CHARLESTON – Members of the the Rev. P. N. Lynch Assembly of the DeSoto Province of the Knights of Columbus gathered at Holy Cross Cemetery Sept. 13 to honor and say goodbye to an old friend and teacher.
Approximately 80 Knights attended the blessing of Father St. John Patat’s headstone by Bishop Robert J. Baker. Father Patat died Nov. 10, 2001.
“The Knights of Columbus pledge to honor and protect our clergy, and so we did in Father’s final years, and supported the concept of a local retirement home for diocesan priests,” according to a statement by Dr. Louis U. Pulicicchio, faithful trustee. “Our knights have devoted time, effort, and monies towards this goal. His original home may become a transient facility for priests, and currently our diocese is building a complex at the Carter-May site that will house [approximately] six retired priests. This complex will house the Patat Religious and Music Library.”
Father Patat was born April 17, 1912, and was ordained May 24, 1942. He served in parishes in the Charleston area for more than 50 years and was pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Charleston and St. John Church in North Charleston. He was the Rev. P. N. Lynch Assembly’s faithful friar.
“Even when age and infirmities caught up with him he continued to be a priest, first from his home and later from his assisted living facility, saying Mass, hearing confessions, and forever teaching about Holy Mother Church,” according to Pulicicchio. “As a teacher, this was a lifelong devotion, he taught not only from a full pulpit but was a full-time teacher at Bishop England High School. As a friend, he was such to many here in Charleston — just ask his former students, old Knights of Columbus members, and the converts he helped into Holy Mother Church.
“To know him was to be his friend. All of us can easily visualize him ‘smoking a good cigar’ in the midst of his friends and cronies. He was a lifelong knight and … was deeply involved in many developing Knights of Columbus projects. The Reverend Father Saint John Patat was truly a Knight to remember.”
Friends and relatives of Father Patat attended the ceremony as did state deputy Roosevelt Cummings and Mrs. Cummings, state marshall Jack Connerty and Mrs. Connerty, state chaplain Father James Parker and Mrs. Parker, and worthy faithful navigator Joseph Gubeli and Mrs. Gubeli. Assembly deputy navigator Gary Hart and pilot Michael Spooner officiated.