Lecture No. 16 – November 2014


Fulfilling What The Order Asks of Us

Jim Russell, Lecturer
Jim Russell, Lecturer

[dropcaps] G [/dropcaps] od works in strange and wondrous ways. I fell a little behind in my reading and finally got to the October issue of “Columbia,” which contained the annual report of our Supreme Knight as delivered at the 132nd Supreme Convention last August 5-7. Previous to the convention, Supreme had announced a new initiative titled “Building the Domestic Church: The Family Fully Alive.”

Page 18 of the October issue has several suggestions as to what you could do to implement this initiative. One suggestion was to take the month of October to build your family tree. Last month, I talked about the founding of our order and a little about some of our founders.

A good journalist always has five one-word questions to answer when doing a story: “who, what, when, why and how.” Last month, I glossed over four of the five. Now, it is time to look at “what.”

charter-kofc-supremeOn March 29, 1882, the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut granted a corporation charter to the Knights of Columbus. That charter has been amended at least nine times over the ensuing years.

The charter has six sections that establish the Order and define its legal and social duties and limitations. Tonight, our interest is with Section 2, which lists four purposes of the Order:

a. “of rendering pecuniary aid to its members, their families and beneficiaries of members and their families;

b. “of rendering mutual aid and assistance to its sick, disabled and needy members and their families;

c. “of promoting social and intellectual intercourse among its members and their families; and

d. “of promoting and conducting educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and welfare, and public relief work.”

How are we doing?

The report of our Supreme Knight covers how the Order is satisfying these purposes. The Knights’ insurance program pretty well covers the “rendering pecuniary aid” for the Order and, thanks to Brother David Dybala, we have established a method at the council level to assist our brothers who face financial hardships not covered by insurance.

shield-kofcThe Order supports both monetarily and voluntarily several worthy programs, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, etc. Our Council’s Knights Hands initiative does a fantastic job assisting brothers and their families who need help with home repairs and other worthy deeds.

As an Order, we support several programs that help promote “intellectual intercourse” – Vatican radio and TV, EWTN, etc. At the Council level, our upcoming Corporate Communion promotes “social and intellectual intercourse” among Council members and their families. Working on our various projects, baseball concessions, pancake breakfasts, Lenten fish fry dinners also promote that “social and intellectual intercourse” as we share our news and views.

The fourth purpose mentions promoting six specific areas to be supported. I refer you to the October “Columbia” as to how we are doing as an Order. At the Council level, I picked only one or two for each of the areas:

Education – our seminarian dinner and our scholarship program satisfy that obligation,

Charity – our support of the local Special Olympics events and Knight Hands would satisfy that obligation.

Religious – we support our church activities with our volunteer manpower,

Social welfare – we just accomplished a cookout for St. Joseph’s and did the cooking chores for the St. Elizabeth school carnival.

War and war relief – we do at least an annual cookout at the V.A. Hospital, and we have extended this area to include our first responders.

Public relief work – We budget almost $2,000 annually for our Outreach, Knight Hands and blood-drive programs. All of which serve the public.

We as members of Council 8157 should be proud of our accomplishments but not so proud that we feel we can rest on what we have done. Each new day brings opportunities that will allow us to build on our past. Opportunities that will allow us to do better.

Our greatest resource is our 240 members. Look around you. How many of these brothers do you see involved in our council activities? I would guess that fewer than 100 members carry at least 90 percent of the load. Imagine what we could accomplish if the rest got involved.

I would like to borrow a little from the concluding remarks from our Supreme Knight’s report:

My Brother Knights, at no time in the history of this continent has so much good been done by a single Catholic fraternity. But what we have accomplished in the past must be the prologue . . . to what we will accomplish in the future.