Sunday, March 22, 2015

(155) How About a Lenten Confession?

St. John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests and Confessors
        Lent is incomplete without confession.  When Holy Week comes and goes and Easter comes, you might feel as though something is missing.  How much we get out of the Mass every Sunday and Lent depends upon how much we put into it. 

          Lent is both penance and transformation……progress in the quest for holiness, without which we cannot present ourselves at the throne of God.  Each one of us must make a choice:  become holy here on earth; become holy in Purgatory which is much more difficult; or have no desire, even refuse to ever become holy……thus risking our souls.  Then the result may be…….a tragic never.

         Is confession also for those who have not committed any serious sin?  Pope John Paul II went to confession every week and he was canonized a saint.  Frequent confession must have had an important role in helping him become a saint of the Catholic Church.  If this saint felt a need for weekly confession, how much more do we need this sacrament of mercy in our quest for holiness and salvation at least during the twice a year Penance services, first in preparation for the coming of the Messiah and later for His passion and victorious resurrection?  In fact going to confession at least once a year is a Church law.  Reconciliation gives us the opportunity to examine how we are doing on our spiritual journey and focus on things we have to work on and improve in our quest for holiness.  Below Pope Francis shows us the example.  Does he need to confess?  WE ALL DO.

Pope Francis, showing the example and confessing his sins
        Confession is all about God’s contrition, repentance, resolve to conquer our sins with the help of His grace,  mercy, forgiveness, graces to strengthen us against temptation and conquer ourselves during the journey to eternity.  It is an opportunity to ask questions and seek counsel.  The comic strip below is very illustrative.  We are afraid to confess to a priest, strictly bound by the Seal of Confession, but will pay big bucks to a shrink and tell all.  

Repentance: Sincere Contrition and a Firm Purpose of Amendment 
          Although psychiatric counseling and medication may also be necessary, there is no substitute for Confession which gives spiritual direction and counseling and much more……God’s mercy, forgiveness, graces to conquer our sins, etc.  A good confession is also therapeutic and healing.  Ultimately, going to confession is a true act of faith.  By so going we show that we truly believe in God’s unconditional mercy and love.  DON’T MISS OUT THIS LENT.  You’ll have a more meaningful Lent and a happier Easter. 

          The Universal Call to HolinessChapter 5 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church or Lumen Gentium of Vatican II in 1964 emphasizes the universal call to holiness.  In other words every one of us is called to holiness.  Regular confession is essential in that quest.  Most spiritual directors recommend monthly confession as a big help to avoid sin, develop virtue, become holy and thus close to God.  Then victory is ours……Heaven……everlasting happiness with God, His angels, and His saints. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

(154) Any Council of the Knights of Columbus that Honors a Pro-Abortion or Pro Gay Marriage Politician Should Be Disciplined, Censured, Reorganized, Placed on Probation, or Expelled


      Since 1967 the Norfolk, Virginia Knights of Columbus Council 3548, has sponsored and organized the annual St. Patrick's Day parade that has been a wonderful community service over the years.  However, this year, the Council honored Terry McAuliffe, the Governor of the State of Virginia, by naming him the Parade Marshall, ignoring the fact that he is openly pro-abortion and pro gay marriage.  By honoring the Governor, Council 3548 is ignoring the pleas of their local pastor and flaunting the teachings of the Church.  Fr. Dan Beeman, with the backing of his Bishop, wrote an eloquent letter below in condemnation of the action of Council 3548 and severed the relationship of his parish, Holy Trinity Church.  The letter and further links below are taken from Deacon Greg Kandra's blog at

A Very Lame Excuse.  The K of C Virginia State Council responded that it "deeply regrets the violation of this policy."  The state deputy said that the selection of Gov. Terry McAuliffe to lead the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade does not imply approval of his views.  So what?  Damage is being done. Can't they understand that Council 3548 is helping the governor's future political aspirations by providing honor, prestige, photo ops, publicity, and a platform from which to speak?  Many people will believe that the Knights approve of his work, his views and his policies.  Withdrawing the invitation, although awkward at this late date, still is an option.

