You might have noticed a bit more duration between posts than usual lately. On July 1, I became Grand Knight of the Saint Mark Knights of Columbus Council #13131. Getting used to my new role means that evenings and weekends have been spent getting acquainted with the new role, scheduling upcoming events, and preparing for the upcoming year.
Don’t you guys meet once a month and play cards and drink beer?
While we do meet once a month as a Council, we don’t play cards or drink beer as part of the meeting. This is a very common assumption, but the local Knights of Columbus spearhead many events for charity, Church, and community. The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, who started the organization as a way to care for widows and orphans of the surrounding mining and factory community. The idea was to provide for widows and orphans in the case that the primary breadwinner of the family died, which is where the roots began of today’s modern insurance organization that exists within the Knights of Columbus.
This is also why the principles of the Order are charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism… they all stem from living life as a practicing Catholic man. You can read more about the timeline of the founding and other key milestones at the Knights of Columbus legacy page.
The reason I point to this history is to illustrate that the Knights are founded on action (none of which are playing cards and drinking beer, to my knowledge). I got to sit down with our priest this week to look at our event plan for the year, and we have over 15 events on the calendar already. They range from serving the community (raising food, clothes, and money for the less fortunate), bolstering our own spiritual development by assisting in Church activities, protecting the sanctity of life by raising money for pro-life concerns, and raising money for people with intellectual disabilities. Just to name a few.
So what does the Grand Knight do, anyway?
Primarily, I get to lead the Council in our projects, run meetings, appoint a few offices, ensure a growing and excited membership, represent the Council in our charitable pursuits, and a host of other small activities. The best way I can relate it to something that a lot of people know is that it’s like Student Council President. One of the most important jobs is to set direction for the Council for the year and guide our work toward those goals.
The Knights are blessed, as a whole, to be strong and faithful practicing Catholic men. I want my Council to be better at the end of the year than it was at the beginning, so I am encouraging us to truly put our faith into action. I am looking to sterling examples like Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis as exemplars of virtue that we can emulate. I don’t want people to think that all we do is meet once a month and cut checks, I want them to see the good work that the Knights do and how faith comes alive in us. My priest put it very profoundly: “The Knights are men of faith. Do you know how truly rare and wonderful that is?”
I recently came across one of the best motivators in the world: soon to be saint John Paul II speaking about the good work of the Knights (borrowed from this page on the Knights of Columbus website):
This is what the Knights are about! I am so proud and honored to have the privilege of leading our Council this year, words can’t really express it.
If you are a practicing Catholic man, consider this your gold-engraved invitation to join the Knights. I encourage you to contact your local Knights of Columbus Council to learn more, or you can feel free to email me and I will do everything in my power to help you. You can also read much more about the Knights at kofc.org or the Knights of Columbus Wikipedia page.