You have elected me as your new Grand Knight for this new fraternal year. I am honoured and humbled by your faith in me and I promise to do the best I can to make this a successful year. I have some tough acts to follow as I ponder some of the past Grand Knights I have known over the previous (almost) twenty years. So many gifts, so many talented people, so many of you are still here. I am grateful for the strong executive you have elected into office with me this year and am very happy to be working with such a wonderful team of Knights as are on this year’s executive — so many people whom I have admired and by whom I have been inspired over the years.
This July marks the beginning of a new time for me and for the council as a new executive begins their turn in office. There are a few changes in this new fraternal year, with Surge for Service being replaced by Faith in Action. The Surge for Service program we are replacing had six categories for the activities, but some councils found it too onerous to try to complete activities in each of the categories. Faith in Action has only four broad categories now called: Faith, Family, Community and Life and we can fit our existing activities into these new categories. New individual items have been introduced as suggested activities into each of these categories.
In the coming weeks, I will be looking for some directors for the various categories and of course, we will be needing chairs for many of the individual activities we are running. I hope many of you can continue to serve this council and for those who are stepping down, thank you for your past service and I hope you can be available to help your replacements get familiar with their new roles.
I want to tell you a little about myself and my faith journey. I have always been a good Catholic, from all outer appearances; I go to church every Sunday, I have been a reader and a choir member for decades, I participated in all the ‘churchy’ things, parish picnics, grounds cleanups, pub nights, etc. but it wasn’t enough. I had lost something from my days as a young adult when I had so inspired my wife to fall in love with me, when I felt alive and filled with the Holy Spirit. Instead, I had doubts about my faith. Was I just going through the motions? Was I really a good Catholic? I didn’t even have faith in my own abilities and de-sires to continue on in leadership roles anywhere. Sometimes, I wondered, “If I just quit it all and became a recluse would life be easier?”. Life felt so overwhelming for some time.
In January, I made a few decisions that have changed things for me for the better. I attended a Cursillo week-end and felt re-invigorated in Christ. The Cursillo weekend brought me way back to my early ‘20s and the youth movement called Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) that I was involved in back then. I felt the surge of energy and life welling up in me as I accepted, once again, Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and invited the Holy Spirit into my heart again. Inspired by that, I decided to get up early and join my wife Cynthia in morn-ing prayer. Praying with Cynthia each day has continued the renewal of my spirit and also had the bonus of improving our marriage and the love we feel for each other. I guess I had been shutting The Lord out for a long time, going through the motions of being a good Catholic but not really allowing Jesus to be my friend and mentor or the Holy Spirit to fill my soul with the power and life and love that the Lord is offering.
Do you feel sometimes like you are overwhelmed? Do you sometimes wonder if you still have faith? Let the Holy Spirit into your hearts, allow Jesus Christ to be your friend, not just a name you use to finish off your prayers. Spend time with him, listen to him and share him with others. I will keep you all in my prayers.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and enkindle in them the power of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created
and you shall renew the face of the earth.
Oh God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit,
did instruct the hearts of the faithful,
Grant that by the same Holy Spirit
we may be truly wise
and ever enjoy his consolations.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.