Suppose for the sake of argument that a governor favored the legalization of homosexual relations between an adult and a consenting 14 year old adolescent.  Would Counsel 3548 invite this hypothetical governor to be the Grand Marshall of their St. Patrick’s Day Parade?  Of course not.  Then why invite a pro-abortion governor?  Aren’t they both evils?  Where is the consistency in their principles?  The way our society is heading, some day this example may not be so far fetched.  For the time being much of society accepts the one evil, but not the other.

        An essential prerequisite for any man to enter the order and become a fledgling 1st Degree knight in the first place is to be a faithful practicing Catholic.  The Grand Knight of Council 3548, the District Deputy, and the officers of the Knights of Columbus at the state level are generally 4th Degree knights and should know better. The State Council at first did decide to name another Grand Marshall, but then in a cowardly manner bowed to expediency and reversed their decision.   With such moral principles, it is very questionable whether these men should ever have been accepted as 1st degree members of the Knights of Columbus.  This is as bad as Notre Dame inviting pro-abortion, pro gay marriage President Barack Obama to be their commencement speaker and on top of that, giving him an honorary degree. 

         All of this would make our saintly founder, Fr. Michael J. McGivney (1852-1890) turn over in his grave, not to mention St. Patrick himself.  This action of Council 3548 is a betrayal of the ideals upon which Fr. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus.

The shame of this scandal reflects upon me as well as on all of my brother knights, not to mention the National organization of the Knights of Columbus and all its faithful councils.  It lessens the credibility of our Supreme Knight, Carl A. Anderson as our principal spokesman and author. People tend to generalize to the entire organization.  Such a black mark upon our order may discourage new members from joining this eminent organization and even cause some members to sever their ties with the Knights of Columbus.   

Furthermore, it diminishes much of the great work the Knights of Columbus are doing all over the country and the world.  The national website, would give the reader a good overview.  My blogs #145 & #153 at give a good idea of what my own local Knights of Columbus Council 3335 is doing.  Blog #39 has a “Knight’s Prayer”, #126 is about Christopher Columbus, and #146 honors the 60th Wedding Anniversary of our former grand knight to promote long lasting marriages. 
We knights are democrats, republicans, and independents.  We are brothers all........and Catholics faithful to the truth.  As an organization, we are apolitical.  We do not use the order for political ends.  We serve local parishes and the community, but no political party.  We only get involved in an issue when social justice, and church teachings are being violated because we are defenders of the faith.  We are defenders of Christ the King and His Church.

Therefore, the National Knights of Columbus in New Haven Connecticut should consider disciplining, censuring, forcing a reorganization of Council 3548, placing it on probation, or even expelling it as a last resort.  Brother Knights, please make your thoughts known to me at and the Supreme Council through
“Andrew Walther (203-824-5412) Public Relations” <>,
“Joseph Cullen (203-415-9314) Senior Communications Specialist” <>, <>, 

        We are waiting for the reaction of our Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and the Supreme Council.  May it reaffirm in detail the principles and ideals of which our order was founded and every counsel should follow.    

Virginia parish severs ties with Knights of Columbus over plans to honor Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Governor of  the State of Virginia, Terry Mcauliffe

