‘The legacy of Fr. McGivney is in your hands’

Message from the Supreme Treasurer:

Your Excellency(ies), Reverend Father(s), Worthy State Deputies, Supreme Director, Former Supreme Directors, Vice Supreme Master, State Officers, District Masters, Past State Deputies, District Deputies, Brother Knights, Ladies and Gentlemen: I bring you fraternal greetings from Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, the Supreme Officers and the board members of the Knights of Columbus. Having been chosen as the Supreme Office representative, it is a pleasure and honor to be here with you this weekend.

Supreme Treasurer Ronald Schwarz: delivers his speech during the State Dinner of the 11th National Convention held at the Iloilo Convention Center last May 11-13, 2018.Supreme Treasurer Ronald Schwarz: delivers his speech during the State Dinner of the 11th National Convention held at the Iloilo Convention Center last May 11-13, 2018.

It is said, the Knights of Columbus is the strong right arm of the church. To maintain and enhance our presence, our councils must continue to focus on offering benefits of membership to qualified Catholic men.

Our Founder, the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, believed that every Catholic man eighteen years and older deserved the opportunity to become a member of the Knights of Columbus. To convince these men and their families to join, what better way is there than our example of charity and good works.

It’s an honor to recognize the great work of our jurisdictions this past year and to salute you on your continued efforts to embrace and drive all of the Order’s key programs.

In 2017 we once again had a record year in charitable contributions – more than 75 million hours of service and $177 million in charitable work and donations.

Our national and international activities get a lot of attention – programs such as our ultrasound initiative that is on pace to save a million lives, our support for Christian refugees in the Middle East and our involvement with Special Olympics. But as we all know, so much of our charitable work happens in our towns and in our parishes. When there’s a flood, we are there. When a widow’s home needs repair, we are there. When the pastor needs the Knights for a funeral honor guard, we are there.

Here in the Philippines you demonstrated true discipleship to the Knights of Columbus by participating in the Walk for Life. Conducting series of Ultrasound Initiatives and constructing Memorials to the Unborn. Brother Knights provided financial assistance, food and supplies to victims of the Mayon Volcano in the Bicol Region and to victims of Typhoons that struck Mindanao and Visayas. You participated in commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Father George Willmann’s death, also known as “the Father McGivney of the Philippines” which is to be commended.

I am pleased that our wives and families are present because I want to talk about why they are such an important part of what we do and are our partners in Building the Domestic Church.

At a time when the world seems especially chaotic and the culture keeps trying to redefine the roles of men, the ideas of Knighthood and family have become even more important.

Consider these facts:
Since 1973, the marriage rate among Catholics have declined by 73 percent. As marriage have plunged, so have baptisms, first communions, the number of students in Catholic education and the number of Catholic priests.
Yet, the statistics tell us something else. Married couples are twice as likely to be “very happy” in their lives. Children from intact families are half as likely to drop out of high school.
The truth is that families matter. And this is why we have made our Building the Domestic Church initiative a fundamental part of what we do.
The Domestic Church is Christianity lived at home, in your parishes and in your councils. In short, it embodies the family that lives out the components of the Church.
- It is how the family and council strive to model Jesus in deliberate ways. In practical terms, it means saying you’re sorry and caring more for the needs of others than you do for your own.
- The Domestic Church also describes the family and council that chooses to live contrary to the moral relativism that dominates our culture.
- And it is the family and council that prays together and performs acts of charity because this is what God has called them to do.

Unfortunately, too many men are missing this opportunity.

When you bring a man into the Knights of Columbus you are giving him a chance to be part of something bigger than himself. When he takes our principles to heart, he becomes a better husband and a better father. Joining the Knights is a key step to becoming a great man.

On that note, I want to take a moment to speak directly to our wives.
I thinks it’s fair to say that many of us would not have had this chance if it weren’t for a gentle push from you.

You often see within us a strong desire to be a better version of ourselves. I believe, you, in your wisdom, have recognized that this opportunity to achieve our full potential and grow our faith has a far-reaching effect – in our culture, in our community, and in our homes.

You are not expecting us to leap tall building in a single bound. But you do see the importance of our striving to be the best men of service, faith and leadership we can possibly be.

For recognizing this incredibly important truth, I want to say “thank you”.
During World War II, the great fighting admiral Bill Halsey, encouraged his men by telling them no one is born a great man. But, he said, there are many ordinary men – men like you and me – who rise to the occasion and meet the great challenges of their times. Then, it was the harrowing months following Pearl Harbor. Today, it’s the challenge of living a life of faith and service in a culture that too often values neither.

The Supreme Knight said it this way: “Christ didn’t seek perfect men for his apostles, and we do not seek perfect men for the Knights of Columbus. We seek good men who are looking to be better men, and then we give them the opportunity to be great men.”

When it comes to the Knights, it’s time to tell this story. It’s time to show the impact we make. And it’s not just one story. It’s the story of nearly 2 million men who take the time out of their own busy lives to help others.

That was the genesis of a new 9-part video series called “Everyday Heroes” that shines a light on our brother Knights whose courage, faith and commitment to charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism truly embodies the spirit and special nature of the Knights of Columbus.

We have been sharing these videos on our Website and though traditional and social media. This afternoon the men had the opportunity to preview the contents of the Everyday Heroes videos. I recommend that you go the Supreme website at koc.org and watch the videos.

It is said, if a picture worth a thousand words, then these videos are worth a million.

So far, the response has gone beyond what any of us thought it would be. The first two videos, alone, were seen by well over 500,000 people. And it was especially gratifying to see a priest on EWTN incorporate the story of one of our heroes into his homily. You can’t get better advertising!

The videos are a great way to show your friends, families and neighbours this important piece of your life, and we expect, these stories will inspire more men to join our Order. Please show them at your open houses. Send them to your friends. Make them a particular focus of your council’s recruiting efforts.

Of course, videos and social media are not the only way to get the word out. The tried and true methods are often the best. There will never be a substitute for simply asking men in your parish to join. Our most important brand ambassador - the key to our future success – is you!

If you’re a man of faith and prayer; if you’re striving to be a good husband and father; if you’re willing to follow Pope Francis’ plea to go to the peripheries and help those in need, then rest assured, my brothers, that you will be noticed in your parishes and in your communities. You will be a beacon. You will be an everyday hero.

The choice is yours. The future of our order – the legacy of Father McGivney - is in your hands.

Let’s provide this opportunity to others, just as someone once did for us. The more we grow, the more that will be accomplished, the more lives that will be changed.

This is a shared mission. It’s the mission of our entire Knights of Columbus family. I ask you now to join me on that mission. Commit tonight to bringing more men into the Order. Embrace our new programs. Build the Domestic Church. Be an everyday hero because, my brothers, the world needs us now more than ever.

Thank you for your commitment to the Order and to Venerable Father McGivney’s vision.
Vivat Jesus!

RONALD F. SCHWARZ
Supreme Treasurer

Father of Knights of Columbus in the Philippines

 

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