The Knights of Columbus Father Gilpin Council 9760 will once again hold its annual "Keep Christ in Christmas" lighting contest, with judges viewing contest entries on Saturday, Dec. 16 starting at 6:30 p.m.
The contest is free to enter, and everyone is welcome to participate and submit a form. Prizes will include $75 for first place, $50 for second place, and $25 for the third-place winner.
The theme for the campaign is keeping Christ in Christmas.
“The whole reason Christmas exists today is because it’s a commemoration of our Savior’s birth,” explained Pat Meuse, the financial secretary for Council 9760 Father Gilpin Knights of Columbus in Moose Jaw.
“Christ was born and died for us, for the repentance of sins, so therefore we commemorate the date He came into the world. With the commercialization of Christmas and the secularization of it, we want to remember that it is the first and foremost religious holiday for Christ’s birth.”
On Dec. 16, judges from the Knights of Columbus will tour the houses on the entry list and rate each themed display on criteria set out on the application form. Criteria will involve aspects such as overall appearance, and each entry must fit the theme for the contest.
“Christ in Christmas is 50 per cent of the score, so we’re weighted towards keeping Christ in Christmas to remind people that Christmas is about Christ — it’s not necessarily about the gift giving and all the other commercialization of Christmas,” said Meuse.
Application forms also have a space for additional comments. In the space provided, entrants can notify judges of certain elements within their display that stand out or otherwise need a closer inspection.
“One display often has a radio broadcast, and the lights are timed to music — that sort of thing (is relevant for the form). If there is one particular item they want to direct the judges’ attention to, they can put that on the form as well,” Meuse said. “Another thing I remember seeing was the nativity scene was all hand-made.”
Once the judges have visited all the applicants and taken pictures and observational notes, they return to the lodge and work on determining the year’s winners.
“Each judge scores separately, and then we put all the scores from each judge in an Excel worksheet and it tallies everything up,” Meuse explained. “The Grand Knight then lets people know who won.”
The Keep Christ in Christmas lighting contest is an annual event that started in 2007.
“Our Supreme Council… came out with a program called ‘Keep Christ in Christmas.’ There are different things (such as) billboards, (and) we have in the past put a parade float in the Christmas parade based on the theme, and things like that,” explained Meuse. The lighting contest is one aspect of this campaign.
Apart from a missed year in 2022 after the sudden death of the organization’s event planner, Meuse said participation in the lighting contest has ranged from three to around 15 entries each year since 2007.
The Knights of Columbus was founded on March 29, 1882, by Fr. Michael J. McGivney and was named after the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. The original purpose of the organization was to serve as a mutual benefit society for immigrant and working-class Catholic men in the United States.
“The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal Catholic men’s organization. We’re international, (and) we have about two million members worldwide,” said Meuse. “We do charity and community outreach, and through fraternal efforts we raise funds and support both our church and our community.”
The entry form for the contest can be found online at www.MjKnights.ca.
Once the form has been filled out, completed applications can be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any further questions, more information, or assistance with an application form, Pat Meuse can be reached at 306-692-8111.
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