State Deputy’s Message – November 20, 2020

Greetings Your Excellencies, Reverend Fathers, my Brother Knights.

            October 31, 2020: WOW! Our Founder has been Beatified. It is such an honour to be your State Deputy at a time when this occurred. The Blessed Michael J McGivney. One more miracle and he will be Canonized a Saint. If you stop to think about it, “very Cool” comes to my mind (shows my age group I guess 😊 ). But it is a fantastic time to be a member of the Knights of Columbus. If you look at all of the various groups around the world, can you name any others whose founders have attained such a pinnacle point in the eyes of the Church or any other standard regarded by people? We are very lucky to have a Founder that has shown a true vision for the future of the Catholic Church. He did recognize early the abilities and potential contributions by the parishioners of the Church in a social environment of anti-Catholic and Immigrant prejudices. And he did encourage these men to start the Order of the Knights of Columbus to provide a beneficial network of support in Faith and Finances for men and their families facing financial hardships as families fell apart for various reasons. To do this at any time would seem almost impossible. But to do it in the middle of a pandemic seems like a miracle.

As Brother Knights, we need to celebrate this miraculous event. We need to promote and show support for this Beatification with our Council members and our Parishes. We need to share with our parishioners, to encourage them to learn more about our Founder and our Order. We need to demonstrate why we choose to belong to the Knights of Columbus. If you look at this recent event, who could have any doubts about the genuine activities we are doing in our Parishes and Communities and why we are inviting others to join and participate with us.

Looking at the world today, we are in a similar situation as the global pandemic as Fr McGivney lived in. It is sad and difficult to mention the number of lives lost and affected by the Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic. It has affected many families and communities across every province and country.  We have various agencies and a tremendous group of Health Care providers working to save every affected life. We have people working hard to find vaccines and sharing methods to reduce the risks of exposure.  Unfortunately. we have a government not recognizing the true dignities of Life and Family. Federal Bill C-7 continues to reduce the basic “Value of Life” by minimizing or eliminating many safeguards for euthanasia. Please Google Bill C-7 if you are unfamiliar or unaware of the current Bill. We as Knights need to stand behind our Bishops and the statements released by the Canadian Conference of Canadian Bishops (Google “CCCB bill 7” for more information).  We need to continue to share and promote our values of a Culture of Life. All Life Matters.

November 7th was another fantastic display of Charity by the Saskatchewan Knights of Columbus. In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Council #6169, Msgr Tombu Council in Biggar, the 2020 Sask KofC Charity Appeal draw was held. While it could not be a large celebration it was hoped it would be, it was still an exciting event. It may not have been a record-setting event, but I was extremely excited and pleased with the results based on the current situation the world is in. Over $107,800 of tickets were sold. Thank you to all the Councils and members who sold (and bought) tickets.  After prizes and basic operating costs are deducted, we should be sharing ~$70,000 to various charities throughout the province; ~$10,000 to each of TeenAid and Saskatchewan Special Olympics and then the balance via the Councils for many more special projects; some being Coats for Kids, Foodbanks, Wheelchairs, Habitat for Humanity, and many more special charitable needs). The winners are all listed on the Saskatchewan State Website and well the top 5 winners were published in the Regina Post and Saskatoon Start Phoenix.

 *FREE ONLINE MEMBERSHIP. Supreme continues to share an open invitation to all eligible Catholic men to join the Order Online for free. As you invite candidates to visit: www.kofc.org/joinus, share the PROMO CODE: MCGIVNEY2020. (Note: also share your Council # and the proposer’s membership number with him). We recently sent out Posters to share with all. And we plan to continue to send out updated versions as well as other methods to encourage members to invite men (and their families) to join us. (Please remove those old versions from the walls and put up some new ones. 😉)

Now, you may wonder; “How am I supposed to recruit during this Covid pandemic?” I do recognize we are not able to speak from the podium like we used to. We can’t greet every person who walks into the church. We can’t leave paperwork in the pews for people to read. But we can invite our family members to join. We can talk with our neighbours and friends and co-workers. We can set up a membership table in the parking lot (with Parish Priest permission first) and talk with people outside as they leave mass. We can talk to our Parish Priests about adding things to the parish bulletin; being many are electronic, adding a clickable link is simple. We can put cards under wipers or in door handles of cars with a rosary hanging on the rearview mirror. We can do many things.