Lifesite News has the scoop:
A Virginia Knights of Columbus council is pressing forward with plans to honor pro-abortion, pro-homosexual “marriage” Gov. Terry McAuliffe by having him as grand marshal of its St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In response, the parish priest has strongly reproached the council and cut ties.
Norfolk Knights of Columbus Council 3548, which has organized the Norfolk Saint Patrick’s Day Parade since 1967, had secured McAuliffe as grand marshal, apparently keeping the choice from the pastor of Holy Trinity Parish, where the council is based. When Father Dan Beeman took it up with the state council on the advice of his bishop, he was told by the state council that another grand marshal would be chosen, a decision that was reversed ten days later.
“Governor McAuliffe stands contrary to the Catholic Church in not one but many of the most essential teachings of the Church in the political arena,” the Norfolk pastor wrote in a March 5 letter to parishioners, distributed at Sunday Mass on March 8. “He himself promised to be a ‘brick wall’ against restrictions on abortion, has taken away commonsense protections for women in abortion facilities and lowered safety standards, and consistently takes money from pro-abortion lobbying groups.”
Read more. 
The full text of the pastor’s letter:
Dear Parishioners,
I write to alert you to an unfortunate situation which I have done my best to avoid, but to no avail.  As you are aware, each year Norfolk is home to the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.  The local Knights of Columbus Council #3548 have been the sponsors and originators of the parade since 1967.  As a Catholic men’s fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus sought to bring a celebration in honor of one of our Church’s greatest Saints to the people of Norfolk.  Each year, the Knights pay special honor to one particular “Grand Marshall” who is given the title, is honored at an annual Emerald Ball, and is then given the charge of leading the parade.
It had been the custom to honor a local resident or community member with that title for a number of years.  Last winter, I wrote to the Knights of Columbus at the request of the Bishop’s Vicar for the East, advising them that it would be best if we allowed the parade to remain a non-political event.  I asked them not to honor any political candidate, office holder, or former office holder above the city level, as politicians at those levels often make decisions about issues which Catholics hold as non-negotiable to our Catholic faith.  It was our strong urging that they not honor any political persons, but that if they did, they should not honor anyone who stands in opposition to the teaching of the Church on issues of life, marriage, or religious liberty.  I wrote that letter at the request of our own Bishop to be sure that the Knights understood this is an important part of distinguishing our Catholic identity in public forums and awards.
After receiving the letter in the winter of 2014, two members of the Knights of Columbus parade committee met with me because they had already chosen a Grand Marshall last year who did, in fact, stand publicly against the teaching of the Church and who had, in fact, campaigned specifically on positions against the Church.  I met with the committee members and after extensive conversation, they agreed to name a new Grand Marshall for last year’s parade.  They chose an excellent second option, the Chief of the Norfolk Police, and I was relieved to be able to participate in the Emerald Ball and Parade.  In that meeting they specifically agreed to avoid political persons going forward as it could send a very mixed message for a Catholic organization to honor someone who stands in opposition to the Church’s teachings.  They gave me their word they would not do this again.
I was saddened and shocked to learn only two weeks ago that the Knights of Columbus had, again, decided to give the honor of Grand Marshall to a politician.  Going against their word to me last year, this year they decided to honor Governor Terry McAuliffe.  Governor McAuliffe stands contrary to the Catholic Church in not one but many of the most essential teachings of the Church in the political arena.  He himself promised to be a “brick wall” against restrictions on abortion, has taken away commonsense protections for women in abortion facilities and lowered safety standards, and consistently takes money from pro-abortion lobbying groups.  Further, he not only favors the re-definition of marriage, he himself performed a gay “marriage” as soon as a court overturned the law of the Commonwealth.  Marriage and Life are two of the foundational efforts of the Knights of Columbus as a national organization, so it is dumbfounding how the Knights could then decide to honor the Governor.
The council kept the decision from me until just a few weeks ago, when I was informed via a bulk mailing.  At that point, I followed the advice and counsel of the Office of the Bishop. He asked that I refer the matter to the State Council of the Knights of Columbus and to also advise the National Office.  I was told immediately by the State Deputy that the Knights would name another Grand Marshall.  Ten days later, the State Deputy informed me that the Knights had reversed their decision and have decided to leave Governor McAuliffe as the Grand Marshall of the parade.
Bishop DiLorenzo believes strongly in the Catholic principle of subsidiarity – that decisions in the Church should be made at the lowest level possible.  I agree with him that this decision should be handled internally within the Knights of Columbus as an organization.  While it is a sad and unfortunate thing that the Knights would decide to allow this to continue against our request, I have to consider that I have done my part as the pastor to teach the Truth of the Church and allow them to operate in freedom.  It is the clear teaching of the Bishops of the United States in Catholics in Political Life that, “the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.  They should not be given awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions” (emphasis in original text).   There is a difference between respecting the Office of Governor and allowing the Governor to march in the parade and honoring the Governor by naming him the Grand Marshall and official host of the parade.  The Knights have chosen to act on their own, against the clear advice and teaching of the Church.As a result of their decision, the parish will not support or participate in the parade.  I will not attend the Emerald Ball or Parade.  Sadly, this also unnecessarily severs the relationship between Council #3548 and Holy Trinity parish.
Again, it is unfortunate that the Knights have decided to make something that should be a community event into something that is political.   I am aware that some members of the Council disagreed with this decision, and that there are some who had nothing to do with the decision.  I am grateful to those men for the support of what is right, and to Knights who are active members of the parish who stand for the truth.  In a time where things of so much more importance exist, I am sad that this much energy has been devoted to something of this nature.  Please pray for unity in the Church.
Faithfully in Christ,
Father Dan Beeman

