Recently, the Knights of Columbus of California honored Fr. John Grace, OSA, as "Priest of the Year" at their annual convention.
Asked whether or not he was "expecting" to be honored at the convention, Fr. John said, "I was not expecting this award! It was the first time such an award was given."
In explaining the significance of the award, Fr. John said, "First of all, last September a committee gave plaques to local KofC Chaplains, in remembrance of the Mexican Martyrs, six of whom were Knights of Columbus, and one of those was presented to me then. Later, some forty plaques were presented to chaplains around California over six months. At the California State Convention this last weekend, they presented a special plaque to one of those forty chaplains, and Yours Truly was presented with this 'Priest of the Year' award!"
Fr. John is proud of his work as a chaplain with the Knights and reflected on the award and it's importance in promoting the Augustinian charism by saying, "I was not expecting this, but naturally I am very grateful for the honor. I always insist on the 'OSA' being put after my name, so we are being ‘published’ in all quarters!"
Originally a missionary priest from the Augustinian Province of Ireland, Fr. John worked in the missions of Nigeria and Ecuador before coming to the United States. Once here, he networked with the Knights wherever he went.
Commenting on his time with the Knights, Fr. John said, "I am really involved in the Knights, and have been the local Chaplain, the Chapter (Diocesan), the State Chaplain for California, also the Assistant to the Supreme Chaplain (now Archbishop Lori of Baltimore) for almost five years in Connecticut. The Knights are very dedicated practicing Catholics who do great work in their local parishes, as well as on the State and National level."
Asked what he liked about his work with the Knights, he said, "The list of their involvements is too long for this short note, but I am regularly there to encourage and support them, insisting always on their faith formation and spirituality. They form community at social functions and love to be together. In fact, they are ‘family’ for me. Being from Ireland, I often wonder if I would still be in the US if it were not for the Knights," before adding, "Well... and the California climate, of course!"