For Chaplains

The Encounter to Come

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This Month’s Chaplain’s Report 
Faith Formation Program
Father Jonathan D. Kalisch, O.P.
Director of Chaplains and Spiritual Development


The month of November offers a good opportunity to spirit-ually prepare our brother Knights for their deaths. We can assist them in asking God for the grace to die with hope and the knowledge that they have left behind a legacy of Christian witness.

In his catechesis on the mystery of death, Pope Francis reminds us that eternity is the proper standard from which to judge our lives. Unlike our human tendency to view our path as one going from life to death, the resurrection of Jesus and his defeat of sin reveals that our pilgrimage goes from death toward the fullness of life with God. “A person tends to die as he has lived. If my life has been a journey with the Lord, a journey of trust in his immense mercy, I will be prepared to accept the final moment of my earthly life as the definitive, confident abandonment into his welcoming hands, awaiting the face-to-face contemplation of his face. This is the most beautiful thing that can happen to us: to contemplate, face to face, the marvelous countenance of the Lord, to see him as he is, beautiful, full of light, full of love, full of tenderness. This is our point of arrival: to see the Lord” (General Audience, 27 Nov. 2013).

Let us remind our brother Knights of their duty to be watchful and to prepare themselves well for the life to come by staying close to the Lord through the sacraments and through charitable works of mercy where Jesus can be encountered in the poor and needy. Pope Francis constantly repeats that the spiritual program of our lives can be found in Chapters 5 and 25 of St. Matthew’s Gospel — the beatitudes and the parable of the Last Judgment. “Solidarity in sharing sorrow and infusing hope is a premise and condition for receiving as an inheritance that kingdom which has been prepared for us. The one who practices mercy does not fear death. ... And why does he not fear it? Because he looks death in the face in the wounds of his brothers and sisters, and he overcomes it with the love of Jesus Christ” (General Audience, 27 Nov. 2013).

Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus with the ever-present reality of death in mind. Our Order exists so that our brother Knights may not fear that their passing will burden their loved ones left behind. May we also assist our brother Knights to prepare for the greatest moment of their lives and not fear the pilgrimage to the Father’s house. As Pope Francis said, “We are disciples of the one who came, who comes every day and who will come at the end. If we can manage to be more aware of this reality, we will be less fatigued by daily life, less prisoners of the ephemeral and more disposed to walk with a merciful heart on the way of salvation” (General Audience, 4 Dec. 2013).


Fr. Jonathan D. Kalisch, O.P.
Director of Chaplains and Spiritual Development
(203) 752-4115