Knights of Columbus seek donations to keep monument to unborn lit

Utility rate increase makes it difficult for council to meet cost

OSHKOSH — In 1996, a lighted monument to the unborn was dedicated at Calvary Cemetery by Council 614 Our Lady of Lourdes of the Knights of Columbus. This supports the organization’s tenet that “all life has the right to live, including the unborn, and all life should be respected, even those that were aborted,” said Grand Knight Dick Forseth, a member of St. Jude Parish.

A monument for the unborn, erected at Calvary Cemetery in Oshkosh in 1996 by the Knights of Columbus Council 614, is perpetually lit. The cost of keeping the monument lit recently increased and the Knights are seeking assistance to keep it shining in honor of unborn children. (Jeannette Merten | For The Compass)

The monument is perpetually lit so that it is visible at all times, even throughout the night.

“When things are out of sight, they’re out of mind,” Forseth said. “The location of this monument is at road edge. All traffic goes right past this monument. We keep it lit so it stands out as you’re going out of town or coming into town.

“It’s a nice place to sit back, meditate and make sure those (aborted) children are not forgotten. The lighting reminds people at all times that all lives should be respected, including the unborn,” added Forseth.

But a recent utility rate increase has nearly doubled the monthly bill to about $30 a month, making it difficult for the council to keep up. They have a small amount coming in from advertising in their monthly newsletter and some personal donations from some of the Knights, but they are worried whether this will be sustainable if another rate hike occurs.

In addition, a second monument to the unborn — located in Sacred Heart Cemetery by the airport — is supported by the KC fourth degree assembly 1210. They would like to have that monument lit, but have electricity restrictions because of its nearness to the airport.

Forseth said council 614 and assembly 1210 are seeking donations from private or corporate sponsors to keep these monuments lit. These could include financial donations toward current electric bills; help in determining how to supply electricity to the Sacred Heart monument while keeping with the restrictions in place; or help in determining the feasibility of transitioning both monuments to a solar power source.

“It would be good to get a corporate sponsor to assist us in finding something that would be solar powered, that could light the monuments throughout the night,” Forseth said. “It should not be motion-activated but able to be lit at all times.”

He said more study is needed to learn what size solar panels the cemeteries would allow, as well as the cost for battery replacement.

“It will be an unending cost to keep those monuments lit either way,” said Forseth. “We’ll work with whatever it takes to get it done, but we need assistance dollar-wise.”

Forseth said the Knights are planning a 20th year dedication anniversary for the Calvary Cemetery monument to be held on Nov. 6. He said it is a special, serene place with a marble bench that is located on the curve of Highway 45. It is visible from the road as one leaves or enters Oshkosh.

“During the warmer months, we pray the rosary there every third Tuesday of the month. It’s a great visible sight for men to be standing around the monument praying the rosary,” he said. “It’s an open statement for anybody going by. We will do whatever we have to do to keep it lit.”

To donate or for more information contact Dick Forseth, KC Council 614 Our Lady of Lourdes, [email protected]; (920) 216-9875.