Jack Gunn, Chairman
WE ARE CALLED. Our State Deputy selected a theme for his Administration that upon reflection is magnificent from a recruiting perspective. Throughout the Bible and onward to today, God is continually calling ordinary people into His Service and upon their “yes”, their acceptance, powerfully equipping them to fulfill their missions here on Earth. During Mass at the Change of Power meeting, our Associate State Chaplain from the last fraternal year, Fr. Jack Whitley, observed that “the Knights of Columbus are being called to continue the evangelization of conscience and to work for the protection of religious freedom.” Fr. Eugene Okoli at St. Jude Parish in Allen Texas observed during Mass on Memorial Day weekend that “we are called to serve as Jesus served us.” One of the famous “calls” in the Bible, was from God to Moses to go see him on Mount Sinai. During this meeting, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, the Decalogue, as a foundation for the moral lives of his people.
It occurred to me that the Ten Commandments could be applied to an approach or Council Culture of recruiting. Here are my ten commandments for Recruiting.
- Thou shall lead by example and use words only when necessary.
- Thou shall be able to articulate the benefits of Knighthood on a moment’s notice.
- Thou shall treat every Council event as a recruiting opportunity.
- Thou shall always have a form 100 on hand or nearby.
- Thou shall ensure that there are frequent first degrees available.
- Thou shall ensure that all candidates are escorted to a First Degree Ceremony.
- Thou shall ensure that all form 100’s from candidates attending degrees are submitted to Supreme as soon as humanly possible (track First Degree attendees by name and Council number, validate they hit the rosters).
- Thou shall have an effective outreach program for current members, a mentoring program to quickly engage our new Brothers and great programs for all.
- Thou shall utilize the Admissions and Membership processes as documented in our bylaws.
- Thou shall ensure your Parish Priest and Field Agent are actively engaged in recruiting and retention activity.
- A strong and continual recruiting and outreach plan is essential for each Council’s success. Here are some suggestions for the twelve months of the 2012 – 2013 Fraternal year.
JULY - Lead by Example Officers Challenge Month
One of the marks of a great leader is not expecting your teams to do something you are not willing to do yourself. Accordingly, July is a prime opportunity to set a great example for your fellow officers and Council Brothers by recruiting a new member. In Mark’s Gospel (6:7-13 – Sunday July 15th) – the apostles were summoned and sent out two by two. Likewise, we are each summoned and being sent out.
AUGUST - Join Our Family and the Knights of Columbus Month
Knights of Columbus family week occurs in August. What a great opportunity to plan a Council family event and reach out to the families of potential Knights! The readings for the last Sunday of the Month include Joshua 23 – “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. How fitting for this month. This month also contains two significant dates in the life of the Venerable Fr. Michael McGivney, August 12 – his birth and August 14 – his death. It would be a fitting tribute to him to host a First Degree in his honor.
August 15th – Assumption of Mary
SEPTEMBER - Prospect Awareness Month
Our focus always, but especially before a blitz month, should be to ensure our story and purpose is well publicized. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to hear candidates say I didn’t know the Knights did this or that. So it’s important for your good works and projects to be
documented on your websites, in newsletters and maybe on poster or foam boards that can be displayed at Council events. Diocesan newspapers and Catholic Radio are also avenues in which our story can be told. Recruiting Commandment number 2 is relevant here – you need to articulate some of the items the Knights in general do (pick a few that your prospects can relate to) and also emphasize those your Councils or Chapters do locally (Special Olympics, Habitat, Pro-Life Hikes).
OCTOBER - BLITZ Month
A membership Blitz Sunday is a proven strategy which history has demonstrated works well in Texas. Please review the Blitz information in the following section prepared by the Membership 365 Chairman Carlos Xavier Martinez. In preparation for a Blitz, Knights should work with the pastor to raise their visibility in the Parish – perhaps a Corporate Communion would be appropriate. Certainly on Blitz Sunday, ask all Knights to wear their Shirts and Name Badges – many Councils already do that regularly.
NOVEMBER - All Saints, All Souls and Thanksgiving
In Texas, November traditionally provides a month to focus on new candidates identified during the membership Blitz’s conducted during the preceding month. Please ensure you follow-up on potential candidates and escort them to a First Degree as soon as possible. All Souls Day also suggests to me an opportunity to reach out to Council members you haven’t seen for a while. Be sure they are ok – if not, what can we do to help? If they are ok and have drifted away, invite them to participate in an event and volunteer to go pick them up. Jesus called Lazarus back from the dead and he also reached out to the little girl who was sleeping – “Tabitha Koum” – little girl, get up.
DECEMBER - The Birth of Our Lord
One way our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary is described is the Ark of the Covenant, carrying Jesus as He grew and developed before his birth on Christmas Day. What an incredible answer to God’s call by Mary, what strength of faith she possessed! (God chose Mary to be the virgin by which the Christ child would be brought into the world. Matt 1:23). During the Christmas Season, may we as Knights work to “Keep Christ in Christmas”! Many of our councils organize Christmas socials or we will be invited to many socials ourselves. Take this opportunity to invite your potential candidates and wives so that they can meet and mingle with our Brother Knights and Ladies. When attending other Christmas parties, wear your Knights pin or maybe your Pro-Life wings. If asked what they are, you have an opportunity! It goes without saying you should have a form 100 in your pocket. Though this is a busy season, please try and plan a First Degree sometime perhaps early in the month. There may be opportunities between Christmas and New Years when college age young men are home. What a great opportunity for a Father or Son to give the gift of Knighthood for Christmas!
