We are called upon to invite every Catholic gentleman and their families the opportunity to join our Order. The best way for a man not to join our Order is by not inviting and offering him and his family the opportunity to join us.

Vivat Jesus!



Chairmen

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Membership Director's Blog

Faith Director


Fred Burton
faith@kofcnc.org

Devotions 103 (Whom Shall I Send?)

Imagine yourself as a young man who’s spent four years in college where you’ve chosen your career and met your future wife. You’ve both actively participated in the Catholic campus ministry and, having graduated, you’re ready to move ahead in your spiritual journey. Or perhaps you’ve been through RCIA and rejoiced at finding the truth of God’s Holy Church. And what of the young man who was confirmed only a couple of years ago and now finds little or no organized means of growing in his Faith. It was easy before when the devotions were guided by your teachers and mentors. Now, however, you’re on your own!

But while looking through Facebook, you find the Knights of Columbus. You see it performs works of Charity and has councils across the nation and around the world. And, yes, you’re delighted to see it has a spiritual dimension! You sign up as an On-Line Member and then join a local council. You’re welcomed by your new brother knights and you want to take an active part as soon as possible. But many of their projects involve more time than you think you can spare …….. so where do you start?

While most of us could probably find someone in our councils interested in this work, young men like these might prove to be fine candidates to run the devotional programs we have discussed. Appoint two as co-chairmen under the council’s Faith Director, one married to coordinate the family devotions and another, perhaps single, to direct the individual devotions. (And how about a third to address the needs of an ethnic group?) They’ll work together closely in determining ways to best promote their devotions, sharing resources and seeking new materials. What are some tasks they could take on?

  1. Keep everyone in touch via social media – ‘their own turf’. That, too, can have some distinct advantages as it may draw other young men to join us as On-Line Members or at least participate in the devotional programs we offer.
  2. Order the program materials available from Supreme.
  3. Maintain the BTDC kiosk. Keep it stocked with materials their folks would like.
  4. Share news of devotional events at all nearby parishes.
  5. Get referrals to new On-Line Members from the Grand Knight & contact those men.
  6. The chairman over individual devotions can reach out young men recently confirmed and offer them the Order’s program “Into the Breach”.
  7. They may opt for regular bi-annual or quarterly get-togethers, social events, open seminars or maybe an annual mini-retreat (more on that later)

All this makes for a simple program in which they can ‘get their feet wet’, fostering both spiritual and leadership growth for the future!

BTW, you may have noticed the program “Sacramental Gifts” and a program designed to welcome new parishioners include presenting men and their families with promotional literature on these devotions. And that’s how it should be – opening A GATEWAY to spiritual growth at landmark times in their lives when they’re most receptive.

Vivat Jesus,

Fred Burton
NC Faith Programs Director
NC Silver Rose Chairman
faith@kofcnc.org

Faith Director


Fred Burton
faith@kofcnc.org

Devotions 101: (Individual Devotions)

The Knights of Columbus, as a Catholic lay organization, is now stressing our spiritual development as the true motivation for our charitable and fraternal programs. Devotions toward this end can be categorized into three general areas:

  1. Individual
  2. Family
  3. Group

We’ve had some regular group devotions  – Fifth Sunday Rosary, Silver Rose, Consecration to the Holy Family, renewal of marriage vows, adoration, Stations of the Cross, etc. – but what about those others?

Let’s look at Individual Devotions. First we’ve got “Into the Breach”: http://kofc.org/en/resources/cis/cis340.pdf

Become the Catholic man God intended you to be! This outlines the problem of ‘non-faith’ facing our society and was written to encourage and challenge you, calling us all forth to the mission of New Evangelization. It asks us what does it mean to be a Catholic man? How does a Catholic man love? Why is fatherhood so very important on every age level? It tells how saints can be our guides and inspiration. We read the roles of husband and wife as compliments to each other not competitors. But you can’t be idle and expect all good things to fall your way. No, there are practices every man can and should do to fortify himself in his Faith. Although this was originally intended for younger men seeking their way to a greater spiritual maturity, all can benefit!

Next, there’s “Fathers for Good”: http://www.fathersforgood.org/en/index.html

Unlike “Into the Breach” this is not a single call to arms in response to timeless and timely truths but an ongoing review of life as a father. There are discussions about questions and situations we may have difficulty resolving. There are examples of those who’ve overcome temptations and trials to reach a full, Faith-filled life. Yes, they discuss temptations and offer means of combating them. It also stresses that you are not alone and has links for e-mail and Facebook contacts. You’ll also see monthly topics for discussion and resources for additional reading.

