Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Message to the 40th Installation of Officers of Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Council 6387
Manila Grand Opera Hotel, Doroteo Jose St, Manila  September 17, 2011
By: Arsenio Isidro G. Yap
Luzon Deputy

Worthy Chaplain Rev. Fr. Raoul M. Denobo; Worthy DD Jose Efren E. de Guzman and his DW Ponciano T. Salvador; Worthy GK Ignacio M. Solitario and his lovely wife Sis. Rosie; Worthy IPGK Glenn M. Liwanag; Worthy Officers of Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Council 6387; other distinguished personalities at the presidential table; fellow knights, ladies and gentlemen, magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat. At congratulations na rin po sa bagong pamunuan.

First I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to my predecessor Alonso L. Tan for his recommendation to our Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson to be the next Luzon Deputy.

I’m also thankful to him when he first appointed me as his State Secretary even if we hardly knew each other. The trust and confidence he gave to me as State Secretary gave me the opportunity to learn more about the affairs of the Luzon Jurisdiction which added immeasurably to what I know as a knight for the last 36 years.

Now that I’m the Luzon Deputy, I know exactly where I want our Jurisdiction to be. I’m initiating changes that would help us move about more in unison rather than on a council or small group only basis. We would be conducting programs that would be done simultaneously all over the Jurisdiction among which are the “Walk for Life” and the “Independence Day” parade in Kawit, Cavite among others. And just last Saturday, September 11 we had our annual Tree Planting at the La Mesa Dam which was preceded by a mass at the Sacred Heart Novitiate and wreath laying at the tomb of Fr. George J. Willmann. This was attended by more than 1,000 knights and their families coming from the NCR and the dioceses of Imus and Malolos. We planted close to 10,000 seedlings in a 10 hectare area. We also had the Death Anniversary Mass for Fr. Willmann last September 14 at the San Agustin Church which will be telecast on September 25. Consider September as an opportunity to have a celebration with your parish priest as we commemorate the Death Anniversary of Fr. Willmann.

To better communicate with you and at the same time to start the training of my possible replacement, the three state officers namely the State Treasurer, The State Advocate and the State Warden together with the State Membership and State Program Directors as well as the State Auditor would also be appointed as Regional Deputies in our 6 regions. They will supervise and monitor the performance of the District Deputies and councils under each district.  To help them would be the Diocesan Coordinating Body composed of former District Deputies. Their main job function is to coordinate with the Office of the Bishop the programs of the Diocese and cascade them down to the round table of District Deputies. They are also task to mediate in any problems arising between a knight and council against his parish priest or any members of the clergy. This way, problems could be resolve before it gets to be too complicated. I purposely did not include the State Secretary, Jack Joaquin as he would not succeed me as Luzon Deputy. Instead, his task is to help me train those mentioned above.

Do you know why we have to do these? We have to do these because we are the largest Jurisdiction Order-wide with 139,815 members growing by 9,000 members a year in 1,086 councils growing by 35 councils a year. I cannot possibly oversee its entire operation. With the regional deputies and diocesan coordinators, I also need the help of the 230 District Deputies and 70 State Officials to supervise and monitor the operations of our councils in 45 dioceses in Luzon.

Some of the programs, I would like to give extra emphasis on is our youth. Being a former Columbian Squire, It’s my dream that every council under the jurisdiction would have their own Columbian Squires Circle which will allow us to help develop the youth to their full potential and to ensure that our Order would have a steady and regular source of qualified and well formed future knights.

As if to address this dream of mine, a brother knight will be donating a one hectare property in Dolores Quezon which we will develop into a K of C Youth Camp and Training Center. Laking blessing nito pag nagkataon. Wala bang palakpakan? Please pray that it will materialize soon.

On top of the “Walk for Life” on our Pro-Life Program, I would like that all our councils in the jurisdiction would have their own “Monument to the Unborn” to serve as a reminder that abortion is not only “a sin but a crime against life”. We should also conduct symposiums, seminars and exhibits that would enlighten the people on the value of life and the horrors of abortion. Please prepare for the next “Walk for Life” on March 24, 2012. We always chose the Saturday before or after March 25, the Feast Day of Annunciation which also known as the “International Day of the Unborn”.

Even our recruitment program is very easy to follow, its called “111”. It means, recruit 1 member per council per month. But that is for councils with 100 members or less. For others, its 7% of your total membership.

I’m also particularly concern with our priests. I would like to remind you that no less than our Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson during the Supreme Convention in Washington DC that from then on, every year would also be the “Year of the Priest” for the Knights of Columbus.

Please, see to it that you take care of your priest. Pray for them as often as you can to strengthen their resolve to remain a priest forever. Greet them on their birthdays, anniversaries, on holy days especially on Christmas. Invite them in your social celebrations. Treat them to a lunch even a snack or as a group take them to an excursion or even to see a movie. Take care also of their material needs to lighten the load they have to carry as your shepherd. Please always bear in mind they are also human like us subject to moods and depressions. They also experience sadness and pain just like we do. In order that you will remember to do all the things I’ve mentioned above, treat your parish priest like a family member and everything will fall into place.

