Now is the time to turn to the missionary spirit of Blessed Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, in order “to confront with fortitude the challenge of a global pandemic” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson at the 2020 Midyear Organizational Meeting of State Deputies. The meeting was held in virtually, Nov. 19 - 21.
“Father McGivney faced the harsh realities of prejudice, poverty and violence that are in too many ways with us still. And so is his answer — we must build a more fraternal culture in each of our communities,” Supreme Knight Anderson said.
Supreme Knight Anderson reminded the state deputies that when Father McGivney founded the Knights in 1882, the United States was considered missionary territory. He emphasized that today’s Knights need a similar missionary spirit in responding to the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic and to help reverse the trend of Catholics leaving the Church.
According to the supreme knight, the “best way” to meet the challenge is to get Catholic men living their faith by becoming “active in the Knights of Columbus,” with Father McGivney as an inspiration.
“In recent years, many dioceses have responded to the increasing number of lapsed Catholics with programs encouraging them to ’come back home.’ These programs are good and will be needed in the near future more than ever,” he said. “But there is a better way for the long term and that better way is to follow the example of Father McGivney. Let us work to keep our fellow Catholics from leaving in the first place.”
Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore echoed the supreme knight’s sentiments, calling on Knights to take to heart what the Knights of Columbus founder exemplified.
“Blessed Michael McGivney calls you and me, in the actual circumstances of our lives, to embody, to exemplify, to live the principles of charity, unity, and fraternity — to make them a part of ourselves, a part of who we are and how we conduct our lives,” Supreme Chaplain Lori said. “Our principles are not abstract but are personified in our founder and thus they must be personified in us and in our brother Knights.”
To underscore Father McGivney’s impact on the world, the midyear meeting attendees watched A Witness for the World: The Global Impact of Blessed Michael McGivney.
(WATCH THE FILM HERE)
State deputies participated in workshops with topics that included enhancing cooperation with priests and bishops, utilizing online membership, collaborating with general and field agents to increase membership growth, tapping into the full potential of council meetings, and increasing virtual capabilities of state and local councils. U.S. Naval Academy professor Captain Joseph McInerney addressed the participants, discussing Jesus as a leadership model for the Knights of Columbus.
During a session on “Remote Programming,” K of C leaders were encouraged to work more closely with their pastors and parishes, as well as utilize a digital toolkit to better engage members in council meetings and Faith in Action programs during this time.
“Our programs in many ways are the most important face we present to those around us,” said Jonathan Reyes, senior vice president of Evangelization and Faith Formation. “It is important that we find ways to continue them under the current circumstances as well as make them available to more people and make them more visible to those around us.”
New guidelines for council meetings were presented by Tom McCaffrey, vice president of Fraternal Operations. He outlined a new meeting agenda and best practices that will make meetings much more engaging and satisfying for members. These changes were made in response to a survey in which 55,000 members gave feedback on what they want and need from council meetings.
(JOIN US FOR A WEBINAR WALKTHROUGH OF THE NEW COUNCIL MEETING GUIDELINES HERE)
The midyear meeting also addressed the increasingly unified partnership between fraternal leaders and the insurance force in order to drive membership growth. Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly said that while this relationship is "stronger than ever," the Knights "cannot rest on laurels."
"The success of our insurance force depends on all of us," he said. "Unity between state deputies and general agents is the key to our future success."
In his closing remarks on the final day of the virtual event, Supreme Knight Anderson called on Knights to study the life of Father McGivney — either in recently produced documentaries or in his biography, Parish Priest. He also called on them to grow closer to the Order’s founder spiritually through a recent novena and litany to America’s newest blessed. This will help Knights “better understand the mission of the Knights of Columbus” and deepen their commitment to the Order’s legacy.
“The gift of Father McGivney’s beatification presents to us a great responsibility — the responsibility to be faithful and productive stewards of Father McGivney’s legacy,” Supreme Knight Anderson said. “We must leave no neighbor behind in our charity. And we must leave no Catholic man behind, when it comes to the opportunity of membership in Blessed Michael McGivney’s Knights of Columbus.”
Originally published in a weekly edition of Knightline, a resource for K of C leaders and members. To access Knightline’s archives, click here. Or, share your story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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