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Ed Knudsen: A Quiet Apostle in a Quiet Town

Ed KnudsenDe Colores!

My assignment when I chose to accept it was to author a piece on a “not so well known” Cursillista.

Edgar “Ed” Knudsen hails from Oshkosh, Wisconsin by gosh. He is an honorably discharged Navy Lieutenant who retired after over 20 years of honorable service. A fair share of Ed’s naval service was underwater aboard fast attack submarines where he served as a Sonar Technician.

Ed is not a cradle Catholic. He chose Catholicism and accepted the sacraments at St Pius X (Jamul) in the Spring of 2000. Not long after, the Knapp’s, Tammy, CJ, Zachary, and yours truly arrived on the scene. We travelled half way around the world from Naples, Italy to San Diego, California in June of 2000. Tammy and I journeyed with our two young sons (12 years and 9 years old), a dog, cat, and luggage bursting at the seams. After a couple of weeks in the Navy lodge, we found a place to rent and became residents of Jamul on July 1, 2000.

Tammy and the boys met Ed soon after when we started attending Mass at St Pius X (Jamul). Father Scott, yes our Father Scott, was the pastor at this small country parish. Frankly, I saw very little of my family and any other “land lubbers” (people who do not go to sea) for that matter. I was serving in the Navy and at sea more often than not in those days. I deployed to the western Pacific in March of 2001 for six months.

Ed and Ana KnudsenEd was called to Cursillo #222 in April 2001. He was truly blessed to have had our beloved Bob Murphy as his rector. While I cannot describe Ed’s experience on the mountain that weekend; I can only imagine it was miraculous and blessed. Ed’s name may be familiar to some of you. He was the editor of the Gallina Gazette from 2002 to 2007. Ed received the articles; formatted the document; and mailed it out.

I returned from deployment just days before the tragic attacks of 9/11.  Despite the heartbreaking losses from these despicable events; some wonderful news reached my ears. Tammy, my wife of nearly 15 years (at that time) told me she was enrolled in RCIA and was to become a Catholic. She joyfully introduced Ed to me as her RCIA sponsor. I was delighted. I clicked and hit it off with Ed immediately. Not only was he sponsoring my wife into the Catholic faith; he was also a fellow “Bubblehead” (Submarine Sailor).  

Shortly thereafter, Tammy informed me that we needed to be married. I playfully questioned, “again”? She emphatically responded, “YES”! We were required to be married in the Catholic Church before Tammy could receive the sacraments. Tammy and I were married at St Pius X (Jamul) on February 7, 2002 by Father Scott. Our marriage in God’s presence came fifteen years to the day after our Justice of the Peace wedding in Norfolk, Virginia. About eight weeks later, Tammy became a Catholic at the Easter Vigil. Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ. Ed did this for Tammy!

Ed was and continues to be extremely involved in various ministries at St. Pius X. For many years he led the choir at 8:30 AM Mass each and every Sunday. He has been a CCD teacher for as long as I can remember. Ed has always been the “go to guy” at St. Pius X. During our annual Jamulfest events he is a blur. Like “Ricochet Rabbit”, Ed zips to and fro at light speed to ensure “all systems are GO”.

Ed and CJTammy and I were delighted when Ed sponsored our eldest son, CJ for confirmation in May of 2004. A photograph of Ed, the Bishop, Father Scott and the rest of CJ’s confirmation class is prominently displayed in my mother’s hallway in York, Pennsylvania. Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ. Ed did this for CJ!

Ed seems to be everywhere at our parish. During Jamulfest, he installs the television and satellite dish in the beer garden. He ensures sound systems work outside for Jamulfest and Cinco de Mayo and that indoor sound systems work for bingo and other parish events. Simply put, Ed does his level best to make certain most if not all things electronic or gadget-related at St. Pius X in Jamul works. Ed sets up the Nativity scene, puts up Christmas decorations, and assists at numerous Knights of Columbus functions. Ed served as Grand Knight for St. Pius X Knights of Columbus Council #9659 in 2004.  Several years ago, Ed moved up from teaching grade school CCD to teaching the confirmation class. He guides our young adults on religious retreats in the Julian area every year to prepare them for this special sacrament. Ed has been and continues to be one of the prominent “Faces of Christ” at St. Pius X in Jamul.  

