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Membership Programs 2020 - 2021
Picture of Church Chairman
Thomas C. Williams
State Membership Director
Email: MEMBERSHIP@kofc-wa.org
Phone: (206) 617-0600

October 2020

My brothers,

How goes the battle? Tough times we live in right now, right? Tough times make tough men - how are you responding?

October is the month that we will celebrate the Beatification of Fr. Michael J. McGivney, what better way to bring a man into the Knights during this special month? As we prepare for the special Mass on October 31st in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, I would challenge each of you to reach out to at least one man, to share the story of Fr. McGivney and to ask them to join the Knights in honor of this special event. Think of how meaningful it would be for a man to join our Order in the month that our founder is Beatified? Brothers, make it so!

The Supreme Knight Carl Anderson reminded us in his address to the Supreme Convention in August that when we ask someone to join the Knights, we are offering them to “be someone” rather than “do something.” While the Knights have a wide slate of programs and opportunities to offer to prospective members, it is important to remember that this is a chance to “be someone.”  Who is that someone, you might ask? To me, a Knight is a pillar of his community, someone who admired because of his devotion to his Church and community. A Knight is man who is a leader of his family, who is sought out for advice and counsel. What we offer is a chance for that man to join with strong Catholic men who are committed to serving others, to fighting to the good fight as we build God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Archbishop Chaput was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the National Catholic Prayer breakfast this year, and when the event was rescheduled due to COVID-19 he was unable to give his remarks. They appeared in an article in First Things in September, and it struck me that how perfectly they complemented my theme this month.

Archbishop Chaput spoke about the legacy of La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland), a book composed more than 1,000 years ago in the 11th century. It tells the story of Roland, a captain of King Charlemagne, and his actions at the Battle of Ronceavaux Pass in AD 778.

Charlemagne, the King of France, was fighting against the Muslim occupiers in Spain. After a great victory, he intended to move his army back to France to rest, recuperate and re-arm. The mountain pass he would need to go through, Roncevaux, was narrow and treacherous. Roland, his most trusted captain, was left to guard the pass so that the main army would not be ambushed from behind. Roland was given the great horn Oliphant to blow to warn Charlemagne if the enemy approached.

Roland was betrayed, his holding party was overwhelmed but he was able to sound the horn and warn Charlemagne. By the time the main army had returned, Roland and his small company had given their lives to protect their comrades.

From Archbishop Chaput’s remarks: “Roland and his comrades fought because that was their duty. But they sacrificed their lives because their love was greater than their fear—their love of God, of their king, of their brothers in the pass, and of one another. The root of that word “sacrifice” is telling. It comes from the Latin words sacrum facere: to make sacred, to make holy. When we dedicate our lives to something, we acknowledge and reinforce the truth that it’s higher and more important than ourselves. We sanctify it—either with our blood, or with our time and the passion of our hearts.”

While today most of us are not asked to make such a sacrifice, we are still have a duty to our families, our communities, to our brother Knights. That sense of duty is driven by our faith and our love of God. That is why you see all the programs the Knights have that impact positively so many around the world. That is the what we are offering to men when we extend an offer of membership in the Knights, the chance to share that love of God, that sense of duty.

And that, my brothers, is central to what we offer to a man when we extend membership in the Knights of Columbus - not just another duty, but a great love. A love that is greater than fear because it is a love of God, of our fellow man.

This is what makes our Order so special and why we ask you to recruit new members. We offer a gift to new members, a chance to be someone, to be part of something special, and a way to triumph in these uncertain times.

As a side note, if you have never read “The Song of Roland” I would encourage you to do so. To a Catholic, this is as powerful as the Spartans at Thermopylae, as the “Charge of the Light Brigade” or any other heroic tale. You will not regret it!

Now, for the less fun stuff - how we are struggling with our membership numbers. At the time of this article being written on September 20th, the WSC had recruited 84 new members. Our net numbers are even worse as there have been a large number of suspensions already this year. The good news is that two Councils have already achieved their yearly quota: St. Martin’s Council 16361, Lacey. in Division 1 and Fr. Treunet Council 3611, Anacortes, in Division II. Gentlemen, we can be successful if we are diligent and creative as these Councils  have demonstrated.

If you have been successful recruiting men this year, please reach out to me and I will share your tactics. We have recruited 84 new men, so something is working, we need to focus on tactics that work.

Thank you to you all for persevering through this tough times. As I started this article, tough times make tough men, and I encourage you to reach out to share the gift of the Knights.

 

 


Vivat Jesus!


Fraternally,


Thomas C. Williams

State Membership Director

Washington State Council

Membership@kofc-wa.org


 



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