Knights aim to practice faith, charity

Julie Filby

Charles “Chuck” Page, state deputy

During his tenure as state deputy for the Colorado Knights of Columbus, Charles “Chuck” Page will continue to encourage the membership, as well as the extended Catholic community, to “be not afraid.” The main theme we’re using right now is ‘Be not afraid, become one in the spirit,'” Page, a member of St. Patrick Council 9993 in Colorado Springs told the Denver Catholic Register. “We shouldn’t be afraid to practice our faith; and when you look at faith, it’s all about charity.”

Charity is the main principle for the Knights of Columbus, he said, along with unity, fraternity and patriotism. Page, who began his two-year tenure as state deputy last July, hopes to build on the charitable history of the men’s organization.

“We gain our knowledge through the Holy Spirit,” he said. “You learn to use that knowledge in the community and be visible.”

More than 17,000-plus Knights in 146 councils in Colorado—including new councils in Mead and Erie—are visible in many ways including pro-life efforts such as the Ultrasound Initiative Program, by supporting “men in uniform” through the Military Chaplain Scholarship, assisting people with disabilities through fundraisers such as Tootsie Roll drives; and helping with state disaster relief efforts through Coats for Kids, food vouchers and as Second Responders (see sidebar for details). Knights are visible in parish life in countless ways such as Masses, prayer vigils, Lenten fish fries, social events, food drives and pantries, and serving youths, among many other ministries.

They exhibit the service and dedication described in a quote Page regularly shares from Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, before he was selected pope last year:

“Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask,” Bergoglio said. “Become the Word in body as well as spirit.”

“I think what it comes down to is the feeling you get at the end of each day if you can say: ‘Today I performed an act of charity toward others,” Page said. “It’s that feeling you get when you help someone, do something to help someone long-term, or plant seeds to help others practice their faith through their actions.”

The Knights in Colorado have continued to plant seeds and grow steadily—currently at 17,111 members, up from 16,821 last year. Page hopes to see membership grow.

“The more we grow,” he said, “the more we can do.”

It just takes one person, one act, he added, to grow the faith.

“When Father McGivney was trying to build the order, he was trying to build a community of support,” Page said. “He was really ahead of his time as far as involving the laity in the life of the Church.”

Father Michael J. McGivney established the fraternal organization for men in 1882 in New Haven, Conn. Today it has grown to more than 14,000 councils and 1.8 million members in the United States and around the world.

For more information on Knights of Columbus in Colorado, visit www.coloradokofc.org or call your parish.

Colorado Knights’ charity
Below are updates on some of the Knights’ priority initiatives on a state level during the last year.

Ultrasound Initiative Program – Since 2009 eight ultrasound machines have been placed at pregnancy centers in Colorado, including a portable one in the Diocese of Colorado Springs. The Knights are close to adding three more in towns in the Diocese of Pueblo (La Junta, Westcliffe and Montrose) to help serve pregnant women in more rural areas. While costs vary, machines can cost up to $40,000.

Military Chaplain Scholarship – The campaign to support priestly vocations in the military began in 2012. The Colorado program pledged to raise $200,000 a year for five years to support men seeking to become Catholic military chaplains. So far, they have collected $12,000 this year.

Partnership with Special Olympics – Knights statewide have raised $188,000 from Tootsie Roll drives and other activities to support the Special Olympics, and other programs for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. A donation was made to each Colorado diocese to support people with disabilities: Denver $10,500; Colorado Springs $9,000 and Pueblo $8,500.

Coats for Kids and disaster relief efforts – This year’s Coats for Kids efforts were combined with disaster relief efforts in Greeley and Longmont following Front Range flooding last September. The Knights donated more than 1,600 coats, as well as funds to Catholic Charities to provide food vouchers and other assistance to flood victims. Knights’ councils mobilized during floods and wildfires to assist first responders, as part of a national Second Responders’ initiative being rolled out across the country.

COMING UP: Past 25 years remembered, next 25 anticipated at More Than You Realize conference

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“Be not afraid!”

This was the rallying cry at the Aug. 11 More Than You Realize conference, echoing the very same call St. John Paul II gave exactly 25 years ago when he visited Denver for World Youth Day in 1993.

