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Jim St. Clair

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October 2018

October 2018                                      Article 4

      Brothers, continue to participate in the Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge throughout the month and during your Council Meeting.  Be prepared to share your thoughts and experiences at this month’s Council meeting.  All Challenges are listed below for your reference.

      Notice below our featured program, Disaster Preparedness.  Some of you may have been affected by Hurricane Florence.  If you need help, contact me, the State Deputy, or the Disaster Relief Director, Mike Allen.  Your specific needs are important to us, as we also know, so profoundly, that they are important to you.  If you are in a position to help segments of your community or another area in South or North Carolina, please consider reaching out.  Organize volunteers in your Council.  Once you know you have sufficient Brothers to comprise a credible task force AND prior to taking any action, you must contact me, the State Deputy or the State Disaster Relief Director.   Putting your Faith in Action in this way will be a wonderful act of compassion.  As of this writing, our State Council has already sent 2 truckloads of relief supplies.

Jim St. Clair, Director Faith in Action, State Council.

Disaster Preparation



Guidance:  Respond to a Disaster

When a disaster occurs, the following steps should be taken to ensure that all council members and their families are safe before and after the event. These steps include:

  1. Immediately put your phone tree into action to ensure the safety of council members and their families
  2. Notify your jurisdiction leadership and disaster coordinator of the status of your members and their families, highlighting any needs that they may have
  3. Maintain contact lists of the parish's vulnerable community members (the elderly, disabled, and widow(er)s) to ensure that they have access to food and water
  4. After the danger has passed, hold fundraisers and collection drives to benefit those effected by the disaster
  5. To the extent possible, communicate with the jurisdiction disaster coordinator and jurisdiction leadership regarding available and safe facilities for a council to use as a point of distribution (i.e., schools, parish or council halls)
  6. Volunteer – encourage members to volunteer for opportunities suitable to their abilities and the council’s ability to respond
    • After major disasters, those effected often need help cleaning up debris, repairing fences, spreading tarps on roof, rebuilding damaged wheelchair ramps, or a myriad of other activities

Important Note: During and in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, never act in the context of a council beyond ensuring members of the council and parish community are safe unless assistance has been requested by emergency professionals, your parish, community disaster coordinator or through your state council leadership.

Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge                     October 2018

[The blind man] threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” (Gospel for Oct. 28, Mk. 10:50-52) 

Most of us can probably recall requesting a meeting with someone influential, and then reaching a point in that meeting where he or she looked us in the eyes and asked, “So, what can I do for you?” We most likely prepared for this moment, and we clearly stated our need or wish. Brothers, can we imagine the Son of God speaking our own name and asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” It seems extraordinary.  Even unbelievable! And yet, this is exactly what Jesus invites us to do every day in prayer, reading and reflecting on Scripture, speaking to him about what is in our hearts. That’s a meeting you and I would not want to miss.

Challenge by Archbishop Lori:

When having discussions with people this month (especially your family members), give them your undivided attention and do not look at your cell phones during the conversations. Secondly I challenge you to honestly attempt to answer Jesus’ question to you, “What do you want me to do for you?”


Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge     September 2018

 “Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.’ (Gospel for Sept. 22, Mk. 9:35)

When I was in seminary, I had a roommate who was an early riser. Every morning his loud alarm went off at 5:15, at which point he’d say the same thing: “Gladly, Jesus, gladly!” My comments went in a different direction. Let’s be honest. In a selfish, me-first world, it’s just as hard to hear Jesus say “the first shall be last” as it was to hear my roommate at 5:15. And yet, my brothers, Jesus calls us to be servants of all; to step out of our comfort zone and say “gladly!” as we go to serve others in our lives. ‘Gladly, Jesus, gladly!’ 

Challenge by  Archbishop Lori:

This month I challenge you to become even more like Jesus, the “servant of all,” by making an act of charity for someone in your life from whom you have been distant, or whom you have wronged. Secondly I challenge you to prayerfully reflect on these words from Scripture: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another” (I Jn. 4:11).

August 2018                                       Article 3


Brothers, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of participating faithfully, every month in the Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge.  Be prepared to share your thoughts and experiences at this month’s Council meeting.  Make this dynamic program as particular success for yourself.

Jim St. Clair, Director Faith in Action, State Council


Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge

“Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?”  Simon Peter answered him, ‘Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.’”  John 6:67-69

   I don’t know about you, but I can look back on moments in my life when Peter’s words have been personal.  I have said to Jesus in prayer: “Master, to whom shall I go?”  I hope that you likewise have reached a point in your life where you know with certainty that there is nowhere to go but Jesus: not to power, money, sex, alcohol or anything else that can become a false “master” in our lives.  Brothers, we have come to believe that Jesus is the holy One of God, and our lives must bear evidence of this.  Let us become men who with Peter, can truly say, “Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

   Challenge by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori:  This month, I challenge you to make a daily examination of conscience, probing your heart to find the false “masters” (e.g., comfort, power, appearance) to whom you go.  Take a few minutes before bed to review the day, including both your blessings and sins.  Second, I challenge you to eliminate one of your vices, and when you are tempted to participate in that vice, pray, “Jesus, I trust in you.”


July 2018                                            Article 2

Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge

“The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.  He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while’”  Mark 6:3

   If we are honest, we know that we men are not that good at “coming away…to a deserted place” to “rest a while.”  In fact, over 80 percent of us check our smart phones even before brushing our teeth in the morning and spend time on them in the last hour before we go to sleep.  Like the apostles we focus on getting a lot done.  But let’s imagine what would happen if we truly responded to the challenge of Jesus to “come away” to pray in solitude every morning, resting in His presence and holy Word.  Jesus invites us to put first things first.  Let’s take him at his word and make the changes we need to make.

   Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge:  This month, I challenge you to “come away” to a quiet place by praying at least five minutes a day, first thing in the morning before you check your electronic devices or turn on the TV.  You will likely have stops and starts, but strive to be a consistent as possible.  In addition, I challenge you to respond to Jesus’ invitation to “rest a while” by doing something truly restful on Sunday, the day of rest.Worthy Grand Knights, Program Directors, and Committee Chairmen,          

 July 2018                                                  Article 1

Planning your Faith in Action Program can be a successful experience for you if you present it to your Council Brothers in a positive and in a clear and concise way.  I have extracted below the pertinent portions of the Faith in Action Handbook.  Before you plan the Program, the best 30 minutes that you could spend would be to read the entire handbook.  It will give you a very clear perspective of the Faith in Action game plan.

Assure the Committee Chairmen that the Supreme Website contains Guide Sheets for each of the 32 Recommended Programs.  They will take you step by step through the process of setting up a Program. 

          Good Luck.

Fraternally, Jim St. Clair

Planning the Program

Start planning immediately after the election of council officers. At that time, the grand knight should appoint program and membership directors. Remember that Programs and Membership go hand in hand. A council cannot conduct successful programs without member support, but without quality faith-filled family programs, prospective members will not be interested in joining your council.

After the appointment, the program director works with the grand knight to name committee chairs for each of the four program categories.

Service Program Personnel Report

Once the directors and committee chairs are appointed, complete and submit the Service Program Personnel Report (#365) through the member management application — located in the officers online section of  — no later than Aug. 1. The report is also found at

Submitting this report allows the directors and chairpersons to receive important information from the Supreme Council and the State Council.  If there are changes in committee chairs during the fraternal year, you may also use the member management application to make updates or submit a new Service Program Personnel Report (#365) to the Supreme Council Department of Fraternal mission with only the new or changed information. 

Parish Pastor, Council Chaplain

Consultation with the pastor and his staff is critical. Well in advance of the Council organizational meeting, discuss your council’s tentative plans for the new fraternal year on programs that may come out of the meeting.  Personally invite him to the Council organization meeting with ample time for him to plan his attendance.

Obtaining his guidance and permission is an important and fundamental aspect of our relationship with our pastors/chaplains and our ability to serve the parish community.  Allowing the Pastor to share with you what his needs are will convince him that you are focused on building a stronger parish.  Sitting down with the pastor and "telling him how  the Knights of Columbus is going to redesign his parish" is inappropriate and will probably result in a dissapointing relationship.  When you leave the pastor's office, he should be confident that you will be a help to him and not a threat to his autonomy and pastoral authority.  Very important -- invite the pastor to your Council Organizational Meeting.

Implementing the Service Program

It is critical that the grand knight have an organizational meeting with the council’s appointed directors and chairs in advance of the new fraternal year: before July 1. This year's financial secretary and chaplain — should attend.  Use it to help set the program calendar, membership and insurance goals, budget and social calendar.   

Before the Organizational Meeting

Review the programs that were conducted in the past year and examine the reasons for success or failure of each project. Develop a brief summary on each and be prepared to discuss the analysis during the program portion of the Council organizational meeting.

Draft News Article

Assign a public relations chairman to write a draft news article updating the parish and community on the success of the council’s activity in the previous year and asking for parish and community support in the coming year.

Program Portion of the Council Organizational Meeting

During the programming portion of the Council organizational meeting, your council officers should:

• Review the programs that were conducted in the past year

▫ Discuss the summary analysis of each project

▫ Review and approve the draft of the news article prepared by the public relations chairman.

• Based on the review, decide which programs should be repeated in the current fraternal year and which new programs should be included

▫ Assign directors and chairmen responsible for each program

▫ Assign tentative dates for each program and when each program will conclude.

Establish a meeting schedule for the program committee chairs.

▫ Consider the parish calendar before finalizing these dates and review with the pastor and his parish staff

▫ Set a budget for each program

▫ Prepare a list of programs to present to your council for approval

▫ Communicate the date of each program to the public relations chair to ensure that your council’s programs are communicated to the parish and community in a timely fashion using the sample announcements prepared for many of the programs.  After the organizational meeting, if the pastor or chaplain was not in attendance, the grand knight should arrange to follow up with him on the outcome of the Council organizational meeting and obtain final approval of programs (and associated dates) That the council seeks to conduct within the parish. The council leadership should work with the parish leadership to secure required facilities as needed.  

Keeping Program Personnel Motivated

The program director and committee chair are responsible for keeping volunteers motivated. Recognition for a job well done can go a long way to keeping morale high. Here are some suggestions:

• Publish the work the council is doing in the parish and community. Use the various resources available to you to help with this and refer to the Public Relations Form (#2235) for assistance.

• Be sure that each Knight gets full credit and recognition for his work.   An occasional personal note may mean a great deal to the recipient.

• Consider presenting a Certificate of Appreciation (#1462) to the directors, chair and other individuals who were instrumental in the success of the program.

• Listen to the suggestions of your council members and acknowledge good advice. Tell your brother Knights that you appreciate their interest and will consider their ideas.

• Be prepared to listen when a member has a question or problem. Guide him but allow him to do most of the thinking. This indicates respect for his judgment, giving him confidence and a feeling of importance.

• Accept responsibility for your mistakes. This shows your team that you know you are human and fallible.