Ed and ZackEd sponsored our son, Zachary in the sacrament of confirmation in 2007. This may sound like déjà vu but a photograph of Ed, the Bishop, Father Scott and the rest of Zachary’s confirmation class are prominently displayed in my mother’s hallway in York, Pennsylvania.  Yes, my dear mother has the opportunity to see her grandson’s on the altar with Ed every single day! Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ. Ed did this for Zachary!

Ed volunteered for and was elected to another term as Grand Knight in 2009. This time though, things were not so good. Council support and meeting attendance had diminished to bare minimum since his last term. Frankly, Council #9659 was on life support and ready to fold. Ed presented what I believe was the most difficult motion in the history of the council before its scant, participating members. Should St. Pius X Council #9659 dissolve or continue? The participating members voted to continue. Ed, through his faith, leadership, and guidance of the Holy Spirit saved the council. Since then, our council has thrived. Interest evolved, membership swelled; and support of the parish through our men’s manual labor and financial contributions peaked. Council #9659 was thriving. The parish and the community were reaping the benefits. Council #9659 received the prestigious Star Award for new membership for consecutive years in 2011 and 2012. None of these accolades existed while Ed was at the helm. None would have come to pass without him. Like the story of David and Goliath, Saul would have never had a kingdom had David not courageously stepped up to take on the challenge. Ed courageously acted to save our Council. St Pius X Knights of Columbus Council #9659 is what it is today only because of the man who preserved it, my friend, Ed.   

Ed offered to sponsor me for Cursillo #266 in April 2012. He felt I was ready. I felt I was ready. My wife, Tammy, had felt ready for years! The weekend featured sideways snow, stinging sleet, slipping-n-sliding, and wailing, not whispering, winds! Frigid, chilly conditions persisted outside Thursday night through Saturday night. Meanwhile, the fire of the Holy Spirit filled the hearts of the men inside. The sun kissed the mountain and our hearts on Sunday. The smiles and warmth of the greater Cursillo community really moved the candidates of #266 at Closura. Sparky tried his best to spoil the weekend but failed.

Knudsen FamilyIt meant a lot to me to see Ed at Closura. The theme of the weekend was “Surrender”. I did just that. It was the perfect theme for me. I surrendered. I could not stop talking the entire ride home. I believe because I was so moved, Ed was moved too. We have been grouping ever since along with three others from Cursillo #266. Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ. Ed did this for me!

One month after my Cursillo, I accepted the nomination for Deputy Grand Knight. I recalled during Cursillo #266, how I felt inspired to go through the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree exemplification. The Fourth Degree seemed very appropriate at this point. You guessed it! Ed sponsored me into the Fourth Degree. He and his wife, Ana, my groupie Tom Mascarenas (#266) and his fiancé’, Theresa joined Tammy and me at their own expense for the Fourth Degree exemplification. Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ. Ed did this for me, again!

Submariners by their very nature are “covert and undetected”. Ed may not have been at the forefront in Cursillo circles over the years, but his Christ-like impact has most certainly been felt by many throughout our community. Ed may not have gone to team school or grouped, but the Holy Spirit has continuously worked wondrous deeds through him which have positively impacted and influenced others. Ed may have been under the Cursillo’s RADAR, but his fourth day apostolic action has brought the light and the words of Christ into the lives of so very many. Ed is a quiet apostle in a quiet town. Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend, a family, a community to Christ. That’s what Ed Knudsen of Cursillo #222 has done for us in Jamul! Thank you Ed! May God bless you and your family always!   

Your friend and ever grateful brother in Christ,

Tom Knapp #266

©2012 San Diego English Speaking Cursillo

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