Tuesday, 12 January 2021 21:30

Brothers,

I had planned to present tonight the reflections I had on the Christmas season. But the events of the past two months, culminating in the events of the past week have pushed their way to the forefront, whether we like it or not. 

I fear tonight that we are at the most volatile, divided time in our country since at least the 1960’s…and perhaps, dare I say, since 1860. In a Rasmussen poll released just today (1200 respondents), fully 25% of respondents feel that the country should split into two nations…red states, and blue states. But we don’t even need that poll to know, instinctively, how divided, entrenched, Americans are against each other right now. And I fear things will get worse before they get better. 

For while this nation has weathered many crises, many threats from without, this is more dangerous…because it’s threats from within. And it’s coming from all sides…from the Rs, the Ds…the radical Right, the radical Left. The moderate middle even seems to be picking sides. People’s voices are being silenced. They’re all shouting each other down, cancelling each other out. We’re unfriending each other on social media, saying things on Twitter, or Facebook that we thought we’d NEVER say to each other face-to-face, although we’re starting to see that too. We’re categorizing, compartmentalizing, ostracizing and even dehumanizing those who don’t believe the way we do. We’re ascribing the malicious or bad behaviors of our political leaders or their followers to those we know personally, whom we think follow that same policy, or party…and we’re dehumanizing each other in the process. Nobody is listening to each other any more.

This is not the America I believe we know and love. It seems that we’re allowing the essential elements of what makes the United States so special among the nations of the world throughout history to slip away…and maybe not even realizing it. But we can feel it. There are forces active in our country today that are looking to tear all of us apart. And if I’m right…and I pray that I am not…this will arrive on our front doors, in this very community, perhaps soon.

Let me share something I heard today. “Life this side of heaven yes, can be hard. Freedom, true freedom that comes only from and with obedience to Divine Providence…that is even harder. There’s a reason that we are the longest ongoing experiment in Liberty in the history of humanity. However, our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people and we’ve lost our way as a country on both fronts.”

So what do we do?

We do only what we can. It has to start, for each of us, with ourselves. So tonight, I’m calling on us as brothers to lead the way in our community to heal and reconcile in this time of turmoil. Specifically, I call on my fellow 4th degree Knights to lead in this effort. We need to remind ourselves that the principle of the degree to which we took an obligation isn’t regalia, or a uniform. It’s not standing honor guard. It is PATRIOTISM.

If you research that word, you’ll find many different definitions, both positive and negative. But I suggest we take our current situation as a call to gain, or regain, a deeper understanding of the principles and values of American patriotism, those upon which our founding fathers based our Constitution…that sacred document that our veterans among us took an oath to support and defend. We knights stand at the pivotal intersection of our Catholic Faith and our American Exceptionalism. And I believe we are called to not only acquire a deeper understanding and appreciation of both, but to make it manifest in our community and the larger world through our acts of charity, working together visibly displaying our brotherhood and unity, despite our own political differences.  

Gentlemen, we are knights. Knights are noble and chivalrous. They stand as beacons to those around them; examplars of what is good and true. So in this time of turmoil, I pray and exhort us all to be true knights. Put on the armor of God, band together, and with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence…make manifest our Faith and true Patriotism to our community and our world.

Faithfully Submitted,

David Babicz

Lecturer, KofC Council #11666

January 12, 2021

Monday, 26 October 2020 12:09

This new documentary explores the life, legacy and impact of Father Michael McGivney, apostle of spiritual brotherhood and unity, who founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882. Watch the full McGivney documentary on the Supreme Knights of Columbus YouTube channel!

Tuesday, 08 September 2020 10:16

‘Defending the Dignity of Every Person’

Knights of Columbus to Participate in National Day of Prayer and Fasting to End Racism

 

The Knights of Columbus will participate in a National Day of Prayer and Fasting to End Racism on Sept. 9, the Feast of St. Peter Claver, a 16th century Catholic saint revered for his ministry to slaves.

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, called for a day of fasting and prayer in response to the violence and unrest that has taken place in Kenosha, Wis, and other cities across the U.S.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said, “We are proud to join our bishops and all Catholics in this important day of prayer and penance. As men of faith, we are committed to defending the dignity of every person—regardless of race, color, ethnicity or ability.  I urge all Knights to draw upon our principles of unity and fraternity to help guide our nation through this time of racial unrest through prayer and fasting.”

In June, the Knights of Columbus called for a Novena for National Unity & An End to Racism. At that time, Anderson stressed that injustice to a Black person is injustice to all as all are made in the likeness of God. He also called for people to express “their anger and cries for justice” peacefully, following the example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the teachings of Pope Francis. The upcoming National Day of Prayer and Fasting offers such an opportunity.

Anderson also addressed the issue of racism in his report to the Knights’ annual convention in August: 

“Many of our fellow citizens are still treated differently because of the color of their skin,” said Anderson. “Whenever and wherever this happens, it is wrong. And it must be righted. Where others tear down, let us build up with charity. Where others seek to divide, let us promote unity. And where racism festers, let us build fraternity.”

Tuesday, 24 March 2020 08:28

3/16/2020

Dear Brother Knight,

As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you the actions and responses taken by the Knights of Columbus.

The coronavirus disease is not the first pandemic the Knights of Columbus has faced. In the late nineteenth century, and again in 1918, the Knights remained strong and active despite such situations. And together, we will do so again this time.

We know that this period will be difficult in various ways for everyone, and we want to assure you that the Knights of Columbus is fully committed to you and your family, and has taken the steps necessary to continue our important work on your behalf – from protecting the faith and financial stability of members’ families, to helping members put their faith into action by providing important charitable service within their communities.

