Monday, July 29, 2019

August 2019 Bulletin: Traditions of Leadership

Lead article from the August 2019 bulletin, online now.

This is the first bulletin article of the Knights of Columbus fiscal year. The article would be remiss if we did not recognize all the work put in by previous people getting our council to the point where we are today. Our council is one of the largest and most active in the state. We should thank Gary Frandsen for all of his many man-hours of blood, sweat and beers/tears working for our council. Gary has selflessly worked as the previous Grand Knight, organized and ran the Father-Daughter Dance and the Father-Son Event, helped with the Senior Dinners, attended Albertville Friendly City Days council for planning, put in a large number of hours making sure that the beer tent succeeded, put in time on the tree lot, organized and ran multiple spaghetti feeds and countless other activities with a mind-boggling number of hours put in. Thank you Gary!

This article would also like to recognize John DeLander. John DeLander was inducted into the Fourth-Degree Hall of Fame for 2019. John has also put in countless hours over the multiple decades he has been involved with our council. It would take a book to attempt to list all of the activities John has been involved with helping our council and the community. Thank you, John!

It is humbling to think of all the work that has been put in for the benefit of our community including financial gifts to the parish youth, help to those in need, pro-life activities, St. Nicholas parties, All Saints parties, beer tents, tree lots and many more. There are many other people to thank too numerous to mention – you know who you are. 

All the work done before has helped to build a strong Catholic foundation in our community. There are many activities approaching with the opportunity to get involved and follow where many men have gone before. Please continue lending your hands this year in helping to continue the fantastic work done for multiple decades by our council for our community. 

Erich and I will attempt to fill in the large shoes left by Gary in the upcoming year. We hope to continue to lead our council by offering members the opportunity to help out our community. As a youth I remember hearing, "Many hands make light work." I knew that if I helped out the work at hand would get done faster and everybody working would have less to do. We are aiming to give everybody the opportunity to get involved and hoping you do! 

God Bless,
Andy Sipple
Grand Knight

Thursday, June 6, 2019

June 2019 Bulletin: A Higher Education

Lead article from the June 2019 bulletin, online now.

Andy Sipple and I just returned home from a ceremony at the STMA high school having awarded $750 scholarships to over thirty senior students. If we do nothing else as a council, this event alone is worth the current year's work. It is the single most satisfying thing that we do. Our youth are in need of all the help they can get. 

Kids today start worrying about SAT tests as early as the 9th-grade in this hyper-credentialed culture they are forced to contend with. It was not that big of a deal as recently as 1979-1981 when I attended the U of M. We surely did not spend one whole school day on one test (ridiculous nonsense). 

This was all in hopes of becoming "successful" as a student in hot pursuit of a top-rate (if not liberal progressive) education. This, of course, would lead to the landing of a great, high-paying position and rewarding career. The debt most of them will incur is a faint whisper in the far back corner of their young conscience. The debt Godzilla will surely rear its burdensome head shortly after they toss the tasseled hat in the air at the graduation ceremony. 

We need to focus our attention much more on targeted education in the form of community college, trade school, on-the-job training and such. Major public sector universities and state colleges continue to raise tuition while at the same time bellying up to the public hog-trough to feast on tax-payer cash. Some enterprising publication needs to dispatch a team of energetic young reporters to investigate all of these colleges' and universities' spending habits. I suspect some extensive waste ("just saying"). They are all in secret possession of bloated endowment funds. Most if not all of them could offer free tuition for all students for decades to come with this ever growing stash. What on earth are they planning for all of this money? Here is some information on university endowment funds for parents who struggle to find funds to help their kids: Yale-$27 billion, Texas University system-$26.5 billion, Stanford-$24.7 billion, Princeton-$23.8 billion, MIT-$14.9 billion, etc. 

Our own University of Minnesota is #24 on the list and has $4 billion in a large maroon and gold piggy bank with a gopher on it. This has never delayed their annual trip to the capitol to sing for more cold tax-payer cash from our complicit legislators. Having stated all of this, it is a wonderful thing we do as a council to help these kids in a small way to lessen the financial strain. 

It has been great serving Council 4174 KCs for the past two years as Grand Knight and the past seven years as an officer. I look forward to helping out Andy as best I can and wish him and all officers Godspeed as they take over. I know we will be in good hands.

God bless,
Gary Frandsen
Grand Knight

Thursday, May 16, 2019

May 2019 Bulletin: Easter Vigil

Lead article from the May 2019 bulletin, online now.

For the first forty-nine years of my life, the Easter Vigil meant nothing to me. That all changed at the Easter Vigil 2009 when Fr. Gregory Abbott and Fr. Michael Becker led me into the water as a Catechumen as I welcomed the light of Christ. I found myself immersed in the same baptismal font that my youngest daughter Anna was baptized in five years earlier. I had literally followed all three of my girls into the faith.

The occurrence would not have taken place without them. God set me on my path in February 1986 aged twenty six years. The journey was started as a result of my signature on a document that clearly explained my commitment to raise my future children in the Catholic faith. Father Joe at St. Gerard's Catholic church would not marry us without it. After all, I was being honest when I informed him of my agnostic beliefs. We hoped to have a bunch of kids, but they did not come.

The next 14 years were filled with infertility, doctors and frustration. As a Catholic, my wife Gina prayed on it. I also offered prayers that followed within my agnostic parameters, you know, "If you are up there please present us with children" type of prayer.

Those prayers were answered in 2001- 2003 when we journeyed to the Russian Republic on four occasions and gained our daughters through adoption. We moved to Albertville between daughters and set up shop. We were reminded of our commitment to raise our daughters Catholic and began to attend Mass on Sundays. Father Siebenaler then baptized Marina in 2003 and Father Michael Becker baptized Anna in the new church in 2005.

For the next five years I attended Mass with my family on a weekly basis. I behaved myself as a non-Catholic and stayed in my seat during communion while paying close attention to that which was going on around me. I asked Gina many questions about the Mass the stand- up-sit down stand-up sit-down, the doing of the dishes and such. What I witnessed also was a lot of men bringing their families to church, and leading them to faith filled lives.

This began to chip away at my uncertain position about Christ and God. I began to watch the EWTN network and studied Pope John Paul to some extent due to his huge cultural impact in the Christian world. My wife asked me if I was stalking the Catholic church. I guess I was, and we placed both girls on the list to attend the Catholic school and continued attending Mass. One day I found my way to Father Abbott's office discussing the RCIA program. I joined and spent the next year pouring over the Catechism.

The long, 49-year, meandering path then ended in 2009 at the Easter Vigil where Fr. Abbott and Fr. Becker led me into that same baptismal font that my daughter was led into five years earlier. The congregation that night could not have made me feel more welcome. I was bathed in Christ's light for the first time in my life. Delivered there in no small part due to my three girls.

So when you are thinking about which Easter service to attend, please consider the wonderful Easter Vigil. Where else can you witness a large group of people coming into the light of Jesus and embraced by his welcoming arms?

God bless, 

Gary Frandsen
Grand Knight