For Chaplains

The Persistent Hope of the Founder

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Father Jonathan D. Kalisch, O.P.
Director of Chaplains and Spiritual Development

 

“How many of us weep before the suffering of a child, before the breakup of a family, before so many people who do not find the path? The weeping of a priest... Do you weep? Or in this presbyterate have we lost all tears? Do you weep for your people? Tell me, do you offer intercessory prayer before the Tabernacle?  Do you struggle with the Lord for your people, as Abraham struggled?”  These words of Pope Francis to the priests of Rome in March 2014 remind us of an essential mission of every priest: to act and intercede on behalf of those on our path whom God has entrusted us to serve. 

In recalling the piety, zeal and unfatigued optimism of  “that good, simple, honest priest of Connecticut,” the June 1900 Columbiad article highlights the fruits of the establishment of the Knights of Columbus after only eighteen years: “Serving as a bulwark against indifference, [the Knights of Columbus] has checked that leakage from the ranks of the faithful which was formerly so immense and so deplorable a loss to the Church and which went unabated because no one took the trouble to pursue the layman into the paths of his everyday social life and animate him there and everywhere with Catholic principle.”

As chaplains, we can take inspiration from the life and example of the man of grace and manner with the “priest’s face” who founded a men’s society “under the towers of Yale College and at that time the most aristocratic parish in Connecticut.” When others deemed it impossible, Father McGivney did not shrink from the task of inducing laymen to join a society which “extracted from its members certain religious qualifications, that is to say, the open profession of the Catholic faith and filial submission to the Church in matters of doctrine, discipline and morals.”  

Recognizing the plight of the Catholic immigrants and young men of his time, Father McGivney took the trouble to pursue and invite them to establish our Catholic fraternal society. This “warm-hearted priest of Christ’s Church of Charity” has given each of us an example of the persistent Gospel charity at the heart of Pope Francis’ call: to struggle and intercede on behalf of those we know and serve. To weep, pray, pursue and act on their behalf 124 years after
the death of the venerable servant of God. May the example and intercession of Father McGivney inspire each of his successor chaplains to do the same. 

Vivat Jesus!

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