Knights train to bring Cor, the Order’s new evangelization effort, to 40 more jurisdictions
By Cecilia Hadley
“In this new era, forming Catholic men must be our top priority,” Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly told Knights at the 141st Supreme Convention in early August. “I have said it before and I will say it again: If we get the man right, we get everything right — the marriage, the family, the parish, the community. We need men who say ‘yes’ to their God-given vocation.”
Within a month of the convention, scores of Knights met in New Haven, Connecticut, to discuss this priority and learn how to implement Cor, an Orderwide initiative focused on prayer, formation and fraternity, and the Knights’ most important new tool for strengthening men in their faith.
Twenty-one K of C jurisdictions participated in Cor’s pilot phase over the past year; representatives from 40 additional jurisdictions took part in training Aug. 24-27 and will introduce Cor in their jurisdictions in the coming months. About 100 Knights from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland and the Dominican Republic gathered in person for the training, and more than 500 others joined online.
Sean Pott, senior director of evangelization and education, emphasized to participants that Cor is not one more Knights of Columbus program among others.
“This isn’t just a ‘Supreme’ initiative,” Pott said. “This is something we want each of you, each of us, as Knights, to own. Because this is the call and duty of our baptism — to holiness and mission. … None of this is possible without our Lord, and we need to stay focused and committed to him.”
Cor has two goals: to help men develop a strong relationship with God rooted in prayer and the sacraments, and to give them ongoing formation within a dynamic brotherhood. Open to non-Knights and even non-Catholics, Cor groups meet regularly to talk, pray and study together.
These goals were inherent in Blessed Michael’s McGivney’s vision for the Order, said Damien O’Connor, vice president of evangelization and faith formation.
“This is not new,” O’Connor told the Knights gathered in New Haven. “We are simply being more intentional now.”
And the Knights of Columbus is uniquely positioned to take on this work, he said: “People look to us. They look to us to lead the charge of evangelization and to defend the Church. This is a responsibility that we cannot take lightly. … Despite the valiant efforts of organizations offering premium men’s faith formation content — and there are lots of organizations doing this — no one has the infrastructure that we have to sustain and give long-term opportunities for prayer, faith formation and fraternity.”
Cor should complement, rather than compete with, other men’s formation efforts, he added.
Throughout the training weekend, K of C leaders learned about and discussed strategies for establishing and building Cor, including lessons from the pilot phase. They also had opportunities to pray, adore the Blessed Sacrament and go to Mass together.
One of the Knights in attendance was Kevin Philip, a Knights of Columbus field agent and a member of Campion College Council 15955 in Regina, Saskatchewan, who has been involved in men’s ministry for about 20 years. He believes the Order’s introduction of Cor is “the right thing in the right way at the right time.”
“Cor is a tremendous opportunity for our men to encounter the heart of God and be transformed from within. I think that’s something Knights are longing for, whether they are aware that this is the longing in their hearts or not,” Philip said. “The guys are hungry for it. The kindling is ready; we just need the match.”
Supreme Secretary Patrick Mason addressed the Knights on the final morning of training, Sunday, Aug. 27, thanking them for their leadership and stressing the importance of the work ahead.
“[The devil] knows if he gets to the Catholic man, he gets to the family, and if he gets to the family, he gets to the Catholic Church,” Mason said. “So the prevalence of pornography, the prevalence of hedonism, of selfishness — society telling you that you’re worthless, that you’re not important — that’s the message that men are getting every day. Catholic men are not exempt from that.
“But there’s a ray of hope,” the supreme secretary continued. “Because we also know, and see this in a lot of studies, that when a man, a father, a husband, is faithful, when he goes to Mass on Sunday, when his children see him praying, then his children almost always remain faithful too.”
He concluded, “When [Cor] takes off, I think you’re really going to see changes in our families, in our Church, in our society as a whole.”
For more information, visit kofc.org/cor.
CECILIA HADLEY is senior editor of Columbia.