Church Service Award Winner

By: Gary Merritt - Thu, May 31, 2018 7:30 PM

Divine Sanctuary Renovation Project St. Patrick – White Lake Council #13319

Divine Sanctuary program

Tucked in a far corner, behind the choir, was the smallish slowly failing 50-year old pipe organ.  The instrument was not loud enough for the large St. Patrick’s Church in White Lake, Michigan, and many audible voids were very noticeable towards the back.

St. Patrick’s new music minister, Aaron Kaleniecki, had a deep love for playing the organ, and the rather poor musical situation left him dreaming of something different. He dreamt of something that would fill the church with great sound, enveloping every person in every pew.

The parish’s pastor of 30 years, Father Tom Meagher, shared the same dream.

Conversations on the possibilities led to the discovery of a large unused Kilgen organ previously installed at St. Benedict Church in Highland Park.  An internet search also discovered another smaller Kilgen organ, also available for the taking, at a Serbian Orthodox Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

So the divine vision became clearer for both pastor and music minister - renovate the entire St. Patrick church sanctuary, and obtain, refurbish and install the two Kilgen organs there.

Recognizing the extent of the project, Father Tom recruited St. Patrick Grand Knight Stan Politowicz, and Immediate Past Grand Knight John Wisely, to join him in forming a Sanctuary Renovation Steering Committee.  Stan volunteered to chair the committee, knowing he had an army of Knights ready and willing to assist whenever and wherever needed.

Many tasks ensued over the months that followed for the Knights of Council #13319.  A large parish-wide fundraising effort was led by Father Tom and the Knights.  The larger Kilgen organ was retrieved from a storage warehouse in Detroit.  A team travelled to Massachusetts to disassemble and transport the smaller organ to Michigan.  And still there was the sanctuary renovation itself including removal of the old organ, choir riser, altar parts, walls and other structures, along with other demolition and clean-up.   Adding to the challenge, the sanctuary needed to be presentable for Masses each Saturday and Sunday, and for weddings and several First Communions on the calendar.

An old phrase was appropriately descriptive of the needed approach, ‘When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.’

Installation of the new organ and sanctuary parts began, and the Knights were again alongside Father Tom, unloading trucks, and stacking parts on pews and behind the kitchen.  As the first structures went up, it gave all a new sense of the grandeur of what was about to happen.  Our music minister, Aaron, explained the progress, and the details and hurdles to anyone interested.  And as the months went by, the instrument took shape.  Two additions, the Trompette en Chamade (horned trumpet) and the chimes, added to the anticipation and the conversation.

Finally, on November 26, 2017, Father Tom led the sanctuary dedication ceremony, and our packed church joined together in prayer, thanksgiving and blessing.  All were then entertained in grand style by three different organists, plus the Motor City Brass band.  It was an event to behold.

God’s grace, received in every Mass, is a powerful experience, with or without music and song.  But now through the work of so many, following where the Holy Spirit led them, St. Patrick Parish in White Lake Michigan has this wonderful new sanctuary and instrument. And the organ and music do exactly what had been hoped, enveloping every person in every pew.

We invite you to come to Mass with us, listen, and please bring your friends.

Council Service Program Award Winner

By: Gary Merritt - Thu, May 31, 2018 7:30 PM

Going to New Heights Fr. Patrick J. Cullinane Council No. 8710

During the Spring of 2017, a member of the Fr. Patrick J. Culliane council identified the steeple cross for Sacred Heart Catholic Church was deteriorating.  This issue was brought to the council, were the membership took up the challenge, and Council Project was set in motion.  Brother Knight Wally Ostrowski and his two sons Mike and Scott volunteered to determine what it would take to replace the 115 year old cross. 

New Hts program


Many challenges were encountered and overcome in the council’s quest to properly replace this very visible sign of the Catholic Faith within the community:

First how do you determine the dimensions of the original cross, when it stands 100 feet in the air?

Second what material should be used to construct the replacement Cross?

