Profiles in Catholicism
An Interview with Fred Schweikle
by Gordon Nary

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Gordon:   When and why did join Assumption Catholic Church?
Fred:   I became aware of Assumption 30 years ago when I converted to Catholicism. I like the size and involvement of the laity at Assumption over our cityís larger Catholic churches and have wanted to participate more in Assumptionís events in recent years.
Gordon:   You are the Grand Knight at The Mother Cabrini River North Council of the Knights of Columbus which is Assumption's Knights of Columbus. When was this Council formed and how many members do you have?
Fred:   We have 20 members and this council has been active at Assumption since 2010 The Mother Cabrini River North Council has a much older genealogy in the city.


The Knights of Columbus  is an extraordinary international organization of more than 1.8 million Catholic men devoted to supporting international charitable partnerships with Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission and Habitat for Humanity to their own  projects including Food for Families and Coats for Kids projects as well local charities, including McGivney Center of Hope and Healing and the Well of Mercy which are supported by he Mother Cabrini River North Council.

How does The Mother Cabrini River North Council choose the local charities it supports?


  The parish has given wonderful support to our projects such as the Well of Mercy and the Tootsie Roll Drive. As you state in your question, there are many projects that most Catholics and Knights want to support. The limits on the Councilís participation are the number of council members that we can task with a project. [Readers, please see the answer to the following question.]
Gordon:   When and where do you hold your monthly meetings?
Fred:   The third Sunday of every month our Council meets in Assumptionís basement following the 9:00 AM Mass. Some business  is discussed by ideally these meetings will inspire participation in charitable projects and Assumptionís needs and projects
Gordon:   Can men from parishes other than Assumption Church join your monthly meetings?
Fred:   Yes, I admit that I myself attend nearly all of the downtown churches. However, as a Knight and a member of Council 15198, I am committed to supporting the priests and needs of Assumption Church.
Gordon:   Why was the name of Mother Cabrini chosen for the name of your council?
Fred:   We canít possibly go wrong with a saint as our namesake who blessed Chicago with some of her energy and talents. As a matter of fact, it is an awesome obligation.
Gordon:   You were an Environmental, Health and Safety Chemical Engineer at RR Donnelley until 2002. For our non-engineering readers, what were your primary responsibilities as a chemical engineer?

  Compliance with EPA and OSHA  laws for a large manufacturing firm is a major effort. In addition there are economies to capture (for instance, by recycling and providing a safe environment for employees). By 2002, much of the country had achieved attainment in the air pollution goals of the original 1972 laws establishing the EPA. That was a vineyard I was privileged to work in for 37 years.
Gordon:   For students who may be interested in studying chemical engineering, could you recommend some schools?
Fred:   I attended Purdue University which had the largest chemical engineering program for undergraduate students at the time. Actually I have known competent engineers from Big Ten schools, Notre Dame, Northwestern and IIT.
Gordon:   For those of our readers who may not be acquainted with Chicago's River North Neighborhood, what are some of your favorite restaurantsi?
Fred:   I much appreciate the support that Gene & Gorgetti and Phil Stefaniís 437 Rush provides for church events such as the summer picnic and the Italian dinner. And they serve good food.
Gordon:   Any predictions on who will win the pennant in 2016?
Fred:   I grew up in Cincinnati Reds country and always enjoyed the Reds games with the Cubs, either with a Cubs win 18 to 16 over the Reds or Cubs lose 16 to 18 to the Reds. Iím having a terrible time with the Cubs close to winning a pennant and not. It used to be much easier to be a Cubs fan.
Gordon:   I just tell my Cubs friends to watch Angels in the Outfield to reinforce their predictions.