College Knights Honored for Exemplary Service

By: Gary Merritt - Sun, Sep 20, 2020 2:56 PM

These young Knights received awards at the 2020 College Councils Conference. Houghton, Michigan is known for its harsh winters, averaging about 400 inches of snow per year. The winters are especially tough for the elderly, which is why the Knights of Columbus members at Michigan Technological University decided to chop firewood to help keep them warm.

In recognition of the Knights’ exemplary service and accomplishments last year, Michigan Technological University Council 17237 received the Outstanding College Council Award at the 55th College Councils Conference – the Knights of Columbus’ annual gathering for members of councils on college campuses.

This year’s conference – the first virtual College Councils Conference in the Order’s history – recognized not just these young Knights’ service to the elderly, but their work in helping to foster faith on campus. During the school’s Winter Carnival Celebration, the Knights built an ice chapel capable of holding up to 200 people. Throughout the weeklong festivities, more than 400 people attended Mass at the ice chapel. Also at the festival, the council helped build camaraderie with their classmates by serving more than 90 pounds of chicken wings.

It’s these examples of brotherhood and service – and many more – that has led to the council’s growth, and their recognition as this year’s Outstanding College Council. In total, the Knights at Michigan Technological University welcomed 22 new men to their council this past year alone.

This year’s runners-up for Outstanding College Council were Texas A&M University Council 10624 in College Station Texas and Vanderbilt University Council 15020 in Nashville, Tenn. The former led a group to fight against pornography, cleaned up the campus and hosted a pro-life dinner. The latter hosted a Valentine’s Day dinner and virtual fish fry during Lent.

Fostering brotherhood and serving those most in need is simply what Knights do. Members on college campuses across North America completed countless programs, and several were recognized at the College Councils Conference in the following program award categories:

Vivat Jesus, Jay Czerniak Charter Grand Knight (2019-2020) 


A year and a half ago on March 8th 2019, Council #17237 at Michigan Technological University received our charter and joined the Knights of Columbus Order as a new College Council. In fact, that charter is currently mounted on the wall behind me as I write. When looking at the names listed there, they are not some long forgotten brother Knights from years gone by, but rather men that I have had the immense privilege to walk with and grow closer to Christ with. All the men listed plus countless others have helped define what are council was this past year, who we are now, and are continuously laying the brick work for the future.

On the night of September 11th, we had the opportunity as a council to gather, albeit with masks, to watch the first ever Virtual College Council Conference hosted by supreme. The night turned out to be quite the night for us as awards for the previous fraternal year (2019-2020) were presented.

We were honored to receive recognition for having achieve 11 Stars for exceeding our membership quota for the Star Council Award. We were also grateful to be recognized for having the highest recruitment percentage of any college council with 92% or 22 new members that were recruited this past fraternal year adding on to our existing total of 24 brother Knights.

However, the largest honor came when we were awarded the Outstanding College Council Award. For those who may not know the Outstanding College Council Award is given to the college council that best exemplifies the mission and ideals of the Order and has, in a unique way, gone above and beyond to make a difference on campus and in the surrounding community. The fact that our council, in our first full fraternal year, brought home the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed to a college council is a true testament to the culture of our council and the culture of the community at St. Albert the Great Catholic University at Michigan Tech with whom we are affiliated.

This award means a great deal to the entirety of our council who strove to live by the pillars of the order, charity, unity, and fraternity this past year. We were proud to donate the $500.00 that accompanies the award to our local life outreach center. Michigan Tech is by far the smallest public university, with around 5,000 undergrad students, and the first in Michigan to ever win this award and we could not have done it without the support our local Knights of Columbus Councils in our district who helped us get started and gave us their full support since the beginning.

