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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

RECRUIT!!!

Brothers All:

What is the goal of your life?  The goal of my life is to get to Heaven.  I do not have any other goal that is as important as that one.  It shapes all of my other priorities.  I want to go to Heaven, I want to experience eternal life.  It is a tough climb for me, and it may be for you as well.  I think we make the climb only as readily as the team that we climb with.  There are many ministries, groups, and organizations within the world of the Catholic Church.  As we make that ascent, I do not think that there is a stronger climbing team to be with than the Knights of Columbus.

Many times we have heard that we owe it to every Catholic male over the age of 18 to ask them to join the Knights of Columbus. In addition, we are asked to encourage them to earn full Knighthood into our Order, generally implied as the Third Degree.  Little is done afterwards to keep them involved or to actually earn “Full Knighthood” which I believe to be the Fourth or Patriotic Degree.  Any Third Degree Knight is invited to accept the gift of patriotism and take the Fourth Degree.

Full Knighthood benefits include the honor of serving as a council officer (elected or pro-tem), and a degree team member.  It also allows them to attend Chapter, State,  and Supreme Council business meetings. First and Second Degree members can attend the State and Supreme Council meetings, but they are not allowed in the business sessions.

We need to foster programs to keep ALL of our Knights involved and active.  We also need to do more to encourage our Third Degree Knights to join the Fourth Degree.  They DO NOT need to be current or former military, law enforcement, fire fighters, or border patrol.  ANY Third Degree Knight is now eligible to join the Fourth Degree.

Fewer than 18% of Knights join the Fourth Degree.  In 2006 there were a total of 1,703,307 members in the Knights of Columbus, but only 292,289 were Fourth Degree Knights.  This number increased to 335,132 in 2013.   Coincidentally, this was also the year the required one year waiting period between becoming a Third Degree Knight and a Fourth Degree Knight was eliminated.  Now, any Third Degree Knight is eligible to join the Fourth Degree without a waiver.

Here in Arizona we have a total of 16,126 Knights of Columbus members.  Of this number, 4,448 are members of the Fourth Degree.  This comes to 27.6%.  Pretty impressive compared to the national average!  Can we do better?  Of course we can!  How can we do this?  

Sample Pamphlet
Sample Dialogue
Program Manual

Feel free to use them and let’s get out there and RECRUIT.

Fourth Degree Knights may optionally purchase and wear the full regalia and join an Assembly's Color Corps. The Color Corps is the most visible arm of the Knights, as they are often seen in parades and other local events wearing their colorful regalia. The official dress for the Color Corps is a black tuxedo, baldric, white gloves, cape, and naval chapeau.

Councils play an enormous part in the success of the State and Assembly's making their goal.  If we surpass those goals, as it did this past year, it is almost a certainty that the Assembly's will make their goal, or surpass it.  That is how important this is for the Knights of Columbus as a whole!

I want to acknowledge the Fourth Degree, the Assembly's, and the Color Guard that have been present at a number of events to include: Confirmations; presenting checks for the Seminarians' Fund; parade’s; March for Life events; and grilling burgers at Community Ministry Fairs;  as well as many other important activities too numerous to list.  Whenever you go out in the community where something important is happening, you are going to see Knights supporters - both in leadership roles, and behind the scenes. 

The Knights are also known as the "strong right arm of the Catholic Church".  The Dioceses and our Parishes look to the Knights because the Knights add strength to the Parishes.  When we have strong Knights Councils/Assemblies, we have strong Parishes.  If we do not have strong Knights Councils/ Assemblies in the Parishes, the Parish life suffers.  

As a Knight of Columbus, we are strengthened first and foremost as men of God committed to the Church and committed to our own personal growth.  We are going to share this commitment with a group of men who are equally dedicated.  Their dedication is as strong as ours.   And, because we are being strengthened in our discipleship, we can become stronger husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons. 

All family relationships and family life are the key to holiness.  By being strong holy men in our families, we can strengthen our families in their discipleship, and that does not stop.  Once that commitment is made, we begin touching more and more lives with the truth of our Catholic faith, with the energy of the Holy Spirit, as we make that ascent together.  Together, we strengthen those bonds of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism, and we are privileged to do it in a free country.  If you belong to a number of organizations, as a Catholic, you can belong to no better organization for your discipleship, for your strength and your response in Jesus Christ than the Knights of Columbus.

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF):  RECRUIT, not only for the 4th Degree but for the 1st Degree as well.

Bryant R. Sayers, PSD

AZ District Master

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