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Knights of Columbus plan to replace plumes, tuxedos and capes with berets and blazers

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Catholic News Service

PHOENIX — The Knights of Columbus, long associated with swords, capes and chapeaus, will be going through a significant uniform change.

Members of the Knights of Columbus are seen in their new uniforms Aug. 1 during the international fraternal organization's 135th annual Supreme Convention in St. Louis. The new uniform is replacing the traditional regalia worn by fourth-degree Knights, announced Supreme Knight Carl Anderson Aug. 1 during the convention. (CNS photo/Knights of Columbus)

Members of the Knights of Columbus are seen in their new uniforms Aug. 1 during the international fraternal organization’s 135th annual Supreme Convention in St. Louis. The new uniform is replacing the traditional regalia worn by fourth-degree Knights, announced Supreme Knight Carl Anderson Aug. 1 during the convention. (CNS photo/Knights of Columbus)

The traditional regalia worn by fourth-degree Knights will be replaced, announced Supreme Knight Carl Anderson Aug. 1 during the international fraternal organization’s 135th annual Supreme Convention in St. Louis.

Throughout the years, the regalia of the Knights’ fourth degree, known as the patriotic degree, has gone through changes, Anderson said, noting that when this degree was first established, the uniform included white ties, top hats and tails.

In place of a tuxedo with a black bow tie, members will be wearing a blue blazer, an official Knights of Columbus tie and a beret, all with the fourth-degree emblem on them, along with a white shirt and dark gray slacks. There was no mention if the swords would remain part of the uniform.

“The board of directors has decided that the time is right for a modernization of the fourth-degree uniform,” Anderson said. “On a limited basis, assemblies may choose to continue using the traditional cape and chapeau for color corps at public events and honor guards in liturgical processions. However, the preferred dress for the fourth degree, including color corps and honor guards, is the new uniform of jacket and beret.”

Robert Earl, a member of the Father Novatus Assembly 23, which serves Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Daniel the Prophet parishes in Scottsdale, welcomes the new changes.

“I feel it is significant that the order changes to respond to changing times. The new uniform evokes an image of elite military corpsmen in my mind, and I believe this is the intent behind the change,” Earl told The Catholic Sun, newspaper of the Diocese of Phoenix.

“Our former regalia was reminiscent of Navy officers and consistent with the nautical theme in the patriotic degree, but it perhaps did not have currency in the minds of the general public,” he added, noting that in addition to the tuxedo, the other items collectively could cost approximately $500. “I think the new uniform creates a positive and striking image of ‘soldiers for Christ,’ which is, after all, what we are meant to be.”

Many members are not as thrilled about the pending changes, which generated some controversy among the membership. Joseph Meyer from Msgr. Bernard G. Collins Assembly 2899, which serves St. Bridget and Christ the King parishes in Mesa, said the new uniforms lose a sense of the pageantry associated with the Knights’ fourth-degree level.

“I have been a fourth-degree Knight since 1978 and we have always had this regalia,” said Meyer, who was a color corps commander in Toledo, Ohio. for 13 years before moving to Arizona. “We all looked great in the fourth-degree outfits. These (new) outfits look bad.”

Meyer also expressed concern for members who own the current uniform and have to spend money on the new one.

“If we get a new uniform like this, you will see a lot of Knights leave the degree. A lot of your Knights are retired and don’t have over $500 to spend,” he said.

Paul Lee, a member of the Iowa delegation who spoke to The Catholic Sun from St. Louis, said the reaction on the ground was “mixed.”

“The largest concern is people don’t feel that they have answers for the question of why the need for the change. They want something beyond a more modern look,” said Lee.

Lee said many members he’s interacted with are excited about the changes because it brings the uniform “more in line with other military service organizations because it connects us as patriotic organizations.” There also are members who “don’t like change, so they’re already up in arms,” he added.

“Then you have the sect of folks that feel that their voice was not consulted, (that) this sort of change should have taken place as discussion at the state council level and then brought concerns to the Supreme level,” said Lee, who countered that notion by saying conversations have been happening at all levels of the order about the need for change.

Representatives of the Arizona State Council said it was too early to comment as program details and guidelines for implementing the new uniforms were still unavailable.

By Tony Gutierrez, editor of The Catholic Sun, newspaper of the Diocese of Phoenix.

