|As Catholics, we are called to take an active part in building a strong parish, Church and community. Your Knights of Columbus council is perfectly positioned to be the lead organization within your parish and community to answer that call. On this page, you will find information and resources to help you in your work building a better bond with your parish.||
The Church Director’s Blog
Solidarity in Suffering
On November 26th, the Knights of Columbus will join the USCCB in sponsoring a day of “Solidarity in Suffering” for persecuted Christians. Part of what we are asked to do is pray also pray for Isis. I know this is not an easy thing, and will not pretend that it is, but instead I am going to remind myself, and hopefully you at the same time, why this needs to be done.
Let’s look back for a moment to who I consider one of the greatest of all disciples, Paul. Paul suffered greatly for our Lord. But suffering for our Lord was not how things had started. Instead he was against “The Way.” From the “Acts of the Apostles”; “Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.” Saul’s conversion is a testament to us all, of how one man, believing he was doing God’s will, was changed forever.
One of the hardest readings I find is found in Matthew 5: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” The reason this is so hard for me, is that this is Christ speaking. He is saying something so hard, that I want to make any excuse I can, to not have to follow his word. But he doesn’t waiver, and put caveats or exceptions. He says it clearly, “Pray for those who persecute you.” We can clearly understand, he is asking us to pray for their conversion, and not for their success in their deeds against us.
When Christ appeared to Saint Faustina, and gave her the prayer, that we are to pray, it is quickly understood … “for the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” The whole world includes our enemies.
I ask you my brothers to join Supreme in this joint prayer, with the USCCB on November 26th, 2017.
Please join and sign up your Parish to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Our prayers will be heard, and the conversion of souls will happen. Christ said to Faustina about the image: “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish.”
This is also a great time to provide financial support to the cause with the Solidarity Cross program. Consider this great way to contribute, while praying the Chaplet.
State Church Director
Father Bernard McDevitt Council #15085
Church – Pray the Rosary Event
Submitted by: Lonnie Pizza
Click here to email Lonnie
I write to you today to tell you about one of the greatest movements I have heard of in a while.
100 years ago at Fatima, Our Lady said that God wished to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady said that many souls would be saved from Hell and the annihilation of nations averted if, in time, devotion to Her Immaculate Heart were established principally by these two means:
- The Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope together with the world’s bishops in a solemn public ceremony, and
- The practice or receiving Holy Communion (and other specific devotions of about 1/2 hour in duration) in reparation for the sins committed against the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the first Saturdays of five consecutive months–a practice known to Catholics as “the First Saturday” devotion.
The Message of Fatima consists of a number of precise predictions, requests, warnings and promises concerning the Faith and the world which were conveyed by the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children–Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco–in a series of apparitions at Fatima, Portugal from May to October 1917.
Many miracles and predictions have come to pass from her messages, including the following:
- It was confirmed by an unprecedented public miracle, the Miracle of the Sun, which occurred at precisely the moment Lucia said it would. More than 70,000 people, including Masons, communists and atheists, saw the sun, contrary to all cosmic laws, twirl in the sky, throw off colors and descend to earth. The event was reported in newspapers around the world, including the New York Times.
- All of the Popes since the Fatima Miracle have recognized that the Message is authentic. Several Popes have gone to Fatima in person, including Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II. John Paul II said at Fatima in 1982 that “the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church.”
- Many other miracles have been performed by God authenticating the Fatima Message as coming from Him, not only at the time of the Miracle of the Sun, October 13, 1917, but down the years to the present day, miracles of conversions and cures which science cannot explain by natural means.
- the end of World War I
- the emergence of Russia as a world power which would “spread its errors (including Communism) throughout the world … raising up wars and persecutions against the Church”
- the election of a Pope who would be named Pius XI
- The waging of a second World War following a strange light in the night sky.
The Message of Fatima also predicted that if the requests of the Virgin Mary at Fatima are not honored, many souls will be lost, “the Holy Father will have much to suffer”, there will be further wars and persecutions of the Church and “various nations will be annihilated.” The annihilation of nations predicted at Fatima has not yet occurred, but many fear that it will soon happen, given the growing immorality and corruption of the world.
The “American Needs Fatima” organization is spearheading a fantastic opportunity for all of us to do our part. They are leading trying to reach out and organize 20,000 groups to pray the Rosary on October 14th, 2017 at noon.