While this award is something to celebrate, I believe I speak for the whole council when I say that all glory goes to God. We are not in it for the awards but rather the opportunity to grow in fraternity with each other, strengthen our faith and serve our community and campus in the image of Christ. Moving forward we will not be resting on our laurels; we hope to seize the momentum that this award has presented us and continue to grow our council and live out the fraternal mission of the Knights of Columbus. We here at Council #17237 at Michigan Technological University hope that our story of growth and achievement in our year and half existence encourages all Knights to continue their faith journey.

Vivat Jesus, Jay Czerniak Charter Grand Knight (2019-2020) 

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We Are Not Giving Up! MI RTL Virtual Event

By: Gary Merritt - Thu, Sep 10, 2020 5:38 PM

September 30, 2020 | 7:00 - 7:40 PM

State Deputy Walter Winkle Jr., and Archbishop Allen Vigneron invite you to register for “We Are Not Giving up on Life,” a historic statewide virtual event. Join our keynote speaker, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, along with our host and musical guest Matthew West for a fundraising event like we’ve never seen before!


Visit to register and learn more about this historic virtual event. Can’t join us on September 30? After the premiere, this virtual event will be available 24/7 until November 3rd. Please e-mail about opportunities for additional sh


Supreme Training Sessions

By: Gary Merritt - Thu, Sep 10, 2020 10:53 AM




I am offering 4 different training sessions for State, Regional, District and Council leaders in the month of September. They are Delta Drive, Council Growth, Council Experience and You are Your Programs. Let me give a brief statement on these training sessions

Delta Drive: This training session talks about what items should be part of every organized growth drive. It also talks about planning and organizing the drive to make them effective


Council Growth: This training talks about the “why” of growing your council and how together we can be successful at it.


Council Experience: One secret of successful councils is that they engage their council members. This engagement leads these members to have positive membership experiences leading to more involvement from them and their families, leading to more men becoming interested in the council and ultimately the council’s ability to do more for the parish and the community.


In this training, we’ll break down the five areas of engagement and provide practical, proven tactics for making sure that you engage your members in each of these areas. We’ll start with a council engagement assessment so you can see where your council has opportunities to improve so that you can focus specifically on these areas.


You are Your Programs: This is a new training presentation that we start talking about what programs we do and how we are looked at by the community by what the program that they see.


 All these sessions will be under one hour long including a Q&A period. These 4 sessions are designed to complement each other and make councils look and take action on the whole council success.


Here are the dates for and times for the training sessions.

Delta Drive

9/1/ @ 7 PM EDT


Council Growth

9/14 @ 8PM EDT

9/15 @ 9PM EDT


Council Experience

9/7 @ 7PM EDT

9/8 @ 7PM EDT

9/9 @ 9PM EDT


You are your programs

9/21 @ 8PM EDT

9/22 @ 8PM EDT

9/23 @ 9PM EDT

          Here is the Form link to sign up for these sessions

Fraternally Jon Olson Supreme Midwest Regional Training Director

2020 Supreme Virtual Convention

By: Gary Merritt - Wed, Sep 9, 2020 11:42 AM

My name is Martin Brown and I am a member of Council 4404 in Conklin, MI. I was selected to be a delegate to the Supreme Convention 2021 in Denver, but things changed, and I was a delegate for the 2020 Convention in Washington DC. Then Covid 19 changed plans for Supreme Convention so we met virtually from August 4 through August 6.

Our State Deputy, Walter Winkle was asked to bring the delegates together in one location for the Convention. The decision was made to gather at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The Convention started on Tuesday evening with virtual opening Mass with Celebrant His Excellency Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, Archbishop of Hartford. Following Mass, Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, addressed everyone with his Annual Report. SD Walter explained to us the opening Mass normally takes 5 to 10 minutes for the Honor Guard to process in because they would not turn away any Honor Guard. For many years, Michigan always sat in the front row across the aisle from the Supreme Knight. The chair covers, in the picture above, were used to greet the delegates from Michigan.

