St. Olaf parishioner named 2024 Knight of the Year

Friday, Jun. 07, 2024
St. Olaf parishioner named 2024 Knight of the Year + Enlarge
Joseph Nesi, center, was named the 2024 Knight of the Year by the Utah Knights of Columbus.
By Linda Petersen
Intermountain Catholic

BOUNTIFUL — Joseph Nesi, a St. Olaf parishioner, was named Knight of the Year by the Utah Knights of Columbus. Nesi has been a Knights of Columbus for almost 45 years. He first joined the organization as a young man, when he was looking to become more involved in his parish.

“Since 1979, our Knight of the Year continues to exemplify the traits of a solid Catholic gentleman,” Nesi’s nomination read. “He stands above the rest as a model for other Knights, deeply involved with faith in all aspects of the Knights of Columbus. His energy level and dedication to the Knights has no equal.”

A former state signals division worker, Nesi has had a full life. In 1990 he married his wife Linda (who passed away five years ago), and the two blended their family of nine children. Despite the many demands of work and family, Nesi made his service as a Knight a priority. It was, he said, a way to be an example to their children and to other young people.

“When I invite young men to join the Knights of Columbus, I ask them if they would they like their sons to be involved with men with the same Catholic values because I believe that by their getting involved, their sons are going to see what Daddy does,” Nesi said. “What our children see us do [matters]. If they see us practicing our religion, then chances are they are going to continue in our religion.”

Nesi’s membership as a Knight has given him the opportunity to associate with other like-minded Catholic men, he said. “I learned, being a Catholic and a member of the Knights, to look past the temporal things of this life and look towards a spiritual, and that loving one another is important. I think that really is the end sense of who we are as Christian, Catholic men.”

Over the years Nesi has served in key positions in his Knights council, assembly and in the state organization as Grand Knight, Deputy Grand Knight, Trustee, Faithful Navigator, Comptroller and District Deputy. He has also been a member of his council’s Charity, Unity and Fraternity team and the state Patriotic Degree team.  He is a regular participant in honor guards for first communions, confirmations, funerals, exemplifications and bishop’s Masses throughout the diocese.

In addition to his service as a Knight of Columbus, Nesi has been involved in his parish in other ways. He and Linda served as faith formation instructors and as pre-marriage tutors. He continues to minister to parish members as an usher, cantor and an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. He particularly enjoys administering the Eucharist to those unable to attend Mass, something he has felt called to do, he said.

Beyond his parish service, Nesi, who retired 10 years ago, volunteers a couple of days a week at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Salt Lake City, providing wheelchair and gurney support to inpatient and outpatient veterans. With his Knights council and assembly, he provides and serves meals to families at the Fisher House on a quarterly basis, along with helping carve 65 turkeys at the Greek Orthodox Church during Thanksgiving each year to feed the homeless.  

Nesi was very moved to be chosen as Knight of the Year, he said. “When they announced my name, I couldn’t believe it was me; I was totally humbled. It’s overwhelming that people thought enough of me as a man and as a Knight to nominate me for Knight of the Year.”

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