Main celebrant Father Gresko (center) was joined by concelebrants Father Allen (right) and Father Grace (left).
“As Knights, we have something great to give, and the first thing we have to give is ourselves” in the form of charity, friendship, and fraternal support, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said during Thursday’s opening business session of the State Deputies Meeting.
Building on the themes of charitable outreach and membership growth that he outlined the previous evening, the supreme knight said that state deputies must take the lead in encouraging their councils to become active in recruitment 365 days a year. This is important he explained, because of the effect our members have on society at large through their charitable works, and the positive role membership in the Knights has for them personally, such as the ability to participate in charitable initiatives, formation in the faith, and a top-rated insurance program for them and their families.
Programs for those in need form the heart of the Order, which has “charity” as its first principle, he said in his address which centered on “10 Keys to Success as a State Deputy.” Leadership takes vision and strength, he said, but it also takes the humility to listen and accept ideas from others.
Concluding his remarks to the state deputies, he added, “This is your year. This is your chance to make this your best year in the Knights of Columbus.”
In his homily for the opening Mass, Father Gregory Gresko said that the attributes of a Christian leader should serve as a model for Knights of Columbus state deputies. Relating his message to the day’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus says that his followers must love God with their whole hearts and their neighbor as themselves, Father Gresko said that “the calling” of a state deputy “is to be first among brothers in serving others, giving a perfect, complete gift of self to God through service to neighbor in the Order.”
He added, “We cannot guide those people who are in our care to God without allowing God first to guide us to deeper communion with himself through a life of prayer and the sacraments.”
Father Gresko, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., is chaplain of the Blessed John Paul II Shrine, which is administered by the Knights of Columbus in the nation’s capital. He was principal celebrant of the Thursday morning Mass, held in the grand ballroom of the Omni Hotel in New Haven, which was concelebrated by Father Joseph Allen, pastor of St. Mary’s parish, and Father John Grace, director of chaplain programs and development for the Knights of Columbus. The Mass was attended by the Order’s state deputies and their wives.
“As leaders,” Father Gresko continued, “we must be the first example of a person who lives as a faithful believer reflecting God’s heart, through our lives of prayer, as husband and father of a family, in maintaining the highest ethical standards and gentle kindness toward neighbor in the workplace, in compassion shown even to strangers.”