Although to our knowledge, no staff at the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council or Museum in New Haven or at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., have tested positive for COVID-19, we have implemented remote operations for most staff, allowing our business processes, customer service and fraternal support to continue their important work uninterrupted, while simultaneously protecting the health of our employees and reducing the risk of community spread of this illness, which is often facilitated by having large groups of people in close proximity to one another.

Furthermore, our sustainable investment strategy means that our exposure to current stock market volatility is limited, and we remain extremely strong financially. With that strength, and the strength that comes from committed employees, we remain positioned and ready to serve our brother Knights. Of course, our agents and our customer service team also remain available to help you with any insurance or related financial needs that you may have. As we implement new systems to serve you and respond to a higher volume of inquiries than usual during this period, it is possible that wait and turnaround times may increase.

In addition to what we are doing at the Supreme Council headquarters, many brother Knights have asked how they can help in their own communities. We suggest the following:

  1. During this period, we urge every member and his family to pray the Supreme Council's novena based on the prayer of Pope Francis (printable or video prayer), as well as a prayer being promoted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  2. Help keep yourself, your families and your communities safe by cancelling all “in person” Knights of Columbus meetings and activities at the local or state level until otherwise indicated. This disease spreads when groups of people gather, so it is important that we avoid activities that could spread this illness. Councils should pursue online and/or teleconferencing options for meetings, fundraising, etc. until the danger has passed. The Supreme Council will be providing additional information on such options shortly.
  3. Leave no Knight – or neighbor – behind. If members of your council – or community – are elderly or have underlying medical conditions, please ensure that they have enough food. If you or others in your council have food to spare, offer to drop something off on their doorstep or to shop online for them.
  4. Give blood. Many communities are facing blood shortages. Those not being recommended to isolate themselves due to illness, age or underlying conditions should consider giving blood. National blood drives were pioneered by the Knights of Columbus in the 1930s, and this lifesaving activity remains an important aspect of our charitable work today.

As we move through this pandemic together, you can rest assured that the Knights of Columbus will be there for you. We will provide regular updates in the days ahead, and we will remain joined with you in prayer and in service to our neighbors in need.

May God bless you, and keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe.

Fraternally,

Carl Anderson

Supreme Knight

Wednesday, 18 March 2020 08:11

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 
The outbreak of the coronavirus has become an event unique in our lifetime. While diseases and epidemics have always been a part of human history, in recent decades medical advances have largely protected us from such outbreaks, at least in our part of the world.
 
As we have seen in recent days, the growth in understanding of the danger of this virus along with the corresponding expansion of guidance from health professionals has impacted our lives as believers and as citizens.
 
First and foremost, we are people of faith. Our lives of prayer, the sacraments and the practice of our faith come together as our witness to the gift of faith. In that context, the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” (Lumen Gentium 11).
 
At the same time, as citizens we are participants in our society and so we bear our responsibility to contribute to the common good.
 
In light of these considerations, and with deep regret, I am announcing today the suspension of public Masses, both weekday and Sunday Masses, in the Diocese of Rockford effective tomorrow, March 18, 2020. That suspension reflects the most recent guidance from the Federal Government and from the State of Illinois for the limitation of public gatherings to reduce the opportunity for contracting and spreading the coronavirus. All Catholics within the Diocese are dispensed from the obligation of attending Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation (per canons 85 and 87 in the code of canon law of 1983).
 
During this time all priests are to continue to offer the Mass privately each day. Pastors are obliged to celebrate a “Pro Popolo” Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation in fulfillment of Can. 534. Emergency requests for urgent pastoral needs including the Last Sacrament and the Eucharist should of course be covered. Churches should as much as possible remain open for private prayer and for confessions.
 
At this time, even if we cannot physically attend Mass, each of us needs to continue to pray daily. During this Lenten Season, consider praying over the readings for the Mass of the day which are available on line (http://www.usccb.org/bible/) or in prepared Missals. Guidance for prayer and making a spiritual communion is posted at www.rockforddiocese.org. Please keep in your prayers all those who are afflicted by the virus, their family members, doctors and nurses treating the sick, those who have lost employment and all whose lives have been upended in this moment.
 
As indicated in previous guidance from the Diocese of Rockford, weddings and funerals and baptisms should still be offered under conditions of limited numbers of attendees in order to minimize the opportunity for transmission of the virus. I am also announcing the temporary closure of the Diocese Administration Center, beginning tomorrow and continuing through March 31, 2020. Whether this date must be extended will be evaluated as March 31 approaches. Diocesan Administrative staff will attempt to monitor email communications during this urgent situation. Likewise, given the guidance of the health authorities, all parish center and school offices should be closed. Coverage should be from the parish priests and if necessary one staff member on a very minimal schedule for essential business only.
 
St. Elizabeth Catholic Community Center and Catholic Charities offices will function with modified and restricted hours related to food distribution for the poor and urgent services only.
 
Of course we need to ask how long such restrictions will be needed. Much of the current guidance is directed at reducing personal contact for the next two weeks. For that reason, the suspension of the public offering of Mass will last until at least Saturday April 4. Given the constantly updated guidance being given by health authorities, that date appears to be only advisory at this time. The Diocese of Rockford will continue to monitor developments and further directives will be issued closer to that date, especially with regard to the celebration of Holy Week.
 
I ask for your prayers, your patience and your understanding in these difficult days. Jesus told His followers, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:20). We trust in His guidance now as we respond to the threats from the coronavirus.
 
Sincerely yours in Christ,
 
Most Reverend David J. Malloy Bishop of Rockford