Successes, Rest and Renewal

Brother Knights,

This summer is nearly at an end and hopefully we will have had successes, rest and renewal as so often happens with summer.  Just as most Canadians already know…  Summer is too short.  Personally, I didn’t get everything on my to do list completed.  But, one thing I did complete was my prayer time personally and as often as our competing schedules allowed (and our laziness, truth-be- told) I prayed with my wife daily before we started our day.  The Supreme Chaplain’s challenge for us this Summer was, in fact, almost exactly that.

Challenge by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori:
This month I challenge you to “come away” to a quiet place by praying at least five minutes a day, first thing in the morning before you check your electronic devices or turn on the TV. You will likely have stops and starts, but strive to be as consistent as possible. Secondly, I challenge you to respond to Jesus’ invitation to “rest a while” by doing something truly restful on Sunday, the day of rest.

I will present to you all a new challenge for September in our meeting that month. Let us all see how we do.  Daily time spent with our Lord is crucial to our continued ability to be good Catholic gentlemen, to have the energy and personal resources to accomplish all the good works we strive for with the knights and in the parish and the world in general.

Our directorships for the new Faith in Action programs are coming together. I now have directors for the four categories Life, Faith, Family and Community and an overall program director.  I’ll announce them at the September meeting. Make sure you’re there!  We will be looking for people to help chair the various individual activities in all the categories of our program.  Brother Al DeBenedetti (DGK) and I are also looking for a few more members to step up to be on our new Retention committee.  We need a few more members. Each new member will be asked to be ‘shepherds’ for and ‘watch over’ about 10 brother knights.  This means we want you to call them every few months, see how they are doing, let them know what we are doing and just be there as a welcoming contact within the Knights of Columbus. I expect that one night each month, you can call two or three members on your list of 10. That small time commitment will allow you to reach each member several times per year.  Not an onerous task but one that can reap a harvest of reinvigorated members whose feeling of importance within our group and desire to participate in our activities is enhanced by your calls.  I look forward to the call I receive from my ‘shepherd Knight’.

Brother Chris Huff has volunteered to be our new membership chair but he cannot do it alone.  Our retention committee with their phone calls to their ‘sheep’ will be very helpful in encouraging current members to get involved but we also need to always be thinking about how to find and encourage new members to join.  Chris will be looking for you all to help out in that effort in your personal relationships with fellow parishioners and friends who may not even be attending our church.  All Good Catholic men are welcome.

Our district deputy is also looking for your help with recruitment.  You may have seen the replica Stanley Cup poster in this bulletin.  The districts are all in a competition with each other to recruit the most members.  Let’s see if we can be number 1.

I have been struggling with the latest news out of Pennsylvania, where you likely heard the news that a grand Jury has decided that as many as 300 priests may have abused several thousand children over the past several 7? decades.  So what are we to think of this?  How do we handle a situation where the Church we have deep connections to has covered up abuse of this magnitude?  Is the Church corrupt? Has our Faith been betrayed?  What should we do?  Is this just a vendetta out to paint our beloved Church as evil? Some may find it hard to believe that so many priests were involved. “The numbers must be wrong” said one person.  Well, even if it’s just one priest whose abuse of just one child was covered up and enabled by a higher-up to ‘save face’, that is horrendous, it’s unconscionable.

I have heard of people who are tempted to ‘leave’ the church.  I implore you all to instead ‘lead’ our church back to Christ, back to its proper faith in Jesus Christ. Too many individuals have put faith in people rather than in the Church and Specifically, the founder of the Church, Jesus Christ himself. It is people who are corrupt, meaning we are all, each one of us, sinners. Some of our sins are less harmful than others but not one of us can claim to have lead a perfect holy life, except if our Name is Mary and our only son is Jesus. We must know that the Church is more than the sum of its members. It is the body of Christ. We need to strive to lead our fellow neighbors and church-goers by our example, our encouragement, our friendship and our prayers.  And we all need to stand up and call out abuse of any kind.  We need to know what to look for so we can know when someone is abusing and so we can avoid situations where our own motives might be called into question. Let us raise our own awareness of the weakness of ourselves and our neighbors and be ready to stand up for the innocent; the one who has no voice.  A strong faith-filled Church means we are all looking out for each other.  We all need each other’s support and strength and prayers.