I for one am very excited and ask your council to consider this great dedication and prayer. I have signed up as a Rosary Rally Captain and hope you do to.
NC KOFC State Church Director
Congratulations on becoming a Rosary Rally Captain!
Please make all preparations and contact as many friends as possible to invite them to join you.
The 2017, Public Square Rosary Crusade will take place on Saturday, October 14th at 12:00-noon.
And please be assured that a beautiful red rose has now been reserved in your name and will be at the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal this October, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun.
Please visit the Rosary Rally Central for more information and for downloadable resources.
May Jesus and Mary reward you for all your efforts,
Material in this article are from both Fatima.org and americaneedsfatima.org websites.
Excerpt from Supreme Knight Anderson’s address on Building the Domestic Church
In his apostolic exhortation Evangelium Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis called for a new missionary spirit among Catholics. “By her very nature the Church is missionary,” the pope wrote. “She abounds in effective charity and a compassion that understands, assists and promotes” (179). This challenge has special resonance for Knights of Columbus, especially throughout North America, where we have benefited in so many ways from the sacrifice of countless missionaries.
The great Catholic institutions of our country were built by men and women filled with a great missionary spirit. Although Father Michael McGivney would probably not have described himself as a missionary, throughout his lifetime the United States remained “mission” territory in the eyes of the Vatican.
In this regard, we remember the words of Pope Benedict XVI during his 2008 visit to the United States when he named Father McGivney as an example of the missionary spirit that built the Catholic Church in America.
On that occasion, Pope Benedict urged Catholics in America to “move together toward that true spiritual renewal desired by the [Second Vatican] Council, a renewal which can only strengthen the Church in that holiness and unity indispensable for the effective proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world.”
The pope continued, “Was not this unity of vision and purpose — rooted in faith and a spirit of constant conversion and self-sacrifice — the secret of the impressive growth of the Church in this country? We need but think of the remarkable accomplishment of that exemplary American priest, the Venerable Michael McGivney, whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus.”
This missionary spirit has been the lifeblood of the Knights of Columbus. How else can we account for the fact that within four decades of its founding, our Order had spread across the United States and Canada and had begun activities in the Philippines, Mexico and Cuba?
This missionary spirit has been a constant dynamic throughout our history. It has always encouraged us to seek new challenges and to adapt to new situations — and to do so always in faithful service responding to the needs of our Church.
THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL
Following the Second Vatican Council, it became clear that the vitality of our parishes and of our Catholic families was being tested as never before. Thousands of priests and religious left their ministries, and vocations to the priesthood and religious life plummeted. The widespread scourges of no-fault divorce, cohabitation outside of marriage, single-parent families and abortion made Catholic family life appear at times as the new “terra incognita.” At the same time, the Second Vatican Council called upon the laity to assume a greater role in meeting these challenges.
The Knights of Columbus responded with dramatic new initiatives to better meet the needs of our families and our parishes.
During this same time the Knights of Columbus sharpened its mission to better support Catholic family life. This was always one of the core missions of the Order envisioned by Father McGivney. It was the reason the Order developed fraternal benefits to support widows and orphans. It led to the establishment of thousands of youth and family activities, to our support of parish-based Catholic schools, and to developing our spiritual and catechetical programs directed to families, such as our Catholic Information Service, our Pilgrim Virgin Icon program and Fathers for Good.
More recently, the Order has implemented a new program that brings together both our support of parishes and our support of families. It is titled Building the Domestic Church: The Family Fully Alive. Already, many thousands of local Knights of Columbus councils and families have begun participating in this program.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
In its 2012 document titled Disciples Called to Witness, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made clear the connection between the parish and the family in the new evangelization.
Regarding parish life, the bishops’ document stated, “It is the responsibility of both pastors and laity to ensure that [the doors of the parish] are always open. Evangelization must remain rooted in the parish. It is in the parish that one becomes engaged with the Church community, learns how to become a disciple of Christ, is nurtured by Scripture, is nourished by the sacraments, and ultimately becomes an evangelizer. Successful evangelization and catechetical initiatives must be focused on the parish.”
The document then went on to say this about the family’s role: “A culture of witness is sustained within the Church through marriage and the family. … It is within the Sacrament of Matrimony that the husband and wife evangelize, become evangelized, and share their witness of the faith to their children and to society.”
