March is Founder’s month, and March 29, in particular, is Founder’s Day. Don’t forget that our founder, the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, wanted our Order to be a society of Catholic men, established in every Parish, that would support the Priests, but also provide a financial safety net for Catholic men and their families. For 135 years, the Knights of Columbus have been doing just that. Let prospective members, especially young family men, know what the Order can provide for them. If they joined the Order because of the fraternal benefits, encourage them to join in the works of the order in support of the Church. If they joined the Knights of Columbus to participate in the works of the Order, let them know about the fraternal benefits that membership avails them, including the Orders solid insurance and financial programs. Everyone joins for a reason. We simply have to let our members and prospective members know what we have to offer!
We are now officially in the last third of the Fraternal Year and four very busy and important months remain. Kansas has always recruited new members very well in the Spring months. I expect this year to be no different. There are 13 Third Degrees currently scheduled for March, and five more scheduled for April. I’d suggest that you schedule a First Degree as close to the Third Degree in your area as soon as possible, and then get these members to a Third Degree in an area near you as soon as possible.
From time to time, a Knights member, a District Deputy, a Grand Knight, a Financial Secretary, or sometimes, even just a member, will ask why our Order puts so much emphasis on membership, and new members, in particular. As I sit and write this article, Kansas has recruited 669 new members to join since July 1, 2016. Not that that is a great or terrible number. I wish it was a lot higher, but I will take what I can get. Now while that number may sound like a decent number, consider this: Kansas has lost 189 members through suspension or withdraws, for a net of (669-189) 480. Once again, not great, but our biggest months are yet to come. However, Kansas is a 114 for Net/Net. That means we have lost 189 members, plus another 177 to deaths and/or transfers out of State!
The importance of increasing our intake numbers to grow the Order becomes even more important when you consider that, while Kansas has one of the highest, if not, the highest percentage of Knights per Catholic population in the United States. That means that we must work even harder to grow the Order. The “easiest” members have already joined. What is left to recruit from is the guys who will join, but will require more effort. Don’t be afraid to make that effort! Remember that there is not that much traffic on the extra mile!
There are few Programming reminders that I’d like to plug for in March. Don’t forget the March 10 deadlines for Knight and Family of the Year contests. April 1 includes a host of forms and deadlines. Make certain that you look over the Calendar of Events to complete and submit these forms. It is never too late to gain recognition for your Council or its members.
Don’t forget that the Sonogram Initiative is still building funds. If your Council has not conducted a Culture of Life drive yet this year, this fund is an excellent idea. The Pennies from Heaven fund also collects money at the State Convention. Be certain that your Council makes a Contribution to this fund. Thankfully, we have not had many chances to use this fund this year. We should always pray for the best. However, with tornado season just now beginning, we must be prepared for the worst.
When I look at the works of the Order in Kansas, and as I travel the State, I am always amazed at all that we do. Don’t be afraid to share what you do with anybody who will listen. You might just find your next Grand Knight, your next District Deputy, or even your next State Deputy. Mostly, don’t be afraid to “Build the Domestic Church – While Strengthening our Parish.”