The following story appeared in the May 27 Idaho Catholic Register.
IDAHO FALLS – It’s not at all usual that when the Idaho Knights of Columbus select a Knight of the Year from among its 40 councils across the state that the Knight chosen is one who has been a member for 30 or 40 years.
That wasn’t the case this year when the Knights selected Jim Jensen who joined the Church in 2010. While he was a Knight only 11 years before COVID took his life last October, some would rightly surmise that he easily packed 30 to 40 years of service into those 11 years.
When the Knights had to move a storage shed full of medical equipment from Meridian, Jensen volunteered that it be stored at his property in Payette.
“He felt compelled to bring it over to keep the program going,” said his wife, Vea. She wasn’t talking just a truckload or two. “He brought trailers of equipment over,” she said. Wheel-chairs, canes, walkers, crutches, bed tables, exercise equipment, toilet risers, beside commodes and more. “He built a storage shed for it and it still doesn’t hold it all.”
But Jensen’s willingness to house the equipment kept alive a program to loan medical equipment to those who needed it free of charge.
He helped manage the food bank for Corpus Christi Parish. The work for the food bank included several trips a week to the local Albertsons to pick up discarded, but still useful, grocery items which he sorted and weighed to take to the Corpus Christi food bank or to nearby Blessed Sacrament Parish in Ontario or St. Agnes Parish in Weiser. He also personally delivered it to families in need or to veterans with large families. “He put four to six hours a day into that,” Vea said.
His marriage to Vea Raybourn Black in 2010 was a later-in-life romance. She had been divorced for 40 years after a six-month marriage. His previous wife had passed away. When Jim met Vea, a devout Catholic, he agreed to take RCIA, after having previously been Lutheran and then Episcopalian. He joined at Easter, they married a month later and a month after that he joined the Knights of Columbus.
During his first year as a Knight, he acquired his Second, Third and Fourth Degrees “becoming a very proud Sir Knight,” according to the Knights of Columbus newsletter. He served in council, assembly and district positions including Grand Knight, District Deputy and two years as District Warden.
“He would go to great lengths to ensure that Sir Knights in Ontario and western Idaho had representation at their funerals, even if he may be the only one there,” the newsletter stated. He would also travel much of southern Idaho to do the same for others.
Knights’ State Deputy Roy Bartholomay, presents Family of the Year Award to Theresa and Warren Halcomb. (Courtesy photo/Dave Molitor and Knights of Columbus)
His service extended beyond just the Knights. He also sang in the parish choir – most of the time as cantor – and was a Eucharistic Minister. “Any-time the church office folks needed help, they knew they could count on Jim,” to move furniture, tables or whatever was needed, said an application nominating him for the award. When the parish hall at Corpus Christi was under construction, Jensen helped move items to storage. “Then when we moved into the new office space, guess who got the call?” the application stated.
When he died suddenly at 76, he was still actively involved in all his volunteer ministries.
When the Knights of Columbus held their annual state convention in Idaho Falls in April, they presented Jensen’s posthumous award to his wife, Vea. “He touched many lives in many ways,” said Roy Bartholomay, Idaho State Deputy.
The late Jim Jensen, pictured with his wife, Vea, was honored as Knight of the Year by the Knights of Columbus. (Courtesy photo/ Vea Jensen)
About 140 attended the annual convention which included remarks by Bishop Peter Christensen of the Diocese of Boise, Kristi Kraft of Special Olympics, Cindy Garnier from Birthright of Idaho Falls, Dan Moberg from the American Wheelchair Mission and Ray Lopez, of Salt Lake City, a representative of the Supreme Office for the Knights of Columbus.
Warren and Theresa Halcomb of St. Pius X Parish in Coeur d’Alene were named Family of the Year.
Currently the Outside Guard for St. Pius X Council 11623, Halcomb has served in the Knights for 40 years. He and Theresa serve at the local soup kitchen, help coordinate the multi-parish picnic at Holy Family Catholic School, and work hours-long shifts at the parish’s food booth at the county fair. He is a Eucharistic Minister at the parish, and she is a lector as well as a hospitality coordinator for the weekly Exploring Catholicism classes that attract 80 to 90 people. Theresa is a member of the Pius Angels, a group called on by the parish for a variety of projects.
The Halcombs work to ensure their children, now adults, and grandchildren remain in the faith. “Every week-end, you will see three generations of Holcombs present together at Mass,” said a newsletter nominating them for Family of the Year. “The Holcombs are always there when the Church needs them, and they all approach their service with joyful participation,” said Deacon Chris Stewart, a deacon at the parish.