Knights of Columbus responds: “The State Council deeply regrets the violation of policy…”

On Thursday afternoon, the Knights of Columbus Virginia State Council posted an updated statement to its website:
sab-logoIt said the state council “reaffirms the longstanding policy of the Knights of Columbus not to invite or bestow honors on public officials who do not support the legal protection of unborn children. … The State Council deeply regrets the violation of this policy by a council in Norfolk for its St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We are conducting an investigation to determine how and why this occurred, and we will ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future.”
The state deputy for the Knights of Columbus says the selection of Gov. Terry McAuliffe to lead the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Ocean View does not imply approval of his views.
The Knights prefer to keep politics out of such celebrations as a general rule, wrote Steve Burnley, and usually discourage inviting politicians.  But other governors as well as political and civic leaders have served as grand marshal in the past, he wrote.
“The parade is a nonpartisan, apolitical civic event that is open to the public…” Burnley wrote. “The Governor’s participation should be understood in that sense alone.”
Read more of Deacon Greg Kandra's blogs by going to: 

Monday, March 9, 2015

(153) A Typical Month of Activities of a Small Town Knights of Columbus Council in Gallipolis, Ohio


MARCH 2015
(Apologies for not sending this last week; my internet was out.)  
(It did appear as an insert in the St. Louis Church Bulletin March 7-8)

        The highlight of February was the annual special olympics type activity that the knights held at the GDC gymnasium for the developmentally disabled children and adults of the Rehabilitation Center (formerly Guiding Hand School).  It consisted mainly of basketball free throws.  Each of the approximately 50 participants received a t-shirt and a medal as a prize.  Jim Ryan, a past Grand Knight, has been coordinating the event for many years.

           The Lenten Friday Fish Fry.  The knights and many others are doing their part in organizing, buying the food, cooking, washing dishes, and cleaning up.  It all helps to bring the parish together as workers and/or diners.  At the same time the Fish Fry is a great ecumenical outreach to the community.  People of all faiths come for delicious food and great fellowship.  Join them.  Let them meet the wonderful people of our parish.

March Activities and Announcements
1.    K of C Benefit Breakfast - Sunday March 8 after the 8 am and 10 am Masses (2nd Sunday of each month) for St. Louis K of C Council Charities.  It will be great fellowship and delicious food with a lot of love added to it to strengthen our parish community.  Bring your family and friends.  Every breakfast benefits one of the Knights of Columbus charities or scholarships for deserving students of the parish.  The December Breakfast raised $300 for the March for Life Pilgrimage January 21-22. 

We need help to setup and prepare the food at 7 am, washing dishes, and cleaning up after each of the two breakfasts.  Our response for the last breakfast was better, but we still need all the help we can get especially before the 8 am Mass.

