"Big Four" Highlights


Family of the Year

The Uchytils of Wisconsin are honored by Knights of Columbus

This is the commendation that was read at the awards session of the Supreme Convention Aug. 7 in San Antonio, Texas.

The 2013 Knights of Columbus International Family of the Year is the Joseph and Mary Uchytil Family of Msgr. Gehl Council 7895 in Greenville, Wisconsin. They have five children: Michael (18), Mikayla (17), Matthew (15), Marcus (13) and Maria (10).

Family of the Year

The Uchytils’ most impressive trait is that they are consistently “there.” The parents are there for their children, the children are there for their parents and for each other, and the family as a whole is there for their church and community.

The family is very active and visible in their parish. Joseph and his sons greet parishioners as they arrive at Mass every week. The children are altar servers. Mary and several of the children sing in the choir. Mom, dad and Michael are Eucharistic Ministers and teach the Children’s Liturgy of the Word.

The parents are very involved in mentoring both their own children and those of others within the parish and community. From coaching local youth athletic teams, to the development of a highly-decorated youth robotics program for 9- to 15-year-olds, to raising funds for kidney disease research and for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the family puts their faith into action on a daily basis. Mom has also established a ministry called “Crafts of Love,” which makes blankets, scarves and hats to provide comfort to people with serious illnesses, especially children with cancer.

Joseph has been a Knight for 18 years and is past grand knight of his council. All of the children have been homeschooled, and the parents have gone to great lengths to incorporate the religious education program of their parish into a rigorous academic curriculum. This is indicative of the family incorporating their Catholic faith into all aspects of their lives, and it has helped the children to excel academically. Both of the older children have earned significant collegiate course credit while still in high school, putting them on-pace to graduate college early. The family helped to develop by-laws for the teen group of the local home-school association, and a heavy emphasis was placed on teen leadership and service outreach. Through their positions of leadership in this organization, the children are developing the same mentoring skills that their parents so effectively implement.