It All Can Be Different
Recently I spent a week on retreat with the Hermits of Bethlehem in Chester, N.J. I was beautifully surprised that a place like this exists and by my attraction to the silence and prayerful solitude. The experience of being unplugged from the constant barrage of emails, text messages and various media left me thinking that it all can be different.
As we begin the new year, it strikes me that the same can be said about the local Knights of Columbus council experience; it all can be different. Here at Supreme, we continue to encourage local councils to focus on faith formation and spiritual leadership, but such things can only take hold with the renewed involvement of our Knights in the field. Central to their success is the role you play as chaplain to our brother Knights and their families. You know their strengths and challenges and can pastorally elicit the new engagement needed to make their efforts more evangelical.
I urge each of you to regularly meet with the leadership of your council to chart a plan to equip the council to become a “field hospital” ready to receive and form new members. A key aspect along this journey is the individual member’s spiritual growth and faith formation so that he can lead his family in prayer and increased sacramental practice.
Surveys of potential Knights show that younger men seek an opportunity to grow in the mature practice of their faith. What does your council have to offer such a man? Moreover, before planning any K of C meeting or function, leadership should ask whether a potential brother Knight could justify being away from his wife and children in order to participate in this particular event. If not, how can it be transformed to become an effective use of each Knight’s time? These questions must regularly be asked in each council. Ultimately, a local council may need to change its culture in order to emphasize spiritual formation and faith fellowship in place of the business meeting culture.
Imagine if your council leadership did most of its business during an officers’ meeting. Suppose you trained and equipped several brother Knights to be faith formation leaders in the council, men who could speak personally about the faith and lead other men by witness and example. What if the main monthly meeting began with a Holy Hour, Stations of the Cross, Into the Breach discussion or a faith-formation video? This could be followed by a brother Knight’s witness and your teaching on a faith formation or spiritual topic. Finally, end with a fraternal social gathering. Our brother Knights and the many potential future Knights are starving for such an approach.
It all can be different. Vivat Jesus.