Third how to safely work on a structure without damaging the church?

Each obstacle was taken on and properly addressed in due time.  Wally was able to calculate the cross dimensions to be 72 inches tall and 42 inches across, with the post to be 6 inches wide.  These dimensions proved to be spot on when compared to the original cross, with less than 1 inch variation from old to new.

The material selected to construct the new cross was Copper Sheet metal.   This also proved to be challenging, as research was needed to determine the best methods to construct the cross out of Copper.  The team learned that fabricating the cross out of copper, required techniques and tools that were not readily available. So the Ostrowski family learned the proper techniques for soldering copper sheets and found the soldering equipment required not readily available today.  Wally searched and located the proper soldering Irons required by visiting many of the local Antique Shops.Once the Cross and supporting frame work was fabricated, the next step was to secure a man lift with a reach of at least 120 feet.  With the winter months approaching locating a man lift that was not in use was difficult.  Another Council Member, Eric West, made contact with a local farmer who was working with 150 foot man lift outside of town.  Through this connection the Lift was rented and delivered to the Church in early December 2017.

With the Grace of God, the weather held and the work was completed on a brisk Saturday morning.  The old cross was removed, new support brackets installed, and the new cross placed on top of the steeple.  Additional repairs were made including replacement of missing roof tiles and some aluminum facing provided to replace material lost in a wind storm.

With the mornings work completed, Council Member Mark Kettlewell invited the crew to his A&W Restaurant for lunch at his expense.  The council project inspired others in the parish to get involved as well; the Ladies Auxiliary contributed $1,126 dollars to cover one half of the man lift rental.  The direct material cost and man-lift rental totaled $2,589 with 145 direct man-hours contributed by Council 8710 membership. 

Going to new Heights for Our Church, Providing a shining beacon of faith for the community! 

Community Service Program Award Winner

By: Gary Merritt - Thu, May 31, 2018 7:30 PM

Wood for Warmth Project Blessed Sacrament Parish Council #13452 Midland

Council 13452 has provided firewood to local families in the Midland Michigan area for more than ten years.

It all began when a Brother Knight offered cut maple trees from his property to provide firewood for local families in need.  That first year, Brother Knights worked together with the parish staff to help find three or four needy families and deliver wood to their homes.

One delivery in particular touched many of us, and set in motion the ongoing effort. The weather was very cold late that November, and when we arrived at a home for delivery, we realized the family had just a few pieces of firewood left in storage.  We learned the wife was in treatment for cancer, putting a big strain on the family finances.  The husband had been laid off and was looking for work while helping care for his wife.  As we unloaded two pickup truck loads of firewood, the wife broke down and began to cry.  She went inside the home and wrote us a thoughtful thank you note.  Those of us there that day were greatly impacted and knew we had found an important mission, and we agreed to build upon the project the following year.

Wood for Warmth program

The next year, a Brother Knight offered us the downed wood on his 80 acre lot north of town.  This new site became a traditional wood collection location for our Knights council, and we used this source for the next six years.  Knights would go to his property on Friday evenings, and he and his wife would treat us to a delightful meal and good fellowship.  The next day we would cut and split wood, load trailers and pickup trucks, and deliver fire wood to families.

Our council soon began working with local cancer services and community mental health agencies to help find more local families in need.  The parish youth group, boy scouts, Delta Community College veterans group, Knights from another council, and family members all came out to help.

During this journey, we’ve made many memories together, and we’ve made even greater friends.  We’ve assisted a neighboring parish remove nearly 100 dead trees from their Stations of the Cross Pathway, and we’ve even advised our local Lutheran Church pastor on how to implement a similar program in their congregation.

This project has been a very rewarding experience for our Knights of Columbus council members.  We’ve been able to work and have fun together, engage with the community, and provide winter warmth and assistance to those who need it most.  This is one of the ways our council has helped build the domestic church, and we look forward to continuing this special ministry.

