Blessed Michael McGivney – pray for us!

by Fr. Gary Studniewski, Associate State Chaplain

On this first feast day of Blessed Michael McGivney all Knights of Columbus are thankful to Almighty God for the heroic virtues of our founder and the inspired principles that he used to ground our worldwide order, especially unity and charity.

Father McGivney’s life (38 years) and priestly ministry (12 Years) mirrored that of our Lord Jesus, not only in its brevity, but in its import for building the Kingdom of God.  Jesus prayed that “all may be one” in the unity of the Godhead, and he gave us the universal precept of charity as the Church’s lodestar.  Father McGivney instituted our order with the same principles of unity and charity that still expands the hearts of millions of Knights and enlarges our vision for the good of the world.  Now that is a legacy!

With all of you, I am so proud to be a Catholic and a Knight, dedicated to the divinely commissioned work of building the Kingdom of God.  That Kingdom must be inclusive of all of God’s children.  The Church encompasses men of every nation, race, and culture.  And the Knights of Columbus is ordered to do the same.  Just look at the marvelous unity in diversity of the Knights of Columbus in the District of Columbia!  We are men of different races, economic, educational, and social backgrounds.  Yet, together, we manifest a unity and a fraternity that transcends our individual stations.  We bond together, as brothers in the Lord, to fulfill the sacred obligation of our founder, charity.

Knights of Columbus are such a force for good in the world, as our District Knights are for the good of our local community.  Father McGivney, modelling Christ, dedicated himself to touching the lives of those who needed a helping hand.  We continue his legacy.  Our unity, our fraternity, is ordered to this end—to offer ourselves in service to the Church in expanding the Kingdom where all are welcome, and all are cared for.

On this feast day of Blessed McGivney, we ask for his intercession, that we may be worthy Knights that expand, not only his legacy, but the mission of our Savior, to reach out to souls for inclusion in the Kingdom of God.

Pray for us, Blessed Michael McGivney, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha – a model for our times

by Fr. Henry Sands, Associate State Chaplain

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha made a heroic decision to respond to God’s call to live a devout Christian life through her trials and deep suffering—epidemic disease, tensions and fighting among warring Indian tribes, and the severe persecution of her faith.

Even though she lost her family, her eyesight, her physical beauty, her good health, and her village, she used all of these extremely difficult personal circumstances to cultivate a life of deep prayer and sanctity.

She is a model for our own times in that she shows us how, with faith in Christ, we can persevere no matter what personal calamities, social unrest, or religious persecution may come to us. St. Kateri overcame every obstacle by submitting herself entirely to Jesus Christ.  She is also a model for young people who are striving to live a holy and chaste life, especially without the guidance of parents.

Pope St. John Paul II, at her beatification, called St. Kateri God’s “bountiful gift” to His Church and a “sweet, frail yet strong figure of a young woman.”  It is said that St. Kateri’s last words were, “Jesos Konoronkwa,” which translates, “Jesus, I love you.”

At her canonization Mass, Pope Benedict XVI remarked on the miracle of grace in her life, how she rose to such a height of sanctity despite the circumstances of her upbringing, which would otherwise have been detrimental to the fostering of a Christian vocation.

“Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture. In her, faith and culture enrich each other! May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are, Saint Kateri, Protectress of Canada and the first Native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the First Nations and in all of North America! May God bless the First Nations!”

St. Kateri is the patron saint of the ecology and the environment, orphans, Native Americans, and people ridiculed for their piety. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in January 2013. © The Catholic Company

July Message from the State Deputy

Let me take this opportunity as we move steadfast into the beginning of the fraternal year to invite you to take part in two tasks that lie before us. As life continues to evolve and emerge from the long, but necessary, restrictions that were placed on us over the last year and half, we may find ourselves with the opportunity to see and interact with more people. As Knights and as Catholic families, we have an intrinsic obligation to offer a helping hand, an open door, and a friendly smile to our neighbor wherever we can.

This is most especially true when it comes to welcoming our brothers and sisters back to Mass at our local parishes. This is the first task that I ask you to consider – please work with your councils to help your parishes in welcoming the faithful back to Church. This may take the form of volunteering to be greeters or ushers, or perhaps your council can offer to put on a social event after Mass, even more so maybe your council can work with your parish to make phone calls inviting parishioners back. The Knights of Columbus has developed the COVID Recovery Plan which outlines the different ways a council can re-energize and re-invigorate not only your councils, but also your parishes.

The second task I would ask you to consider is to invite one man in your social circle, your family, your workplace, your parish, or your local community to join the Knights of Columbus. You know the difference that membership can make in someone’s life – share with them your story. We must offer the opportunity to be more than a man – to be Knight – to every eligible man that we know. Not because we must meet a recruitment goal, but because this is our mission – the mission of our founder, Blessed Michael McGivney – a mission needed now more than ever. We cannot continue with business as usual.

