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Old 11-11-2008, 07:30 AM
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Default Local man to join Knights of Malta

By William T. Clew

SHREWSBURY - A lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Mary’s Parish will be invested in the Knights of Malta Nov. 14 by Cardinal Edward Egan in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Ronald Thompson of 8 Saxon Lane also is a catechist and a member of the parish stewardship committee. He has helped develop programs on religion for young people involved in the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and has been awarded scouting’s St. George Medal.

In the Worcester Diocese he is a 12-year member of the Pro-Life Committee and a 13-year member of the Catholic Committee on Boy and Girl Scouting.

He created a Boy Scout Troop and activies for special needs children. He received the St. George National Catholic Adult Scouting Award for providing programs integrating Catholic faith into youth programs. He developed and implemented Catholic youth religious award programs in the diocese.

At the Calvary Retreat Center he served for eight years on the executive committee, helping to create religious programs for alcoholic recovery, unwed mothers, homeless retreats and senior citizen day programs

He is a member of the 3rd and 4th Degree Knights of Columbus and is active in supporting special needs, pro-life and unwed mothers programs.

Mr. Thompson said becoming a Knight of Malta is not something for which someone can apply.

“You have to be asked,” he said.

Members recommend someone for membership. If that person is interested he must go through a year of discernment and formation. That includes studying the Order, membership requirements and its charism at Boston College and Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston and taking part in the Order’s functions. The Order’s charisms are to care for the sick and the poor, give witness to and defend the faith and enhance the spirituality of each member and strive to achieve sanctification through good works.

According to information presented by the American Association of the Order, the Knights of Malta was founded in 1098 in Jerusalem to assist and protect pilgrims to the Holy Land. It is the oldest order of chivalry in existence. It is a religious organization with both clergy and lay membership. It reports to the pope.

It is a sovereign nation recognized by more than 100 countries and is a permanent observer at the United Nations. Its principal charitable activities are hospital work, maintaining hospitals, clinics, medical research centers and sanitariums around the world, ministering to the homeless, those in prison, unwed mothers and newborns, the mentally ill and doing relief work for refugees and the needy.

The organization makes a yearly pilgrimage to Lourdes and pays for about 100 sick persons, along with those attending them, for a week’s stay there. Mr. Thompson said he will make the pilgrimage in the spring.

Mr. Thompson retired last month from Data Vantage in Westboro, where he was director of data services. Before joining Data Vantage, he worked for more than 20 years for Data General Corp., he said.

He and his wife, Kathleen celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary last Tuesday. They have a son, Ronald.

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