Other honors included Council of the Year, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Coeur d’Alene; Priest of the Year, Father Germán Osorio of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mountain Home; and District Deputy of the Year, Brian Simer.
A new slate of state officers was also elected including George Mesina of Idaho Falls, state deputy; Dan Moberg, state secretary; Rich Bingham, state treasurer; Ken Rief, state advocate; and Paul Petro, state warden.
According to outgoing State Deputy Roy Bartholomay, the Knights of Idaho donated nearly $370,000 and 117,000 hours of labor to charitable causes that promote faith, family, life and community during the past year.
As of mid-April statewide membership in the Knights was 5,092, with 161 new members over the last year, which is about 69 percent of the state-wide membership goal.
Some of the Knights’ major charitable works over the last year included:
Vocations. Idaho Knights donated more than $17,000 to its RSVP (Re-fund Support Vocation Program) for seminarians. Under the program, every Knights council is refunded $100 for every $500 they donate to seminarians. The seminarians also receive cards, letters and invitations to council events.
Food for Families. The Knights’ “Leaving No Neighbor Behind,” program resulted in more than $19,700 donated to food programs and 7,300 hours of service at local food banks.
Coats for Kids. Idaho councils raised more than $13,000 to buy coats for children, with large distributions in Grangeville, Coeur d’Alene, McCall, Pocatello and Twin Falls.
Culture of Life. Knights were able to raise the funds to pay for two new ultrasound machines for use in pregnancy resource centers. In total, councils donated more than $86,300 for life activities and countless service hours.
State Deputy Bartholomay expressed gratitude to Bishop Peter Christensen and to Father John Kucera for their support of the Knights. Father Kucera, who is pastor at Mary Immaculate Parish in St. Anthony, is the State Chaplain for the Knights.
“Father Kucera sacrifices much of his time to serve as a spiritual advisor at our state meetings as well as at the convention,” Bartholomay said. He led a spiritual retreat for state officers.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Knights of Columbus, go to KofC.org/joinus.
Knights begin Silver Rose tour
This year is the 60th anniversary of the tradition of Our Lady of Guadalupe Silver Rose Tour, which will begin with transfer of the Silver Rose from Knights of Columbus members in Washington state to those in Idaho on June 5.
The tradition began in 1960 when groups of Columbian Squires in Mexico, Canada and the United States decided to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe by carrying a rose across North America from Canada to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monterrey, Mexico. In 2001, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, referring to the “Our Lady of Guadalupe - One Life, One Rose Program,” urged that it be expanded to every North American jurisdiction.
In recent years, the program has expanded from three to eight silver roses traveling the Western, Central, and Eastern corridors of North America, with Knights of Columbus from Canada to Mexico carrying the roses from destination to destination, and finally to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monterrey, Mexico.
Every stop along the route of the Silver Rose Pilgrimage is an occasion for prayer and spiritual renewal centered on the rosary. English, French and Spanish booklets containing recommended prayers, scripture readings and a litany accompany the Silver Rose.
Here is the current schedule for the Silver Rose Tour in Idaho parishes. The schedule is subject to change. Check with your local parish for information on events related to the Silver Rose.
June 5: Transfer from Washington to Idaho at Moscow. June 6: St. Mary’s, Moscow
June 7-8: St. Pius X, Coeur d’Alene
June 9: St. Thomas, Coeur d’Alene
June 11-12: St. Charles Borromeo, Salmon
June 13: Mary Immaculate, St. Anthony
June 14: Good Shepherd, Driggs
June 15: St. Patrick’s, Rexburg
June 16-17: St. John Paul II, Idaho Falls
June 18-19: Holy Spirit, Pocatello
June 20: St. Jerome’s, Jerome
June 22: Immaculate Conception, Buhl
June 23: St. Elizabeth’s, Gooding
June 24: St. Nicholas, Rupert
June 25-26: St Edward, Twin Falls
June 27: Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mountain Home
June 28: Our Lady of the Rosary, Boise
June 29: Sacred Heart, Boise
June 30: Holy Apostles, Meridian
July 1: St. Marks, Boise
July 2-3: Corpus Christi, Fruitland
June 4: St. Agnes, Weiser
July 7: Our Lady of the Valley, Caldwell
July 9: St. Mary’s, Boise
July 10: Transfer to Oregon
If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.