Family of the Year one of principles

  • August 25, 2008

{mosimage}QUEBEC CITY - The Loomis family of Goshen, N.Y., was honoured earlier this month as the Knights of Columbus Family of the Year.

The Knights of Columbus awarded the Loomis family the lay order’s International Family of the Year Award during its 126th annual Supreme Convention’s awards ceremony Aug. 7 for best displaying the Knights’ main principles of charity, unity and fraternity.

Dennis Savoie, deputy supreme knight, said these principles are best lived out by service to the family, community and parish.

“It’s a challenge in this day in age, because we’re a society centred more on the individual,” he said.

However, the Knights recognize that great Catholic families do make their mark on the world while exemplifying the knightly principles in their daily lives. Every year, the Knights invite jurisdictions from around the world to nominate a family for the award.

Dr. Mario Loomis, a physician and plastic surgeon, participates in Light of the World Charities with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in Honduras. Through this program, which he did for the first time in May 2007, he has helped to correct cleft palate deformities in children.

“It was like a retreat,” he said humbly.

The experience was more than a program to provide medical care to the needy, he said, because of its Catholic, spiritual components.

Back in their home town, he and his wife Donna began a Catholic teen support program called “A Drop of Clear Water” which helps youth grow in their faith while learning about the importance of prayer, chastity and charity. The Loomis’s, who have four children, host the program in their own home and have had as many as 65 teens involved.

They drew inspiration for the name from a quote by Mother Teresa: “I never thought I could change the world, I only wanted to be a drop of clear water through which God’s love could shine.”

In addition to hosting these teens on a monthly basis, Donna also home-schools their children, Joseph, 18, Rebecca, 15, Gabriel, seven, and Teresa, five.

“When you are helping others, that’s where the joy comes from,” Donna said. She added that as parents they feel very blessed because of their financial stability and a strong faith which makes everything “fall into place.”

Their kids, who Mario said all enjoy attending Mass, also make an effort to contribute through their faith. Joseph, who is active in the Columbian Squire program run by the Knights of Columbus, spent a year creating a video for teens discerning a religious vocation to the priesthood after he attended a discernment retreat himself.

Rebecca assisted in making a promotional video for the family’s teen program web site (

Mario said that volunteering is “a great experience for the kids,” as well as for him and his wife.

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