At Midyear Membership Meeting, state deputies are urged to meet societal challenges by helping the Knights grow in membership, charity and faith
By Alton Pelowski
Knights of Columbus leaders representing nearly 70 jurisdictions gathered in Denver Nov. 3-5 for the Midyear Membership Meeting of State Deputies. The meeting featured keynote remarks by Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly and Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore in addition to various workshops, Mass and other opportunities for fraternity and prayer.
In his remarks to the state deputies Nov. 4, Supreme Knight Kelly affirmed that Blessed Michael McGivney founded the Knights 141 years ago to “carry out the mission of Jesus himself — to help men love God and serve their neighbors.”
Citing various global and societal challenges, including wars in the Holy Land and Ukraine, the spread of secular ideologies and persistent scandals within the Church, the supreme knight said, “Our mission is a mission of hope — and it’s a mission perfectly suited for these challenging times.”
“The Knights bear a special responsibility in this moment,” he added. “We have to grow the Order so we can make a bigger difference. We grow the Order so we can serve more families and pass on our beautiful faith to the next generation.”
The continued growth of the Knights, he emphasized, depends on members extending a personal invitation to other Catholic men.
“Growth is not the result of a big campaign. It’s the result of small, individual actions,” Supreme Knight Kelly said. “Nothing is stronger than a brother Knight calling another man to something greater, and doing so face to face, in the context of friendship.”
The supreme knight also underscored various efforts to reinforce the Order’s mission of serving the vulnerable, helping men to grow in faith and strengthening the family. These include new resources such as the Men of the Word Bible study and the K of C-produced video series Into the Breach: The Mission of the Family. Chief among these efforts, however, is Cor, a major initiative launched earlier this year. Adopted by more than 600 councils so far, Cor brings Catholic men to together to grow in prayer, formation and fraternity.
“We all need like-minded men to help us answer our calling as husband and fathers. This truth is at the heart of the Knights of Columbus,” Supreme Knight Kelly explained. “Cor doesn’t replace anything we do. But it will enhance everything we do. Cor will strength our witness to charity, our witness to unity and our witness to fraternity — and it will do all that precisely because it strengthens our faith, which is the very foundation of our principles.”
Archbishop Lori, in his remarks Nov. 4, similarly emphasized the importance of strengthening the faith of Knights and families, as well as the role that chaplains play in the Order.
“Following the example set by Blessed Michael McGivney, we chaplains do not run the Order or manage it on any level. Rather, we are your co-workers in seeing to the spiritual welfare of our fellow Knights and their families,” the supreme chaplain said.
In recent decades, he added, the spiritual life of councils has been shaped “first by the longstanding effort to root them in our parish communities, but also by aligning ourselves with the mission of each parish to evangelize, to form and support families, to help men take their rightful role in the family, and to engage in that charity which evangelizes.”
Archbishop Lori also emphasized the importance of personal prayer and, especially, devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
Speaking of the National Eucharistic Revival, the three-year initiative currently underway in the United States, he encouraged Knights to “promote the Revival not as yet another program that’s here today and gone tomorrow, but as the beginning of a movement in the life of the Church to draw people to Christ, to the Gospel, to the Eucharistic heart of the Church.”
Devotion to the Eucharist is, in fact, closely tied to the Order’s first principle of charity, the supreme chaplain said.
“The Eucharist is ‘the sacrament of charity,’” he said. “It’s by drawing close to the Eucharistic Lord that we become ‘Knights of charity,’ men who are transformed by Jesus’ gift of self in the Eucharist, men for whom the Eucharist is the source of our strength and the goal of all we do.”
ALTON J. PELOWSKI is editor of Columbia magazine and vice president of content creation and publishing for the Knights of Columbus.