Monday, January 18, 2016

January 2016 Bulletin: Little Sponges

Lead article from the January 2016 bulletin, online now.

As a father sometimes I wonder if my kids pay attention when I speak.  As much as I try to teach them how to be good people and strong Catholics, most of the time I feel like my words just go right past them without slowing down.  It's always reassuring when they surprise me by doing or saying something that supports my teachings.  I bring this up because there were a couple examples this month where my kids surprised me and it makes me think about how many other things I do and say (good and bad) are being absorbed by them without my knowledge.

One of my biggest challenges and frustrations is trying to get my kids to sit still and pay attention during mass.  Most times I just accept the fact that I cannot make them listen and just try to keep them upright and in the same pew.  But every once in a while when you least expect it they surprise you.  I went to mass with Avril this month and it was just the two of us.  Fr. Ellis was giving his homily and I noticed that she was looking down at her feet fidgeting not seeming to be paying attention at all.  Later that evening she was playing on the laptop and came up to show me a picture.  It was the photo “Burst of Joy”, which Fr Ellis had talked about during his homily.  It really surprised me because I thought she was completely disconnected while he was talking.

This month we also began working through the Jeff Cavins Gen2Rev program.  This is a new book that the Church is piloting with the 4th grade students.  It's basically a bible timeline for kids that is meant to get fathers to read the bible to their children for 10 min every day.  I committed to doing the 6 month program with Avril.  My plan was to try to get at least her and Owen (2nd Grade) to do this with me.  Honestly I was expecting some whining and complaining especially after the first couple times.  Not only have they not complained but they ask questions and really enjoy those 10 minutes of faith education.  It isn't just Avril and Owen that have come to enjoy that time, their older siblings have not missed an evening if they were home.  I am truly surprised how much these kids are interested in their faith.

Regardless of what they communicate back to us, these children are little sponges.  They pick up on things we say and do even when we don't think they are paying attention.  That is why it is our responsibility to lead by example as strong Catholic men.  How do you expect your children to be serious about their faith if you are not?  Remember, God is not the only one watching everything you do.

God Bless,
Joe VanHoorik
Grand Knight

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 2015 Bulletin:
Helping Those in Need

Lead article from the December 2015 bulletin, online now!

This month I want to keep it short and simple because we are actively working on a fundraiser benefit for Monica Mize and I want that to be front and center in your minds. For those that don't know Monica, she is a member of the St Michael parish. She was just diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that has metastasized to her bones causing hypercalcemia. She is looking to fight this battle with a more holistic approach because she is also pregnant with their 8th child and the treatments for the hypercalcemia cannot be prescribed during pregnancy. In addition, the path that the Oncologists would take involves chemotherapy and radiation, which is harmful to the developing baby. Several of the officers met with Monica's CRHP team last week to begin planning a fundraiser for her family. With last month being Respect Life month, I now call on you to take action in supporting our pro-life beliefs. This woman, with seven children at home, is deciding to fight this disease without hurting her unborn child. I could not imagine a more selfless example of being pro-life than what she is doing right now. We must support her and pray for her..

My aunt and godmother were diagnosed with breast cancer in April of this year. This came not even a month after being let go from her job. Due to the intense chemotherapy she's been going through she has not been able to look for a new job and her unemployment benefits have run out. She is not an active member of a parish where she lives and does not have the community support that we have here. I can only do so much to help her and it pains me to see her struggle so hard to get through this. I share this with you not for sympathy but to ask for your prayers and to remind you that we are part of something great. We as the Knights of Columbus and as a Catholic Community are so very blessed to be able to do so much for our own that are struggling and in need. Don't forget that and don't take it for granted because you might be in need of assistance some day. If you can help in any way (time, talent, or treasure) in our upcoming fundraiser for Monica please reach out to myself or another officer.

God Bless!
Joe VanHoorik
Grand Knight

The Knights of Columbus are joining forces with Monica's CRHP team for a comprehensive fundraising event on January 17th culminating with a 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. spaghetti feed at the St Albert’s Parish Center. We will need our spaghetti feed A-Team available to make this feed a huge success!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

November 2015 Bulletin:
Pro-Life and the Unsung Heroes

Lead article from the November 2015 bulletin, online now.

With October being Respect Life Month there have been plenty of opportunities to reflect on this topic. As a father of 7 it would seem obvious that I am pro-life, but that wasn't always the case.  Of course when someone finds out how many kids I have I get the standard “you must be Catholic” or “you know how that happens right?” or some other comment that drives me crazy.  Why must I be Catholic to have a big family?  The fact is that we were expecting our 4th child before we went through RCIA, so technically we had a big family before fully joining the Church.  But even after having children I still cannot say I was pro-life.  I remember having a very serious conversation with my wife between child 3 and 4 about getting a vasectomy at 26.  We “knew” that we were done having kids after a miscarriage left a bad scar on our marriage.  Thankfully, my procrastination meant that I never got around to making that appointment.  Now, 4 children later, we still seem to have the conversation about being done having kids quite often but permanent prevention is absolutely never an option.  If I have learned anything, its that how I feel today does not mean that I will feel that way in the future.  Life will always give you plenty of opportunities to regret permanent decisions.  I've talked to too many men, especially in our own parish, that have horrible regrets after getting sterilized earlier in their lives.  Fr. Joah put it best in one of his homilies, “being Catholic does not mean having a dozen kids, it means always being open to life and not putting up any barriers to prevent life.”  We as responsible adults are expected to make decisions based on our situation in life and whether we have the resources to raise more children.  The Church doesn't tell us to carelessly have as many children as we can.  We need to be able to provide for those children both financially and emotionally.  There are ways to manage family size without forcing barriers into our bodies.  Don't live your life with regrets, nobody ever regrets another child but they will always regret not having the option to have one more child.

Now let me jump to another, very important side of this issue.  For those of you blessed with biological children ask yourself this question: Would you be the same parent if your children were adopted?  That's a hard question for me to think about because as much as I want to say yes I honestly don't know.  We have been fortunate that we have never had issues conceiving.  I've heard so many heartbreaking stories from men in this community on the struggles of not being able to conceive or bring a pregnancy to full term.  These men and women put everything on the line for that opportunity to be a parent.  Its not until many years pass, lots of tears are shed, and outrageous expenses incurred that many of them finally decide to adopt.  That is if their marriage is still intact after everything they went through.  It's at this point they are faced with yet another daunting challenge in their journey to become parents: more time, more money, and more tears.

After all this they finally get to become parents.  These are people that made sacrifices most couldn't, just to put all that love into raising a child.  How can we deny them that opportunity by not being pro-life?  If these young women only knew what these people go through for the opportunity to adopt their child and the wonderful life they will provide them I think we would see a change of heart.  This is why its so important for us to support pro-life women's centers like Cornerstone.  Places that can get the right information and support to these women.  Never forget these unsung heroes because they are the critical piece of this respect life war we are fighting and they don't get the appreciation they deserve.  Go out and thank an adoptive parent for being the ultimate example of how precious life is and the love that is out there just waiting to embrace these children.

God Bless,
Joe VanHoorik
Grand Knight