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Knights to send $2 million to restore Christian town in Iraq

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — In 2014, the Islamic State removed hundreds of families of religious minorities from their homes in Karamdes, a mostly Christian town on the Ninevah Plain in Iraq. Just over two years later, the town, also known as Karemlash, was liberated.

A Catholic church destroyed by Islamic State militants in Karamdes, Iraq, is examined by a priest following the predominantly Christian town's 2016 liberation. (CNS photo/Archdiocese of Irbil)

A Catholic church destroyed by Islamic State militants in Karamdes, Iraq, is examined by a priest following the predominantly Christian town’s 2016 liberation. (CNS photo/Archdiocese of Irbil)

The Knights of Columbus will raise $2 million to assist these families in returning to their homes, according to Knights CEO Carl Anderson, who announced their pledge at the Knights’ 135th annual Supreme Convention being held Aug. 1-3 in St. Louis.

“The terrorists desecrated churches and graves and looted and destroyed homes,” Anderson said in his annual report, which was livestreamed from the convention. “Now we will ensure that hundreds of Christian families driven from their homes can return to these two locations and help to ensure a pluralistic future for Iraq.”

The Knights are following the example of the Hungarian government, whose new spending bill allowed for $2 million to be sent to the Archdiocese of Irbil in Iraq, assisting with the rebuilding of a Christian community near Mosul, Iraq.

Families who were previously displaced from their homes were able to return to their homeland because of the government of Hungary. This example served as proof to the Knights of the impact of returning families to their homes.

The cost of resettling one family is around $2,000, the amount the Knights are encouraging councils, parishes and individuals to donate.

“These Christian communities are a priceless treasure for the church,” Anderson said to the Knights attending the convention. “They have every right to live.”

The Knights have actively sought to provide humanitarian aid to Christians in Iraq, as well as Syria and the surrounding areas, donating over $13 million. In June, Anderson joined Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California, in speaking in a news conference to urge the Senate to pass legislation that would provide U.S. humanitarian aid to the Archdiocese of Irbil, after the House unanimously voted in favor of the bill.

Pope Francis commended the Knights for their work in the Middle East in a letter sent to the Knights at the convention from Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The pope professed his “gratitude for the commitment of the Knights to supporting our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East,” according to the letter.

Pope Francis also described the Knights’ relief fund as “an eloquent sign of your order’s firm commitment to solidarity and communion with our fellow Christians.”

In a news conference July 27, Secretary of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert reaffirmed the use of the word “genocide” to describe the situation of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

“When we look at Iraq and we look at what has happened to some of the Yezidis, some of the Christians, the secretary (Rex Tillerson) believes, and he firmly believes, that that was genocide,” Nauert said.

In March 2016, then-Secretary of State John Kerry first declared that that ISIS militants’ actions in Iraq and Syria against minority Christian, Yezidi and Shiite Muslim groups was genocide.

The Knights of Columbus also will join the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for a “Week of Awareness” for persecuted Christians, which will begin Nov. 26 with a day of prayer for persecuted Christians.

In his annual report, Anderson urged each council of Knights to mark this day with “highest priority.”

“Our work has truly changed history,” Anderson said.

The work to rebuild Karamdes will begin the first week of August and any funds raised will go directly to the project.

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New poll shows Americans strongly support abortion restrictions

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — A few days before the annual March for Life, a new national poll indicated shifting public attitudes, crossing party labels, in favor of increased restrictions on abortion.

“When you ask Americans what they think of abortion … you get very, very strong numbers in favor of restrictions,” said Andrew T. Walther, vice president of communications of the Knights of Columbus, during a Jan. 23 news conference.

Participants carry a banner during the annual annual Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco Jan. 21. (CNS photo/Jose Aguirre, Walk for Life West Coast)

Participants carry a banner during the annual annual Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco Jan. 21. (CNS photo/Jose Aguirre, Walk for Life West Coast)

The Marist survey of 2,729 adults was conducted in December and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. It contains breakdowns by political affiliations and ethnicity but not religious beliefs, so there was no information on how many respondents were Catholics.

Fifty-two percent of the respondents indicated that they thought of themselves as “pro-choice,” while 42 percent self-identified as pro-life. But when the questions became more detailed on abortion policies, the numbers shifted.

Across political and ethnic lines, overwhelming majorities of respondents indicated they would like “significant restrictions.” That included 91 percent of those who called themselves supporters of President Donald J. Trump, and 55 percent of those who identified themselves as Hillary Clinton supporters. The poll further showed that 79 percent of both African-American and Latino respondents favored significant restrictions.

