Recently, as in the past couple of years, I have become more active with the Knights of Columbus at my parish (Council 13779). In the past month, I was appointed by the Grand Knight to be the council’s new Lecturer. The position speaks about the good of the order and encourages the men to live good lives and to practice their faith well on a variety of fronts, since we all need that encouragement from time to time.
I have also taken the initiative to get more involved with the Fourth Degree Assembly and will participate, as my schedule permits, with the Honor Guard. Last Thursday, for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, was the first time I wore the Knights of Columbus Regalia in nearly 10 years. I was incredibly blessed to be a part of it. It brought reverence and respect to an already solemn and sacred Mass (see pictures).
For the past twenty-four years, since I was nineteen years of age, I have been a member in the Knights of Columbus. It was my Dad who first joined the Knights, and then a few months later, I followed his example and joined. We were both charter members of Council 11007. During my junior year of college, I served as the Grand Knight and Membership Director at the University of San Francisco College Council.
While a Theology teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix in 2006, I was a part of the Fourth Degree Assembly that help found the Columbian Squires Circle #5000. It was a great honor being part of this endeavor! Currently, there are two young men studying in seminary for the Diocese of Phoenix that were members of Circle #5000.
There is so much that the Knights of Columbus engage in, it would be impossible to tell you everything in this one article, however, I want to briefly explain the 4 Principles of the Order – Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism.
In Charity, members of the Knights of Columbus are called to love their neighbors. Through our faith in God, and from our Baptismal call, we are to do the mission of Christ today by serving those in need. The Knights do this by having food drives, clothing drives, and giving food to local soup kitchens/food pantries. We are involved with the Special Olympics, Culture of Life Fund, Coats for Kids, Christian Refugee Relief, Food for Families, and many others. The Knights are one of the largest charitable organizations in the world today.
In Unity, we remain together in a brotherhood, a “band of brothers”, focusing on our roles and duties as Catholic men. We all struggle at different times in our lives, being united as this “band of brothers” gives us strength in numbers, because together we can accomplish more than being alone. We will disagree and have different opinions, but in this “band of brothers,” we will always have each other’s back. One of the great aspects of this is always asking for prayers and sending out messages when a brother or family member needs prayers (my council does this often).
In Fraternity, the Knights of Columbus provides assistance to the individual Knight as well as his family. The founding of the Knights, by Venerable Michael J. McGivney, found in its cornerstone this very element – to assist widows and children that were left struggling when the head of the family died, most often prematurely. The insurance program provides such assistance to this day. Through fraternity, the Knights serve millions of service hours a year in order to provide mercy and compassion to those most in need.
In Patriotism, we in the Knights are composed of many heritage backgrounds. We are Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Filipinos, Poles, and Dominicans – all patriotic members of society. Our devotion for God and country allows us to profess the importance for religious freedoms for everyone. We serve our Veterans and seek to care for them when needed. Whatever sector we work in, public or private, as Catholic men, it is our duty to serve our countries and be counted among the best citizens possible.
In the end, the Knights of Columbus are a Band of Brothers Going Into the Breach!
To conclude, here are the words of the great Polish Pope, St. John Paul II, from a letter to the Knights of Columbus he penned in 2002,
“For this reason [blossoming of the New Evangelization], I am most pleased that the Knights have continued to emphasize the need for profound spiritual renewal as the basis for the many and varied initiatives undertaken in support of the Church’s mission…As the Church in America seeks to move forward with sincere faith and confidence in the Lord’s sustaining grace, I urge all the Knights and their families to intensify their prayers for the authentic renewal of ecclesial life and the preservation of “that unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force” (Eph 4:3)…I express once more my gratitude for the Knights’ unfailing commitment to promoting vocations to the priesthood and the religious life…I pray that the Knights of Columbus, in full fidelity to the vision of Father Michael McGivney, will make every effort to draw young people to Jesus Christ and help them to understand that the true meaning and value of life is found in the generous gift of self to God and to others.”
If you are a Catholic male over the age of 18 (or know of one) and not in the Knights of Columbus, I would highly encourage you to join and get involved with the Knights of Columbus. Catholic men need to stand up and join the fight of this post-secular culture – the Knights of Columbus is a great way to engage in that battle (and yes, we carry swords!)
To join, ask any Knight of Columbus or contact your local parish Membership Chair.
Venerable Michael J. McGivney…Pray for Us.
Postscript: Please – any comments made should be done with charity and respect. Any comments attacking the author (me), the ceremonials of the Knights of Columbus, or each other will not be approved. Just because the ceremonials are not public, doesn’t mean they contradict Church teachings. I am sorry and apologize if someone in the Order offended you, hurt you, or caused you pain in the past. We should not put blame on the entire Order because of individual members. All comments are read by me and only approved with my discretion. Thank you. He is Risen! Happy Easter!