Father Richard Ball was recently named Knights of Columbus Chaplain of the Year for the Sioux City Diocesan.
Father Ball serves as the pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mapleton, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Danbury, and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ida Grove. He is the chaplain for two Knights of Columbus councils. He promotes both councils at the three parishes in the cluster. Under his direction, parishioners from these parishes participate in the various Knights activities, regardless of the councils sponsoring the activity. Father Ball is very present at many community activities.
Since the state convention activities were postponed, plans to present the award to Father Ball will be announced once parishioners are allowed to gather in large groups.
The awards form stated the following responses as to why Father Ball was chosen as the Diocesan Chaplain of the Year:
• Father Ball demonstrates the best qualities of a shepherd getting out and being with his people.
• He services three parishes and maintains connections to two others.
• He spends one day each week traveling around our area to visit the homebound sick, ailing.
• At least once per week he is with the students at Danbury Catholic providing vocational guidance to the children – giving them specific feedback to allow them to see how God is working in their life and how they can serve God in return.
• Father Ball is also great at making the children laugh – he allows them to see the human side of priesthood in a positive light.
• He is attentive to the whole person and while encouraging all of us to be involved and give our best, he also encourages us to take care of our spiritual selves first and foremost.
• Father Ball encourages the youth of our parish to attend one of the stuebenville conferences and talks glowingly of the experience to all of us. His efforts have led to more young people going to these conferences.
• He is amazing at connecting events of our lives to the Gospel; recently one that struck many lives was his comment after the death and funeral of one parish matron: “The best gift you could ever give in your mother’s memory is to get back in the habit of coming to Church.”
Father Ball was ordained in 1977 and has been a member of the Knights of Columbus for over 40 years.
What has always impressed Father Ball about the Knights of Columbus is the amount of time they give to parishes. If he needs anything, the Knights of Columbus would say they will get out there and do it.
“That’s the kind of group that I want to be in,” said Father Ball. “They do it for the love of their faith and for their love of God. Strong commitment to the church. Strong commitment to the country. They are always raising money for the needy and the poor.”
He added that he loves having the Knights of Columbus at events like communion, confirmation, and funerals. When his brother-in-law passed away a few months ago, the Knights stood guard.
“They have been so much good to help me, I hope that I am a good help to them,” Father Ball said.
Father Ball tries to attend their meetings, and he helped start the Knights of Columbus group in Dow City/Charter Oak/Ute. This has been one of the highlights during his priesthood.
“I’m happy to do whatever I can to support for them and be there to do whatever I can to help,” he said. “I noticed right away how much good the Knights of Columbus have done and continue to do. They deserve every pat on the back. They never back down from a challenge, and that’s how they have always been. Young men and older men who have never backed down from a challenge to do God’s work.”
Father Ball never expected to receive an award like this as he said there are so many other chaplains out there.
“It’s an honor for me, but it’s more of an honor for the Knights of Columbus,” he said.