Members of Knights of Columbus Mary Mother of the Church Council 10381 in Laurie recently presented a $50,000 check for repairs and maintenance to National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church. Presenting the check is Grand Knight Andy Neff; District Deputy Dave Groth; and Father John Schmitz, pastor of the Laurie parish. Accepting the donation is parishioner Don Drake, chairman of the shrine’s board of directors; General Manager Sue Schneider; and other board members. (submitted photo)
Placing the needs of visiting pilgrims ahead of the desire for a place to call their own, Knights of Columbus Council 10381 in Laurie recently donated $50,000 toward timely repairs and maintenance at the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church.
The council had been saving the money to build its own Knights hall someday.
The outdoor shrine, located on the grounds of St. Patrick Church in Laurie, draws an estimated 50,000 pilgrims and visiting tourists each year. 
The shrine’s curators are conducting a capital campaign to pay for $290,000 worth of work, including structural repairs, upgrades to the electrical, plumbing and sound systems, and sealing of the retaining walls. 
The shrine was established in 1989 and dedicated in 1992. In May 2003, the U.S. Catholic bishops granted the Shrine of Mary Mother of the Church the rare designation of a national shrine. 
It includes an outdoor altar and seating for thousands of people for Mass each weekend during tourist season at the Lake of the Ozarks. 
It also includes cascading water fountains, a 14-foot-tall sculpture of the Blessed Mother, and the Mother’s Wall of Life, which contains the names of thousands of mothers living and deceased, who followed Mary’s example and said “yes” to motherhood.
The shrine’s board of directors is working with Brad Copeland, diocesan director of buildings and properties, to help recruit proven contractors for the work. 
Chartered in 1990 and named in honor of Mary, Mother of the Church, Knights Council 10381 has been using the St. Patrick parish hall for its meetings and events for nearly 40 years, paying a monthly stipend to help pay for maintenance. 
The council had been saving up money for its own hall, but members took to heart the Knights Supreme Council’s recent calls for local councils to forge stronger bonds with their parishes.
They voted to donate what had been their building fund toward the shrine’s capital campaign. 
The National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church, is separate from the parish and diocese and has its own board of directors. 
Its only sources of funding are offertory collections during the summer months, designated contributions, and stipends for engraving mothers’ names on the Mothers Wall of Life. 
“We would like to challenge other Knights of Columbus Councils to place their Priests’ mothers’ names on the Mothers Wall of Life,” said Past Grand Knight Jim Gerke. 
For information about the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church or to help with its upkeep, contact Sue Schneider, the general manager at 573-372-8595 or gmmothersshrine@gmail.com or visit the website at www.mothersshrine.org