The Knights of Columbus and its leadership are committed to making the Order and its members participants in the great renewal of the Catholic Church, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson told the 66 chaplains from 58 jurisdictions – including five bishops from the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico – gathered in New Haven for the first-ever State Chaplains Meeting, March 1-4th.
“We (as Knights) must embrace the renewal being carried out in the Catholic Church, and extend and promote that renewal,” the supreme knight said. The Order, he continued, needs to be more than a gathering space and a way for Catholic men to get together. The Knights of Columbus also needs to be a conduit through which its members can become better husbands, fathers, workers, citizens, and patriots, grounded in principles of the Order – charity, unity and fraternity. The Knights of Columbus needs to be not just a monthly meeting, but a way of life that forms its members to be better Catholics.
Chaplains, from the state level down the council chaplains, are the key to that formation, he added. “My thanks to all of your for making time to be with us ... It is a great joy for me that one of the most important initiatives that our Order has undertaken in the past ten years is to have a great formative role for our chaplains in the Knights of Columbus and the tremendous response by you to that call.”
Supreme Knight Anderson also spoke on the need for a strong relationship between the clergy and laity, and how such a relationship will in turn strengthen the parishes in which the Order is present. “We will keep our Church strong through parish-based councils. These councils and their members will keep the parishes active and healthy, the laity united with pastors and priests.”
Supreme Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. reflected on a similar theme, saying “Father McGivney understood that we live the one Faith in mutual support, and every state of life (be it clergy or laity) has a vital role to play. The better we live our lives through our priesthood, the stronger our members and families will be ... the better the laity lives its faith, the stronger the clergy will be.”
In his homily earlier in the day for the meeting’s opening Mass, Bishop Lori said that Father McGivney understood the day’s Gospel where Jesus Christ on the way to the Jerusalem tells the disciples of his coming passion, death and resurrection. He asks them if they are willing to “drink from his cup” and ultimately delivers the message of his redemptive mission that he “Did not come to be served, but to serve.” This sheds light on the role of the chaplains, he added where we carry on the word and heart of Father McGivney.
“What an honor it is to offer Mass with you in this parish Church where Father McGivney daily offered the Eucharist. We follow in his footsteps as chaplains in the Knights of Columbus,” said Supreme Chaplain Bishop Lori.
Hosting the meeting’s proceedings was Father John Grace, O.S.A, director of Chaplain Program & Development, who knows just how helpful and fruitful this type of meeting can be.
“When I arrived here in New Haven almost two years ago, I was able to attend the orientation meeting conducted for the state deputies,” Father Grace noted. “It was comprehensive and I was impressed. However, the thought did occur to me: ‘why is something similar not being done for the state chaplains?’ Our supreme knight and supreme chaplain have answered that question now by calling this first of its kind chaplains meeting here in the very town where a priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, founded our beloved Order. ”
Some of the discussion topics on the docket for the week are the four principles of the Knights of Columbus and their spiritual aspect, a sharing of ideas, promotion of fellowship, an intellectual understanding of the faith, and keys to success as a Knights of Columbus chaplain.