With new initiative, Knights aim to work more closely with parishes

IMAGE: CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz

By Liz O’Connor

Pa. (CNS) — The Knights of Columbus has announced an initiative designed to
bring the Knights into closer cooperation with parishes.

were noted in an address delivered by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson in
November to a San Antonio meeting of state deputies and reprinted in the
December issue of Columbia, the Knights’ magazine. “We will use our
resources of time, talent and money to strengthen parish-based and
parish-sponsored programs,” he wrote.

to Anderson, the 1.9 million-member Catholic fraternal group, organized into
over 15,000 councils operating in the United States and a number of other countries, will continue its focus on spirituality, charity, unity, brotherhood and
patriotism. But it will strive to bring its activities into greater
identification with parishes under the supervision of parish pastors, avoiding
duplication or any perception of competition.

the changes involved, the Knights will not build or acquire any new council halls.
This change, where parish rather than separate facilities are used for meetings
and activities, has already allowed the formation of councils that would not
have been able to afford a building, and will avoid members having to devote
too much time and effort to support the building by renting it for unrelated

another significant change, by the end of this year, the Knights of Columbus
will no longer sponsor Scout groups. Instead, the group will work to support
parish youth ministry programs, including parish-based Catholic Scouting.

Knights, Anderson wrote, should strive to integrate the activities of their Squires
Circles — affiliated groups of boys and young men ages 10 to 18 — with those
of the parish youth ministry. He said councils and assemblies in the U.S. and
Canada that do not currently have Squires groups should not begin new ones but
instead should support existing parish-based youth ministry programs.

Knights, Anderson wrote, are devoted to building up the family as the domestic
church and to evangelizing family life, a work that can be done most
effectively by working in and with the parish.

T. Walther, vice president for communications and strategic planning of the
Supreme Council, noted in an interview with Catholic News Service that it is
important to remember that the Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 in a
parish by a parish priest — Father Michael McGivney, recently declared
venerable, whose sainthood cause has taken its first steps. In re-emphasizing
its focus on the parish, Walther said, the organization is going back to its

of our councils are based in parishes,” Walther said, and Knights
traditionally put themselves at the service of the parish. The group “really
wants to focus in a very specific way on what we’re doing in the parish,”
which includes prayer and the sacramental life, charitable works, and taking a
holistic approach to being united with the parish. Different parishes have
different priorities, and the Knights of Columbus can be flexible to help with
different needs, he noted.

said the change in sponsorship of Scout groups is not intended to diminish the
Knights’ commitment to Catholic Scouting, but to bring it back to focus in the

whether the lack of a council hall would lessen the fellowship aspect of the
Knights’ interaction with each other, Walther said he didn’t think that would
be a problem. Members in current parish-based councils find ways to get
together and experience fraternity, he said. “I don’t think you need a
separate building. I don’t think you lose fraternity, and you gain a lot of
unity with the parish.”

current initiative is designed to promote “the involvement of families
within the parish. The parish is our home, and we should be working first and
foremost through our parish.” Making the parish and interaction with the
parish the top priority is, he said, a re-assertion of the model on which the
Knights were founded.

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