Our Supreme Chaplain, Archbishop Lori, commented at the Organizational Meeting of State Deputies that these are perfect times to ask: “What would Blessed Michael McGivney do?” He would not give in to discouragement, defeat, or weariness, and he would not quit even in the face of criticisms from his peers – so too we must never quit in trying to advance the mission of the Knights of Columbus. Let us be innovative, inviting, and serve our communities with integrity now and well into the future.

Fraternally Yours in Christ,

Chris

A New Fraternal Year…

My Brother Knights and Families,

I am humbled to be addressing you for the first time as the State Deputy of the District of Columbia. My sincere thanks go to the state officers and grand knights for placing your trust in me, and in my family, to lead the jurisdiction over the next year. I know that I speak on behalf of all the state officers, district deputies, and staff, that we are looking forward to collaborating with all of you to make a difference in our communities, strengthen our parishes and college campuses, and leave no neighbor behind.

As we enter the summer months, we are blessed to be moving out of the pandemic and in many ways moving closer to business as usual. While we must remain vigilant to curtail the spread of COVID and ensure the safety of our families, there is an opportunity for us to begin to emerge stronger and more vibrant than before. I encourage you, as Knights of Columbus, to take this opportunity by the horns and not only re-engage with your council, but also with your parish and local community. We must be there to offer a hand to those who need it most – we must be Good Samaritans.

Please know of my prayers and well wishes for a successful start to the fraternal year. You will be hearing from the State Council regularly as we implement programs and events designed to inspire, empower, and encourage you to be the best Knights you can be. I know that we are all busy, however, we must make the time for something – and I ask you make the time this summer for the DC Knights of Columbus.
Vivat Jesus!

Fraternally in Christ,

Chris Pierno

State Deputy

122nd DC State Convention: Election Results and Awards

This past weekend, on April 24th and 25th, the DC State Council held its annual convention. At this annual convention, new state officers are elected, reports presented to delegates, and awards are distributed. Taking place both at the Church of the Nativity in Washington, DC and virtually through the use of Zoom, the convention began with Mass celebated by State Chaplain and Pastor of Nativity, Rev. Pawel Sass. After Mass, delegated gathered to conduct the business session of the convention.

During the business session, the following State Officers were elected to one-year terms:

  • State Deputy-elect: Christopher Pierno, FDD, PGK
  • State Secretary-elect: Le N. Nguyen, FDD, PGK, PFN
  • State Treasurer-elect: M. Fred “Jazz” Armstrong, FN, FDD, PGK
  • State Advocate-elect: Nicholas S.C. Shields, FDD, PGK
  • State Warden-elect: Joshua R. Bryant, FDD, PGK

Several awards were also announced and distributed for council programs and individual recognitions:

  • Faith: The Catholic University of America 9542 – Monday (K)night Rosary, Mass, and Donut Social
  • Family: Potomac Council 433 – Food for Families Food Drives
  • Community: Blessed Tansi Council 11496 – Charity Works Beyond our Shores
  • Life: Washington Council 224 – Pregnancy Center Support
  • Leave No Neighbor Behind: Shrine Council 4944 – Providing Thanksgiving Baskets for Needy Parish Families
  • Family of the Year: SK Chidi & Dr. Jovita Amuzie of Blessed Tansi Council 11496
  • District Deputy of the Year: Ryan Mulvey, District Deputy #3
  • Knight of the Year: Alex Cranstoun, DD, PGK

DC Knights of Columbus Announce Scholarship Winners

DC Knights of Columbus Charities, the charitable arm of the District of Columbia Knights of Columbus State Council, is pleased to announce the winners of the three (3) $500 scholarships for 8th grade students going into 9th grade or current students in the 9th, 10th, or 11th grades moving into the next level. Applicants must be residents of the District of Columbia and be attending, or will attend, a private Catholic secondary school.

Each year, an application is offered to local schools and parishes through our local councils for students to apply. For the 2021-2022 school year the following students have been announced as winners:

  • Anthony Cole Diallo
  • Harrington Frank Mirkow
  • Frederico Alexandro Simmons

Congratulations to these students and thank you to all of the students who applied! The DC Knights of Columbus are proud of all the students throughout the community to are working to better their communities and serve their neighbors. Funds to provide these scholarships come from the annual “Columbus Classic” – our charity golf tournament. Learn more about this, other special charitable initiatives, and donate to these programs here: https://charities.dcknights.org/scholarships/

Congratulations to Supreme Knight-Elect Patrick E. Kelly

Today, the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus announced that Patrick E. Kelly, Past State Deputy of the District of Columbia, has been elected as the next Supreme Knight of the Order…

DC Knights Announce February 6th Degree Ceremony

The District of Columbia State Council of the Knights of Columbus has announced an in-person and streaming celebration of the Vigil Mass and Exemplification of Charity, Unity, and Fraternity on Saturday, February 6, 2021. Mass will begin at 4:30pm with the exemplification ceremony following the celebration of Mass in the Redemptor Hominis Church in the St. John Paul II National Shrine. The St. John Paul II National Shrine is located at 3900 Harewood Road NE, Washington, DC 20017 and offers free on-site parking.