I continue to encourage the Grand Knights and Financial Secretaries (and District Deputies) to review their Council’s Member Management online and check the “Prospect TAB”. The State Membership Team has been working hard to assign many online members to Councils. Please reach out to these Online members, invite them to meetings and functions, show them what we are about. And then, invite them to join the Council.  

After your new member joins the Council, may I suggest to you that you then invite him to join “The Father Michael J McGivney Guild”? The Guild is free for ALL MEMBERS to join. When you join, the Guild will send you a newsletter every ~3 months, sharing information about the Life & works of Fr McGivney as well as share prayers and stories and intentions submitted by Guild members. (Really, every Council member should be encouraged to join) à https://www.fathermcgivney.org/en/join-the-guild.html   

I would like to share the list of names of the 1st Quarter Recruiter Incentive Winners. Shortly, I will present these men who recruited 2-3 new members with a Coffee Mug and a Rosary. For those who recruited 1 new member, I will present them with a Rosary. I do wish to say “THANK YOU” to all of you for inviting men to join the Order in Saskatchewan. I would like to say a special “Thank You “to General Agent Bro Mark Lewans and his team of Field Agents who continue to be leaders and examples of good recruiters in our jurisdiction. Thanks again!! See the Saskatchewan State website for the current recruiting incentives.

COUNCIL #

RECRUITED

MEMBER NAME

COUNCIL #

RECRUITED

MEMBER NAME

4704

3

JAMES R JOHNSON                 

8215

1

DANIEL D BRAD                   

7336

3

JARED J FREY                    

8547

1

JOEL B BUCHINSKI                

5104

2

RICHARD J CLATNEY               

8905

1

IAN C RANA                      

5788

2

QUINN G DOBMEIER                

10239

1

ORVILLE CORBIN                  

11429

2

DANTE M GUINA                   

10587

1

JOSEPH W RIFFEL                 

2031

1

JONATHAN C ROSAS                

11429

1

DANNY M BALIAD                  

2031

1

WILLIAM S UY                    

11429

1

MARTE CLEMENTE MARQUEZ NOGOT    

5259

1

CHRISTOPHER R BENCHARSKI        

11429

1

MR ARNEL M MENDOZA              

5474

1

PERRY J STANG                   

11429

1

MR ROBERT ENRIQUEZ              

5707

1

DONALD M CEY                    

11429

1

ROMMEL T CARIASO                

6068

1

JUSTIN M FOLEY                  

13214

1

WARREN W PONCSAK                

8215

1

BLAIR R CARRUTHERS              

   

Now, many are still unsure about what they can be doing during these times. May I suggest that you attend any of the Supreme Webinars or any of the Training Sessions as they are delivered by the Canadian Regional Training and Growth Development Team? Topics include Recruiting, Retention, Delta Activities, Program Director & Team training. There is almost one topic a day. Each month they send new training topics. I strongly encourage the Council Executive and any interested Council Members to attend these training sessions. (The State Office sends the list of the Grand Knights and Financial Secretaries at the start of each month). I recently attended one on “Canadian Council Success Stories”. It shared 4 activities by 4 Canadian Councils who have done great activities: drive-through food bank, White Crosses for fallen Veterans, Bottle drives for Food banks and Grocery deliveries for shut-ins + Grocery card rebate program. These are all programs we could be doing in Saskatchewan. While a Council may feel it is too small to do a big task, why not work with the others in the District or Region. We sometimes forget we are an Order. Feel free to reach out to me if you need some direction or assistance. I will do my best to assist. (State Deputy static email address: [email protected] )

For those Members and Councils able & willing to conduct some activities, please use your best judgement with your activities. Make sure you have the support of your Parish Priest and make sure you follow the latest SHA guidelines. We know many activities can be done. The most basic one continues to be the “Leave No Neighbor Behind” Program. #1 – Reach out to our Brother Knights, ask them how they are doing and if they need any assistance. We can do Food collections for Food banks and promote Blood Donations. We can do activities to help develop our FAITH: Prayer sessions or a Group Rosary via Zoom / GoToMeeting, we can all watch the “Into the Breach” video series. We can purchase and distribute (through appropriate channels/services) Coats for Kids and Wheelchairs to the various communities in need. We continue to ask that Councils complete form #10784. It’s primarily so our State General Program Director and his Program Directors know what activities Councils are doing. Councils can also share their programs with the Canadian Office by emailing pictures and a basic summary of the program to [email protected]

Finally. Recently, I had to decide to cancel the Face-to-Face portion of the Saskatchewan Midterm meeting. While it would be great to see everyone in person; based on the advice of the Saskatchewan Government, the SHA and seeing the rising number of cases in Saskatchewan with the potential risks to the health of the State Team, I felt the risks simply outweighed the benefits of having an in-person meeting. The State meeting will be done by ZOOM on the weekend of December 5th & 6th. Details have been sent to the members.