Youth Service Program Award Winner

By: Gary Merritt - Thu, May 31, 2018 7:30 PM

Chess Tournament/Scholarship Bishop Foley Council 2660 Dearborn

When Dominic Raona approached Bishop Foley Knights of Columbus Council 2660 seeking financial support to buy 25 new chest sets for the growing chest club, at Devine Child Elementary School, he had no idea how both the program and he himself would grow with the Knights. 

The first couple of years Dominic was involved with the chess club, students attended several State Chess Tournaments.  These tournaments were often costly, requiring students to purchase memberships in State and National Chess Clubs to participate.  Seeking a better way for his students to participate in true tournament competition, Dominic again turned to the Bishop Foley Knights of Columbus for support in starting a new tournament.  With the Knights of Columbus providing seed money and with participation from three neighboring Catholic Schools, the first Catholic Schools Tournament was held in 2008 and deemed a success.   But that wasn’t good enough for Dominic or the Knights.

With hard work and determination the Catholic Schools Chess Tournament continued to grow.   In 2014 all seventy five Catholic Elementary Schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit were invited to participate.   The same year, recognizing the overwhelming success of this program, Bishop Foley Council decided to repurpose the net gains from the tournament creating a scholarship fund.  Each year two students are awarded a $500.00 scholarship for their Catholic Education.

This program has been a great way to promote the game of chess, Catholic Education and Bishop Foley Knights of Columbus Council.  The tournament is in its tenth year and continues to grow with recent participation of One Hundred Fifty-Four (154) Players. 

Chess Tourney program

The Catholic Schools Chess tournament surely has grown with the Knights of Columbus.  And Dominic Raona, he’s grown with the Knights too.  When Dominic first approached the Knights for their support, he was not a member.  Today Dominic Raona is not only a member; he’s the Proud Grand Knight of Bishop Foley Knights of Columbus Council 2660.   Yes, brother Knights and Ladies, “Every program is truly is a Membership opportunity”.   

Family Service Program Award Winner

By: Gary Merritt - Thu, May 31, 2018 7:30 PM

Building Upon Family Faith Through Family Interaction Saline Council #6674

The mission of this Family Service project was to develop and deploy programs with a religious focus that would positively impact the family with special emphasis on children and their family.

This initiative included working and coordinating efforts with St. Andrew ministries, subject matter experts and parishioners. The two focal programs included the Family Christmas party and Easter Egg Hunt.

Bldg Faith - Fam Interaction program

The Family Christmas party included dinner, candle lighting, adoration, caroling and crafts. Some of the crafts included cookie decorating and building of tin can lanterns. A welcome to “Bethlehem” games and skits included themes named Bethlehem Parks and Rec and Bethlehem Hotel District all to have fun while ensuring the true meaning of Christmas was told.

The Easter Egg Hunt focused on why we celebrate Easter and the significance that the egg plays during Easter. This included sharing an understanding of the celebration of the “rebirth” of mankind, the meaning of the egg as a renewal or rebirth is vital in the Easter theme. Families were given the opportunity to discuss the meaning and significance of Easter while including the traditional Easter Egg Hunt.  

These programs have brought the parish families of St. Andrew together with a purpose that provides the structure in Building the Domestic Church!

Golden Knight Award Winners

By: Gary Merritt - Thu, May 31, 2018 7:30 PM

Golden Knight   

* State Warden & State Training Dir. Joseph Munie

* DD #14 Hans Hanson

* DD #40 & Regional FS Training Dir. William Grover

* DD #41 James Highfield

* DD #47 George Walrath

* DD #58, Asst. State Membership Dir & Lansing Diocesan Membership Dir. Edward Nickel

*DD #73 William Bernesser

*DD #75 Paul Carbone

*Mentally Impaired Programs Dir. George Stump

*State Fund Raising Dir. Gary DeCarlo

*Asst. State Program & Detroit Archdiocesan Membership Dir. David Bergeman

* Grand Rapids Diocesan Membership Dir.

