In a few short days we will be celebrating Easter, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. On Palm Sunday we remember the beginning of Christ’s Passion as he entered Jerusalem to the praises of people shouting Hosanna and waving palm fronds to honor the entry of the Messiah. By the end of the week Jesus will have been betrayed by one of his disciples, arrested, scourged, beaten, condemned to death by many of the same people who praised Him just mere days before. Then he would be dragged out of the Holy City carrying a cross on his back to the place of the Skull, and there to be crucified. In just one week, Jesus went from victorious King, prophet, and savior, to a condemned man hung on a cross between two criminals. That’s not the end. You know there’s more to the story.
All this HAD to happen in order for us to be free from our sins, to be given the Holy priesthood with Saint Peter at the lead of the Universal Church, to receive the gift of the Bread of Life in the Holy Eucharist, for Jesus Christ to be resurrected from the dead, and for the promise that we too may enjoy eternal life with Him, God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
This year, Easter is different for us. Palm fronds blessed by our priest on Palm Sunday may not be distributed. Gathering at our church on Holy Thursday to commemorate the Last Supper won’t take place. We won’t be physically able together to pray on Good Friday to recall Christ’s death. Saturday evening, we won’t crowd around the fire pit as the Paschal Candle is lit and the light of the world enters the darkened church. Many catechumens and candidates will not receive their sacraments that night. Our Easter Sunday celebration of Christ’s victory over death and His resurrection won’t be observed in a crowded church. I know how sad this makes us feel. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, as they say.
During this time of darkness and uncertainty, we must remain confident and steadfast in our belief that Jesus Christ did rise from the dead and with his death he took from us the burden of sin. This does not change whether we are together physically in our church pews or gathered in small family groups in our homes doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Nothing prevents us from participating spiritually. I ask you to join me this Easter to pray. Pray with your family. Pray virtually. Call your brother knights and pray the Rosary. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Pray the Stations of the Cross on Friday. Read the different gospel accounts of the Passion in the bible. Do not allow this disease to kill your spirit or extinguish His light in each of you. Jesus, I trust in you!
A new Council was instituted at St. Stephen Byzantine Cathedral Parish in Phoenix
Brothers, it’s official, we have instituted a new council at the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic eparchy of Phoenix. Saint Stephen’s Council #17463 was officially instituted this past month. The Most Rev. John Pazak, bishop of the Byzantine Eparchy, expressed his great joy at the institution of the first Knights of Columbus council in his eparchy. Currently, Holy Protection of Mary Eparchy has 19 parishes and one mission under its canonical territorial jurisdiction across thirteen Western States. Congratulations brother Knights of Council #17463!
State Convention Cancelled
The State Council was faced with a difficult decision as we work through these trying times. We do not know how long we need to curtail gatherings to help prevent the spread of this unrelenting contagion. Therefore, we cancelled the 113th Annual Arizona State Knights of Columbus Convention. The convention scheduled for May 15 - 16, 2020 at the El Conquistador Tucson will not be held. As I advised in my message of March 21, this is a necessary step to ensure the continued health of our membership, the El Conquistador staff, and the community in general.
A strategy on how we can conduct a virtual Annual State Convention is in the works. Details will be shared with you soon. In the meantime, we are working with the host council to reimburse those who have already paid their registrations fees and meals. If you have not done so, please call the El Conquistador hotel to cancel your reservation. However, if you may decide to keep your reservation, hotel management will gladly honor the group rate available for the Convention.
Important time for recruitment
Even though many of us are quarantined in our homes and we cannot gather physically, we should not slow down our recruitment efforts. Progress toward our state membership goal has slowed its momentum. Currently, we are at about 64% of our goal with three months remaining. In spite of the pandemic, there are still many great opportunities, even in this trying time, for you to recruit new members and put us over the top by the end of June.
Look at what Saint Anne Council #10540 in Gilbert did. Recently, they started an outreach program to check on the welfare of elder brother knights of the council. They expanded the project by connecting with their parish to see how they could help any parishioner in need. That’s what the Knights of Columbus are all about. I applaud this effort brothers. If you can engage in projects such as this, and maintain proper protection for yourself and others, you can reach out to those in need and possibly plant the seeds of membership at the same time. While we can’t gather in large groups, we can still provide you with access to every tool and resource at our disposal. Visit the website at www.kofc-az.org and click on the Membership tab to learn more. Pick up the phone and call or send an e-mail to your District Deputy or our State Membership Director. I’m sure they would be happy to hear from you. Be safe, be creative, help your neighbor, and help them become a Knight.
Deadlines for Resolutions, Awards, and End-of-year Reports
Even though we are not going to physically attend our annual state convention this year, we still need to honor our members and those who have made great contributions during the year. We have not changed the April 15 deadline for submission of State Council Award Applications. Please submit your completed applications before the deadline as any application received after April 15, 2020 will not be considered. Remember that all winners at the State Council level will be submitted to the Supreme Council for their consideration of award at the Supreme level.
District Deputies, look at your councils, and recognize them for their accomplishments. Honor the Grand Knights who have shown great leadership. Acknowledge the councils for their support of vocations. This is how you, as an extension of my office, can express our thanks for all they have done.
Grand Knights, last year only 14 out of 132 Councils submitted award applications. I’m sure you have many hard-working Knights, Chaplains, and families who have worked hard to exemplify the principles of our order. Additionally, if your council has completed enough activities to qualify for the McGivney Award, they should be recognized. Please consider making application and getting well-deserved recognition for your efforts. Application materials can be found on the state website https://kofc-az.org/state-forms.
Keep up the great work!
Files coming soon.