Liner knows faith keeps Knights ahead of curve
The Interview, a regular feature of The Catholic New World, is an in-depth conversation with a person whose words, actions or ideas affect todays Catholic. It may be affirming of faith or confrontational. But it will always be stimulating.
This week, Eugene Liner, a veteran state official of the Knights of Columbus, talks with Catholic New World staff writer Michael D. Wamble. Across the nation, Knights are preparing for their annual conference, this year to be held in Boston Aug. 1-3. Cardinal George plans to attend.
He wears it proudly. Seated by the window, beneath the golden arches of this fast food establishment, the bronze-skinned Walter reads his paper as people pass by and wave at him from the street.
Dressed in dusty denim overalls, the lanky diner could best be described as transient, though hes taken up residence at a table. There, above his wide smile, rests a royal blue baseball cap he found on the street.
So many people are happy to see it, I washed it yesterday, he says. Its a great hat. Pointing up to the insignia emblazoned above the bill, Walter asks, What do these guys do?
These guys are the Knights of Columbus.
Gene Liner knows these guys. And he knows what they do. For that reason, he has worn many hats within the group.
Seated on his couch, in front of his apartment window in beige slacks and a short-sleeved shirt and spiffy striped tie, Gene Liner flips through folders upon folders of information about the organization Walter wondered about.
Liner knows the Knights.
For 48 years, this fourth-degree knight has served and helped to guide the Chicago and state fraternity in various positions. The space behind his door is virtually wallpapered with committee badges from state conventions and meetings.
Proudly hanging from his neck, a red ribbon clasps the Knights state medallion, the highest award one can receive from the organization.
That particular year, Liner served as Catholic activity chairman, and was charged with following a traveling Madonna from one council to another across the state.
I only lost Our Lady once, he says, now able to laugh about it.
The majority of Liners years with the Knights have been spent with Council 182, now known as Chicago St. Cabrini 182, in honor of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. It was the first council established west of the Allegheny Mountains over 104 years ago.
It is no surprise when Liner says he knocked on the door of the cardinals residence in Chicago to transfer then-Archbishop Georges Knights membership from Oregon to his Illinois council on his second day in the archdiocese.
CNW: When someone sees the insignia of the Knights of Columbus, what
do you hope comes to mind?
CNW: Will we see the visible presence of Knights at pro-life demonstrations
CNW: It has been reported that the average age of the organization
worldwide is 55, but the median age of men entering the Knights
last year was 39. Statewide, are the numbers here about the same
or different among overall membership?
CNW: What was it about the Knights that made you decide to join?
For more information on the Knights of Columbus, North Siders call Stuart Tesnow at (847) 358-0479; South Siders contact Robert Blake at (708) 868-3913.