Past State Deputy Chris Bencharski (Meadow Lake), Harvey Granatier, Mike Read, DD #27 Ron Denis (Saskatoon), State Deputy Joe Riffel (Saskatoon), DD #14 Ron Koenig (Unity).

State Deputy Message for September 4, 2020

Greetings Your Excellencies, Reverend Fathers, my Brother Knights.

            I am not sure how many people follow the State Council or those key public members on Facebook, but I wanted to share with you an event I had the privilege of participating in.

On Friday, August 29, WDD Ron Denis, SCF President Harvey Granatier and I started on a 1300 km journey. We drove to Meadow Lake. We met with iPSD Chris & Pat Bencharski and WDD Ron & Lucy Koenig. We met to discuss our plans that would begin at 7 am the next morning. Back in the spring shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic began, the Saskatchewan Charitable Foundation & State Board sent out a plea to all councils and its members for funds to provide assistance for the north, specifically La Loche and Beauval. Well, we raised ~$10,000 AND Supreme donated another $5,000. WOW. There was a mention of it in the Columbian magazine in the July edition, but that was just the plan. We were going to set the plan into action!

By 8:30 am Saturday, we had my truck and WDD Ron’s motorhome loaded up with 20 food hampers valued at ~$150 each, 77 food gift cards values at $150 each, 4 cases of Coats for Kids, 2 Wheelchairs I purchased as a gift for each parish (1 each), and some rosaries. ~4 hours later, we eventually got to the “Our Lady of Visitation RC Parish” in La Loche. We met with Fr Maria Robert and some parish committee members. We unloaded about 2/3’s of the food/food cards, 2 cases of coats for kids, a wheelchair and some rosaries.  One response was: “No one had done some much for them since this whole thing started”. It was a great & positive, yet overwhelming and emotional moment for all. The gift was truly and genuinely appreciated. After a few pictures and moments of sharing, we resumed our trip to Beauval.

A couple of hours later, we arrived at St Mary Magdalene Parish in Beauval (Google maps was wrong). We met with Parish Committee member Mike Read as Father Joseph was away at this time. We unloaded the remainder of the food, gift cards, another wheelchair, another 2 cases of Coats for kids and rosaries for the parish. Again, it was easy to see the appreciation of the efforts of the Knights of Columbus of Saskatchewan.

As we finished our visits, we began our long trip home. Other things I learned during the 13 hours of driving: You get to know & understand your travel mates a lot better! All positive. We learned about each other and developed better and stronger relationships. Fraternity within our Fraternity.

While the COVID pandemic has caused some serious issues in the world, it created an opportunity for us as Knights to do something very positive for those in our communities. It allowed us to continue to do what we do best: an act of Charity from the Heart to those in need. And I am very grateful I had the opportunity to participate in the delivery to the north. We have received emails of appreciation from Archbishop Murray Chatlain and Father Maria Robert from La Loche. And Facebook had many comments on various member’s feeds.

You can see the pictures and reports on the Saskatchewan Charitable Foundation website at https://saskkofc.foundation/sask-knights-of-columbus-and-the-sask-k-of-c-charitable-foundation-visit-la-loche-beauval/

I know Parishes are becoming more active. I know some Councils are looking for things to do. I know a few Priests are looking for things for our members to do. So, let’s start doing some things. We can have meetings (face-to-face with Zoom support if needed), we can have food events provided we are following the Parish guidelines and the Sask Health Authority guidelines. We can do some projects. We can continue to live. While we still need to be cautious of others, we can sanitize, we can wear a mask, we can physically distance ourselves, but we need to remain socially active. Let’s start being the Knights that our Parishes and communities know we can be by doing the things we do.

Since I started writing this message, I had a message with my Field Agent. And I am serious. When is the last time you met with your agent? I know it has been a few years since my last visit. And it was a great meeting. General Agent Mark Lewans has a fantastic team of professional men working with him serving the Knights in our province. We discussed many things. And we made plans to discuss some things during our next visit in a couple of years. Thanks, Bro Mark for all you and your team do for the Knights of Columbus in Saskatchewan 😊.

Hopefully, by now, the Councils are aware of the changes this year related to Star Council. A council is no longer required to have an “X” number of new insurance members. But they are required to promote and support at least 2 Fraternal Benefit Events. I do hope you considered this when your council was making its “Projects for the Year” plan. There may be an opportunity for a large group event in October. But I still encourage you to reach out to your Field Agent and ask about making plans for hosting or attending a Council or District Fraternal Benefits event.

During August, we had many men take advantage of the free Online Membership. I know the State Membership Team (SMD Dan Devers and So/LChr Abel deSa) is working hard to welcome these new men to the Order and will be reaching out to them to collect information for sharing with the Council they could belong to. You should receive emails from them shortly. And please reach out to these new Brother Knights, welcome them into the Order and the Council. Let’s do what we can to mentor them and participate in our activities.

Until we meet again: please stay safe, stay healthy, and stay active by living a life that shows who we are as members of the Knights of Columbus

Vivat Jesus!
Joseph Riffel
Saskatchewan State Deputy 

PS: Thanks for everything you do in the name of the Knights of Columbus.

#LNNB

Joseph Riffel

Vivat Jesus.
Joseph Riffel
Saskatchewan State Deputy
#Stay Safe, Stay Healthy
#Leave No Neighbor Behind

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