A group of persons associated by … ties of brotherhood.

An organization of laymen for religious or charitable purpose; sodality.

In 2016 Bishop Olmsted, of the Phoenix Diocese, wrote an Apostolic exhortation to the Catholic men of his diocese. He talks of the war on the Church by the forces of Satan, reminiscent of Pope St. Paul VI, “The evil which exists in the world is the result and the effect of an attack on society by a dark and hostile agent, the devil.” Bishop Olmsted notes that “A large number have left the faith, and many who remain ‘Catholic’ practice the faith timidly and are only minimally committed to passing the faith on to their children.” He cites the growth of the “nones” – men who have no religious affiliation. To combat this adverse situation, actually a war on the Church by satanic forces, Bishop Olmsted makes several recommendations, many of which are well suited to the Knights of Columbus. 

As Knights we are already on the path that Bishop Olmsted lays out:

  1. Build fraternity with other Catholic men. Catholic friendship among men has a dramatic impact on their faith lives. Men who have bonds of brotherhood with other Catholic men pray more, go to Mass and Confession more frequently, read the Scriptures more often, and are more active in the Faith.
    … I call on laymen to form small fellowship groups for mutual support and growth in the faith. 

Each council is an embodiment of brotherhood. Additionally, it is appropriate for men to join or establish smaller groups. For example, I belong to a group of Catholic men (plus one Methodist), made up of Knights from our 4th degree assembly (2185) such that our members come from both local councils, 8240 and 11984. We meet weekly to discuss a book chosen by one of us as we read through it. In the process we discuss some current events as well as issues impacting the Church and our roles as Catholic men. Additionally, Deacon Adrian holds a Men’s Breakfast at St. Stephen Martyr every 4th Saturday, beginning at 6:45 AM. These are fitting groups to support each other and our roles as fathers, brothers, and Catholic men. 

The groups Bishop Olmsted talks about do not have to be sanctioned by the Church, although there are some of those as well. St. Stephen’s has a Men of St. Joseph group that meets weekly to discuss citations from Scripture, the Catechism, and our roles as Catholic men. It is not restricted to St. Stephen’s parishioners and there is even one member who, since he started attending, has enrolled in RCIA. Any group of three or more men can start their own group like this. Let the Holy Spirit inspire you. The group will grow, albeit slowly.

Bishop Olmsted quotes Proverbs: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (27:17). When we unite as brothers with other Catholic men, we increase this effect and set an example for our fellow parishioners, the Church in general, and the world at large.

“Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.” (1 Pet 2:16-17)

Published in Knights of Columbus Council 8240 Spring 2023 Newsletter

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