Growth is Our Primary Responsibility
Supreme Knight tells state leaders membership key to growth and stability of the Knights of Columbus.
“Our responsibility as the leaders of the Knights of Columbus is to assure the continued growth and sustainability of our Order. This is our first and primary responsibility,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told the gathered state deputies at the Mid-Year Meeting held in Orlando. The focus of this meeting was membership recruitment and retention.
“While we have other goals and activities that are necessary, no other task is sufficient to advance the Good of the Order if we do not advance membership growth. Everything we do depends upon membership,” he added.
Today there is a challenge that has to be met, he continued. Supreme Knight Anderson pointed out that the Knights of Columbus must recruit younger men and fathers of young families. Our councils need to emphasize programs more relevant to families with young children and we need to use recruitment tools that rely upon enhanced Internet and web-based connectivity.
It is necessary, he said, to recruit younger members in ways that respect the more limited time they have to dedicate to volunteer activities and to schedule council activities in ways that respond to the more limited time young fathers have to participate in activities outside the home.
“Let’s remember this: Father McGivney was not yet 30 when he founded the Knights of Columbus with what was described at the time as the 'young go-ahead men' of New Haven,” the supreme knight continued. “And I am totally confident that had there been a World Youth Day in 1882, Father McGivney would have been there with his brother Knights. Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus for the young working men of his day, to protect their families.”
The Supreme Knight also encouraged councils to provide the First Degree in the new DVD format to assure that candidates may join without having to wait for long periods before taking the admission degree.
To help train our council’s officers and make volunteer efforts more efficient, the Knights of Columbus has developed the Fraternal Training Portal, the Supreme Knight said. These training program include information on promoting fraternal leadership skills, and instill organizational awareness of the vision of our founder and the legacy mission. Training will be available for current officers with access to Officers Online and roll out to all council officers over the coming months. Shortly thereafter the Fraternal Training Portal will open to Deputy Grand Knights, Chancellors, Membership and Program Directors, followed by all officers.
“Our Building the Domestic Church While Strengthening Our Parish initiative combines two great traditions of the Knights of Columbus: building up Catholic family life and strengthening parish life,” Supreme Knight Anderson said. Parishes are the natural home of Knights of Columbus councils and where they thrive best while strengthening the parish community as a whole, he added. These parish-based councils can be the drivers within the parish that promotes Catholic family life and new charitable initiatives, and that calls Catholic men to greater spiritual formation and evangelical action.
“And these programs will do one more thing: They will help make our parishes more family friendly, especially for young families,” the Supreme Knight said. Along with this, he continued, the Building the Domestic Church: The Family Fully Alive program includes monthly themes, meditations, Scripture readings and activities for the whole family. It is a program for all families, but it is designed especially for young families. It can help families that need new ways to bring the light of the Gospel into their homes.
Additionally, the Knights of Columbus is continuing to partner with Praesidum Inc. to provide the most up-to-date resources available to ensure safe environments for children. Through this partnership, Knights involved in youth programs have access to online training, background screening and reporting services. To further enhance this initiative, the Supreme Knight said that an Office of Youth Protection department has been developed at the Supreme Council office to monitor these efforts.
“Young people, especially College Knights, play a large role in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. each year,” Supreme Knight Anderson said. “This coming year, I ask every Knight that can make it to Washington, D.C. for this event, which is a true witness to the devotion we and so many others hold to support a culture of life, to please do so.”
During the meeting the Knights of Columbus leaders also had the opportunity to watch the recap video of the 2017 Supreme Convention in Toronto. “This video is an excellent overview of all we do as Knights of Columbus and all that our organization stands for,” Supreme Knight Anderson said. “I strongly urge all councils to show this video, which is accessible on kofc.org, to their membership and to link to it on their websites.”