Remember, if the Pope is Christ Vicar on earth and the Bishop in the diocese, who do you think is Christ Vicar in the parish? Your parish priest di ba? Binigay ko na answer baka kung sino pa isagot niyo. Can you imagine picking a quarrel with our Lord Jesus Christ? So sana po, I will not receive any complaints from your chaplain nor any members of the clergy in your parish and please don’t force me to take drastic action against any of you in such an eventuality.

As if to answer my innermost desire, the same brother knight who will be donating a one hectare property in Dolores Quezon, solicited on his own accord another one hectare property, this time in Tagaytay, on the ridge, over-looking! WOW na WOW di ba? Palakpakan naman? We will develop this into a K of C Retreat and Convention Center. We will also build a small retirement home for our aging chaplains belonging to 4th and 5th class municipalities. However, I have a bad news and a good news about his efforts. The bad news, he failed to convince the donor to part with one hectare of her property. The good news, she’s willing to donate half a hectare or 5,000SQM. WOW na Wow din di ba? (encourage an applause) Sabi nga nila, beggars cannot be choosers. Whatever is given, we should accept and we should accept with a grateful heart. Baka nga mauna pa ito kaysa dun sa one hectare. Alam niyo kung bakit? Kasi po last August 29, nakipagkita na po kami sa donor at pinag-usapan na po namin and mga kondisyon. And just last September 7 we went to Tagaytay to visit the site. Please, please mga ate, mga kuya, ipagdasal po natin ng mataimtim na sana makuha natin ang nasabing property.

In order that we can accomplish and realize all of these, I would need your help. I need the help of every knight, officers and members of Council 6387. Your immense contribution to the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines, to the Luzon Jurisdiction in a span of almost forty years goes without saying that you matter most in every undertaking of the of the K of C in this part of the Jurisdiction. Your rich heritage and your illustrious members from the past to the present help formed what the Jurisdiction is today. They say that participation in any council activity is voluntary and nobody can force you to participate in any of it. But may I remind you, that the Knights of Columbus is an organization of “Volunteers”. If you cannot consider yourself a volunteer, then how could you possibly call yourself a knight?

As the new theme for the CY 2011-2012: “So That The World May Know New Hope” was presented during the Last Supreme Convention in Denver Colorado is very appropriate to us knights and our councils. The mere presence of a council in any parish and the spirit of volunteerism in us knights give us that potential to bring new hope wherever we have any undertaking. Our parish and the marginalized in our communities are given a new or renewed sense of Hope that would bring about change in our respective areas. We expect that your Council 6387, your members and families as well are able to give this type of Hope especially for those who needs it most.

But if you are already the new found Hope of your community as I know you are, may I caution you not to rest on the laurels your Council had reaped through the years but rather set these as the guiding beacon that would light the path of a much, much brighter future. Set the bar of standards higher and higher for others to follow. The moment you falter, the Knights of Columbus would dampen the Hope in your parish which is very much expected from you. Without your help in this part of the Jurisdiction, our plans and programs in Luzon would be for naught.

Thirty nine years of faithful and dedicated service to church, state and fellowman is a milestone by any standard. Nobody can take it away from you. We hope to learn in the future that Council 6387 would spread its wings all the more and would conduct outreach programs to neighboring towns spreading what the Knights of Columbus is all about. Do not limit your activities within the comforts of your parish. We expect you to be at the forefront of all activities not only in the parish but hopefully in the entire Diocese if not in the entire Region. You carry not only your council’s name, Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro, but the Order itself, the Knights of Columbus. Like the Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro, be the Perpetual Help of the parish and its marginalized members. And like Christopher Columbus, be bold enough to thread on unchartered frontiers, take the risk, confront the difficulties and accept the challenges that would block your way to achieve your goals.

We must remember that whenever a challenge is presented, it is Jesus Christ himself who’s calling on us. Calling on us to come and follow Him in the same manner he called on Peter and the rest of the apostles. This has never changed and it has always been the same for every Christian. If you want to be a follower of Christ you must always begin with the word “YES”. As in the words of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI, “We are not allowed neutrality when face with the question of God. We can only say YES or NO.”

To be a knight is to be a knight able to address the challenges presented whether we are the GK, FN, DD, or an ordinary member, it doesn’t matter. We’re taking steps to align and coordinate with other responsible people in other areas for the good of the Order and to show a good example for others to emulate.

Let’s all live up to the principle that is being called upon every knight by no less than our Supreme Knight himself, Carl A. Anderson – to volunteer ourselves anytime, every time; to love and care for our priest; and to be our brother’s keeper not only to our brothers in the Order but better still to our brothers in Christ who needs more of our attention and concern; who are deprived, underprivileged and have been taken advantaged of. We are the brothers’ task to fight for their rights and assist them in their hours of need. We are the knights who can make a difference, all of us in this hall. Let us all instill in our hearts that we are indeed, “Our Brother’s Keeper” and “So That The World May Know New Hope”.

Thank you very much and Vivat Jesus.

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