The Knights of Columbus: A Band of Brothers Going Into the Breach

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).

Processing into the Holy Thursday Mass – April 2017.

Me dressed in my regalia.

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!

Fourth Degree Assembly #3327 in regalia.

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!

5 Reasons Why Every Catholic Man Should Join the Knights of Columbus

Yesterday, Pope Francis met with the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus at the Vatican. During his remarks, he said,

“I am pleased to welcome the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus on the occasion of your meeting in Rome. I thank you once again for the prayers which you, and all the Knights and their families, have offered for my intentions and the needs of the Church throughout the world since my election as Bishop of Rome.

On this occasion I also wish to express my gratitude for the unfailing support which your Order has always given to the works of the Holy See…May prayer, witness to the faith and concern for our brothers and sisters in need always be the three pillars supporting your work both individually and corporately. In fidelity to the vision of the Venerable Father Michael McGivney, may you continue to seek new ways of being a leaven of the Gospel and a force for the spiritual renewal of society.”

For the past twenty years, since I was nineteen years of age, I have been a member of 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. In the twenty years as a member, I have served in a variety of roles in variety of councils.

In my junior year of college, I served as the Grand Knight and Membership Director at the University of San Francisco College Council. Although I enjoyed that year very much, my greatest joy was when I was a part of the founding of the Columbian Squires Circle #5000 at Saint Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix, Arizona.

It was a Squire Circle that was very active and assisted with events for the high school, diocese, and the local community. Currently, there are two young men studying in seminary for the Diocese of Phoenix that were members of Circle #5000.

It’s something I will always be very proud of as member in the Knights of Columbus since it led me to become a 4th degree member, the visible arm of the Knights of Columbus.

4th degree kofc

If you are a Catholic male over the age of 18 (or know of one) and not in the Knights of Columbus, I hope the 5 reasons below will encourage you to join this great fraternal organization of the Catholic Church that is founded on the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism.

1. The Heartbeat of the Knights of the Columbus is Service. The Knights are one the largest charitable organizations in the world. Through a variety of fundraisers throughout the year, the Knights raise financial support for many charities, including the Special Olympics and the Global Wheelchair Mission. The service aspect of the Knights encompasses the Church, Community, Council, Family, Pro-Life, and Youth.

2. The Knights of Columbus Supports the Catholic Church because the order is composed of a fraternity of 1.8 million Catholic Men. From the founding of the Knights of Columbus by Venerable Michael J. McGivney, the Knights have been a foundation of support for the Catholic Church. In recent years, the Knights of Columbus have performed a variety of projects for the Universal Church as well as worked with Bishops of the particular churches here in the United States and in countries where the Knights currently reside.

3. The Knights of Columbus are Pro-Family. Since the traditional family is composed of the husband, wife, and children, the Knights see them as the core, foundation, and fabric for all of society. Although the council meetings are for the members, many councils sponsor activities with the family in mind. It’s a great time to gather together as Catholic Christians and members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Realizing that the youth are an integral part of society, the Knights seek to foster the development of the child from adolescence to adulthood.  Asking for the intercession of the Holy Family is at the center of prayer for the Knights when it comes to family life.

4. The Knights of Columbus are strongly and devoutly Pro-Life. Following the teachings of the Catholic Church, they believe that Life begins at conception and ends in natural death. While the Knights are in involved in a plethora of activities locally that foster the Pro-Life movement, they are also major supporters of the March for Life in Washington, D.C., the National Prayer for Life Campaign, the Ultrasound Initiative, and the Culture of Life Fund.

5. The Knights of Columbus are Faithful to the Catholic Church by being obedient to the teachings of the Church, its Bishops and Priests, and showing fidelity to the See of Peter. As faithful Catholics, the Knights foster and develop Vocations to the Priesthood, Religious Life, and Holy Matrimony. Standing with the Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus also fight for Religious Liberty, which is being threatened here in the United States, but across the globe still to this day.

