Archive for December, 2012

Special Olympians Honored

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012
Special Olympics

(L-R) Special Olympics Coach Jim McGovern, LAMB Director N. Chris Amsler Sr., Special Olympian N. Chris Amsler II, Haywood County Special Olympics Director Jim Gatens, and Grand Knight Lonnie Pizza.

At the recent, Annual Special Olympics Athlete and Major Benefactors luncheon, N. Chris Amsler II steals the spotlight, and the plaque, presented by HCSO Director Jim Gatens to Knights of Columbus Council 15085.  For the second year in a row LAMB Drive efforts have allowed contributions to the Special Olympics of Haywood County, and the ARC of Haywood at this luncheon.  The Funds prove vital in assisting with the continuation of needed social, exercise, and assisted living venues for the developmentally disabled members of Haywood County.  Additional funds collected during the 2012 LAMB drive will be contributed to Camp Ability and Waynesville Middle School Exceptional Children Department in the coming weeks as well.

The annual LAMB drive effort is the Knights of Columbus’ largest Charity operation. LAMB is an acronym for Least Among My Brethren. This comes from the words of Jesus in Matthew 25: 31-40 when Jesus speaks of our final judgment. To paraphrase, Jesus states the righteous will be welcomed into his kingdom because they fed, clothed, welcomed, and visited him in prison when he was a stranger. When questioned as to when they did these things, Jesus replied, What you have done for the Least Among my Brethren, you have done also for me.

Special Olympics

(L-R) LAMB Director N. Chris Amsler Sr., Special Olympian N. Chris Amsler II, Haywood County Special Olympics Director Jim Gatens

Wreaths Across America

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Wreaths Across AmericaMorrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, was a 12 year old paper boy for the Bangor Daily News when he won a trip to Washington D.C. His first trip to our nation’s capital was one he would never forget, and Arlington National Cemetery made an especially indelible impression on him. This experience followed him throughout his life and successful career in business, reminding him that his good fortune was due, in large part, to the values of this nation and the Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their Country.

Brother Knight Gregory BromIn 1992, Worcester Wreath found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Remembering his boyhood experience at Arlington, Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor our country’s Veterans. Arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery, a section which had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.

The annual tribute went on quietly for several years, until 2005, when a photo of the stones at Arlington, adorned with wreaths and covered in snow, circulated around the internet.  Suddenly, the project received national attention. Thousands of requests poured in from all over the country from people wanting to help with Arlington, to emulate the Arlington project at their National and State cemeteries, or to simply share their stories and thank Morrill Worcester for honoring our nation’s heroes.

In 2010, Wreaths Across America and our national network of volunteers laid over 220,000 memorial wreaths at 545 locations in the United States and beyond. We were able to include ceremonies at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, as well as Bunker Hill, Valley Forge and the sites if the September 11 tragedies. We accomplished this with help from 902 fundraising groups, corporate contributions, and donations of trucking, shipping, and thousands of helping hands.

Worthy Grand Knight Lonnie Pizza

“Today I placed a wreath on the grave of an American Hero…”

On Saturday, December 15, 2012, Grand Knight Lonnie Pizza and Brother Knight Gregory Brom of Council 15085 in Waynesville, NC attended the wreath laying ceremony at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain NC. A local chapter of the Western Carolina Patriot Guard Riders, under the leadership of location coordinator John “Landmine” Collins marked the 21st year that Worcester Wreaths donated thousands of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery. This was the 7th year of the ceremony in Black Mountain, and there are over 750 cemeteries like ours, that received 7 ceremonial wreaths donated by Worcester Wreaths.

Patriot Guard Riders processed to the cemetery as a group, then through a flag line to welcome everyone, including some of our Blue Star and Gold Star Families. We ‘REMEMBER the fallen, HONOR those who serve and their families, and TEACH our children the value of freedom.”

WAA is committed to teaching younger generations about the value of their freedoms, and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed so much to protect those freedoms. We offer learning tools, interactive media projects, and opportunities for youth groups to participate in our events. We also work to create opportunities to connect “the Greatest Generation” with the “Generation of Hope”. The inspirational stories of our World War II Veterans must be passed on to the leaders of the future. To learn more visit


Wreaths Across America

Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery, Black Mountain, N.C. Wreaths Across America Ceremony

Considering 4th Degree?

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Another degree open to members of the Knights of Columbus is that of the Fourth (or Patriotic) Degree. On February 22, 1900, the first Fourth Degree exemplification or degree ceremony was held in New York City. The Fourth Degree imparts a lesson on the virtue of patriotism. The primary purpose of this degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism in members and the community at large and encourage active Catholic citizenship. Today there are some 300,000 Fourth Degree Knights out of the total 1.6 million member Knights of Columbus.

