State Deputy's Message

State Deputy’s Message for July 9, 2021

Greetings Your Excellencies, Reverend Fathers, my Brother Knights.

During the past couple of weeks, I have maintained open communications with our Bishops of Saskatchewan. And I continue to pledge the Knights to help the Bishops wherever and however we are needed.

We all know the media has continued its inaccurate reporting of details from across the country as more sites of graves are “discovered”. While we know the Church was involved with the Residential schools, it is unfortunate that the news media continues to maintain its bias against the Catholic Church. We know through members of our Team and their involvement in their communities, that the Saskatchewan sites were better documented than shared in the media. We know that other Religious organizations operated some of the residential schools created by the Federal Government, but none are reported on, only the strong focus on the Catholic-run facilities. And, I believe because of these errors and misinformation, we continue to see an unfair outcry to those radical people who are initiating many Catholic Church burnings across the Country. I know we cannot retaliate, as that would simply perpetuate the emotional nature of the events for all, maintaining the cyclical radical reactions of destruction. It would never end.  But we do need to defend our Church and our Catholic values of today. And we do need to stand up in support of our Bishops and our Church. But we need to be careful how we do it.

Our Bishops continue to share Press releases with all. The Church continues to work with the Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples towards healing and righting the wrongs of the past. I know the Bishops are meeting with the various leaders of the Communities to work towards true reconciliation. The Bishops are initiating fundraising campaigns to offer support to the survivors and to help with other commitments related to the events to follow as the Truth and Reconciliation process continues. We need to show our Bishops and our Priests our support.

I do encourage all members to read the news releases by the various Dioceses online to stay up to date. There have been several in recent days, with more being shared regularly. And we can educate each other with facts, free of emotion or bias, with the goal of healing and growth for all in our Communities. Some members on Facebook have been posting personal stories in a fair and educational matter. Hopefully, these personal stories can help shed some light on the situation of their positive nature that not everything was all bad.

Using today’s values, we cannot argue wrongs of what happened 100 years ago because 100 years ago, society had different values/beliefs/etc and did not know any different. Times have changed. We cannot go to Egypt to destroy the pyramids built by slaves 4500 years ago. Times have changed. We cannot tear up the railways built by Chinese slaves 150 years ago. Times have changed. Throughout history, everyone has done wrong. We can look back at many things in history and point fingers, but that will not change what happened then. But we can learn from our past misjudgments and work towards rectifying them today. As Good Catholic Gentlemen, we can make changes in our thoughts and actions to live as we should today.

  In my lifetime, the Church has been a place of Peace, Hope, and Holiness. The church has been a source of Spiritual and Physical nourishment to the people in need around them. The Church has continued its efforts to encourage a lifestyle free from harm to oneself or their neighbour. To Love one another. The Church has defended Life from Conception to Natural Death. And we know the media and a variety of vocal groups consistently challenge this too, its continued promotion of a Culture of Death. The Knights of Columbus are in a strong position to continue our efforts for good, building a Culture of Life.

I continue 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. And we need to pray for patience to allow it to happen in a fair and proper amount of time for healing.

This weekend, the Saskatchewan State Team will be gathering Virtually, and in small groups, for the State Organizational meeting. The State Board, District Deputies, State Program Directors, and Chairman will gather to share information to help grow the Order in Saskatchewan through various programs and other endeavours. This evening (Friday), our State Chaplain will be leading us all in a Holy Hour. A time of reflection, taking some time with God. I would encourage all Councils to reach out to their Priests and ask them to lead a session periodically with all the members. I would expect more information to follow from your District Deputies. On Saturday, we will focus on the programs that will help guide us to maintain our presence in our Parishes and communities.

In the following weeks, we will continue to host monthly virtual meetings to continue sharing the latest information, and to provide reminders of activities or deadlines.

There are areas I still need assistance with on the State Team. I am 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 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, programs, and Ceremonial activities. Please contact me for further details (statedeputy@kofcsask.com).

I hope Councils and their members have been following Fr Ivan Nahachewsky, as he rides his bike 2000 KM through northern Saskatchewan, “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/). The project is expected to end by mid-August. 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, 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.

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. It is hoped that after July 11th that the world as we know it will change, again. I do see in other areas of the world some relapse. So, I do ask people to be cautious and to use some good judgement to keep us moving in the right direction.

And, again, I wish to extend this monthly prayer request to allow all to heal during these challenging times in the true spirit of reconciliation and acceptance.

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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