Over 5,000 faithful from across the Archdiocese of Denver filled the seats of the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland at what was the largest Catholic gathering in Colorado since WYD ’93. The all-day conference was presented in both English and Spanish tracks, featured a dynamic lineup of renowned Catholic speakers, and culminated in a powerful commissioning Mass.

The name More Than You Realize and consequently, the logo resembling an eyechart, stems from the idea that almost everything may appear a certain way at surface level, but upon closer inspection, it can be more than one realizes and seen in a different light. This is especially true when it comes to the Catholic Church.

Over 5,000 gathered at the Budweiser Events Center Aug. 11 for the More Than You Realize conference, which celebrated the last 25 years since World Youth Day in Denver and looked to the next 25. (Photo by Jason Weinrich)

In planning for nearly two years, pastors from each parish of the archdiocese hand-picked those parishioners and members of their community who they wished to attend the conference, which revolved around the idea of discipleship. Through engaging videos and talks given by speakers such as Chris Stefanick, Luis Soto and Dr. Edward Sri, attendees were invited to join a new movement of discipleship within the archdiocese, echoing the one sparked 25 years ago at World Youth Day.

“[I] had a great rejuvenating time at the More Than You Realize Conference,” said Alex Martinez, a parishioner at St. Pius X Parish. “I am excited to see the MTYR movement take shape.”

Brenda Garrett, a parishioner of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception said, “It was an amazing event, so blessed my pastor Father Ron from the Cathedral Basilica sent me. I am so proud to be part of this movement.”

The key to evangelization

Cardinal J. Francis Stafford spoke before Mass began about the impact of World Youth Day 1993 and the challenges the Church faces today.

“What does the summer of ’93 teach us about our present circumstances in 2018?” the cardinal asked. “The Holy Spirit was sent out in a special mission to our Church in 1993. The power of that sending was unexpected and disorienting to me as archbishop and to most others.”

Cardinal J. Francis Stafford speaks during the More Than You Realize conference. (Photo by Jason Weinrich)

But despite urban violence, threats of boycotts, organized protests and other issues prior to World Youth Day 1993, “a fundamental change took place in the Church of Denver,” said Cardinal Stafford, “but not only here — among the young people who came throughout the world, [and] even the Holy Father.

“Above all, our Church was transformed,” he said.

Cardinal Stafford said that to evangelize those who don’t know the Gospel, we first need “…a deep awareness of the delight of the Father taking in each of us as baptized men and women,” he said.

“I would urge you to think deeply and to pray deeply about realizing how delighted God is in you — each of you — because you are received by the Father as being [part of] the body of his Son, who is beloved.”

‘Jesus is much more than you realize’

In his homily given in both English and Spanish, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila also touched on what World Youth Day 1993 means for us today.

“The world likes to tell us many things about ourselves,” he said, “and not many of them today are good or uplifting. Just look at the distorted image of beauty that is prevalent today, let alone the distortions of what it means to be a human person…

“The devil is certainly having a field day in a world that has abandoned God, and even in some members of the Church who have a weak faith in Jesus,” he said.

But despite similar issues taking place in 1993, the pope brought to Denver a message of hope.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrates the commissioning Mass that closed out the conference. (photo by Andrew Wright)

“When St. John Paul II spoke to the youth gathered for the prayer vigil on Saturday night at Cherry Creek State Park, he reminded them that God and a much bigger role for them to play in history,” said Archbishop Aquila.

That message is just as important today, within an archdiocese and Church that stand at a crossroads, the archbishop said.

“We have an opportunity to make a major impact for Jesus Christ, even as the surrounding culture is becoming less Christian.”

The pope opened the doors for those who attended to become greater disciples of Christ — not just directly after World Youth Day, but forever.

“St. John Paul II believed in retrospect that a revolution had taken place in Denver,” said the archbishop. “We, today, are the inheritors of this spiritual revolution, and we must not be afraid to put out into the deep to let our nets down for a catch.

“Jesus is much more than you realize. The Church is more than you realize. And your role in the plan of God is much more than you realize or [can] even imagine,” he said.

“And so, I beg you as your shepherd today to open your hearts to Jesus and speak heart-to-heart with him who loves you most.”

Aaron Lambert, Moira Cullings and Vladimir Mauricio-Perez contributed to this report.