As I work through my third year as Grand Knight, I continually grow in my appreciation of the Knights as an organization and of you, my fellow Knights of St. Anthony Council, for your friendship, hard work, and values you exhibit. You truly embody the Knights’ virtues of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism with everything you do in our community. Our Knights are among the most dedicated and active men in our parishes and communities, helping where needed, and giving generously when called.
Our council leadership is working through the issue of what we can do to make our Knights’ council better. Some background: Our council consists of over 200 members. Of these, about 25 show up to any given meeting and about the same number participate in any of our fundraising and service events. If I were to guess, I’d say that, out of 200+ members, only about 50 are routinely active and less than 20 do most of the work. While this is a strong testament to the effectiveness of our active members, this is not the participation rate of a healthy organization.
There are a number of reasons for a low participation rate. Some of our members are past the age where they can be very active. Some members have concerns that are more pressing, such as job, children, school and other worthy causes. Everyone is busy. As I look at these numbers, however, I conclude that a majority of our members feel that the works we are called to do as Knights are a lower priority than the other issues in their lives.
This conclusion draws me to ask two questions – why are we Knights, and what can we do to make the Knights more relevant in our members’ lives?
We all became Knights for different reasons. Some of us want to spend time in fellowship with other Catholic men. Some joined to have an additional networking opportunity. Some of us joined because our fathers and grandfathers were members and it was a family expectation. Some of us just wanted the insurance. Once we joined, however, we all accepted the importance of our Order’s virtues and the causes that flow from those. The Knights have an important mission, both nationally and locally and, as Catholic men, we are called to be “salt of the earth and light to the world.”
We’ve recognized this and have reorganized the council so that most of its work is conducted in support of causes through our active committees which include:
- Sanctity of Life
- Catholic Youth
- Catholic Families and Community
- Religious Vocations
All fundraisers are now tied to causes served by our committees and all money raised has a specific destination. Organizations that we support include Fr. Taaffe Homes, Standup Girl, Regis St. Mary School, Benedictine Seminary, and our local Catholic Youth Group. In addition, any brother Knight with a cause that’s important to him can organize a fundraiser and expect the help of other brother Knights.
We’re also taking strides to improve our communication. You may have noticed most of our paper newsletters have transitioned to email, but we’ve also built a new website, www.kofc2439.org that will have up-to-date information, messages, and a members’ page where you can post information and communicate with the rest of the council. We also have a social media presence at www.facebook.com/kofc2439 . Take advantage of these improved sites and communicate with us!
Another area due for change is how we run our meetings. I know that a monthly business meeting is not an attractive draw for most members, so we are going to make some of our meetings purely social and focused on fun and fellowship. We’ll plan these meetings quarterly and see how it goes. We will put out ample notice to let our members know when these meetings are planned, and it would be great to have a large part of our council show. Our first fun and fellowship meeting will be in February at the normal time for the monthly meeting (2nd Tuesday at 7:30 pm.) Bring a game, some cards, a snack, whatever, and let’s have some fun!
Beyond the fun and fellowship, however, lies a greater truth. The Knights of Columbus is a great organization that does great things, and you’re missing out if you don’t participate. Be an active member and help make our council better. Show the other Catholic men in our community what a great place the Knights of Columbus can be.
Join us for our February Fun Night, our St. Paddy’s Night in March, and our Mothers’ Day breakfast in May.