Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

St. John Vianney Knight turns bike hobby into seminary fund-raiser

Story and photo by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff

(From the July 1, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

Dick Weber, Father Darrin Connall, Greg Takisaki

Knight of Columbus Greg Takisaki (right) hands a check to Father Darrin Connall, rector of Bishop White Seminary, for the Campaign for the Education of Seminarians. Takisaki raised over $1,600 through pledges for his 80-mile bike ride last spring. At left is Grand Knight Dick Weber. (IR photo)

Every girl has dreamed at one time or another of a handsome knight, complete with a sparkling sword and white horse, galloping through the countryside to slay the dragon and rescue her from the Tower of Doom, before riding off into the sunset. Unfortunately, there are very few gallant knights left. Nevertheless, the Spokane Diocese discovered last month that it has its very own white knight.

But Greg Takisaki, a Knight of Columbus from the St. John Vianney Council #8201, was not riding a white horse; neither was he carrying a sword. Instead, Takisaki was equipped with a bike, a reflective vest and a helmet as he rode 80 miles for five-and-a-half hours on May 20 to raise money for the Campaign for Seminarians. He collected pledges and donations before his ride and on June 21 presented Father Darrin Connall, rector of Bishop White Seminary and Director of Vocations for the diocese, with a check for $1,615.

Takisaki rode on Highway 2, starting at Almira and Hartline. He biked through Almira, Wilbur, Davenport, Reardan and Creston before ending in Spokane.

Florian Herda, another member of the St. John Vianney Council #8201, has ridden his bike the past six years to raise money for Pennies for Heaven, a Knights of Columbus permanent foundation to raise money to support seminarians in Washington State. However, Herda decided this year that he was too old and left it to Takisaki to continue the tradition. Takisaki rose to the challenge and made this year the seventh consecutive year a member the St. John Vianney Council has ridden a bike for seminarians. Herda drove Takisaki out to the starting point and met him at every town he passed through, providing water and food to sustain Takisaki throughout his five-and-a-half hour journey.

The Knights decided in a meeting that this year all donations from the Takisaki’s bike trek would go to support the Campaign for Seminarians through the Spokane Diocese, instead of Pennies for Heaven.

“We have our own very worthy project going on at home, so let’s keep it at home,” said Grand Knight Dick Weber. “But we’re still always constantly raising money for Pennies for Heaven,” he said.

“The Knights have always supported the seminarians,” said Takisaki, “and we feel very strongly that we need to support our priests.”

Father Connall received the check on behalf of the campaign. “I’m grateful for the sacrifice of Greg Takisaki,” said Father Connall after receiving the check. “This is consistent with the generous support the Knights consistently show to the seminarians of this diocese.”

Though this was one of Takisaki’s longest bike trips, he is certainly not unfamiliar with biking. Nearly every day he bikes 7 miles each direction to his job as an electrical engineer at Kaiser-Trentwood.

“I bike to work at least 160 to 170 days a year,” he said. “I have studded tires, so unless there’s over an inch of snow, it’s under 20 degrees or the wind’s blowing over 40 miles per hour, I’m on my bike.”

Takisaki also made several long practice runs to prepare for his trip, using the Centennial Trail as a training ground.

Despite the long hours spent on his bike, Takisaki said the weather worked out perfectly and he really enjoyed it.

“It was great. I’m ready to do it again next year,” he said.

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