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Saint John Vianney Council 7525

Proud To Be A Knight

We are Catholic men building a bridge back to faith. There is much good and necessary work to be done in this world, and that’s what Knights do every day. 

Blessed Michael McGivney (1852 – 90) – Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, intercede for us.

Quote from Blessed Michael J McGivey

“Our primary object is to prevent people from entering Secret Societies, by offering the same, if not better, advantages to our members. Secondly, to unite the men of our Faith throughout the diocese of Hartford, that we may thereby gain strength to aid each other in time of sickness; to provide for decent burial, and to render pecuniary assistance to the families of deceased members.” 

— To Connecticut parish priests, April 1882 

‘Behold Your Mother’

Devotion to Our Lady is essential to our identity as Knights of unity and charity

By Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly5/1/2021
Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly

 

 

AS THE LEADER of a fraternal order with a founding mission to care for women and children, I must begin with a note of honor to our mothers during this month when we celebrate Mother’s Day. I’m grateful for the fact that my own mother is still going strong at 94, and with you I pray for all the mothers in our lives — whether living or deceased.

This month of May, which is devoted to the Blessed Mother, also offers an excellent opportunity to reflect upon Mary’s role in our lives and in the Church today. While Knights are devoted to Mary under many different titles, we have long had a special devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The tenure of Past Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who consecrated the Order to Our Lady of Guadalupe when he was installed, formalized that devotion’s place in the Order’s spirituality, but the history goes back even further.

As a fraternity which spread to Canada, the Philippines and Mexico within a generation of its founding in the United States, it is only natural that we would turn to the Virgin of Tepeyac. Mary, under the title Our Lady of Guadalupe, is acclaimed the Patroness of the Americas and the Philippines, Star of the New Evangelization and Protectress of the Unborn. Her reassuring message to St. Juan Diego, an Indigenous layman, in 1531, is a message for all of us: “Am I not here, I who has the honor to be your mother?”

Notably, Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared as a pregnant mestiza woman, and as such she is a symbol of both our work in the pro-life movement and our calling to support our Indigenous brothers and sisters in the faith. And as St. John Paul II wrote in Ecclesia in America, we see in her “an impressive example of a perfectly inculturated evangelization” (11).

This notion of inculturated evangelization should resonate with us as Knights of Columbus — particularly as men of unity. The message of Jesus Christ is for all peoples and nations. Mary appeared in the New World in a way that was deeply meaningful to St. Juan Diego and the people of that time and place, but with a message of salvation that is universal. Mary’s appearance points to the reality that, so long as we are unified in the essentials, we can be diverse in the particulars.

‘We have received a tremendous gift in the rosary, in the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and in the Blessed Mother herself.’

Indeed, the impact of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the people of Mexico and the entire American continent is clear. Within seven years of her appearance on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico, almost 9 million people in the region converted to faith in Jesus Christ. Far from conquering or oppressing the native people of the Americas, she appeared as a mother, proclaiming liberty from fear and eternal life in her son.

As such, Our Lady of Guadalupe is an icon of unity for us — especially in terms of our Order’s presence throughout North America, the Philippines and beyond.

A decade from now, in 2031, we will celebrate 500 years since the Guadalupan event. The Order is already discussing ways to mark this anniversary. But for now, and particularly in this month of May, I challenge all brother Knights to renew our devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her holy rosary.

When we became Knights, we were given this powerful weapon against evil with the words, “Her holy rosary in our hands, going where we go. The salutation ‘Hail Mary’ on our lips. What challenge can we not face? What victories can we not achieve?”

We have received a tremendous gift in the rosary, in the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and in the Blessed Mother herself. Christ’s words from the cross to the apostle John were spoken to the entire Church and to each of us: “Behold your mother” (Jn 19:27).

She is our mother. She is our queen. And we are her Knights. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Vivat Jesus!

 

 

 

 

The Knights of Columbus was initiated by the efforts of Blessed, Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor and some of his parishioners of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven Connecticut in 1881.

Less than 6 months later the Connecticut State Legislature officially incorporated the Kights of Columbus (KoC) in the spring of 1882. Originally serving as a mutual benefit society to low-income immigrant Catholics, the KoC developed into a fraternal benefit society dedicated to providing charitable services, promoting Catholic education and Catholic public policy positions, and actively defending Catholicism in various nations.

The Knights of Columbus was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled, needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief, and public relief works.

The history of the Order shows how the foresight of Blessed, Father Michael J. McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican, brought about what has become the world’s foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society.

The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity, and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.

For their support for the Church and local communities, as well as for their philanthropic efforts, Pope John Paul II The Great referred to the Order as a “strong right arm of the Church.” In 2015, the Order gave over US$175 million directly to charity and performed over 73.5 million man-hours of voluntary service. Additionally, over 413,000 US pints of blood were donated in 2010 through the KOC.

The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to 15, 342 councils and 1.9 million members throughout the world. Over the years the Order has remained true to its founding principles of charity, unity, and fraternity.

Founded in 1882, the Knights of Columbus has grown into the largest cathedral fraternal organization in the world with 1.9 millions members. Our council was founded in 1980 and now has more that 170 members.

Our council is located in the beautiful Green Mountain State of Vermont in South Burlington, where skiing is the sport of choice and maple sugaring is a way of life. Most visitors call Vermont “God’s country” and rightly so.

In the fall our mountains are painted all shades of red, orange, and yellow that are the envy of artists and enjoyed by leaf-peepers from all over the globe.

Saint John Vianny Parish where we make our home has approximately 1300 families. Member Brother Knights in our council live in several of the surrounding towns as well. 