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

 

A New Fraternal Year Begins

Brother Knights,

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.

 

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

May Message

Brother Knights –

As two years of being Grand Knight of our council winds down there is much to be grateful for.

At every turn along the way there has always been someone there to provide guidance, suggestions and action!  It has been proof that as Knights we are never walking this path alone.  I appreciate the support that I have received from each and every one of you!

I thank every member of the executives that I have served with for their reliable and constantly extraordinary efforts and participation. You all know that our Worthy Financial Secretary, Br. Dale, is the anchor of our council, and his efforts do not go unnoticed.

Several members had pointed out that we seemed to have lost our religious focus, and that the meetings are too much about business.  I appreciate the effort of Brother Jim to introduce a decade of the Rosary that we pray together at the beginning of our meetings.  Likewise, Br. Martin reminded us that we should also include a Prayer for Life at our meetings, and that has become part of our closing prayers.

I am grateful for all of you who have organized, executed and participated in the many events that we as a council have put on.  Special thanks to the Program Directors and event organizers. It is an amazing number of volunteer hours that we offer as a council to accomplish the various school programs, parish events and other things that we do.

Please join me in supporting our Grand Knight Elect as he guides our council forward.

Here is a quote from the Introduction of Lifelines: Inspirational Stories of Women of Faith that was brought to my attention, and I hope it will help us to move ahead:

“As we take hold of the lifelines of hope and faith from others,
we are saved from our own tendencies to place limitations on what is possible.”

 

Vivat Jesus!

Ray Smith
Grand Knight

March Message

Brother Knights,

On Ash Wednesday this year, Pope Francis called for three verbs to be put into practice this Lent: to pause, to see and to return, in order to feel warmth in the heart again.

“Pause from this compulsion to a fast-paced life that scatters, divides and ultimately destroys time with family, with friends, with children, with grandparents, and time as a gift… time with God.

See and contemplate the real face of Christ crucified out of love for everyone, without exception. For every-one? Yes, for everyone.

Return without fear, for this is the favourable time to come home, to the home of my Father and your Father. It is the time for allowing one’s heart to be touched… Remaining on the path of evil only gives rise to disappointment and sadness.”

In other news, we have been planning several upcoming events, and many will be found in the Knightly News.  As always, we will need your help to be successful. By the way, we are looking for golfers for the upcoming tournament in June…

Looking ahead, think about becoming an executive member of your council. Our nominations are in April, and the election is in May.

Now, we look forward to celebrating Easter – the Resurrection of our Lord!

Vivat Jesus!

Ray Smith
Grand Knight

January Message

Brother Knights,

What a year we have seen, and what a year we have ahead! Once more I thank every one of you for your support of and participation in our many events of 2017. There is much more to come!

I would like to draw your attention to the our annual Ladies Appreciation Night coming in early February. Please plan to attend. There is already planning under way for the Fish Fry, the Steak BBQ and the Golf Tournament to name a few. The Charities Lottery tickets will be available soon. The Basketball Free-throw competition is under way as well. Please attend our regular meetings when you can to learn more about these and other things that your council is doing. I encourage every one of us to participate in as many of these events as we can to support our parish, the youth and the community through our events. Your help and participation are appreciated!

Pope Francis recently tweeted this thought that I will leave with you:

“May the Lord grant us the wisdom to seek that which is worthwhile
and to love, not with our words but with our actions.”

Vivat Jesus!

Ray Smith
Grand Knight

November Message

Brother Knights,

The very beginning of December will bring us to the start of Advent, the time of anticipation and preparation for the birth of our Saviour! The Council’s annual ‘Light Up For Christ’, the lighting of the church Nativity Scene, will take place ahead of the first Advent Mass, the 5 p.m. Mass on December 2nd.

We have our Memorial Mass coming soon, to be followed by Pub Night. It may sound strange, but that will bring us close to the end of our liturgical year! Soon you will see Christmas Cards and Christmas cakes, but watch for the for the coming Nativity Exhibition in the church hall.

It is so easy to get caught in the rush of this time of year. We often hear “Keep Christ In Christmas” in our Knights of Columbus programs. Let that not be an empty phrase, but rather let us keep it as our focus.

