State Deputy's Message

State Deputy’s Message for July 2021

Greetings Your Excellencies, Reverend Fathers, my Brother Knights.

I recently read a report: there have been at least 48 physical attacks on the Catholic Church, from simple vandalism to burning them down. And with the continued media coverage on more of these “discovered” sites (many of which have been very well documented), we can expect things to get worse before things get better. I know our Associate State Chaplain Bishop Bryan Bayda spoke during the Saskatchewan State Organizational meeting to the State Team about many aspects of these actions: apologizing, and to who, accepting responsibility for actions taken by others in the past, pointing fingers vs recognizing the situations at hand, working on sharing the truth (the whole truth, from all sides & all parties involved, not just the loud ones) and forging the path towards TRUE RECONCILIATION. And so much more. For now, I know we need to stand strong in support of our Bishops, our Priests, and our Church. We need to do it as Good Catholic Gentlemen.

Our Bishops continue to share regular Press releases with all. I hope people are watching the videos and reading the releases.  I know the Bishops continue to meet with the Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples towards healing and righting the wrongs of the past. I know Bishops across Canada have always accepted responsibility for the Churches actions on the matter (as was done 50 years ago, 15 years ago and again today). The Bishops of Saskatchewan have recently initiated fundraising campaigns to offer support to the survivors and to help with other commitments related to the Truth and Reconciliation process. We need to show our Bishops and our Priests our support. We need to help our Bishops with these fundraisers. Again, ultimately, we need to stand with our Bishops and Priests as they continue to defend the Church in the eyes of the Faith Community; but more importantly, we need to stand with the Church as they work towards healing with those who have been most affected. We know this will take time and require a lot of patience.

In my lifetime (I am 50), the Church has been a place of Peace, Hope and Holiness. The Church has continued its efforts to encourage a lifestyle free from harm to oneself or their neighbour. To Love one another. The Church continues to be a source of hope for so many, from all styles of life. The Church continues to defend Life from Conception to Natural Death. We also know the media, some prominent Government Officials and a variety of vocal groups consistently challenge this too, with its continued promotion of a Culture of Death. Let us all remember, the Knights of Columbus are in a strong position to continue our efforts for good, to build a Culture of Life. As Good Catholic Gentlemen, we can make changes in our thoughts and show with actions to live as we should today.

I continue my request to ask all that we all pray for our Bishops, our Priests, our Deacons, the Sisters, and all those who serve the Church during these times and from the past. I ask that we all pray for the families and communities affected by the Residential School System. I ask that we all pray and offer help to those struggling with their mental health or their Faith to show them the Church has been a place of Peace, Hope and Holiness in these modern times. We can all pray that everyone works towards a proper outcome of this situation to resolve it in good faith.

ON July 9th and 10th, Friday and Saturday, the Saskatchewan State Team gathered virtually and in some small groups across the province to have our Summer Organizational meeting. On Friday evening, we watched the Supreme Knight’s address. Then, our Worthy State Chaplain Fr Ed Gibney lead us in a “Holy Hour”. Yes, we started our weekend with some time of reflection in the presence of God. We will continue doing this at all of our Major State functions (Midterm meeting and State Convention). I would invite and encourage the Councils to do the same. Please reach out to your Priests and ask them to lead a Holy Hour session regularly. Please invite all the men in your Parish, not just the Council, to attend these events.

On Saturday, we shared a lot of information with the team related to a variety of topics: State Goals, Membership (Recruitment & retention), identifying and mentoring future leaders, programs (State & Supreme) and how to implement them in this post covid times (Covid Recovery Programs). We talked about Training, Fraternal Benefits Nights and working with the Field Agents, Communications (State ßà Council ßà MEMBERS) and the need to share information; Program reporting; we covered a lot. I know the District Deputies will be inviting the Council members to attend local District meetings so they can share information. Please take the time to attend the sessions and to read the information; it is for the benefit of all members. Much of this information is available for you to read and watch (yes, we recorded the sessions) on the Saskatchewan State Website. Please review the 2-page overview to be better informed on why you should read even more!! LINKà https://kofcsask.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Information-from-Organizational-Meeting-July-9-and-10.v1.pdf

There are areas I still need assistance with on the State Team. I need District Deputies in many Districts: 6, 7, 9, 13, 16, 18, 19, and 23. I have done my best to reduce the expectations of needs and your time. I am also looking for a volunteer or two to assist with Member Retention. While we know not every man remains a Knight for his lifetime, we do need to offer him the opportunity to do so. And sometimes the right voice and some small changes will allow him to wish to do so. The right person can have the right impact on a member in limbo to retain him. I am also looking for some men (Regional Membership Coordinators) to help in specific regions around the province to help promote Membership recruitment and Ceremonial activities. Please contact me for further details (statedeputy@kofcsask.com) on any of these roles.

Recently, we completed the Membership Recruitment Incentives for June and last year. We had ~41 men invite new men to join the Order. I would like to say “thank you” to every one of you for doing so. I would like to formally recognize our top 5 recruiters: WST Marte Clemente Marquez Nogot (+11), WPD Adrien Piche (+5), WSW Agnel George (+5), Former Agent (now GA out East) James “Jimmy” Johnson (+5), WiPSD Chris Bencharski. Thanks for being an example.  Thanks for taking the time to invite new men to join the Knights. Incentive rewards have been shared and will be shared with these men soon.

