Arizona State Council Knights of Columbus - Fraternal Year 2020-2021
Can you believe that it has been over a year since the Corona Virus pandemic began? Do you remember back when masks were something only doctors and criminals wore? Do you remember the days when we could gather in large groups without need of personal protection or physical distancing? Do you remember when Zoom was the noise a jet engine made and not a way to meet virtually? I’d like to think that it is not the things that changed that matter most, but rather what has remained the same that is most important. God our Father, Jesus Christ His son, and the Holy Spirit are the same now, as they were, and as they ever will be. God’s love for us is a fact, it is truth, it is certain, and it is everlasting. Pandemics will come and go, but God will always be.
We’ve lost a great many family, friends, and good brother Knights to the Covid virus. The Lord sought to use this pandemic to call good people home. The sting of loss for us is real, but it also gives us an opportunity to be loving, charitable, and fraternal. I am so proud of the way you, my brothers, have responded to help our parishes, protect our families, help our neighbors, aid our brothers, and be a shining example of Catholic men. Blessed Michael McGivney is smiling at what he created in the Knights of Columbus.
Yes, this has been a year of change for so many. Our Order has undergone many changes and is still evolving. One change in particular is in the leadership of the Order. This year we say goodbye to Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who after 20 years of service as the chief executive of the Knights has retired. Under his guidance the Order has grown to over 2 million members in over a dozen countries. He has brought the K of C into the 21st Century. His service will be missed.
The Supreme Board of Directors elected to replace Supreme Knight Anderson, Patrick Kelly. Supreme Knight Kelly is the 14th Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. Starting March 1, 2021, he will serve as chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. His election as Supreme Knight follows a distinguished career in the Knights of Columbus, the military and public service. For more than 25 years, he has served Church and country, which will serve him well in advancing the Knights’ mission of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism.
One of the newly elected Supreme Knight’s, and my own priorities, is to continue to grow the order. We need more Knights because there is much to be done. I ask you to make membership your top priority starting today. As you return to having in-person meetings, start making plans for Church drives and Faith In Action activities. Let’s make a big push from now until the end of June to meet our membership goals for the year. Recruit, invite, sign, and exemplify our principles, is all it takes. Remember that Supreme has forgiven this fraternal year’s council per capita. I know you can make it happen.
At the start of my message, I mentioned the word gatherings, as in face-to-face meeting. In May we are planning to hold our State Convention in-person. The 114th annual Arizona Knights of Columbus Convention will be held May 21-22, 2021 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Scottsdale. The convention website can be found at https://www.azkofcstateconvention.org. Logon now, register and make your reservations. As with any convention, now is the time to select delegates, prepare resolutions, and submit state award nominations. Mary Ann and I look forward to seeing you in person.
With the beatification of Blessed McGivney, the Supreme Council has launched a new Faith in Action program. Every Council is asked to plan and conduct a Holy Hour of Prayer in your parish or Council. Spread devotion and spiritually grow closer to Blessed Michael McGivney by praying the rosary with readings and reflections based on his life and mission. The Blessed Michael McGivney Prayer Hour is an opportunity to invite Knights, their families, and the entire parish to follow the example of Blessed Michael McGivney. More information is being sent out to Grand Knights and program directors. Resources can be found on the Supreme website.
March 29 is a special day in the Knights of Columbus. It is the day we celebrate as Founder’s Day. It is the birthday of the order. What better way to say Happy Birthday to our order than to hold a birthday party? Each council is asked to hold a special Founder’s Day activity and invite your whole parish (within physical distancing boundaries of course). Combine it with the Blessed McGivney Holy Hour of Prayer. This could be done virtually too. Say a special thank you to our founder.
Another important day to remember this month is March 19. This is the Feast of St. Joseph. Our Holy Father has declared this year as the year of St. Joseph. As Knights we should take the lead in our parish communities by working with our pastors to commemorate this important feast in some special way.
hese are both great programs and can also be a great way to recruit new members.
We find ourselves in Lent. It is a time to turn away from sin and return to the Gospel. It is a time to distance ourselves from worldly distractions and focus on the cross. What should we be doing as Catholics and Knights of Columbus? While Lenten soup nights are not on the menu in most parishes this year, it does not mean that we can’t hold drive up soup nights, or even deliver soup to the homebound. I noticed that several councils are taking their Friday fish fries curbside. Great ideas. Knights can always lead physical or virtual Stations of the Cross. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are our Lenten watchwords.
In reading Saint Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, I am drawn to Chapter 4 that very much reminds me of why we are Knights and how we are to go about and do our Father’s business. In talking about the diversity of gifts Christ gives us, he wrote, “And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12).” We are the apostles, prophets, and evangelists, pastors and teachers. He has equipped us to build up the body of Christ.
Saint Paul tells us that Jesus Christ gave us several rules for our new life in Him. He wrote,
“Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil. The thief must no longer steal, but rather labor, doing honest work with his [own] hands, so that he may have something to share with one in need. No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. [And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ (Ephesians 4:25-32).”
Have a happy Lent.