For those attending in person, masks covering the nose and mouth will be required at the socially-distanced Mass per the regulations set forth by the Archdiocese of Washington.

While the celebration of Mass and the exemplification ceremony are open to the public, due to space restrictions, we ask that only registered candidates and their family/friends attend at this time. An online registration may be found at the bottom of this page.

For membership information and to become an Online Member, please visit our Membership Page.

Coats for Kids – 2020

As the holiday shopping season officially begins on November 27th, instead of joining in the usual events of Black Friday which are admittedly altered due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the DC State Council of the Knights of Columbus will be giving out free and much-needed gifts to DC-area children in need. On the day after Thanksgiving, new winter coats will be given out at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Northeast DC to any child who needs one as apart of the Knights of Columbus’ annual Coats for Kids program. 

Approximately 18 percent of American children and 14 percent of Canadian children live in poverty. According to the US Census Bureau, many low-income families have scarce resources to cover even the most basic essentials. The Knights of Columbus launched the Coats for Kids program to ensure that every child in North America would have access to a warm winter coat. Since the program started in the District of Columbia in 2009, councils have purchased and distributed more than 500,000 new winter coats to children throughout North America.

This is not the only opportunity to receive a coat for free from the Knights of Columbus. In addition to the event on November 27th, coats will be distributed on December 5th at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. 

This year, our distributions will be outside and focused on a drive-thru system. Cars will pull up, and, without exiting their vehicle, communicate what size they or their child need. Our volunteers will try to match that size with a preferred color, and then give the coat to the person in the vehicle.

If you cannot drive-thru, no worries! Please feel free to walk up and follow our volunteer’s directions on how best to make sure you get the size and color you need.

If your child or a child you know is in need of a coat this season, please come by and get one:

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2020 (BLACK FRIDAY)

12:00pm – 2:00pm

3900 Harewood Road NE
Saint John Paul II National Shrine – Parking Lot

SATURDAY DECEMBER 5, 2020

9:00am – 12:00pm

1600 Morris Road SE
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church – Parking Lot

More information about these events is available at dcknights.org/coats. It is open to anyone who needs a coat, particularly children ages 2 – 16 years old, subject to availability. 

Blessed Michael McGivney, pray for us!

Today, October 31, Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, was declared “Blessed,” the final step before being canonized as a Saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Joseph Cardinal Tobin, Archbishop of Newark, celebrated the mass at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut, representing Pope Francis. In the apostolic letter of beatification, Pope Francis praised Blessed McGivney as “an outstanding witness of Christian solidarity and fraternal assistance” because of his “zeal” for proclaiming the Gospel and his “generous concern for his brothers and sisters.”

The miracle recognized as coming through Father McGivney’s intercession involved an unborn child in the United States who in 2015 was healed in utero of a life-threatening condition after prayers by his family to Father McGivney. Michael “Mikey” McGivney Schachle, was present at the Mass with his parents, where they presented the relic of Blessed McGivney to Cardinal Tobin. 

Born of Irish immigrant parents in 1852 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Blessed McGivney was a central figure in the dramatic growth of the Church in the United States in the late 19th century. Ordained in Baltimore in 1877, he ministered to a heavily Irish-American and immigrant community in the then-Diocese of Hartford. At a time of anti-Catholic sentiment, he worked tirelessly to keep his flock close to the faith in part by finding practical solutions to their many problems – spiritual and temporal alike. With a group of the leading Catholic men of New Haven, he founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882 at St. Mary’s Church to provide spiritual support for Catholic men and financial resources for families that had suffered the loss of their breadwinner.

Father McGivney spent his entire priesthood in parish ministry and died of pneumonia on August 14, 1890— two days after his 38th birthday – after falling ill amid a pandemic. Recent scientific evidence indicates that that pandemic – like the current one – may have been caused by a coronavirus.

Known by his contemporaries for his devotion to the faith and his embodiment of the characteristics of the “Good Samaritan,” his cause for sainthood was opened in the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1997. St. John Paul II – who was pope at that time – lauded Father McGivney’s principles, stating in 2003, “In fidelity to the vision of Father McGivney, may you continue to seek new ways of being a leaven of the Gospel in the world and a spiritual force for the renewal of the Church in holiness, unity and truth.”

In March 2008, he was declared a Venerable Servant of God by Pope Benedict XVI, who during his visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral cited the “remarkable accomplishment of that exemplary American priest, the Blessed Michael McGivney, whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus.”

God, our Father, protector of the poor and defender of the widow and orphan, you called your priest, Blessed Michael McGivney, to be an apostle of Christian family life and to lead the young to the generous service of their neighbor. Through the example of his life and virtue, may we follow your Son, Jesus Christ, more closely, fulfilling his commandment of charity and building up his Body which is the Church. Let the inspiration of your servant prompt us to greater confidence in your love so that we may continue his work of caring for the needy and the outcast. We humbly ask that you glorify Blessed Michael McGivney on earth according to the design of your holy will. Through his intercession, grant the favor I know present. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.