Further, 74 percent said they wanted the Supreme Court to rule on these restrictions, indicating support for overturning the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion virtually on demand.

Eighty-three percent said abortion should be allowed only to save the life of the mother, while 77 percent said it should not be permitted under any circumstance.

In line with Trump’s new executive order reinstating what’s called the Mexico City Policy, which bans tax dollars from funding groups that promote or perform abortion overseas, 83 percent opposed that use of tax money in other countries, and 62 percent opposed the use of tax money generally.

Fully half the respondents thought abortion “has a negative, long-term impact on a woman’s life,” while 19 percent were unsure.

Fifty-nine percent believe that abortion limits were either “important” or an immediate priority, and the same percentage agreed when asked if they thought abortion was morally wrong.

The same level of support was expressed for an abortion ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and 60 percent believed that medical professionals with moral objections should not be legally required to provide abortion services.

The 44th annual March for Life, which draws thousands to Washington to commemorate the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe decision, will be held Jan. 27.

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Knights of Columbus aim to work more closely with parishes

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Catholic News Service

The Knights of Columbus has announced an initiative designed to bring the Knights into closer cooperation with parishes.

A Knights of Columbus honor guard leads a eucharistic procession on the feast of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi Parish in Mineola, N.Y. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

A Knights of Columbus honor guard leads a eucharistic procession on the feast of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi Parish in Mineola, N.Y. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Changes 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.

According 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.

Among 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 activities.

In 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.

The 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 have Squires groups should not begin new ones but instead should support existing parish-based youth ministry programs.

The 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.

Andrew 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, 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 roots.

“Most 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.

Walther 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 parish.

Asked 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.”

The 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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Knights’ founder drew principles from ‘heart of Gospel,’ says archbishop

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PHILADELPHIA — St. John Paul II often referred “to the witness of holy men and women as ‘transfigured lives capable of amazing the world,'” Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori told members of the Knights of Columbus in a homily Aug. 6.

Father Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights, is an example of just such a holy man, he said.

Archbishop Lori made the comments in a homily at a Mass on the feast of the Transfiguration, the last day of the Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention in Philadelphia. Read more »

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Knights raising money, awareness of plight of Christians in Middle East

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Catholic News Service

 

PHILADELPHIA — Christianity may be thriving around the world, but it is under severe attack and threatened with extinction in the Middle East, the region of its birth.

This was a major theme at the 133rd Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in Philadelphia Aug. 4-6.

It was stressed at an Aug. 4 news conference with Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson and two Catholic archbishops of Eastern Catholic Churches with direct experience of the situation. They were Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, and Chaldean Archbishop Bashir Matti Warda of Erbil, Iraq. The two archbishops also spoke at a general meeting of the convention. Read more »

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Father Oscar Frundt dies at 87, known for ministry to Delaware State Police

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Dialog reporter

 

Father Oscar H. Frundt, a retired priest of the Diocese of Wilmington who was a longtime chaplain for the Delaware State Police, died April 13. He was 87.

Father Frundt was born in Jersey City, N.J., and attended Catholic schools there.

After earning his bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College in Lebanon, Kentucky; he continued his studies for the priesthood at St. Charles Seminary in Overbrook, Pa., and graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., in 1956. Read more »

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Knights of Columbus send aid to Ukraine’s Catholics

March 10th, 2015 Posted in National News Tags: , , ,

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Knights of Columbus is providing $400,000 to relief programs sponsored by the Catholic Church in Ukraine.

The violent conflict in Ukraine has created “an enormous humanitarian disaster in the freezing winter months,” the fraternal organization said in announcing the aid.

Gifts by the Knights of $200,000 each to the Eastern- and Latin-rite Catholic communities of Ukraine are being used for humanitarian relief, including projects that feed and aid homeless children and refugees living on the streets of the capital city of Kiev, it said.

The Knights of Columbus sent the aid to Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kiev-Halych, and Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv, the leaders of the Ukraine’s Eastern and Latin churches, respectively.

“Too often, the conflict in Ukraine is discussed purely in military or geopolitical terms, while the most vulnerable and marginalized — the young and old, the poor, the sick, and the increasing number of refugee families — are almost invisible to the outside world,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Our support is meant to further enable the bishops of Ukraine as they help their people and further implement the Holy Father’s call to aid those most in need.”