At the recent (November 28, 2012) Board of Directors meeting, the Knights of Columbus approved a resolution eliminating the requirement that a Knight of Columbus serve for six months as a Third Degree member before advancing to the Fourth Degree. This is great news for anyone in Council 15085 considering the Fourth Degree exemplification to be held March 9, 2013. CLICK HERE for more.

Four Parts of Retirement – Phase TWO: “Accumulation”

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

In a previous article, I discussed protection and how Knights of Columbus products can provide it for you and your wife in your retirement years. The next phase of retirement is accumulation of cash.

Those life insurance policies you purchased, if they are permanent plans, carry a savings element that helps with accumulation of wealth. Another good option is a Knights of Columbus retirement plan or annuity with a guaranteed interest rate. After basic protection, you spend your working life preparing not to work … for the day the paychecks stop. Factor in here also your pensions, government benefits and other savings you’ve acquired over the years.

Some experts will tell you that you should prepare for retirement with a plan that calls for 70% of the income you had pre-retirement. I think that falls woefully short. Plan on the 90% range. Consider this: what are you giving up that translates to 30% of your income? You still have to eat, you will travel more (going to see the grandchildren), taxes need to be paid, and on and on. Be careful of that 70% arbitrary rule.

I can help you build a plan to reach your goals. Contact me today to learn more.
Bill Matthews

Knights of Columbus ~ Pledge of Allegiance

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Civility in America

The Knights of Columbus

and the Pledge of Allegiance

The Knights of Columbus played a large role in the addition of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.  When the Pledge was originally written by Francis Bellamy in 1892, it originally read:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

After a proclamation by President Benjamin Harrison, the Pledge was first used in public schools on October 12, 1892, during Columbus Day observances organized to coincide with the opening of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1923 the National Flag Conference called for the words “my Flag” to be changed to “the Flag of the United States”, for the benefit of new immigrants, and the words “of America” were added a year later. The United States Congress officially recognized the Pledge as the official national pledge on June 22, 1942.  At a meeting on February 12, 1948, Lincoln’s Birthday, Louis A. Bowman, Chaplain of the Illinois Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, led the Society in swearing the Pledge with two words added, “under God.”  Bowman repeated his revised version of the Pledge at subsequent meetings.

Three years later, in 1951, the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, also began including the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. On April 30, 1951, the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus adopted a resolution to amend the text of their Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of each of the meetings of the 800 Fourth Degree Assemblies of the Knights of Columbus by adding the words “under God” after the words “one nation.” Over the next two years, the idea spread throughout Knights of Columbus organizations nationwide. At the annual meeting on August 21, 1952, the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus adopted a resolution urging that the change be made universal and copies of this resolution were sent to the President, the Vice President (as Presiding Officer of the Senate) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The National Fraternal Congress meeting in Boston on September 24, 1952, adopted a similar resolution upon the recommendation of its president, Supreme Knight Luke E. Hart. Several State Fraternal Congresses acted likewise almost immediately thereafter. This campaign led to several failed attempts to prompt Congress to adopt the Knights of Columbus’ policy for the entire nation. DOWNLOAD the story here.

On February 7, 1954, President Eisenhower, who had been baptized a Presbyterian just a year before, attended a service honoring Abraham Lincoln at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.  At that service, Rev. George Docherty delivered a sermon based on the Gettysburg Address arguing that the nations’ might not lay in arms but its spirit and higher purpose. Docherty noted that the Pledge’s sentiments could be those of any nation, that “there was something missing in the pledge, and that which was missing was the characteristic and definitive factor in the American way of life.” He cited Lincoln’s words “under God” as defining words that set the United States apart from other nations.  President Eisenhower said that he agreed with the sermon. In the following weeks, the news spread, and public opinion grew. Three days later, Senator Homer Ferguson, (R-MI), sponsored a bill in Congress to add “under God” to the Pledge; which was approved as a joint resolution June 8, 1954, and signed into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954 by President Eisenhower.

If the Pledge’s historical pattern repeats, its words will be modified during this decade.  Some prolife advocates recite the following slightly revised Pledge: ‘I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, born and unborn.’




From a speech made by Capt. John S. McCain, US, (Rep) who represents Arizona in the U.S. Senate:

As you may know, I spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement or two or three to a cell. In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room. This was, as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the efforts of millions of Americans on behalf of a few hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home.

One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian. Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama. He didn’t wear a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old.

At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy. He later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School. Then he became a Naval Flight Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967.

Mike had a keen and deep appreciation of the opportunities this country, and our military, provide for people who want to work and want to succeed. As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing. Mike got himself a bamboo needle.

Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed it on the inside of his shirt. Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike’s shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance. I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell, it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.

One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike’s shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it. That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours.

Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could. The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room. As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag.

He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to pledge our allegiance to our flag and country.

So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation and promote freedom around the world.

You must remember our duty, our honor, and our country.

Flag of the United States of America“I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic, for which it stands,
one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

4th Degree Exempification ~ March 9, 2013

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Great Smoky Mountain Assembly 3001Knights of the Patriotic Degree are dedicated to the personal development and continued honor of brother Knights. We are always there to offer leadership, guidance, and encouragement.

Knights of the Patriotic Degree glorify God by serving our communities and nations as though Christ were the one being served.

Knights of the Patriotic Degree hold unwaveringly to what is right and honorable, working to keep God in the civic arena, serving the life of the Church, and defending laws that recognize the sanctity of life and true religious liberty.

The Color Corps is an elective division of the Patriotic Degree that presents a visible reminder of our service to the community.

Is it your time to advance to this Degree? Information and application forms available in the MEMBERS AREA

The Posada ~ An Advent Celebration

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

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The Posada


The Posada is a traditional Christmas celebration that Franciscan missionaries developed in America with the goal of introducing the faith. It continues to be popular throughout the southwestern United States and all of Latin America and is a rich tradition for Knights and their families to share.

The Christmas Posada expresses perfectly the suspense and surprises of the season. It is a prayer, a play, a party and a gathering for families, parishes and whole communities. It is a celebration that children and adults can enjoy together, as well as those from all different cultural backgrounds.

Even if you are not familiar with the Christmas Posada, the Knights of Columbus invites you to join this ancient observance that will open for you the deeper meaning of a joyful season. To help you understand the tradition, the Order offers the booklet The Posada: An Advent & Christmas Celebration (#9898-E,S). DOWNLOAD IT HERE

Through distribution of this booklet, the Order hopes to bring the rich Posada tradition to all Knights and their families as a way of encouraging a sharing of cultures in the Americas around the celebration of the birth of our Savior. This booklet provides all that is needed to conduct a Christmas Posada with your family and your Knights of Columbus council. Copies of the booklet can be viewed in digital formatdownloaded or ordered by using a Requisition Form (#1) and mailing it or faxing it to the Supply Department.

El folleto contiene todo lo necesario para realizar una Posada Navideña con su familia y su consejo de Caballeros de Colón. El folleto puede obtenerse en   formato digital;  descárguelo

La Posada

Catholic Men’s Conference ~ 2/16/2013

Monday, December 3rd, 2012
Worthy Knights,

I am writing to you today to seek your attendance and support for the 3rd Annual Charlotte Catholic Men’s Conference to be held on Saturday, February 16, 2013. This event is being sponsored by the Knights of Columbus State Council and is an prime example of the Knights mission to support church activities by spreading the Word throughout our Christian Community. The Men’s Conference not only has gained the participation and endorsement of Bishop Peter Jugis, but our Supreme Knight Carl Anderson has personally written to encourage all of us to attend and promote the event.

Last year, the conference brought over 700 men together for a day where many grew in faith. The day was a great day of pride for the Knights of Columbus and propelled many men to join the Knights of Columbus in our local Councils.

You can support the Men’s Conference in your Council in the following ways:
  • Attend the Men’s Conference: You will not regret spending this time on your faith and fellowship. You can see the conference information in the attached flyer, DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM and can sign-up or get more information at Be sure to enter KOC in the promotional code to get the Knights discounted rate of $25.
  • Promote the Men’s Conference in your Council: Please e-mail this announcement to all your members with an encouragement to attend. Additionally, be sure to announce the Men’s Conference during your January and February business meetings. Consider manually signing up members at your meetings and sending in the registration forms together.
  • Invite other men to attend with you: The Men’s Conference is an outstanding forum to show prospective members a fantastic program sponsored by our organization. Additionally, inviting a friend is a practical way to fulfill our calling to evangelize.
  • Consider hosting a Men’s Forum in your Council: In addition to the Conference, we are encouraging Councils to host a Men’s Forum throughout the year. The Men’s Forum consists of recitation of the Rosary, a reflection from a priest, deacon, or lay person, and men’s fellowship. Hosting a Men’s Forum is one of the best gifts you can give to your council by bringing together your members, clergy, and prospective members all together to work on your faith as Catholic men. We will give more information at the State meetings and information is available on our website.
Thank you for your support of the 3rd Annual Charlotte Catholic Men’s Conference. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact Dan Trapini at We hope to see you all on February 16.
Vivat Jesus!
Dan Trapini – Men’s Conference Chair