The FREE ONLINE membership offer has been extended. The Promo code is still the same: MCGIVNEY2020. To some, recruiting may be a challenge. To others, right now is the best time to offer those men who are dedicated to the Church the opportunity to join the Order for free.  We know some people’s dedication to the Faith has been challenged during the Covid Pandemic, and we also know others’ strength in their faith has been challenged by the latest re-awakenings. But we all know that many of those who do join the Order will experience a “heightened moral compass” and will want to renew/develop their Spiritual relationship with God. That renewal is needed by many now more than ever.

We know other men simply joined online on their own, for free for one year from that date, as they are interested in the Knights of Columbus. I would ask that every Council ask an informed member to reach out to these members, to have a coffee with them, to learn what their interests are, to see how and where they can help the Council. I do realize that the Worthy Financial Secretaries receive these emails from Supreme and State. But I would ask that another executive member or program director reaches out to these men, as the role of the FS can be overwhelming. Ask your Grand Knight and your Financial Secretary for your list of Online Members. We have about 190 online members, many of which want to join their local Council. As these online members join the Council (through the Combined Exemplification), the Council receives a new member credit. They are just waiting for someone to call them. If you need guidance on these lists, please do not hesitate to reach out to the State Membership Team for instructions.

Now and then, I get an email or hear of one, that State is only worried about membership. MEMBERS, MEMBERs, MEMBERS. Here is what I shared with the State Team during our Saskatchewan State Organizational meeting:

  • ***For the record, it is NOT about the numbers, AKA “THE QUOTA”.
  • We recruit men to the Order for the various benefits the Knights of Columbus have to offer: Key oneà Being aware it is OK to be Catholic in this crazy secular world of today (free Columbian magazine),
  • The Insurance: Remember the “Orphans & Widows”
  • We recruit to give men a real purpose to want to become better men, better Catholics, better Husbands and Fathers.
  • We recruit men to help with programs, to help lead other men in our Councils, to help our Priests and Bishops.
  • We need men to help lead our Councils, to help replace those Brother Knights who have retired or have left us.
  • “YES” we do need numbers, and high ones if we have plans to continue as Councils, as an Order.
  • So: it isn’t about the numbers. Because it’s about the survival of the Order!!!

I hope Councils and their members have been following Fr Ivan Nahachewsky, as he rides his bike 2000 KM, “Padre bikes for wheels”. All the proceeds will be going to provide wheelchairs and some funds for a rehabilitation center in Ukraine. I do encourage you and your Councils to support this very worthwhile project. More details are available on the Saskatchewan Knights of Columbus Charitable Foundation website (https://saskkofc.foundation/product/padrebikes-project/). We know the project, led by Council 13129, has had some challenges lately due to the northern forest fires. But I know he is inspired to continue however he can for this worthwhile cause.  Follow him and his journey at padrebikes.ca or on Facebook. ONE NOTE TO SHARE: all costs associated with the project are coming out of his pocket. Fr Ivan and his daughter are paying for their expenses. So, please be generous. We know we have had tremendous support for the Canadian Wheelchair Foundation in the past. Being many Councils did not donate last year to the Wheelchairs, it is hoped that if they have the funds that they may be more willing to support the initiative this year with this extra special and personal event.

I wanted to add a couple of quick reminders of FORMS to complete BEFORE THE END OF SUMMER: 185, 365, 1295, SAFE ENVIRONMENT OFFICERS compliance, Round Table forms 2629 & 2630.

*** Please ensure you have submitted the changes of the Grand Knights & Financial Secretaries to the State Office by the end of July. The State Roster will be going to print in August. I know if you retired as GK, you don’t want to receive emails from everyone intended for the new GK. Please let WSES Gerry know at the Office and complete form 185 for Supreme.

For the Executive members, and those members interested in learning: Please consider taking one or two (or more) training sessions online. The Canadian Team puts on fantastic webinars, topics ranging from the new meeting format to District Wardens, Membership and Programs, working with your Pastor. The list will be further down in this bulletin.

I know many Councils “tend” to take the summers off. Now, knowing that many took off the last ~16 months due to Covid, I would ask that the Councils do something this summer, like a family BBQ, a day in the park, a prayer night, a Parish Pancake Breakfast or Potluck.  Anything that will start getting people active again.  Many of our members have sat for a long time, many are looking for something to do. Can the Council Executive meet with the Council Chaplain?

We know we will have some new Grand Knights, but people in all positions can use tips on the latest information, working with the latest “Hot off the Press” items. Please sign up to receive the information from the various sites listed below. Simply completing the form 185 & 365 does not always work, you should sign up to receive the info. The links below will take you to the links:

  • the Saskatchewan Knightline – link here
  • Weekly email updates from Sask State – link here
  • Supreme Fraternal Leader Advisory – link here
  • Knightline (a Supreme weekly news email) – link here

As we continue into the year, I continue to pray that the Blessed Michael McGivney protect you and your families to get through this Covid-19 pandemic.

Until the next time: Stay Safe, Stay Healthy.

Joseph Riffel

Vivat Jesus!
Joseph Riffel   
Saskatchewan State Deputy 
CAKC President
#LeaveNoNeighbourBehind
#InTheFootstepsoftheFather

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