From the State Deputy

July 1, 2016 To my brother Knights of Virginia, Welcome to the 2016-2017 Fraternal Year! Last year our theme was Living a Fraternal Journey Live, Know, Share our Faith, and we focused on the ‘Knowing’ our faith concept, because we can’t live it or share it, if we do not know it. As we begin a new fraternal year, we will shift to the view of “Sharing” our faith as we begin to ENCOUNTER the LORD. Why ENCOUNTER the LORD? In Pope Francis’ encyclical Evangelii Gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel, the Pope uses these words in the first sentence of the Introduction – “The JOY OF THE GOSPEL fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” Later in the Introduction, Pope Francis quotes Benedict 16, who said “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” So, when we ENCOUNTER the LORD through an event or a person, something changes in us, or the Lord is inviting us to experience something new, something different, and we must answer the question – What do I do now? As we ENCOUNTER the LORD in every council event, or in every person we meet, we are faced with the question – “what do I do now?” When I meet someone who is hungry or homeless,” what do I do now”? When someone wrongs me, what do I do now? When someone challenges me on the Catholic Churches position on abortion, “what do I do now”? And when a potential member asks me – why should I join the Knights of Columbus, “what do I do now”? Brothers and Sisters, we are the Knights of Columbus, the largest Catholic lay ministry in the world, founded on the principles of Charity, Unity and Fraternity, and the strong right arm of the Church. There are many other fraternal organizations available for potential members to join. They are all good organizations, but we are not like any of those, or any local men’s club. Of all the ministries dedicated to the teachings and principles of our catholic faith, none can match the size and dedication of the Knights of Columbus. Yes, we are a ministry – WE ARE DIFFERENT. As we ENCOUNTER the LORD, every day, in our life, our Catholic faith and our founding principles must be the foundation of our response to the question – “What do I do now?” To the potential member’s question of “why should I join the Knights of Columbus”, our answer MUST be – “We are different, be like us, come join us, become a member.” My brothers, the Supreme Council recently published these statistics. The male Catholic population of Virginia in 2015 was approximately 277,000. Our membership on June 29, 2016 was 27,775 – roughly 10% of all Catholic men in Virginia. That’s right, there are 250,000 available candidates ready to become Knights of Columbus. All we have to do is ask them. I ask for your prayers as I begin my term as your State Deputy, and want you to know every Knight and their families will be in my prayers as we ENCOUNTER the LORD this fraternal year. Mike Michael J. Gasper Virginia State Deputy ENCOUNTER the LORD We are different, come join us

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