Message from Past Grand Knight Jim Whelan
I want to thank all of our members, especially council officers, for the hard work these past two years. When my first term as Grand Knight began in July of 2019, no one could have predicted the unique challenges we would face. We set goals for new membership, made plans to try some new fundraising ideas, and challenged ourselves to take on a more visible and active role in our parishes. I am proud to say that with the help of many, we managed to meet our goals despite the pandemic and shutdowns.
We started by hosting a Holy Hour for vocations followed by a barbecue for invited seminarians and priests in August of 2019. In the fall we had a successful canning drive benefitting people with disabilities. We brought back our family breakfasts, and had our first ever chili cook-off, all to raise money for our charitable causes. We also held our first video CUF Degrees and brought a number of new members into our organization. In early 2020 we held our first three Lenten Fish Fries. It seemed we were on our way to a very successful year.
Then the pandemic hit and everything was shut down, but we didn’t stop. Thanks to our early fundraising we were able to make monetary donations to our parishes at a time that weekly offerings were way down and financial assistance was needed. We continued to meet, but now virtually for the first time. Brothers remained engaged and willing to help. We raised money to help one of our brothers suffering with significant health issues. When churches reopened on a limited basis, our pastors needed extra help to seat people and enforce social distancing requirements. Knights answered the call, became ushers, and made sure Masses were covered. When Seminarians (now Reverend Fathers) Ariel Bautista and Greg Zannetti were ordained as Transitional Deacons, our council purchased, prepared food, and hosted a “socially distanced” outdoor barbecue reception in their honor. In addition, we gave them both gifts to help offset their education expenses. As restrictions began to relax, we held a very successful “take out only” fish fry. This not only raised money but also brought brothers back together for a good cause. In October we held a prayer service for Police Officers and First Responders at Washington Memorial Park in Dunellen that was very well attended and received by the community. We held blood drives in July and October of 2020 and again June of this year. We also held the most successful Right to Life Rose Drive we ever had in June. Brothers continued to answer the call of our pastors by assisting at First Communion and Confirmation Masses.
I am most proud of the fact that we formed our own Council Degree Team so that we could offer the CUF (Charity-Unity-Fraternity) combined degree in person. On April 16, 2021 we held our first CUF Exemplification ceremony at Our Lady of Fatima Church, bringing in 8 new members, 7 of whom are Seminarians.
All of this happened because brother Knights stepped up and were willing to help. Members took on roles of leadership to make all of the above possible. Officers were forthcoming with ideas. More importantly, when difficult decisions had to be made during a very tumultuous time, officers provided me with thoughtful and valuable insight.
I thank everyone for the support and hard work over the past 2 years. I am proud of what we accomplished. Together, we fulfilled Blessed Father Michael McGivney’s mission of Charity, Unity, and Fraternity. It has truly been my honor to serve as Grand Knight of Council 2544. I ask that you give Grand Knight Mario Fabella and his officers all the effort and support you gave me. Please join me in praying that Our Blessed Lord continues to bless us and guide us as we serve Him as members of the Knights of Columbus.
NEW OFFICERS 2021-2022
At our council meeting on May 26th, officers for the 2021-2022 fraternal year were elected. Congratulations to the Worthy Brothers shown below. They will take office on July 1.
|Grand Knight||…||Mario Fabella|
|Deputy GK||…||Tom Baffuto|
|Inside Guard||…||Dennis Whelan|
|Outside Guard||…||Ed Patella|
|3 Yr Trustee||…||Jim Whelan|
|2 Yr Trustee||…||Dr. Tom Connors|
|1 Yr Trustee||…||Keith Venturella|
|Chaplain||…||Rev. Fr. Paul DaSilva|
|Fin. Secretary||…||Dave Sprayberry|
THE BEATIFICATION OF
FATHER MICHAEL MC GIVNEY, FOUNDER
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
WHO WAS FATHER MICHAEL MC GIVNEY?
Father McGivney (1852-1890) was an American Catholic priest based in New Haven, Connecticut. He was born to poor Irish immigrant parents and was the eldest of 13 children, six of whom died in infancy or early childhood.
Michael attended the local Waterbury district school but left at 13 to work in the spoon making department of a local brass mill, to help support his family. At the age of 16 he entered a seminary in Quebec, Canada to study for the priesthood but had to leave in 1873 to help raise his siblings after the death of his father. Later he resumed his priesthood studies at St. Mary’s in Baltimore and was ordained a priest there in 1877 and returned to Connecticut.
From his own life experience, Father McGivney recognized the devastating effect the untimely deaths of fathers as the sole wage earners had on immigrant families. In the early American industrial revolution, manufacturing plants were very unsafe places to work. In the late 19th century, Catholics were barred from both union employment and from membership in fraternal and social organizations.
In March of 1882, Father McGivney, with a group of New Haven businessmen who were his parishioners, formed the Knights of Columbus as a mutual aid society. Their mission was to provide financial assistance, to the widows and orphans of Catholic members who died. The Knights of Columbus also evolved into a fraternal organization. Father McGivney was a tireless worker for his parishioners. During the pandemic of 1890, while serving his flock, he became ill and died of pneumonia.
WHY WAS FATHER MCGIVNEY BEATIFIED:
Beatification requires the Catholic Church’s formal confirmation (by the Pope) of a documented miracle, being caused by the intercession of the person being considered for Sainthood. In Father McGivney’s case, the miracle was the survival in the womb of a baby boy who had Down syndrome and fetal hydrops, a rare and usually fatal condition where fluids build up around vital organs. The Schachle family is from Dickson, Tennessee. The Schachles had successfully prayed to Father McGivney in the past and they reached out to him again for their baby boy’s survival. The doctor who ran the neonatal high-risk clinic at Vanderbilt University told the Schachles that in her 30 years of experience, no child had ever survived this fetal hydrops diagnosis.
Things looked desperately bad, but the father, a past Grand Knight, and the family, extended family & friends and local Knights all prayed to Father McGivney for the boy’s survival. The father also went to Fatima on a pilgrimage with the Knights just before the child was born. Upon the father’s return, on the last ultrasound before the child was delivered early, at 31 weeks by caesarean, on May 15, 2015…. the doctors were astounded that there was no fetal hydrops! May 15th interestingly, is also the date of the chartering of the first Knights of Columbus Council in 1882. Today in 2020, there are over 16,000 local Councils in 19 countries around the world. It is also comforting that August 12th, Father McGivney’s birthday, is also Michelle Schachle, the baby boy’s mother’s birthday. And amazingly, the baby, named Michael after Father Michael McGivney is the youngest of the 13 children in the Schachle family and Father McGivney was the oldest of the 13 children in his family! Who says miracles do not happen anymore!
The Beatification Mass was held on October 31st at 11:00AM at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford CT and can be viewed on the Knights website, kofc.org.
WHO ARE THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS TODAY?
The Knights of Columbus is a 138-year-old, non-profit charitable organization, whose members are all Catholic men in good standing with the Catholic Church. Pope Francis refers to us as the right arm of the Church. We have 1.9 million members worldwide and 63,000+ members in New Jersey. In 2019, in total, we donated $187 million and 77 million manhours to hundreds of charitable causes.
Contributed by Rick Genter, FN 1775