See: http://www.fathersforgood.org/ffg/en/other/about.html

There are other specific devotions for both individuals and families to be found in the Building the Domestic Church kiosk. Some councils may have won these in a recent competition but in truth, it’s available to all. The abundance of literature and devotional guidance makes this ideal to place in the church narthex so that all may reap its benefits. Three suggestions: (1) this would be a simple project for one or two NEW brother knights, (2) expect heavy demand with frequent restocking  – one council had to put “Please Read and Return” stickers on the booklets so they’d at least have something available between supply orders – and (3) order kiosks on both Spanish and English.

http://kofc.org/en/domestic-church/parish-programs/cis.html

Vivat Jesus,
Fred Burton
NC Faith Programs Director
NC Silver Rose Chairman
faith@kofcnc.org

Life Director


Fred Burton
Life@kofcnc.org

A Great Way to Start a Great Year!

As of this writing we haven’t named a Life Program Director, so let me pinch-hit as his Silver Rose Chairman. Those of you who’ve been to Regional Leadership Training have seen we now have four Required Programs on your way to Star Council. Let’s look at preparing for one of them: Novena for Life.

The protection of life is a sustained prayer intention of the Church and our Order. A council can promote a novena, which is nine days of sustained prayer, to build up a culture of life in our parishes, families and communities. These novenas could precede or end major feast days or pro-life events.

Over the past few years, the Culture of Life Director and I have promoted LifeChain, an event across the US and Canada where entire families stand along thoroughfares holding signs supporting the sanctity of Life. People may give a passing glance at a 30 second news blurb about the Marches in major cities and Washington but they can’t help but notice – and remember! – seeing their neighbors prayerfully standing along the boulevard. Thanks to you, participation has skyrocketed!

So here’s my suggestion: Build on it! Advertise it throughout the parish. Enlist the commitment of your brother knights. Have a picnic, cookout or ice cream social after the event – of course you’ll invite non-Catholics who are out there alongside the road with you. Parishioners of all ethnic groups in your parish can be in this sharing their foods, their Faith and their prayers in their languages. And ask your pastor to make it clear this year’s LifeChain will be the start of that Novena for Life!

But here’s the catch: LifeChain takes place on the first Sunday in October – the 7th this year – so you’ll have to start the groundwork ASAP, in July. That’s why I’m putting this out now. We won’t know who the new council officers are or how to contact them until the State Directory is published in mid-August.  For many councils that leaves only one meeting between then and LifeChain Sunday, and remember, Labor Day weekend falls right in the middle.

I’m hoping we can put links on the state website to sample posters you can print and post plus a list of NC LifeChain sites with local contact persons arranged by Region and referenced to councils or parishes. In the meantime, you can look at an alphabetic list of their sites by state, their mission and their preferred ways to make the best impact, maybe ways you can establish a site of your own at: LifeChain.net

Fred Burton, Faith Programs Director and Silver Rose Chairman

PS – a quick ‘blurb’ for one of my former Family programs, Family Week. This is officially the 2nd week in August, so if you have a picnic or outing during the Summer, consider doing it then. If it’s close (or even not so close) and it involves families ….. well, that’s YOUR Family Week!

Vivat Jesus,
Fred Burton
NC Faith Director
NC Silver Rose Chairman
faith@kofcnc.org

Faith Director


Fred Burton
faith@kofcnc.org

“Spiritual Reflection” Opportunity! – Man Fully Alive Conference, July 21st, Apex NC

WOW! We haven’t yet finished Leadership Training and we hear of a great program opportunity!

You’ll recall the new program line-up has four Required Programs. In the Faith category, it’s “Spiritual Reflection”, which can be a retreat or day of reflection.  Happily, there’s a men’s conference, “Man Fully Alive”, to be held at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Apex (home of Council 7186) on Saturday, July 21st. YES! It’s entirely possible to do that Required Program in the FIRST MONTH of the new fraternal year!

Image obtained from: https://allevents.in/apex/fully-alive-mens-mission-raleigh-nc/1000041227629951

The Fully Alive Men’s Mission is a one day encounter, designed to help attendees dive into the potential and calling every man has to become fully alive. The event will feature engaging speakers, music, prayer experiences, and lunch. Men ages 16 and above are invited to join us. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door.

“The thief comes only to steal and K*ll and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Presented by The Ten Ten Group

Doors open at 9:30am, event will start at 10am and conclude at 5pm with a closing vigil Mass.

Event info: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fully-alive-mens-mission-raleigh-nc-tickets-41227629951

KofC “Faith in Action” Guideline Requirements:

If you attend a spiritual event organized by others, such as this, at least 10% of the council or a minimum of 10 must participate. They recommend celebrating a Mass, which concludes this event. Details: https://kofc.org/uns/en/forms/programs/10603%206-18%20Spiritual%20Reflection%20SS.pdf

  • Announce it from the pulpit, advertise it and enroll the men (16 and over) of your parish, too. 
  • Invite other councils, assemblies, parishes and missions.
  • Car pool!
  • Be there!
  • Be visible!
  • Be Blessed!