Day two started with private Mass for the delegates and their wives, celebrated by our State Chaplain Father Paul Ballien. The virtual business session of the convention started at 10:00 am and finished at 1:15 pm. During the session, Supreme Directors were elected or reelected. Resolutions were also read and voted on. Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori gave a very nice message. At 2:30 pm the Memorial Mass for Deceased Knights of Columbus was held with Celebrant His Excellency Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, Supreme Chaplain. The Convention Awards Session followed Mass with awards given for Faith Program, Family Program, Community Program, Life Program and Family of the Year. Michigan also received the Circle of Honor Award for achieving our Membership goal due to the great work of everyone in the state of Michigan.

Wednesday evening was the Formal States Banquet. I’ve been told, Michigan has one of the best hospitably rooms at the Supreme Convention with people from across the nation stopping in. But this year we had a reception on the world-famous front porch of the Grand Hotel.

Following the reception, we were served a delicious dinner in the Pontiac Room. At the States Banquet, each state would sing songs from their State. Since we only had Michigan Knights and wives, we sang different fight songs from Michigan colleges. Even State Chaplain Father Paul sang the Michigan Tech fight song. Also, the table markers were signed by all present and given to some of us.

It wasn’t that same as being at the Supreme Convention “in person” but I was very proud to represent my Council and the State of Michigan at this year’s Supreme Convention.

Marty Brown State Deputy Region 3 Representative

KC MIRTL dinner update

By: Gary Merritt - Tue, Sep 8, 2020 9:01 AM

Hi Friends


Brad Smith


Development Coordinator


(248) 765-8717





As you know, our governor has been working very hard against life (and business). She has made it impossible for banquet centers to operate by limiting them to 10 people indoors and 100 outdoors.  Our Respect Life Dinner is being affected, and we have been forced to move to a virtual event.  We rescheduled for Wednesday September 30 at 7pm.  If you need to have a refund, you can contact me, but we are asking that you would consider your paid tickets a donation to the cause of defending life.  This is an extremely important election year, and we are behind on our fundraising.  Our work has not stopped though; we have a giant multimedia campaign beginning very soon.  We will need all the help that we can get!


Now the GOOD NEWS, we have an incredible opportunity before us.  The dinner would have had 500-600 people in attendance which is great, but now we can reach the entire state including every council and every Knights of Columbus household to make this the largest ever Respect Life event.  I will have an incredible promotional video to share very soon and will send it to you with a link to register even more people.  You will be able to help us recruit your fellow Knights (and others) to join the fun.  Our speaker for the event is Sarah Huckabee Sanders (former Press Secretary for President Trump), and Matthew West (top Christian musician and writer / singer of the “Unplanned” theme song) is our host and will sing for us.


We want your councils and you to host Watch Parties all over the state.  Watch Parties can be in homes, K of C facilities, and churches.  Whatever you want to arrange, you can be creative with your party and have a BBQ, potluck, dessert, or anything else you want to make it.  The video event will last 40-45 minutes so you will have plenty of time to socialize around it.  We want this to be fun as many people are looking for and craving social opportunities.  We will also provide watch parties (and anyone who asks) with pledge / donation cards and envelopes so you can make it very easy to give.  We will have an online donation portal, but we would like as many as possible to use the donation cards.


Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or issues.  While we will not meet this year in person, I am so excited that we can build this annual event into an even greater impact for LIFE by reaching every Knight in Michigan!


God Bless, Brad

Rosary Novenna

By: Gary Merritt - Fri, Sep 4, 2020 12:48 PM

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Dear Worthy Brother Knights, I pray that you are all well!


One can’t help but be aware of the fact that there are a lot of troubling things happening in our country of late. In addition to the continual civil unrest, we are swiftly approaching the 2020 presidential election. We can easily become discouraged by all that is happening or be tempted to anger. The response of a Knight of Columbus should be to turn to prayer, especially to the Holy Rosary. We were each given a Rosary on the day that we were inducted into the Knights of Columbus. We are encouraged to have “Rosary checks” in our councils. But the Rosary isn’t just something we carry it is something we are to use.

