Founder’s Day - Action Steps
Honor Priests on Founder's Day
Since the founding of our Order by the Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney, the Knights of Columbus has maintained a strong and close relationship to our priests.
To acknowledge and reinforce this special bond between the Knights of Columbus and our priests, all councils are urged to recognize their parish priests by hosting a Mass and appreciation event in their honor in conjunction with Founder’s Day celebrations.
To help you prepare these activities, please consult the following suggestions:
Establish an anniversary committee. This committee’s first charge should be to select a date, time and place for the anniversary Mass and priest appreciation event.
Meet with your pastor and explain your proposed activities. Give him several dates on which to conduct the Mass and other activities.
Once a date is set, compile a list of priests and bishops in the community. Prepare invitations to the event and either mail or hand deliver them well in advance. Ask that invitees RSVP so you can better estimate the number of people at the event.
Advertise your Mass to members of your council and the parish(es) your council serves and ask that they participate. Prepare flyers for distribution at Masses, council meetings, and for posting on council and parish bulletin boards before the event. Place announcements in parish and council bulletins.
Contact your local assembly to invite their honor guard to participate in the Mass.
Make sure the council has plenty of volunteers to assist with the day’s activities. Assign people to coordinate the color guard, act as ushers and assist with any dignitaries and invited guests.
Contact local news media to report your event in local newspapers, radio and television news programs.
If your council has a banner, have it placed (with the pastor’s permission) in a visible area of the church.
Arrange to have your council’s officers, members and their families serve as readers, ushers and choir members during the Mass.
In addition to hosting a Mass to celebrate the Order’s anniversary, holding an appreciation event for parish priests is a wonderful way to show the gratitude that the Knights of Columbus has for the men who dedicate their lives to guiding us in our faith. Along with honoring priests, such an event can also serve to familiarize nonmembers with the Order and your council. Here are some steps to follow when organizing such an event:
Organize a program for the event that will allow attending priests to relax and see that the members of the Order appreciate them and are ready to serve them.
Assign Knights and other volunteers to greet all priests attending the event and to direct them to their seats. These volunteers should also act as personal hosts during the event.
Provide guests with pre-dinner refreshments once they are situated. If dinner is to be served, decide whether it will be a sit-down meal or a buffet, whether it will be cooked by volunteers or catered, and whether Knights will act as servers. Pay special consideration to having Knights act as servers during the meal as a way to show the Order’s willingness to serve our priests. Make arrangements for volunteers to handle these duties.
Decide upon any appropriate entertainment well in advance of the event and make sure the facility in which it will be held is suitable. Also, decorate the hall/facility for the event. You may also want to consider providing a simple printed program of the evening’s activities to the guests either in advance or upon their arrival.
Consider presenting each priest with an “In Solidarity With Our Priests” certificate (#4362). This attractive certificate includes spaces for the grand knight’s signature as well as the recipient’s name. Knights of Columbus certificate folders (#4100) are available for $1.80 each and black frames (#1973) are available for $2.25 each.
Other Activities for Your Council
Along with hosting a clergy appreciation Mass and event, there are many other ways that your council can celebrate the anniversary of the founding of our Order. Remember, Founder’s Day celebrations shouldn’t be only for Knights — they should be open to families, religious and the community at large to show just what our organization does and what we stand for. Here are just a few ideas to consider:
Show The Life and Legacy of Father McGivney to members, families and guests at any Founder’s Day events. This production chronicles the life of this holy and hardworking priest through his boyhood and priesthood to his death in 1890 at age 38. Although his life was short, his impact was enormous. This production is available free except for a $3 shipping and handling charge from the Department of Fraternal Services.
Prepare a council history display featuring old photos and written records. Include your council’s charter, any awards it has received, photos of founding members and past grand knights, scrapbooks of projects conducted and any other available materials. Invite your local or parish newspaper to review this display for a possible story on the council. For displays, an 8.5 by 11 inch reproduction of original portraits of the Order’s incorporators (#4346) is available.
Ask your local and state/provincial governments to issue a proclamation on March 29 for the Knights of Columbus Anniversary.
Hold an awards banquet to honor council members who have made outstanding contributions to your service activities, have perfect attendance at meetings, have recruited the most members, are Knight of the Month or Family of the Month winners, or are Knights or family members who have served the council in some special way. Also consider recognizing the winners of your council’s Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest or the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest at your event.
Distribute Father McGivney prayer cards (#2617) available in English, French or Spanish at no cost during all events. Also distribute copies of The Life and Legacy of Father McGivney booklet (#2045 — available in limited quantities of 50 copies or less per order).
Tie March Membership Blitz into Founder's Day
Honor the memory of our founder by inviting qualified Catholic men to join the Knights of Columbus.
On the weekend prior to Founder’s Day arrangefor your council to conduct a church drive as part of the Orderwide membership Blitz. Now is the time to order recruitment materials for your event.