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State Chaplain 2021 - 2022



Picture of Rev Kenney St. Hilaire

Rev Kenneth St. Hilaire
Email: Chaplin@kofc-wa.org

July 2021

Dear Brother Knights,

As I write this, I am on an airplane, flying home from a visit to New Haven, Connecticut, where I traveled for the June 12 wedding of one of my cousins. He works for Supreme and actually met his now-wife on the job.

Living and working in New Haven, my cousin is a parishioner at St. Mary’s, where our Order was born and where our founder, Blessed Michael J. McGivney, is laid to rest. His tomb is just off to the left as you enter the magnificent church, the beauty of which makes your jaw drop to the floor. From the vaulted ceiling to the decorated floor, every aspect is a work of art perfectly designed and placed. 

The sarcophagus itself is crafted in a black stone - perhaps a granite of some kind - and, while it is basically rectangular in shape, the top surface is contoured in the shape of a Latin cross. On the day I visited the tomb, the cross was covered with white roses that were placed there the previous day by the newly-installed State Deputies who were gathered in New Haven for training.

Some of my parishioners had sent written prayer requests to be brought to the tomb of the newly beatified parish priest, so I slid these papers underneath the roses that were closest to his heart and offered up some of my own prayers. I remembered all the Knights in our jurisdiction and asked Fr. McGivney to watch over us and our families and come to our aid.

Praying at the resting places of the faithful (especially the Saints) is an important experience for every Catholic Christian to have. In my opinion, we should visit cemeteries more than once a year. It would be good to visit on anniversaries, birthdays, and other special dates, and even when there’s no particular reason at all other than to stop by and say hello.

When I lived in Rome, I loved to drop into churches where Saints’ tombs were (which in Rome is a goodly number!) and pray. Reading the lives of the saints, hearing their stories told, or watching them depicted in film brings us closer to them and helps us know them better, but there’s something about praying at their tombs that does more. I can’t explain exactly why, but it makes us realize that we are truly connected with them. In Catholic terminology, we have communion with them.

The Saints are not merely historical figures with whom we have some abstract connection because we are Catholic. They are living souls who, already enjoying the vision of God face to face, love us and pray for us. Their example urges us to pursue the path of holiness, and their intercession obtains for us tremendous grace for the attainment of that end.

At the tomb of Fr. McGivney, I reflected on the fact that he understood what it meant to be a priest, and that, from his perspective in eternity, he knows what it means to be a priest today. He knows me. We are united in the body of Christ, the Church: he rejoicing in the reward of his faithfulness, and I continuing each day to fight the good fight to the best of my ability.

We ought not regard the Saints as fans regard celebrities, for there is no real relationship there. Rather, they are true brothers and sisters to us - friends to accompany us on the journey and ultimately to welcome us into the life of the blessed in heaven. My visit to New Haven deepened my awareness of our very personal relationship with the Saints. It felt like discovering a new friend. It was definitely a “God moment.”

 

Vivat Jesus!

 

Fr. Kenneth St. Hilaire, State Chaplain

 



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