Thomas S. Psuik
While membership in the Knights of Columbus is limited to Catholic men, being a Knight should be a family experience as well. Being a Knight is an expression of putting our faith into action, as we strive to be more like Christ. Who better to bring on that journey than our families? It is our duty to help others on their journey as well, especially our wives, children, parents and other family members. Our children learn by the examples we set such as: attending mass, practicing our faith, and doing charitable works at our church and communities. Thus, councils are encouraged to plan events that include families, to allow them to grow in our faith as well.
When recruiting a new member, be sure to get to know the prospective new member’s wife and children, as they will be part of your extended council family. Make them aware of your council’s commitment to the family, and share with them the activities the council offers for families. Making families feeling welcome, and keeping them involved, will go a long towards retaining members for the long term.
The following are programs and activities for councils to consider to recognize families, to get families involved at their church and communities, to grow in our faith, and to make Knights better husbands and fathers.
Family of the Month
Every Knights Council is encouraged to participate in the Family of the Month Award. This is a simple, yet powerful way of recognizing the importance of families in your parish or community for their involvement with the parish, council, or community. Typically this honor goes to a brother Knight and his family to recognize their contributions and to demonstrate the importance of family in the Knights experience. However, the family of the month does not have to be a Knights family, your council can honor any family that demonstrates the values we Knights treasure. Selecting a non-Knight family occasionally can certainly assist with recruiting and shows the council’s home parish that all families matter.
The Knights of Columbus has asked us to put families first by inviting our parish families to celebrate Knight of Columbus Family Week, during week of August 7-13. Councils are encouraged to participate by offering events that are not only fun, but meaningful to strengthen family bonds. Events may include a family mass, prayer, sporting activities and family volunteering. You can find more information on Knight of Columbus Family Week here: Knights of Columbus Family Week. Please note that although August 7-13 was chosen for Family Week, councils can designate an alternate time for their Family Week at any time of the year.
Holy Family Prayer Program
The Holy Family Prayer Program is an opportunity for your council to conduct a prayer service featuring an image of the Holy Family. You can find more information on this program here: Holy Family Prayer Program. If your council would like to participate, I have kits available for you to use which includes the Holy Family image and prayer books in both English and Spanish. Please contact me to arrange borrowing one of our two kits.
Dinner Dance for Parents
Many councils have hosted a dance at one time or another. Consider offering a dinner dance for parents, with babysitting for the kids, at your council where all families at the parish are invited to attend. This could be tied to Valentine’s Day or other special event. This type of event would be beneficial to parents as it would offer them a night out to have fun and meet others who are also raising children. It would also be beneficial to your council as it may be a fundraiser for your council’s charitable endeavors and a good recruiting tool towards attracting new and younger members.
Fathers for Good
The Knights of Columbus Fathers for Good initiative has become a terrific resource for Knights striving to become the best fathers they can be. Whether it's making tough decisions about child rearing, dealing with common challenges of fatherhood, keeping your kids Catholic or dealing effectively with the pressures of the secular society all around us, Fathers for Good can be a valuable resource.
Family Fully Alive
The Knights of Columbus Building the Domestic Church - Family Fully Alive program is intended to help families more fully realize their mission to be an authentic domestic church through daily prayer, catechesis, and Scripture reading, as well as through monthly charitable and volunteer projects that can be done as a family.