I wish to thank all of you and your spouses, families and friends who have helped to make our recent events successful.

My prayer for Brother Knights and their families:

May we really focus on Christ in this season of peace and forgiveness.

Vivat Jesus!

Ray Smith
Grand Knight

September Message

Brother Knights,

We have arrived once again at a time of changes. We are nearing the end of summer and beginning a new school year. We still have some unfinished business, and yet we are looking ahead to things to come.

I extend a warm welcome to our new Pastor, Father Sebastian Amato, who will become our new council Chaplain!

What is coming up soon? Well, there will be several school barbecues that our brother Knights will be found helping at. Our Spaghetti supper is coming in October, so watch for a call for volunteer helpers soon. Our planning continues, and your help is needed and appreciated as always.

I was reviewing some of the tweets that Pope Francis has shared with the world, and this one from three years ago caught my eye, and might resonate with you as well:

“The Lord always forgives us and walks at our side. We have to let him do that.”
– Pope Francis, August 30, 2014, via Twitter

Vivat Jesus!

Ray Smith
Grand Knight

A new beginning

As I look back on my first year as your Grand Knight, I am grateful for all of the support that you have given to me, but more importantly for the support that you have given each other. It has been an interesting fraternal year with several challenges along the way, but having said that, we were successful in running most of our events up to and including the recent Steak BBQ.

I thank the outgoing members of our executive for their help and guidance through the year, and I welcome the newly elected members, and trust that we will all work together moving forward. Most importantly, thank you Father Leo for your many years of service, not only as our Chaplain, but as our Pastor. We all wish you well in your retirement!

I hope to have our various directors in place shortly, and we will be setting up our calendar of events very soon. Moving forward, keep an eye open to see what we are doing and to see if you can offer some assistance. Become a member of a team with us by sharing some time and having some fun!

Back in April, Pope Francis participated by video link at the TED conference in Vancouver. Here is a little part of it that caught my attention, and might catch yours as well:

“In order to do good, we need memory, we need courage and we need creativity. […] Yes, love does require a creative, concrete and ingenious attitude. Good intentions and conventional formulas, so often used to appease our conscience, are not enough. Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is not a statistic or a number. The other has a face. The “you” is always a real presence, a person to take care of.”

Vivat Jesus!

Ray Smith
Grand Knight

March Message

Brother Knights,

While the Knights hand out lots of awards and certificates to our members and others in the community, there are three that are very special and are given out at our annual Ladies Appreciation Night Dinner. Congratulations to the recipients of the 2016 awards that were announced at our Ladies Appreciation Dinner – Lady of the Year, Kay Callery, Knight of the Year, Garry Davis, and Knights’ Family of the Year, the Forster Family, Marie and Christopher Forster!

There are several upcoming events for our council but the one I want to mention is the Charity Partner Golf Tournament. We have selected the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Kingston as our partner this year, and we are working toward and looking forward to the event to be held on
Saturday, June 3rd, 2017. More information to follow!

Pope Francis concluded his homily for the beginning of Lent this year with this thought:

“Lent is a time to start breathing again… the time to open our hearts to the breath of the One capable of turning our dust to humanity.”

Let Lent be a time where we can draw closer to Jesus.

Celebrate this Easter with a heart filled with love and peace. Have a blessed and wonderful Easter!

Vivat Jesus!

Ray Smith
Grand Knight

A New Year

Brother Knights,

Looking back at 2016, there were many activities that took place with many members involved, and for that I am grateful. Watch for the “Annual Survey of Fraternal Activity” coming soon to help record our volunteer hours for last year.

Looking ahead to 2017, it is a special milestone – Canada’s 150th anniversary! For our council, the new year brings many activities to organize and participate in. I encourage all of us to jump in and help in any way that we can to support our parish, the youth and the community through our events.

Included in the first reading on New Year’s Day is a beautiful, timeless prayer that the Lord asks Moses to pass on to Aaron, the Chief Priest, to say over the Israelites. This is my prayer for you and your families:

“The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift his countenance upon you and grant you peace.”

Peace and goodwill to all the members of Council 9652 and their families!

Vivat Jesus!

Ray Smith
Grand Knight