June 2019 State Deputy’s Message

Dear Brother Knights of Saskatchewan,

As the 2018-2019 Columbian year draws to completion, I will provide a short year in review and provide some information on the year ahead.

The past year has been a great year for the Jurisdiction of Saskatchewan.

I am sincerely grateful to the team effort from across the province and for the cooperation and support, you have displayed this past year. A special thank you to all of you.

Two major initiatives, the Vocations Endowment Campaign and the Conscience Protection Campaign were held this year with great support from our bishops, the parish priests and the councils throughout Saskatchewan.

As I travelled the province, I witnessed many excellent programs which were conducted to exemplify the principles of our Order and the support of church and community.

The new Faith in Action Program Model was an educational year for our councils. This year, we will take the Faith in Action programs to a higher level- from information and knowledge to implementation and action in a closer working relationship between the council and the parish priest.

The online membership initiative which Supreme Council launched early in the Columbian year was well received with Saskatchewan presently the top jurisdiction in the entire Order for online members— 132 members to date.

Our goal for the coming year is to convert these members to councils and to provide them with the best membership experience that we can possibly give them.

Other successful programs this past year were the Charity Appeal which set a record of $133,854 dollars in ticket sales, the 51st Annual Saskatchewan Indoor Games, an increase in the Coats for Kids program, a container of wheelchairs ordered specifically to be distributed and used in Saskatchewan and Special Olympics local, regional and provincial events. In April, Sask. State Council received a 50th Special Olympics Commemorative Medal in the partner Category for their longtime commitment and support of Special Olympics both financially and through volunteers.

Saskatchewan also had a great year in membership. We are presently #5 in the Order and have reached our intake of 325 with a total of 373 members to date. We have also met our net of 225 members with a total of 248 members to date. We have achieved our roundtable quota of 50 and have formed one new council in Saskatchewan. But it isn’t the numbers that we focus on—it is all the good charitable works we can do with more helping hands to do the work.

However, there is still much work to do in Saskatchewan. Many of the smaller councils are struggling to exist. Many councils are suspending many of their members because the members are not involved, see no value in belonging and do not pay their dues. Our membership is made up of mostly older members, although the bright side is that our average age dropped last year from 63.5 to 60.1.

Another crisis we are facing is that 33% of Catholics are questioning their faith in the Catholic Church.

The question we need to think about is, “How do we rectify some of these issues?”

First and foremost, we need to have all hands on deck to make the sacrifice to defend our church and our values. We cannot allow Christian values to be destroyed and not expect some consequences. If we don’t stand up, who will?

Secondly, each district and each council needs to set goals to have something to aim for and to have their members rally behind something. One thing we can all rally behind is our faith. We need to tap into the spiritual heritage that our Founder Father McGivney left us, our principles, the gospel values, and our ethical benefit programs to protect our families.

This year, supreme will launch a new initiative to protect the family. The eye of the church and the country will be on the Knights of Columbus. We are a lay organization that can become a key facilitator in the new evangelization. The Knights need to become an evangelizing engine in the midst of our parishes. The Faith in Action programs allows us to partner with our Bishops and Parish Priests to transform our councils to become alive and full of enthusiasm. Are we going to take up the challenge to help solve the problems and to be the leaders who will become part of the solution?

Some of the goals which we should strive to work on this coming year are:

  1. Ask your parish priest how the knights can better serve the parish and implement the faith in Action programs to help the council members and parishioners grow in their faith.
  2. Reach out to members of your council to involve more members in the programs and recruitment efforts. personal phone calls, special invitations, recognition for faithful and dedicated service are proven ways to get more knights on board.
  3. Thomas W. McKee in an article based on research findings, in an article called “The Top Motivators and Retention Winners” identified the key reasons why volunteers and leaders stay involved in organizations. These include positive feedback; regular rewards and recognition; training in leadership and volunteer roles; personal contact; and a fraternal and social aspect.  
  4. Prayer and spiritual growth need to become part of everything we do in the Knights of Columbus.
  5. We need to have a good working relationship with our parish priest. The parish priest needs to see the knights as an organization that assists him with his ministry in the parish.
  6. We need to bring in more young knights into our Order.
  7. Many of our programs need to be family oriented programs if we are to attract younger men with families into our councils.
  8. Each council needs to be recruitment active to bring new enthusiasm and future leaders into our councils.

Conduct a couple of good family programs during the summer- Our church and faith should be alive and active throughout the entire year.

Chris Bencharski
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