For more information on the Knights of Columbus and the work we do, please check out the K of C website. If you have the social media sites of Facebook and Twitter, please “Like” or “Follow” the K of C presence there as well.

Update #4: My most current article on the Knights of Columbus 

Update #3: I am not sure why this blog post has gained popularity again nearly two years after it was written, but thank you for reading. Since comments in the past were uncharitable, this blog post will remain closed to comments. Please check out my other series’ – “Mondays with Mary”, The Doctors of the Church, and Quick Lessons from the Catechism.

Update #2: There are some comments that are just uncharitable. From this point forward, they will not be approved. Thank you.

Update #1: If you are going to comment on the rituals that occur within the Knights of Columbus, your comment will not be posted. Just because it’s secretive does not make it wrong and contradictory to Church teaching.

Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney…Pray For Us!

Michael_J_McGivney

“Mondays with Mary” – 37th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration in Phoenix, Arizona

Yesterday I attended the 37th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration in Phoenix, Arizona. This event is one of the largest events (5,000 attendees) that shows honor to the Blessed Mother and the Holy Rosary in the United States. Most of the parishes from the Diocese of Phoenix are in attendance as well are many of the Marian ministries that have homes at those parishes. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix was there and at his side was Auxiliary Bishop, Eduardo Nevares. The guest speaker was Rev. Zachary Mother of God, SOLT.

It was a glorious day that gave honor to our Blessed Mother under her title of the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception is the Dogma that solemnly declares that Mary was conceived without sin in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. The Immaculate Conception is NOT the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. I will write more about the Immaculate Conception in the month of December.

As I entered the Phoenix Civic Center, many faithful Catholics greeted me. I walked through the entire hall and ran into friends that I had not seen in some time. One of the friends I ran into was Patrick Schuller, the Knights of Columbus Immediate Past State Deputy for the State of Arizona. Pat and I worked together at St. Mary’s Catholic High School when I taught there and oversaw the Columbian Squires Circle #5000 as a 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Counselor.

A main sponsor of this event is the Arizona Knights of Columbus. You see the Knights everywhere! It’s one of the most impressive gatherings of the 4th Degree Knights in all their regalia. The 4th Degree is the visible arm of the Knights of Columbus.

I also ran into Debbie Georgianni who was at the Immaculate Heart Radio table in the back of the hall. She was there with her husband Marty, Doug Slater, and a gentleman named Francesco. I am going to be on the “Bishop’s Hour” soon here in Phoenix which airs on 1310 AM.

I ran into April Yeager who is a friend from my former parish, St. Thomas the Apostle. Two of her children are former students of mine. She was dressed in Native American attire and was carrying a first-class relic of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.  Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was one of two Americans along with five others who were canonized yesterday by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome.

One of the big attractions of this event is the massive procession that occurs around the hall. The parishes, ministries, Knights of Columbus Councils and Assemblies, and Los Matachines participate. The parishes and the Knights of Columbus carry and wave in the air their banners while Los Matachines dance to the beat of the loud drums. I love being Catholic in the Southwest part of the United States! They all have a great devotion to the Blessed Mother under her title – Our Lady of Guadalupe. Below is a video of Los Matachines from two years ago (start video at 3:25).

After Rev. Zachary’s stirring talk on the importance of the Holy Rosary and mysteries within, everyone in the hall prayed the Holy Rosary (Joyful Mysteries) in English, Spanish, and Latin. Once the Rosary was concluded, we had Solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. I love Adoration and Solemn Benediction! Singing the Latin Hymns associated with Adoration brings great peace to my heart and it reminds me of the many saints who prayed before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament as well.

Once Adoration was complete, the 37th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration was concluded. I made my way to the exit and ran into some more old friends and told them about my new job here in Phoenix. Overall, it was a good day and one that I was happy to participate in as a Catholic in the Diocese of Phoenix. We are very blessed here in Phoenix to have such faithful and holy Bishops who attend and lead us in prayer at such events.

Immaculate Heart of Mary…Pray for Us!