Vivat Jesus,
Fred Burton
NC Faith Director
NC Silver Rose Chairman
faith@kofcnc.org

Culture of Life


Boyce Williams
cultureoflifedirector@kofcnc.org

Greetings again from High Point! I am glad to announce Bob Klein as your Life Director for the coming year. Bob has been the Raleigh Area Chairman and has done an excellent job. He’s well known in the area and has great connections. Good Luck Bob and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Many of you in the Charlotte Area have heard about C-PLAN (Catholic Pro Life Action Network), they are growing and doing great work and they are tied in to the Bishops office. There was a meeting last week in Greensboro to start forming the Triad C-Plan group. Triad & Mountain Area Chairman Albert Hodges was there and will be a great asset. The next meeting will be July 23rd at St Pauls. This is for Parishes as well as Knights so please get your Parish Pro Life coordinator there.

Now that leadership Training has taken place, look at the changes and find the opportunities they bring. Many of you do a baby bottle campaign just to raise money for a Pregnancy Care Center, now you get credit for that on the SP 7! Special Olympics is now under Life and that is where it truly belongs, helping those that need it is always an affirmation of Life! These are 2 examples, find what works for your Council and have fun.

Once again as I turn over the reins to Bob, I want to thank all of you for the great things you have done over the last 2 years.

It has been an honor to help you!

Boyce C Williams II
Culture of Life Director (Past)

Culture of Life


Boyce Williams
cultureoflifedirector@kofcnc.org

Greetings from High Point! I ask all of you to start planning for Life Chain on October 7. It seems early but with the start of the new Fraternal year, installations, summer vacations…. It will be October faster than you think. There is also the Fall 40 Days for Life to plan for. Prayer helps save lives and close abortion centers.

Always consider ways to ensure our elderly are cared for properly. As I looked at all the gray/white hair at the Convention I realized that this is more important than ever.

For those that were not at the Convention, I will step down on June 30th. I need a break after 9 years in leadership positions and my wife wants one too. I know that you all will continue to support my successor the way you have supported me. Most important is to keep doing the great things you are doing.

Thank you all for the last 2 years.

Boyce Williams
Culture of Life Director

Family Director


Fred Burton
familydirector@kofcnc.org

Heads-Up for New Council Officers!

First:  Vital things that need to be done soon. Budget – Plan what you want to do, the cost and then your fundraisers. SP-7 due June 30  (if you didn’t turn it in at the State Convention); get a head start on next year’s by penciling in all the programs you regularly do each year – those are so often forgotten in ‘crunch time’. You’ll need some of that info for January’s Form 1728 (Yes, I’ll make you look it up). The Audit is due on the Feast of the Assumption. Let us know who’s running the council with forms 185, 365 and the State Directory and State Contact forms. Warning: Late means DISQUALIFIED for Star Council!

Second: Find out what you can do on-line such as submit reports/awards and get information. We don’t get a lot of info from the councils on the programs and successes they have. On-line entry makes it easy! OH, there is Regional Leadership Training available for you! Now let’s get into some programs and activities………

3rd Degrees: Recruiting peaks in spring, so new brothers may be anxious to move ahead through their degrees. Do they have 2nd degrees? Any 2nd Degree brothers wanting to serve as officers are required to get their 3rd Degree ASAP. Can you host one? Younger knights will be off from school. Summer is also when parish calendars and facilities have the most openings. The prospect of a 4th Degree in Autumn makes Summer the best time to host a 3rd Degree. Jump on this NOW as THREE months of prep time is REQUIRED!

VBS: It’d be great to get some brothers to work it during the 5 weekday evenings it’s in session. If not, hold a social/project meeting on the Sunday before VBS starts to help construct the sets, decorate the rooms and maybe provide hot dogs and drinks for everyone. If this falls in August, call it a “Family Week” activity! Family Week is actually the 2nd week in August, so that’d be the GREAT time for a council outing or parish picnic.

LifeChain: This kicks off the 40-Days for Life on the first Sunday in October. Waiting until later to organize it may be too late – there will likely be only ONE business meeting between Labor Day and LifeChain Sunday. It’s an easy, ideal program for family and parish participation – your council can make that happen!

If your council does the 5th Sunday Rosary program, mark JULY, September and December as 5-Sunday months. And speaking of December, you could combine the 5th Sunday Rosary with the Prayer of Consecration to the Holy Family if the holiday schedule precludes saying it at Masses. BTW, you may want to choose your council’s December activities NOW as parish calendars fill up quickly and soon. You’ll also want to order religious Christmas cards from the Squires before the Summer is gone – really!

