans, and donated those community garden produce to the St. Vincent dePaul Food Pantry right here in St. Louis,” he said. she stated.
Pantry customers can even get meat and also request gas vouchers to get to important appointments, thanks to Pantry check-in.
Larry Land will have a paved road on one side and an integrated walkway leading to a 20-foot cross made by a local craftsman, in preparation for the new Stations of the Cross. Other benches will be added.
“People are constantly there praying or just having lunch,” Knopp said. “Neighbors love it. Anyone can use it. We were going to plant arborvitae but the neighbors asked us not to because they love seeing it and they didn’t want anything blocking their view. C is like a park.”
The next step to improving Larry Land is a Knights of Columbus plan for a prayer walk known as Stations of the Cross.
Stations of the Cross, or Way of the Cross, is a series of 14 icons that depict the Passion of Christ from the time he was condemned by Pontius Pilate to the time he was buried. Icons in such an area can take the form of paintings, sculptures or statues.
Erni Boulos is the public relations director for Council 11658.
“Basically it’s a walk through a maze that has all 14 stations available for prayer,” Boulos said.
“They will be spaced out and there will be seats for people to stop and think. It’s so they can get a little closer to God and bring peace to their own world. It’s a place to be out in the open and allow your faith to come true.
He said plans were being drawn up for the approximately 100 meters of walking space, flowers, lighting and a final design.
“We are Catholic – we formalize everything – but its use is open to everyone’s personal interpretation,” he said. “It’s a collective effort to create this peaceful environment for the community. Fundraising for the stations will be an effort between St. Hubert, St. Louis and the Knights of Columbus.
The parish holds a yard sale that benefits Larry Land. Orders are due by 5 p.m. on May 2; and delivery is May 14. Flowers, herbs and vegetable plants are available at Hessel’s Greenhouse. An empty order is at:
Knights of Columbus St. Hubert Council 11658 is holding its 26th annual Cy Minnella golf outing on July 9 at Cracklewood Golf Club, 18215 24 Mile Road, Macomb. Prepayment of $100 is recommended for the four-person, 18-hole Scramble format. Registration is at 12:30 p.m. and shotgun start is at 2 p.m. See advice11658.com or call Erni Boulos at 586-747-5565.
This is a fundraiser for Macomb Foster Care Closet. More than 400,000 children are in foster care in the United States and more than 13,000 in Michigan alone. Almost all of these children enter the foster care system with no extra clothes, let alone toys or a favorite blanket.
“What we do as an organization is look for needs to be met and we focus on families,” Boulos said. “Due to the nature of the foster care program, children may end up where they don’t have extra clothing or physical possessions. This puts a lot of pressure on the children to be moved to an unfamiliar environment. The Macomb Foster Care Closet gives foster parents the opportunity to pick up personal hygiene items, clothing, equipment and even toys.
The Knights’ current mission is rooted in the original reason the organization was founded, to care for the families of men who fought and died in wars, “fighting for Christianity,” Boulos said.
“We still have those needs. The children are not technically orphans, but their needs are similar,” he said. “I used to think of the Knights of Columbus as a men’s club, but it’s so much more than I ever imagined. We love doing this stuff for people, including kids with special needs. Most people are familiar with our Tootsie Roll Drive.
The council supports Wertz Warriors, which raises funds for the Michigan Special Olympics.
“We had a family who had their house burnt down and we helped provide support and money. It is the same mission all over the world for our more than two million men in 17,000 councils. We all do the same things,” Boulos said.
When a church worker’s husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the council rallied around his family with various types of support.
Other Knights of Columbus programs are called: Helping Hands, Coats for Kids, Global Wheelchair, Catholic Essay Contest, Disaster Preparedness, Soccer Challenge, and Leave No Neighbor Behind. They support Habitat for Humanity and organize a basketball free throw championship.
“For the Ukraine issue, we just gave a few million to the Knights in Poland and Ukraine to support the people there and help the refugees,” he said. “When I talk to a guy from the Knights, I say if you want to be a better man, a better husband and father, if you want to understand yourself better, this is a good place to go. Start by sharing yourself. We teach each other things and show our love for others and our families. We show our solidarity with the priests.
He said there are council members who never show up for meetings, but they participate in projects like Friday fish fries or other events.
Boulos is proud of the international awards the council has received for its work.
“We have accomplished a huge mission for the Knights,” he said. “We do things that matter.”
The American Legion Holds the Blessing of Bicycles
American Legion Riders of American Legion Post 4 is holding its second annual Blessing of the Bikes, from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 24 at the post at 401 N. Groesbeck Ave., Mount Clemens. It is open to the public to bring their motorcycles to be blessed by the pastor of the Lutheran Church of Ascension, Daniel Simons. There are vendors, raffles, and food to buy. For more information, call 586-201-5597 or 586-567-8964.
Send news from service clubs and veterans organizations to Linda May at [email protected] or call the landline 586-791-8116.