Martin Brown

* Detroit Archdiocesan Program Dir. Mike Haughey

* Grand Rapids Diocesan Program Dir. Kenneth Skonecki



Golden Knight Award

State Secretary

Antonio G. Vittorini

 Antonio G. Vittorini


National Prayer for Life Campaign

By: Gary Merritt - Wed, May 2, 2018 7:30 PM

On Our Knees

Thursday May 3rd marks the National Day of Prayer for Life 2018 which is outlined below. During these challenging times for many, prayer is one thing that should remain consistent throughout our daily activities.


Whether it be at Mass, at work, or in the comfort of your home, please take time to pray for a change in our Culture in our efforts in Protecting the Sanctity of Human Life.





Knights, Catholics and all people of good will are invited to join in raising up a great prayer for life across the nation through the daily recitation of this prayer:

Eternal Father, Source of Life, strengthen us with your Holy Spirit
to receive the abundance of life you have promised.

Open our hearts to see and desire the beauty of your plan for life and love.

Make our love generous and self-giving so that we may be blessed with joy. Grant us great trust in your mercy.

Forgive us for not receiving your gift of life
and heal us from the effects of the culture of death.

Instill in us and all people reverence for every human life.

Inspire and protect our efforts on behalf of those most vulnerable
especially the unborn, the sick and the elderly.

We ask this in the Name of Jesus, who by His Cross makes all things new. Amen.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.


This prayer campaign finds its inspiration in Pope John Paul II’s landmark encyclical Evangelium Vitae, No. 100: 

 “In this great endeavor to create a new culture of life we are inspired and sustained by the confidence that comes from knowing that the Gospel of life, like the Kingdom of God itself, is growing and producing abundant fruit (cf. Mk 4:26-29). There is certainly an enormous disparity between the powerful resources available to the forces promoting the “culture of death” and the means at the disposal of those working for a “culture of life and love”. But we know that we can rely on the help of God, for whom nothing is impossible (cf. Mt 19:26).

Filled with this certainty, and moved by profound concern for the destiny of every man and woman, I repeat what I said to those families who carry out their challenging mission amid so many difficulties: a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer. Jesus himself has shown us by his own example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil (cf. Mt 4:1-11). As he taught his disciples, some demons cannot be driven out except in this way (cf. Mk 9:29). Let us therefore discover anew the humility and the courage to pray and fast so that power from on high will break down the walls of lies and deceit: the walls which conceal from the sight of so many of our brothers and sisters the evil of practices and laws which are hostile to life. May this same power turn their hearts to resolutions and goals inspired by the civilization of life and love.”

 Thanks & God bless,

 Tim & Cindy State Culture of Life Couple
"For With God All Things Are Possible"

 Michigan State Council
 Knights of Columbus 
Mobile: 517.214.5120


'10'' for Charities Program - Michigan Charities Fund

By: Gary Merritt - Wed, Apr 25, 2018 7:30 PM

10 for Charity b 


In the spirit of charity, the principle of our Order, with your voluntary contributions the   Take “10” for Charities Program of the Michigan Charities Fund has continued to grow as a State Council resource for those in need.

 Since its inception in 1977 the Take “5” Program, now the “10” for Charites Program of the Michigan Charities Fund has been able to help many charities, listed below are a few of them.


* All Diocesan Vocations

* Archdiocese Clergy Outing – Vocations

* Bishop Baraga Association

* Catholic Education

* Capuchin Community Center

* Catholic High School League

* Catholic Publications

* Center for Women

* Family Donations all Dioceses

* Catholic Radio

* Holy Cross Children Services

* Most Holy Trinity Parish

* Guest House

* Livingston County Ultra Sound Initiative

* Sacred Heart Major Seminary

* RTL Agencies

* Parochial Schools Cross Country Youth Rally

* Shared Pregnancy Crisis Center

* Special Days Cancer Camp

* Prep Bowl/RTL Mich. Education Fund

* Squires Scholarship

* St. Anne’s Mackinac Island

* St. Francis Cabrini Clinic

* St. Francis Retreat Center

* St. Vincent Home Lansing

* Solanus Casey Center

* Students for Life

* Summer Scripture, Lansing

* UP Catholic Newspaper


   A $10.00 contribution by each of the approximately 66,000 Michigan Knights would give the Michigan Charities Fund $ 660,000.00 to distribute. Just think of the good that we could do if each member gave his fair share.