JANUARY - “A New Year, A New Knight” Month
I dare to say that all of us spend a part of December working on resolutions for the New Year. This time of the year can be dreary and sometimes there tends to be not much going on. What a great time to host a Council social event, provide an opportunity for members and their families to gather. Be sure to invite your prospective members and their families. For many of us, it’s human nature to gravitate to those we know – try to focus on those we don’t know. Jesus called Peter to step out of his boat on the stormy Sea of Gesthemene – what a great visual for us to approach and seek out and make feel welcome new members and friends.
FEBRUARY - Alms Giving, Penance and Prayer
Lent is a time of sacrifice, penance and prayer as we prepare to celebrate the Triduum – Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection. It is also a time when a great many of our parishes come together with Friday Evening Fish Fries and Stations of the Cross. The Lenten season is a time for the Knights to be visible serving others, at Fish Fries, in the many parish ministries necessary during this season, and even helping park cars and direct traffic on Easter Morning. During this season of fish fries, we can reflect on Mat 1:16 where Jesus called Simon Peter and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea to be fishers of men. We too are called.
MARCH - Lent continues and culminates with Easter
Perhaps the most forceful call by God is described by Luke in Acts 9:4, when Jesus calls Saul on the road to Damascus to stop persecuting his church and become his follower. This was a forceful call by Jesus, knocking Saul to the ground and temporarily robbing him of his sight. How many times in our lives have we been too comfortable in our ways and blind to the needs of others? Let us be vigilant and willing to approach other Catholic gentlemen with an invitation to become a Knight. March is traditionally the Spring Blitz in Texas. Details regarding organizing and conducting a Blitz can be found in the Blitz Section of the Program Guide authored by Carlos Xavier Martinez. Conducting a Blitz early in the month would allow for conducting a First Degree to bring these candidates into the Order and also to celebrate Founders Day which also occurs in March, on the 29th. March 29th happens to be Good Friday so it would be reasonable to celebrate on a date earlier in the month.
APRIL - “RCIA” Month
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults culminates at the Easter Vigil, where candidates join our beloved Church and receive the sacraments of Baptism and / or Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist for the first time. Unlike the early days of the Church when this process took years, the current process takes a matter of months – say nine on average. Many of our Councils participate in programs to provide meals and other support to RCIA candidates and teams. Now is a great time to reach out to these new Catholics, embrace them and ask them to join us as Knights.
MAY - “Go forth with the power of the Holy Spirit”
On Pentecost (May 19th), God in the form of the Holy Spirit descended on 12 ordinary men, some would argue less than ordinary in many ways, and empowered them to go forth and preach with confidence the Gospel. From that small beginning, His incredible Church has grown. It is an awesome testament that it exists and flourishes today! Much the same can be said about the Knights of Columbus – founded in 1882 in the basement of St. Mary’s Church by Venerable Fr. Michael McGivney and 12 catholic gentlemen. We too are called to preach the Gospel, to bring the Word of God to all and to work together in our quest to be with our Lord in Heaven when our time comes. As the Strong Right Arm of the Church (frequently cited by many of our Bishops), we are also called to grow the Order. There is no more important time than now to be the strong right arm of the church! Don’t forget to follow-up on any remaining candidates from March Blitzes and to look to Squires and/or High School Seniors turning 18.
JUNE - “Calling All Fathers” Month
Father’s day is always the third Sunday in June and along with the 4th Commandment which calls us to honor our Fathers and Mothers, we are afforded another opportunity for outreach. Seek out and celebrate those Knights who have a strong family tradition – publicize them (with their permission of course) as a model to emulate. I know of one Knight in my home council whose Father is a Knight and all five of his sons are Knights. Don’t forget to extend an invitation to our Priests (our spiritual fathers), Seminarians, Deacons and Deacons in formation as well as college students who may be home for the summer.
CRHP and ACTS Retreats. Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) and Adoration Community Theology and Service (ACTS) retreats are widely available in South Texas and growing rapidly in North Texas. These Lay Retreat and formation programs conclude with a call to service. I can assure you from personal experience that parishes with these programs are energized and vibrant. Many retreat participants concluding their experiences are seeking service opportunities and the Knights of Columbus is a natural progression in involvement. Many councils serve these retreats by providing meals and prayer cards and other support. Knights are frequently asked to participate in the concluding portions of the formation process of these retreats with an invitation to participate in the Knights of Columbus.
Admissions and Membership Committees. Many of us know that our bylaws call for the use of an Admissions and Membership Committee in the process of inducting new brother Knights into our Order, but at the same time, many of us don’t properly use an Admissions or
Membership Committee. Proper use of an Admissions Committee can address two issues many councils frequently encounter. The first is members who not long after joining are not active, potentially in arrears on their dues and potentially on the agenda for the Retention Committee. The second is new candidates who don’t know anything about the fraternal side of the Knights of Columbus and are surprised to hear from a Field Agent at their First Degree. Routing Form 100’s through an Admissions committee provides a structured approach to interview candidates, ensuring our expectations for them and their questions of us are addressed before they join.
In This Section
2012 Star Guide
- Message From The Membership Director
- Membership 365
- All Councils Active
- College Councils
- Membership Retention
- "Father Wants You" Letter
- Supreme Council Recruitment Materials Available
- Membership Awards 2012-2013
- Membership Team
- Fourth Degree - Patriotism
- Ceremonial Program Personnel
- Council Growth