Although not the largest parish in the state, we have a reputation for being one of the most charitable. As all Knights know, charity is the watch-word of the Order. Our council gives to charities like Camp Ta Kum Ta & Special Olympics, provides scholarships to students and supports pro-life causes.  

Anyone considering a vocation to our mission and adopting a rewarding way of life would be welcome to our order as a brother knight.

  “You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14, 16)

Worthy Officers, Brothers and Sir Knights,

My name is Michael Bullock, your new Council 7525 Grand Knight. It is a distinct honor and privilege to take on this important position at this challenging period in our history. I live in Hinesburg with my wife Candice of 42 years and daughter Elizabeth, age 11, and our dog Marlo. We have four grown children, and six grandchildren. I belong to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Charlotte, but most weekends you can find me at a service at St. Jude the Apostle Church. I currently work for Valiant Integrated Services as a full-time Officer Senior Trainer to the Vermont Army National Guard (VTARNG) 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) (Mountain) and other units in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland. I served 31 years in the US Army, mostly part-time (M-Day) for the VTARNG. For 27 years I enjoyed a concurrent career in Insurance Adjusting. I deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 with the 124th  Regional Training Institute (Forward) and retired with the rank of Colonel in 2007. In 2011 I retired a second time after a second tour in Afghanistan with the 86th  IBCT (MTN) in 2010.

The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement have challenged us in many ways. This is a time of introspection and reflection, a time to question long held assumptions about what it means to worship God and serve our neighbor in His holy name.

I recall being distressed when the Churches closed, but not the liquor stores, when our collective response to the pandemic meant “social distancing”, “shelter in place”, “wear a mask” and ”wash your hands frequently.” Certainly, I thought, worship was an essential human activity. My comfort came from the Word; “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)

The BLM Movement has shattered our complacency about matters of race, bias, inequality and injustice. We are reminded of the anti-Catholic sentiment common at the time of our founding and moved to consider whether Catholic lives can matter until black lives matter. When will the lives of the unborn matter? Is it enough to consider ourselves “color blind”; or should we endeavor to be militantly anti-racist? People are questioning the persistent loyalty to cherished icons; founding fathers, confederate leaders, and explorers like our own Christopher Columbus. How best should we reconcile their great achievements with their human frailty?

This moment and this movement are opportunities to excel. They serve to reinforce our commitment to our founding values and principles. Our creative response has already made it possible to engage members virtually who have not been able, due to health or distance, to attend a meeting or an event. We need their ideas and their prayers to get after the important work of the Council. Our Mission remains our focus in 2020; “to provide members and their families with volunteer opportunities in service to the Catholic Church, their communities, families and young people.”

We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our members and officers who have succeeded in bringing us safely to another base camp in our ascent to the Kingdom of Heaven. I especially want to thank our Brother, Sir Knight Tom Gravelin for his leadership and patient assistance during this transition. As the leader he blazed a new trail through three feet of snow against a strong headwind, assisted by many Sherpas. “Many hands make light work” and the role of the Sherpa, the officers and members of our Council, is essential. (Some scholars believe that the first humans to summit Mount Everest where Sherpas, not famous explorers) Thank-you Brother Tom for your service as Grand Knight.

The theme and focus of my service will be “renewal”. Even in the four years since I became a member of the Knights of Columbus, the number of Sherpas, or laborers in the field, has grown noticeably smaller. The cross that must be carried to achieve the summit of our aspirations does not change; the total weight is divided by the number of willing carriers. Our success depends on the number of laborers. The burden can be joyfully carried if each of us grabs a rucksack and takes on our share of the load to the next basecamp.

Father M. Eugene Boylan, in his wonderful book “This Tremendous Lover” reminds us that “There can, therefore, be no true union with God unless we love also our neighbor.” But he also observes “The greatest service we can render our neighbor is to sanctify ourselves… and to pray for them; …by a life of faith, hope, charity, humility, and abandonment to the will of God.”

It is my hope and prayer that you will find in your membership in the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal community dedicated to your sanctification and demonstrating a love of neighbor by becoming Christ to each other and to those we serve.

Fraternal Blessings,

Mike Bullock

Grand Knight

Council 7525

 

Please support these Worthy Council 7525 Officers for 2020-2021:

 

Grand Knight Mike Bullock
Deputy Grand Knight Dave Martin
Financial Secretary Charles Brown
Chancellor Dick Sevens
Recorder Ray Michaud
Treasurer Richard Gravelin
Advocate Tom Buzzell
Warden Jay Benson
Inside Guard Dinh Dang
Outside Guard Doan Vu
One Year Trustee Ken Jarvis
Two Year Trustee Ted Barrett
Three Year Trustee Tom Gravelin
Chaplain Fr. Tim Naples
Lecturer Bernie Prendergast

Please support these Worthy Assembly 2601 Officers for 2020-2021: 

Faitfhul Navigator: SK Rick Gravelin
Faithful Comptroler: SK Charles Brown
Faithful Captain: SK Ted Barrett
Faithful Admeral: SK Dick Stevens
Faithful Purser: SK Ray Michaud
Faithful Pilot: SK Jim Girouard
Faithful Scribe: SK Bernie Pendergast
Faithful Inner Sentinal: SK Doan Vu
Faithful Outer Sentinal: SK Dave Martin
Faithful Trustee (1 yr.): SK Tom Gravelin
Faithful Trustee (2 yr.): SK Ali Nasab
Faithful Trustee (3 yr.): SK Mike Bullock
Faithful Friar Sir Knight and Fr. Tim Naples