There is an old saying, "A journey starts with one step". As we start this new Fraternal Year, our Assemblies and Councils are continuing a journey that began many years ago. As we think back over the course of our journey we can remember the people we touched and helped along the way. It is safe to say that we have made a significant and positive impact in people's lives, and furthermore we have helped our little corner of the world be a better place. Now it is our responsibility to continue that work. It is now our duty to take up the torch, and continue the mission set forth by our predecessors. The path we have ahead of us will have bumps and unexpected obstacles we will need to contend with; our faith will guide us.
Our Councils and Assemblies have evolved, and will continue to evolve. This year as with every year we should refocus our efforts on things that will benefit our Church, and our community. Every Assembly and Council should review the projects they have supported in the past to determine if they meet our refocused missions. Each new Faithful Navigator and Grand Knight should put their signature on the missions of their respective groups, keeping always in sight our overall mission as Knights of supporting our church, communities and our country. Let's take our Assemblies and Councils up one notch. Let raise the bar just a little. At the end of our terms I pray we can all say we left our organizations better then we found them. With the power of the Holy Spirit nothing is out of our reach.
May God bless you and your families,
SK John Winfrey
Master of the Fourth Degree
Archdiocese of Washington District
As I sit here writing this article we are about two weeks out from the Exemplification. I must tell you the excitement is building and so are the butterflies. All the preparations are moving forward for a fantastic weekend. The karaoke machine is getting warmed up and I hope so are your singing voices. Although we are still tallying up the number of candidates we are expecting a very good class. I cannot be prouder of the effort put forth by each and every Assembly. I know a level of effort that is requires by the Faithful Navigators and the assembly teams to pull this off and I am ever so grateful for all your efforts.
The Exemplification every year offers us an opportunity to share the Knights Of Columbus Fourth Degree experience to an entirely new group of brothers and their families. When a man joins the Fourth Degree he joins a fraternity of extremely dedicated and passionate Catholic American. He has an opportunity to put that passion for his country and his church to work. The Fourth Degree has long been known for the Honor Guard and that is an aspect we’re extremely proud of. However if a brother only sees the Fourth Degree as Color Corp he is missing half of the equation. The Fourth Degree is much more than that. Our service to our country and to our church is only limited by our imagination. Whether it be distributing wheelchairs to our American Heroes at the VA hospitals or sponsoring voter registration events a Sir Knight of the Fourth Degree demonstrates his love for country and church every day.
When a brother joins the Knights Of Columbus of the first degree member he is provided the passport to the next level. This is true for every degree. I would offer that there’s a passport to the 4th Degree and the passport resides in the heart of each perspective Sir Knight. If he has the burning desire to serve our great Nation and our Holy Church then he does in fact have the primary qualification of a successful Sir Knight If this is you I encourage you to reach out to us and learn more about us and our mission.
SK John Winfrey
Archdiocesan of Washington District
As I write this article the District is in the middle of preparing for the Exemplification. This is a very special time of year because this is when we introduce the greatest fraternal organization to an entirely new group of men and their families, and as such change the lives of many people. While we prepare for this Exemplification I have been given some thought to who would make a good Sir Knight and what type of man is ideal for our honored order. It came to me that this is nothing new. Our world has always relayed on good men and in history we even called them Knights. We remember stories of the Knights of the Round Table where before even being considered for that great honor a man would have to demonstrate years of dedicated service to his country and Church. He would have to show the world that charity was his guiding principle in his life. Proving his strong moral character through daily acts of kindness to his fellow man. Standing for what is right and good. Moreover being the true defender of the disadvantaged and weak. So I thought how is this different from today. When we look at a prospective 4th Degree Sir Knight, do we not look for the same characteristics? Are we not looking for men of good upstanding values who will stand for what is right in our own country? Aren't we looking for the good patriot just as they did in years past? Of course the answer is yes.
Now the challenge is to find such men. I would argue they are all around us. They are the men who stand when the flag is marched by. They are the men who stop and open a door for a lady. They are the men who stop and help a child with a disability. We find these good men all around us. So why are we not trying to introduce them to an order that respects and honors these values? The order of the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree is an avenue for these men and their families to come together and work on a common goal and that goal is to make our world a better place, to serve our country, and our Holy Church. So our mission as a Sir Knight is to reach out to these good men and say come join us in a Holy Crusade to Take a Stand and Make a Difference. To those who are not a Sir Knight, I challenge you to learn more about our order and see if there is a place for you beside us. This is a mighty task but with good men such as yourself nothing is impossible.
SK John Winfrey
Master of the 4th Degree
Archdiocese of Washington District
Have you ever given any thought to your legacy? I certainly didn’t until last year when I attended a funeral of a Brother Knight from VA. As I was sitting there listening to his eulogy they told a story of a man who truly left a great Legacy. Bill was in deed a great man, but you couldn’t tell that from looking at him. He didn’t drive a big nice car, he didn’t live in a big house. Bill was a modest man that left behind a GREAT legacy. That got me to thinking about my legacy as Master, and the legacy of our District. What will people say when I go to my reward, or for that matter what will they say about all of us when we all go meet our maker. Will they say we were dedicated husbands, or hard workers, of even better yet when they stand up at the pulpit will they talk about how much of a Redskins fan we were. Not that any of these are bad, but I would rather they say how we touched in a positive way the lives of the people of our community, and Church. I would rather them say we fed the hungry, and brought smiles to children who had no reason to smile, or we helped someone who really needed our help. These are the true legacies we should be looking for. It isn’t about glory here on earth. It is the command of our Lord to make a difference while we are here.
You ask, what the heck does this have to do with being a Sir Knight of the 4th Degree? Moreover what does this have to do with this season? My answer is this. As we sit down and think about our blessings I would suggest you think about the blessings you have provided someone else this last year. Have we made someone’s life better, or less troubling? Also as we embark on a new year, what will we do over the next twelve months to change a life, and make a difference? As members of the 4th Degree, our District and Assemblies have a great opportunity to do just that. We have a great need in our Country and community, and the question is, do we as Sir Knight have the heart, and love to take on those challenges. I believe we do. So my New Year’s resolution, and I hope yours is as well is to find one way, one project, one effort that will change one life. If we can accomplish that we will truly MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
From the Winfrey family John, Gloria, Mandy, Kassie, Rachel, and Cynthia we wish you and your family’s a Blessed of New Year.