During their “ad limina” visit to the Vatican in February, Pope Francis assured Ukraine’s Eastern- and Latin-rite bishops that “the Holy See is at your side,” and urged them “to be attentive and considerate to the poor.”

“Working in the midst of uncertainty, many of the Catholic efforts are designed to help provide a social safety net for the needy, especially orphans and children who are separated from their parents,” the Knights said in the announcement on the group’s aid.

The programs are an effort to carry out “in a practical way the spiritual message of Pope Francis,” the organization added.

According to AP, the fighting in eastern Ukraine was diminishing as a cease-fire agreement reached Feb. 12 began to take hold. On March 2, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said more than 6,000 people have died since fighting began in April 2014. The U.N. refugee office puts the number of Ukrainians displaced within their own country at close to 1 million.

Last March, Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine, and pro-Russian separatists control Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the eastern part of the country.

 

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Cardinal George says he’s receiving palliative care

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Catholic News Service

CHICAGO — Doctors have exhausted all options in Cardinal Francis E. George’s cancer treatment and have moved on to palliative care.

The cardinal shared that information with news media during a Jan. 30 news conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, following a luncheon where he received the Knights of Columbus’ highest honor, the Gaudium et Spes Award.

Cardinal Francis E. George, retired archbishop of Chicago, speaks to media Jan. 30 in Chicago after receiving the Gaudium et Spes Award from Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.  (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

Cardinal Francis E. George, retired archbishop of Chicago, speaks to media Jan. 30 in Chicago after receiving the Gaudium et Spes Award from Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

“They’ve run out of tricks in the bag, if you like,” said Cardinal George, 78, Chicago’s retired archbishop.

He’s doing physical therapy because his muscles atrophied during chemotherapy, when he was exhausted and unable to get around much, he said. That situation is typical when undergoing chemotherapy, and especially with polio survivors, such as himself, because their muscles are overworked, he said.

“But basically, I’m in the hands of God, as we all are in some fashion,” he said, adding that he hopes to eventually get off the crutches he’s been using since October.

“In some ways, this particular disease, in my case, has not been following the usual pattern in the past. It probably won’t follow the usual pattern in the future,” the cardinal told reporters.

Like anyone with a terminal illness, he has good days and bad days. If he has enough stamina, the cardinal said, he planned to attend the consistory of cardinals in mid-February, but hadn’t made up his mind.

“Rome is not an easy city for people who are disabled in the best of times,” Cardinal George said.

Since his retirement last November, he has been keeping regular appointments and hearing confessions at Holy Name Cathedral on Thursdays when he’s available. Hearing confessions was one of the things he said he looked forward to most in retirement.

Prior to the news conference, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson presented Cardinal George with the Gaudium et Spes Award. The award was established in 1992 and is named for the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, or “Gaudium et Spes.”

Blessed Teresa of Kolkata was its first recipient. Others include Cardinal John O’Connor of New York and L’Arche founder Jean Vanier.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, who is supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, read the award’s citation, which said in part: “Both in his brilliant speeches, homilies, letters and books, and in the brave witness to the faith that he has shown to the world — in sickness and in health — Cardinal George has proven over and over again one of the leading voices in the Catholic Church in the United States.”

The award comes with a $100,000 gift. Cardinal George said he was giving $60,000 of it to the archdiocese’s “To Teach Who Christ Is” campaign scholarship fund, which benefits children in Catholic schools. The remaining $40,000 will be divided and donated to various charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Cardinal George has been a member of the Knights since 1991 and has twice delivered the keynote at the order’s national convention.

In his remarks upon receiving the award, Cardinal George told those gathered: “This award is for you as well as it is for me because you share the joys and the hopes, the anxieties and the griefs of all of the people whom you know and all of the people whom you don’t know but you know you are called to love because God is love,” he said. “And we are made in his image and likeness.”

 

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Student and school news

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Knights of Columbus to hold free throw contest

The Knights of Columbus Christopher Council is holding a free throw contest for boys and girls between the ages of 10-14 on Jan. 11 at St. Helena’s Parish gymnasium. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., with the contest at 11.

All participants receive a free breakfast, and one parent or guardian will get a discounted meal. Proof of age is required. For more information, contact Bill Moschelle at (302) 798-2904 or pmanager@hrparish.com.

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