Working with Council Leaders
|This Month’s Chaplain’s Report|
|Faith Formation Program|
|Father John P. Grace, O.S.A.|
Our fraternal year ends in a few weeks time. State conventions have taken place, our energy has been renewed, and there is an air of completion and anticipation in the air. In many states, councils and assemblies, changes in leadership will take place as new officers step into their positions of responsibility. Within the Church structure also, this is often the time when priests are asked to undertake new assignments. Seeing that we are all here to serve, even as our lives change, it is the Church and the Order of the Knights that remain constant and invite us to share our graces and talents. The poem of Alfred Lord Tennyson comes to mind as he writes of The Brook: “And draw them all along, and flow to join the brimming river, For men may come and men may go, But I go on forever.”
Key #8 Work in collaboration with local, state and supreme council officers.
• Make use of Supreme Council materials for both annual programs and periodic special events, as well as materials such as prayer cards and posters.
• State deputies should adopt a special religious theme for their term in office — help them build on that theme at the local council level.
Materials, programs and events are all good and necessary, but the examples of Knights themselves are the greatest positive promotion we have. Our collaboration is a key issue as we work with local, state and supreme officers. When states and/or councils just “go their own way,” they have lost sight of our principles of charity, unity and fraternity. The encouraging presence and direction of the chaplain can often contribute to a new life for a council or an assembly that has fallen on difficult times and is in danger of becoming inactive. Help from other councils and assemblies, or if necessary, from the state council and Supreme Council, is readily available. Collaboration between all these areas is vital for our progress and in some ways the very reason for our existence.
The members of the Knights of Columbus have much to offer. In fact, I think we have everything to offer! Our manpower consists of over 1.8 million lives of goodness, willing hands ready to serve. There is an endless array of charitable activities offered everywhere the Knights are in action, ranging from larger scale events to the simplest act of just “being present” with a smile. Our Supreme Knight Carl Anderson has stated many a time: “I want the Knights to be wherever the Church is — active in every parish, Catholic school, V.A. hospital, etc.” We have so much to offer and should be a great blessing in every parish. The Supreme Knight has stated that he believes we have an obligation to offer membership to every eligible Catholic man, because being a Knight can help him develop his faith, be a better father and husband, and contribute to Church and world. What a blessing for any parish! The chaplain can help other priests (and bishops) understand what the Knights can offer to the parish, to the diocese, to the Church. In fact, the chaplain can easily be one of the best recruitment and retention persons for a council.
There is an abundance of materials available for all Knights of Columbus service and recruitment events. Why not make use of them? They are available from the Order’s Supply Department, which can be reached by calling 203-752-4214. Catalogs for supply and promotional items are sent out each year in the Surge Kit, and can also be ordered from the Supply Department. Samples of other items as well as handbooks and additional materials are also included in the Surge Kit sent to every council. Again, let me urge you to MAKE USE OF THEM! The Catholic Information Service (CIS) at the Supreme Council also has a most valuable collection of booklets that will satisfy much of your faith formation craving. When last did you read one of these? They are available in printed form and also online in English, Spanish and French. You can receive printed booklets from the CIS at the Supreme Office or visit kofc.org/cis. For years, CIS has been working very hard to make all of our resources available in as many formats as possible.
The final point in this key is: State deputies should adopt a special religious theme for their term in office. Most often this theme or motto is printed on their notepaper and engraved on lapel pins. Their theme is never out of keeping with the trend of the Order worldwide and inevitably enhances the Gospel or spiritual message that the jurisdiction wishes to emphasize at this time. Maybe a word from the pulpit every now and again will help the Knights and others in the congregation refocus on the impetus of our four principles, bringing everyone together in charity and fraternity, by uniting them as true Catholic patriots in this Year of Faith, as we use every opportunity to evangelize anew.
Pray for us, and guide us, Father McGivney, that we may continue to be imbued with your spirit.
Father John Grace, O.S.A.
Director of Chaplain Programs and Development