Richard “Dick” Dornbos is on a mission to evangelize the world one chalice at a time. Since 2012 he has overseen the delivery of 25 chalices to seven countries across five continents. For Dornbos, supplying these chalices means ensuring that people will be able to attend Mass and hear the Word of God, and that will bring about a better world.
The idea began with chalices, but it has since become a worldwide chalice and church supplies undertaking, as he describes it. The first chalice was presented to Msgr. Larry Kanyke in 2012 for use at his newly built church in Kyengera, Uganda. The church building itself was funded by the efforts of Kanyke’s lifelong friend, Msgr. William Schooler at St. Pius X in Granger. While the building was the most expensive aspect, church supplies were still needed — and Dornbos’ mission was born.
He received financial backing from his Knights of Columbus Council, Father Stephen T. Badin Council 4263 in Granger. He was also able to connect with the Knights of Columbus Bishop Charles Mclaughlin Assembly 1818 in Florida, which has now donated several handmade stoles and over 200 unique rosaries that accompany the chalices, patens, carrying cases and cruets sent around the world to various parishes. The cost of the supplies is underwritten by the Father Stephen T. Badin Council 4236, as well as individual donors. Thus far, the value of the purchased items is over $4,000.
Everything is sent to Dornbos, in South Bend, where he carefully boxes it up until he can find someone to personally deliver it. Thus far, he has been able to personally connect with people to hand deliver supplies to North America (Haiti and the United States), Africa (Uganda, Nigeria, and Tanzania), South America (Ecuador), Europe (Poland) and Asia (Vietnam). Those delivering the packages are most often doctors or priests traveling on assignment. The supplies are generally taken to a local bishop, who determines where they are most needed within the diocese.
Father Henry Byekwaso, chaplain at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, has taken two chalices back to his home in Uganda and will be taking another the next time he visits. The first was given to a newly ordained priest that Father Byekwaso has known for many years.
“I am sure he uses it every day as he celebrates Mass,” he said. It is a special feeling for a new priest to celebrate his first Mass with a chalice from another part of the world, exemplifying how the church is truly connected through the Body of Christ. The second chalice is being used by a newly established seminary. Father Byekwaso enjoys being able to connect the church across continents in this way. He feels that Dornbos’ project is especially important because it shows the universal nature of the church and the generosity of people in helping the marginalized; and the people who receive the gifts truly have a need being met. “It makes me look like a hero when I come and give them this gift, but really it’s the generosity of others. I am just the carrier.” Father Byekwaso is looking forward to taking his third chalice to a newly developing parish in Uganda sometime this year.
Currently, Dornbos is working on getting more people involved. While the monetary backing of this project is largely from individual donors, the support of the Knights of Columbus is very important. Knights of Columbus groups in Indiana, Florida and Michigan are already involved, but the hope is for the effort to extend throughout the entire organization.
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