ARIZONA – When Nate Raso received his Catholic baptism, he never thought that his life would change completely.
Raso attended St. Olaf Catholic School and is a graduate of Judge Memorial Catholic High School, but although he attended these local Catholic schools, he wasn’t Catholic.
“I always wanted to be Catholic; I used to go to Confession and sneak to try to receive Communion,” he said.
He went on to attend the University of Utah, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics. When he turned 27, he decided to reestablish his contact with Monsignor Rudolph Daz, who at the time was pastor of St. Olaf Parish.
“I knew him as a priest since I was in second grade, so I went and asked him if he could baptize me. … He said, ‘No, first you need to attend RCIA,’ so I did,” said Raso, who drove every week from Sandy to take the faith formation classes at the parish in Bountiful.
“I was baptized, and when I was baptized, I was really excited to finally be a Catholic,” he said.
Then, one day at Mass, the Knights of Columbus at his parish, Blessed Sacrament, were having a membership drive and offering applications.
“I think I was the only person that filled out a form,” Raso said. He also started researching more about the Knights, an international fraternal Catholic organization.
“They are more than just the guys doing drives or collections to help people in need,” he said.
After he joined, a Knights field agent visited him to talk about insurance and introduced Raso to the vision of the organization’s founder, Father Michael McGivney, that “each Knight could simultaneously support the Catholic faith while supporting his family through the insurance program.”
Although Raso had never been in sales, at that moment he felt a call to begin his own ministry to support Catholic families.
“I was immediately compelled to commit my time and energy as a Knight field agent. … I enjoyed traveling all over and across Utah,” said Raso, who some days traveled six hours one way to make his visits.
Eventually, his hard work led him to a regional position. He is now a general agent, with 15 field agents under him. His region covers Utah and Arizona, where he and his family now live.
”He did so well in Utah, he was named general agent for Arizona. Utah is not big enough to have our own general agent,” said Andy Airriess, former Utah State Deputy.
The Knights of Columbus organization was founded to protect Catholic families, and “Nate’s success at doing so is a big deal for this local boy done good,” Airriess said. “The Knights are placing a new emphasis on financial planning, and are regularly webcasting these Utah-specific presentations,” he said referring to the fact that the financial planning webcasts are open to all.
Raso said he hopes that the many Catholic families in Arizona and Utah that he has been entrusted with will be more financially secure.
“A lot of what I do is protecting Catholic families and their future,” he said. “I really enjoy what I do.”
The Knights of Columbus insurance story dates back to 1882 when Fr. McGivney gathered the men of his parish to help Catholic families, many of whom were immigrants working and living in hardship conditions. By founding the Knights of Columbus, Fr. McGivney was able to offer an insurance system to protect the Catholic families in his parish.
“Over time, that system has evolved, and today we stay true to our founding mission through our multi-billion-dollar, top-rated insurance program,” the Knights of Columbus insurance web page reads. “Members in the United States and Canada have exclusive access to our insurance program and products, including life insurance, retirement annuities, long-term care insurance, and disability income insurance.”
Editor’s Note: Father Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, will be beatified Oct. 31 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Conn., during a special Mass.
The Vatican announced May 27 that Pope Francis had signed the decree recognizing a miracle through the intercession of Fr. McGivney, clearing the way for his beatification.
Fr. McGivney started the Knights as a service organization to help widows and orphans. The fraternal order for Catholic men now is the largest lay Catholic organization in the world, with 2 million members. It sponsors numerous educational, charitable and religious activities.