What else could you thinking about? Free Throw Contest, Soccer Challenge, Essay and Poster Contests. New Youth Directors MUST be certified on Supreme’s program in 45 days – NO EXCEPTIONS! Featured programs: Food for Families and Coats for Kids. How about a Fraternal Benefits Night? A November Memorial Mass? Family of the Month? Knight of the Month? (Award them on alternate months if your council is small.)

NEW INCENTIVE: Councils holding 2 Building the Domestic Church activities in each of 4 program categories (8 total) will be eligible to receive a Holy Family icon from Supreme per their delayed February 24th webinar.

PS – Know of any councils that can only recruit 1 or 2 new members a year? The e-Member program could change that and might now give them a real shot at becoming Star Councils! April’s Family THK article outlined this and June’s will provide some further pointers.

Vivat Jesus,
Fred Burton
NC Family Director
NC Silver Rose Chairman
familydirector@kofcnc.org

Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Act

Brothers,

There is a Bill in the State Senate that needs our help to pass: Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Act – Senate Bill 425.

Below is a link to a letter that explains this well and includes a sample letter to the Senators needed. I ask that you also send it to your State Senator.

It is important that all Catholics stand against this barbaric procedure.

LETTER FOR LIFE

Boyce Williams
CofL Director

Respect Life Committees can assist with Diaper Drive Service Project

The Love My Life Youth Rally will be held at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral this year. Chris Padgett is this year’s keynote speaker.

After the Diocesan Mass for Life at noon inside Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, the youth and chaperones will have a light lunch and then board their cars and buses to head over to the March for Life on Halifax Mall. The March has been moved to 2:30 to accommodate us.

Youth are asked to bring an unopened box of diapers to donate to Catholic Parish Outreach and Catholic Charities. You can assist youth by having a parish diaper drive. Contact our office for more details. Visit www.dioceseofraleigh.org/lml for more details about the events on January 13.

Be Not Afraid has new Spanish resources on Prenatal Diagnosis
Three brochures can be found on the Be Not Afraid website on prenatal screening, prenatal diagnosis and sidewalk counseling for those with a prenatal diagnosis.

Buses to the March for Life
Please contact our office if you know of buses in your parish or neighboring parish to the March for Life in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2018.

Bishop Zarama will be the main celebrant and homilist at the Mass at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at 11:30 am, followed by the March for Life on the national mall. I hope to see many of you there!

Mary Beth Phillips, Respect Life and Social Concerns Coordinator
Secretariat for Lay Formation, Marriage and Family Life
Catholic Diocese of Raleigh / 919-719-8267

 

New Date for Advance Directive Train the Trainer Event

Advance Directive training will be held Friday, December 1, at:

Diocese of Raleigh Catholic Center
7200 Stonehenge Drive
Raleigh, NC

The event begins at 10:00 am. It is suggested that those who attend take the materials back to their parishes and share what you have learned.

Your pastor has received a letter asking him to appoint someone from his parish to take the training, if he has not already done so for previous trainings. Space is limited, so if you are interested in taking this training, contact your pastor for the registration link.

We hope you will attend and share this important information on navigating the complicated legal and medical issues at the end of life in light of Catholic teaching.

Note that you will receive a new Advance Directive booklet, which has been updated with a new letter from Bishop Zarama and some other formatting changes.

Church Director

Jeff Hoffman
Church Director
church@kofcnc.org

Solidarity in Suffering

Worthy Brothers,

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.”

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080A44AFA92D6-solidarity3

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.

https://www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/charities/christian-relief/solidarity-cross-flyer.pdf

Vivat Jesus!

Jeffrey Hoffman
State Church Director

 

The War on Our Children

Several years ago, a brother Knight was upset over an incident in his sons 5th grade class. His son related how the teacher announced that a girl in the class had “come out” as gay. The class was told how brave this girl was and how they should be proud of her. Really? In the 5th Grade?

We can wonder what sort of manipulation was used to bring about that so called revelation. Keep in mind though, there are even more powerful efforts to indoctrinate our children in ways contrary to our values and faith. As early as Kindergarten! Sadly, abortions now do not require that parents even be informed; these forces will not stop their assault through our school boards until children can undergo sex change surgery with out parents having any say at all.

There is a war going on for the minds of our children. Several groups want everyone to think that being whatever gender you decide is OK. They want everyone to accept abortion. They think they are better qualified than you are to teach sex education to your children. They do not represent anything that a Catholic can accept.

These links can help you understand what’s going on:

  • The War on Children – Exposing the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) Agenda
  • StopCSE.org
  • SHIFT NC Data – This is the group pushing to put CSE in our schools.  One of their major donors is Planned Parenthood.

Church Director

Jeff Hoffman
Church Director
church@kofcnc.org

Worthy Brothers,

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.

Vivat Jesus!

Jeffrey Hoffman
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.

Building The Domestic Church

Colin Jorsch
statedeputy@kofcnc.org

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.

Vivat Jesus!