   We need your support! Please include $10.00 or more with your dues payment or send a separate check payable to your local council. (Write “10” for Charities Program) on the memo line. Your Financial Secretary will send the total ”10” for Charities Program contributions to the State Secretary.

   Working together as a team of 66,000 we can be a tremendous force of support for those who truly need us. Please do what you can. We thank you in advance for your help to help others. Vivat Jesus!

Attention Worthy Financial Secretaries,

   As the council, annual dues billing season approaches please insure the list of charities which receive support from the State Council is distributed with your billings.

   For those councils that bill manually by hard mail it is easy. Just insert the slip listing the charities provided by the State through your District Deputy into the billing envelope.

   For councils that bill electronically we need you to make an extra step and either mail the slip separately or add as an e-mail attachment to your members.

   A copy of the slip which you may attach to your e-billing is found on our website under Resources/Forms/Council Forms and is linked here. 

   The promotion of the “10” for Charities Program by distribution of the slip is essential for the funding of our charities program.

 Thanks for your cooperation.  Any questions may be directed to:

 William J. Walsh PSD Director “10” for Charity Program - Michigan Charities Fund. 517-629-9273


Mich K of C Business Card

By: Gary Merritt - Wed, Apr 25, 2018 7:30 PM

Supreme Council recently introduced an Online Membership option through the website.  Michigan was added February 2018 and new members throughout the state are joining every week.  The best part is nearly every new member has indicated that they wish to join a local Council.

To drive them quickly to the JoinUs page, a business card has been developed that can be tailored to your Council/District/Diocesan needs.  Coordinated with the Supreme published ‘Why Join’ brochure, this provides an opportunity to market to all Catholic men an option to join on their own time in a way that is familiar, fast and convenient. 

The Card is available in PDF formats, you can quickly upload the design from and have cards available to your membership team within a matter of days.  At approximately $20/500cards this is an inexpensive option to engage and drive interest in the Knights of Columbus.  Consider adding a 2’x3’ banner prominently displaying the QR code and social media icons – at approximately $15, this is a real eye catcher.

Some suggestions for business card printers include Staples, OfficeMax, Costco, and online at,, or  A quick search for coupon codes will help cut your costs as well.

If you wish to print a limited number of cards, you can utilize the Avery Design&Print website to print on standard/available formats right from your home computer.  A typical 10 card page (Avery #8875) is available as both AVERY and PDF formats.

Should you have questions, or need assistance with modifying the card, please contact the MI Online Membership Director, Carson Mantooth  - 616-379-9069.

Family of the Year Applications

By: Gary Merritt - Fri, Apr 20, 2018 7:30 PM

Building The Domestic Church Through Family of Year Nominations

Fam Yr Plaque

As the new year begins it gives us the opportunity to continue our mission in Building The Domestic Church. By recognizing a Family of Year at the State level it provides the perfect opportunity to honor families that set an example of Christian participation in our councils, parish and community.                                                                   

In addition to honoring a Family of Year in your parish, it provides an example of how the Knights of Columbus believe in the value of a strong "Domestic Church". Below is a recommended action plan for the submission of a successful nomination and portfolio for the Family of Year.

Access the Supreme Family of the Year Application form here.



Keys to a Successful Michigan State Family of Year Nomination Action and Timeline

 Family of Yr timeline 4-6-18

 Direct Family of the Year questions to State Family Director Ed Strach 734-476-6296.