It further noted, “The family, called the domestic Church, is often the first place where one experiences and is formed in the faith.” And it concluded by quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s 2011 address to the Pontifical Council for the Family that “the new evangelization depends largely on the domestic Church.”
Thus we see a providential convergence of three initiatives of the Knights of Columbus: the development of thousands of new parish-based councils; new programs to strengthen family life, all leading to a deeper understanding of the family as domestic church; and our increasing commitment to serve the Church’s mission of a new evangelization through the parish.
Indeed, each of these three initiatives points to the Knights of Columbus as the organization best situated to enliven and strengthen parish life. We are truly positioned today to move to a new level of service as the strong right arm of our parish churches.
Now the time has come for us to accelerate these initiatives as they affect our work in parishes and our work to strengthen Christian family life.
The family as domestic church is central to both the work of the new evangelization and to the future sustainability of our parishes — as well as the future sustainability of the Order. But the Catholic family cannot perform this important mission on its own. The reason is simple: As Blessed Paul VI observed, the family can only truly be a domestic church when its daily life “mirrors the various aspects of the entire Church.” And for this to become a reality, the family must be more fully integrated into the sacramental life of the parish.
Knights of Columbus parish-based councils today are not only places that provide invaluable support to parish life in terms of charitable and social activities. They are a primary place to support the evangelization of family life through the mission of the domestic church. Our councils can do this by more fully integrating families into the life of the parish through the many programs of our parish-based councils.
If we do this, then we will continue the legacy of Father McGivney — a legacy which, as Pope Benedict observed, was to promote spiritual renewal among Catholics by strengthening them in holiness and unity. And as a parish priest, Father McGivney saw that this renewal could be assisted in powerful ways in the parish by the new organization he had established.
THE RENEWAL OF PARISH AND FAMILY LIFE
Today, we are determined to continue this work of renewal and unity. In this way, we will also realize the mission that St. John Paul II identified in Ecclesia in America: “The renewal of the Church in America will not be possible without the active presence of the laity. Therefore they are largely responsible for the future of the Church” (44).
The pastoral visit of Pope Francis to the United States and his attendance at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia present a historic opportunity for Catholics throughout the world — and especially for Catholics in North America.
During the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis called for a new alliance between the Church and the family in order that Catholic families might receive greater encouragement and support.
“May God grant us this gift of a renewed closeness between the family and the Church,” the pope said. “Families need it, the Church needs it, and we pastors need it.”
But for millions of Catholic families, this new alliance will become a reality only if they can find this greater support within their local parish. There is no Catholic organization better positioned for this task today in thousands of parishes than the Knights of Columbus.
Today, the Knights of Columbus is providentially positioned to play a key role in the new alliance between the Church and the family called for by Pope Francis. But for us to do so requires that we adopt new methods.
We must devote even greater efforts to our fundamental mission of charity, unity and fraternity, and we must do so with even greater attention to the needs and the future of our parishes and our families. What is necessary now is our greater involvement in the renewal of parish and family life.
To meet this need we will have to do some things differently. Our councils will have to become even more active in our parish communities. We will have to stop duplicating activities that are more appropriately done by and through the parish. We will have to focus more on programs that support Catholic families in their mission as a domestic church.
For many councils, doing these things will require making choices between what is good and what is better. Often they may have to choose between what our Catholic community may have needed in the past and what it needs today and in the future.
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
When St. John Paul II spoke of the new evangelization he explained that the content of evangelization would not be new, but that this would be an evangelization “new in its ardor, methods and expression.”
This is this same dynamic that guides our mission today. The “content” of the Knights of Columbus has not changed. We are a Catholic brotherhood based upon the principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. We are dedicated to faithful and unparalleled service to the Church. But what will change is the “expression” of that service so that our work may become even more relevant and effective.
The changes outlined here may be difficult for some. Change is never easy. But the proven record of the past half century is clear: The closer the Knights of Columbus becomes to parish life, the closer we work with our parish priests, and the more we support Catholic families, the more our Order grows in membership and charity.
The challenge of effective leadership is to lead change, not to be led by change. The leadership of the Knights of Columbus has always succeeded in leading change. And this is what I am confident you and I will succeed in doing in the days ahead.