The Rosary is a most powerful spiritual weapon. Praying the Rosary helps us to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ as we meditate upon the Mysteries of His Life, Death, and Resurrection. The Rosary is also a means of imploring the assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother and Our Queen. Offering our Rosary for a particular intention is also a great way of entrusting an intention into Mary’s hands. She is a Mother ready at every moment to help us whenever we turn to her. The beautiful prayer the “Memorare” states: “Never was it known that anyone who fled to [her] protection or sought [her] intercession was ever left unaided.”

There is also a tradition in the Church of offering a novena (nine consecutive days of prayer) for a particular intention. This tradition goes back to the Apostles in the Upper Room praying for nine days as they awaited the Gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. There are many novenas available in prayer books and online.

There is further a devotion that combines the Rosary and the idea of a novena: the 54 Day Rosary Novena. The first 27 days of the 54 day novena is actually three novenas (three sets of nine). These first three novenas are offered in petition for a particular intention. The second half of the 54 day novena (the second three sets of nine) are offered in thanksgiving (whether or not the request has been granted). The prayers in thanksgiving are reminiscent of Father Solanus Casey’s teaching to “Thank God ahead of time.” Whether the petition is answered the desired way or not, we know that no prayer is ever offered in vain.

I would like to invite everyone to join me in offering a 54 Day Rosary Novena for our country and for the outcome of the election. If we begin the Novena on Friday, September 11th, it will end on Election Day. In order to join in this effort, simply offer 5 decades of the Rosary every day from September 11th to November 3rd (included) for our country and for our elected leaders.

Mary is the Patroness of America. Let us entrust our nation and the outcome of the upcoming election into the hands of our Blessed Mother through this 54 Day Rosary Novena.

Know of my prayers for you and for your families. Please offer a prayer for me.

Vivat Jesus!

Father Charles White Diocesan Chaplain, Archdiocese of Detroit

Michigan Special Olympics

By: Gary Merritt - Mon, Aug 31, 2020 1:04 PM Logo.PNG


Special Olympics Needs Your MI Drive Support

My Brother Knights,

September is upon us and the pandemic continues to impact our fundraising capabilities.  As councils, we struggle with maintaining our programs and funding them.  We share that struggle with the Special Olympics families.  Sources for assistance has decreased, or in some cases disappeared, and many are in desperate need of our help.  This fall, the MI Drive will continue its tradition of raising monies for those in need.  Not just for the Special Olympics, but for all the agencies who assist the mentally challenged throughout the state.

Please conduct an MI Drive this October.  Remember the oath that all Special Olympians take “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt!”  Be brave in setting up a MI Drive program.  Yes, many establishments may not want to have the Knights in their establishment this year.  But there are many that would help us collect.  Think about new ways to collect for the MI Drive.  Put a canister in restaurants or stores to collect over several weeks.  Talk with your pastor to see if you can do a drive after the masses in your parish.  There are many more.  If you come up with a particular idea that has worked well, please let me know by emailing me, (

Special Olympics of Michigan has come up with an easy way for the Knights of Columbus to help support the athletes through their Special Olympics of Michigan (SOMI) Car Raffle.  We can help sell raffle tickets for SOMI and get credit towards our Form 4584.

Details of the raffle and tickets may be purchased here at SOMI Car Raffle


Each council will receive credit for the sale of the tickets, which can be counted toward their $ raised for Special Olympics Michigan (reported on form #4584 due Jan. 31st).  Just help promote the raffle and give people the link to order their own tickets will be a great help.


Whether you help sell tickets, collect monies or both, please be brave and be a part of the 2020 Fall MI Drive.  Let’s leave no Special Olympics athlete behind.  Remember to follow the guidelines that have been published by our State MI Drive Director.


John Hundiak

State Special Olympics Director