2.    Eucharistic Adoration - Sunday March 8 after the 10 am Mass.  The Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will conclude with Vespers at 4 pm.   It would be great to have a Knights of Columbus Honor Guard there.  Brother knight, if you come for adoration, please kneel/sit in the front row for as long as you desire, be it only 15 minutes or more.  You don’t have to be in regalia.  Bruce Davison usually occupies the first row on the right for most of the time, including the all-nighters.  You can do spiritual reading; converse with the Lord; and share your innermost thoughts and concerns with Him. One simple person said: “I look at Him and He looks at me”…….i.e., listening to His inspiration.  In medieval times squires would keep all-night prayer vigils before the tabernacle in preparation for being dubbed as new knights the following morning.  The knights of old would protect their kings; today we protect Christ the King in the Blessed Sacrament with our lives if necessary.  After all, more than once in modern times has the Eucharist been desecrated as a group of radical gays did a couple of years ago in St. Patrick's Cathedral New York City.
3.  1st Degree Initiation - Sunday March 15 for new knights in Churchtown is a very impressive ceremony.  All men of the parish who are faithful practicing Catholics are invited to join the Knights of Columbus.  There’s great fellowship and many opportunities to serve God and His people.  Men, make a difference for the Church, the Parish, and the Community and grow spiritually too; join the Knights of Columbus.  Furthermore, it has a life insurance program which rates with the most financially solid insurance companies in the world.  Besides giving generous rebates, the profits don’t go to the stockholders, but to Knights of Columbus charities.  Contact Grand Knight Mike Haas at 740-645-1646.

4.    2nd & 3rd Degree Initiation – Sunday March 22 in Marietta for active members of the Council.  Advance in your knowledge of the Knights of Columbus and strengthen your commitment.  Contact Grand Knight Mike Haas at 740-645-1646.           

5.     Monthly Business Dinner Meeting - Monday March 23 at 6:30 pm.  We have great fellowship at dinner and the input of every knight is most valuable at the meeting as we make decisions about future activities.  Our Council is as strong as each knight makes it.  We will pray the rosary before the meeting inside the church at 5:45 pm.  We cannot be an effective Council without the Lord’s help and guidance.

6.   Knights of Columbus Fifth Sunday MassSunday March 29 at 10 am.  The 4th Degree knights will process in full regalia and make the Mass more beautiful and impressive than it already is.  The knights will do it all; Fr. Tom is also a knight.  Since it is Palm Sunday the 4th degree knights will meet at the church at 9:15 am and join the ecumenical celebration in the Gallipolis City Park by 9:30 am.  Let’s all show up in force.

7.     Super Cash BONANZA Raffle Tickets – $108,000 in Prizes; 1ST Prize $49,680.  $5.00 per chance may be purchased from any knight.  Better than the lottery.  The St. Louis Council has a good chance of receiving $4.60 from each ticket if turned in by April 1.  That money will be used for scholarships for the students of our parish.

8.    The Knights continue to sponsor and lead the rosary 25 to 30 minutes before the Masses of the first Saturday and first Sunday of the month.  For March it’s Sunday March 1 and Saturday March 7.  The next one will be the week-end of April 4-5. 

9.   Prayers Needed.  John Payne is done with his radiation and quimo for cancer.  He continues to attend the meetings and cook for our breakfasts, fish fries, and dinners.  Oscar Bastiani is recovering from neck/back surgeries.  Now he comes to Mass on Saturday evenings, attends our meetings, and collects money for the breakfasts and fish fries.  They both attended our Men’s Conference.  These guys are unsinkable; nothing keeps them down.  Please continue to keep our brother knights in your prayers.  Sadly, three brother knights have seen their families break up.  Pray for reconciliation & more stable marriages in our parish.

Knight Family Notes. On March 8 Naomi Sebastian, recipient of the 2013 $250 Knights of Columbus scholarship and a sophomore nursing major and member of the swim team at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, will be leaving for a week long mission trip to Haiti.  She will be working in an orphanage run by the “Movin’ With the Spirit” apostolate and has been raising money for the trip.  That includes $1000 as a donation from each student to finance a new building for the orphanage.   Please pray for the people of Haiti, the orphans and their orphanage as well as for the safety of Naomi and her fellow students.  While college students live it up in Florida during their Spring Break, many Franciscan University of Steubenville students go on mission trips.  Franciscan University is one of the few Catholic colleges that are truly Christ centered and take very seriously its original mission…….to form its students to change the world for Christ and His people.  Give us news of your family.     

          The strength of our Council depends so much on you.......your participation, your volunteering your time and effort to serve God and His people.  Thank you for all of your help.

      Lord, help the Knights of Columbus be a force
       for the renewal of the parish and ourselves too.