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
Wednesday, 11 March 2020 21:03

My brothers,

We have experienced massive, rapid change & turmoil in our Order just since just 2016:

In 2016, we had the cancelling of the Columbian Squires Program; probably one of the best recruiting tools we could have had. We also had the ending of the chartering of Scout units by the order.

In 2017, it was the announcement of the Regalia / Uniform change, a seemingly “middle of the night” decision. We also had the presentation of the first degree on video.

With 2018 came E-membership, and something many aren’t aware of – the renaming of the 1st-3rddegrees the Admission, Formation, and Knighthood degrees.

In 2019, the Regalia was officially retired. Then we had the membership scandal and UKnight lawsuit, and with it, the revelation of our Supreme Knight’s salary, topping out in 2014 at a whopping $2.2M.

Now in 2020, we have a change that affected me profoundly: the elimination of traditional degrees, and the introduction of what is being referred to in some circles as the “McDegree.” We managed to boil about 3.5 hours of content down into 25 minutes. And with it came the elimination of 140 years of secrecy; secrecy that we took a vow to maintain!

All this change, so quickly, makes it easy to be discouraged. It’s the loss of so many of our traditions. It can make us feel like we belong to an insurance company that happens to do charity work, rather than a charitable organization with great insurance benefits. It leaves many of us feeling like “I’m not leaving the Order…but the Order is leaving me.” Certainly, I have felt this way.

But then I reflected on our recently retired First degree ceremony, and on lines from my address in that ceremony: 
“We draw all our principles from God’s holy law, and by their practice, seek to attain the ideals that they teach.” Also, “Charity is the motive that gave rise to chivalry and in its exercise is ever found the essence of true knighthood.” And those words brought me to this realization: YOUR BOND OF KNIGHTHOOD IS BETWEEN YOU AND GOD. It’s a pledge you make in the silence of your heart, an agreement between you and the Lord. It’s not defined by what happens at Supreme. It’s not defined by a ceremony, or a uniform, or any other earthly trappings of the order.

That’s why it can and does stay with you wherever you go, whatever you do. It can be made manifest to the world in your actions every day, if you focus on it. At the end of the day, it’s a fire within you and it’s up to you to keep it alive, or let it dim and extinguish. 

So how do you keep it alive? Former Speaker of The House Tip O’Neil famously said “all politics is local.” Last month, our District Deputy stood here and admonished us “BROTHERS, AT THE COUNCIL LEVEL IT IS CHARITY, UNITY, AND FRATERNITY. THAT IS IT!” I thank him, because he is absolutely correct. That is all it is.

You keep it alive by practicing Charity, in all its forms, as often as you can…starting with the people around you. In your homes, in our parish…starting right here with the brothers in this chamber. “With loving hearts and hands bent on one another’s welfare…”

When you do that, you rekindle the flame of your knighthood, putting Christ’s legacy into action today, in this world. The fire will show in your eyes. Then, look around you, into the eyes of your brothers. Find the ones that show the same fire, and band together. Find the ones for whom the fire may be dim, and lift them up. Then go forward together in unity, as knights of this council. 

Because remember this, brothers: When we stand alone, we are weak, and can be broken. 

But when we stand together in unity, support our brothers in the spirit of fraternity, and go forward together in pursuit of this ideal of charity: Then we are strong, and cannot be broken!

In Christ,

David Babicz
Lecturer, Council #11666