Until the next time, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, and Thank You for all you do in the name of the Knights of Columbus.

11.20.2020 ** Special Edition.

Greetings Your Excellencies, Reverend Fathers, my Brother Knights.

            I had the pleasure of my first meeting with the Bishops from Saskatchewan. I felt very honoured to be in the presence of Archbishop Don Bolen, Archbishop Murray Chatlain, Bishop Albert Thévenot, Bishop Bryan Bayda (our Worthy State Associate Chaplain), Bishop Mark Hagemoen, and Fr Ed Gibney (our State Chaplain). While I do know all of them, to be included in a meeting was a special opportunity for me.

            I wanted to share with you all a rough summary of the meeting.

The Bishops hold the Knights of Columbus in high regard (as we do our Bishops 😊). They are very appreciative of our efforts and works in the parishes and communities. The hospitality has been greatly appreciated. Our Northern project (Beauval & La Loche) was truly welcomed. They expressed many “Thank You’ s” to you, the Knights in Saskatchewan.

I asked what we could do for the Bishops. To many (me included), this might seem like a loaded question; the answers were much wiser & simpler than I expected.

We know that Covid-19 is causing havoc in public life for all. In our churches and our communities, the Saskatchewan Health Authority is asking for the public to follow their guidelines. The Bishops of Saskatchewan are asking all of us to act as LEADERS in our Churches. They are asking us to be the role models and to follow the guidelines set out by the SHA (masks, sanitizing, physical distancing, etc…); and to assist the Church by encouraging all to do the same. We need to show others we care about the elderly, the sick, all those who are vulnerable to Covid. They know things may get worse as we get closer to Christmas, so we need to be better prepared today. We are asked to be the Leaders in the Parish communities and to lead by example. This was the primary issue of concern for the Bishops. I am certain we will do this for our Bishops and our Parish Priests.

There were a few projects that some communities were having difficulties with (maintenance of Parish roofs), and there were some “Saintly” comments about others who had helped do so much work on a new residence and other projects in the various dioceses. I will follow up with these in other communications.

We discussed communications with the Priests. Another request by the Bishops was to ask all Grand Knights (and Council Executives) to reach out to all the Parish Priests on a regular basis. While I know many did this back in July, the ongoing toll of Covid is causing much stress on everyone, but especially our Priests. Many are feeling isolated, lonely, uncertain, and anxious. Under the “Leave No Neighbor Behind” project, our Priests should be the first people we are calling. See if they want a coffee or need any help (shovelling snow?). I would ask that members from each Council reach out to all the Priests on a regular basis. Even if just to say “Hi, how are you?”, showing support would be appreciated.

We discussed some State Events. We know some that were cancelled (Clergy Sports Day, Carol Festival, etc…). Others we continue to plan for (State Midterm meetings, State Conventions, Monsignor Chavez/ Guadalupe events in 2022, etc…). I shared there will be a new “Traveling Icon” for the Prayer program; St Michael the Archangel, to begin in early January.

We also discussed some Faith Development under the Faith In Action program. Currently, many Parishes are hosting regular “Holy Hours” with Eucharist Adoration. Is this something we could do on a Province-wide basis? Could we pick a day/weekend where all Councils are encouraged to attend/support these events in their Parishes? This will be discussed at the upcoming State Midterm Meeting with our District Deputies and Program Directors.

We all recognized the Beatification of the Blessed Michael McGivney. While I hoped that each Council is promoting membership at their parishes, I know it isn’t happening. I will work with our Bishops and the various Diocese Offices to help us promote & recognize this special event and help us to encourage others to join the Knights of Columbus, becoming better Catholics and Husbands. Maybe we can find those men with stronger skills to help us Evangelize for the Church, as we know the Church needs our support now, both Spiritually and financially.

I felt very honoured to be able to meet with our Bishops. As your State Deputy, I know I need to be able to serve them however and wherever they need our help. And I am asking all of you to help me serve the needs of our Bishops.

Until the next time, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, and Thank You for all you do in the name of the Knights of Columbus.

Joseph Riffel

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

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