Friday, December 13, 2013

Rectory Matching Gift: Donate Before the New Year!

We have received word that through an anonymous benefactor we have a matching gift of $10,000 for the new rectory project through the end of the year. That means any gift given will be doubled up to $10,000 until the end of the year.

Please help us spread the word by sharing this on your wall -- and consider making a donation before the end of the year! Special thanks and many blessings to our anonymous benefactor!

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2013 Bulletin:
Rectory Project: Next Steps

Lead article from the December 2013 bulletin, online now!

Artist's rendering of the new rectory.

Dear friends in Christ,

Thank you for the pledged support you have extended to the Knights of Columbus as we move towards building our priests a new rectory. My apologies that many of you have not been contacted since you signed up at either the parish festival, the polka band fundraiser, or after mass during the fall, but we have been waiting for some things to be solidified before we sent out an update.

As it so happened we have decided to break ground in April 2014, which will allow us more time to consolidate resources and to raise awareness and funds for the project. As the scriptures relate in Luke 14:28, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” We have thus taken our Lord’s cue and begun to focus our attention on obtaining what we need to make the building of our priests’ rectory a success.

In order to make communication easier, clearer, and quicker we have created a website that will include regular updates on the project as well as let the community as a whole know what we are still in need of to build the rectory. You can follow the project and get more information on what you have signed up for by visiting The site includes more complete renderings of the planned rectory, current donation needs, and a pavers fundraising campaign, which enables donors to leave a permanent, personal message for our priests as part of the project.

God reward you for your generosity to ensure that our priests have a home that is comfortable, safe, and allows them to rest from their labors in the vineyard, both now and for generations to come.

Brother Jim Shovelain
Rectory Project Volunteer Coordinator

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 2013 Bulletin:
What Makes Us Catholic?

Lead article from the November 2013 bulletin, online now!

Have you ever wondered what makes us Catholic? With all the happenings around the world today, do you ever second-guess your faith from time to time? I sometimes sit and think, “Am I living the Catholic life? Do I make the right decisions? Am I a good leader in my home?” … for my most important job is to help my family reach heaven. I can directly affect this by the choices I make and by leading by example.

As I look around this community, I see so many other great examples. We have six seminarians from this area, and if you dig deeper, you see that their fathers are Knights.

We have a great youth program at our churches, and when you see the children involved, most of their fathers are also Knights. You can see the positive influence that the fathers of these children have had on their lives.

Read "Nine Things That Make Us Catholic" by Thomas H. Groome, online at

Sunday, September 29, 2013

October 2013 Bulletin: Dei Dome Gratia: Home by the Grace of God

Lead article from the October 2013 bulletin, online now!

The proposed new rectory is a rambler with a living room, dining room,
kitchen, lounge, chapel, mudroom, and bedroom on the upper level
and more bedrooms below.

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
– Psalm 127:1

Brothers Knights,

As a member of Council 4174, I can say I am very proud to be a part of such a dedicated council. If you reflect on all the ways our council supports the parishes we serve, you quickly begin to see all we do. Sometimes we have the opportunity to support our parishes and community in very tangible ways. Most of you are aware of all the work the council has done to support Cornerstone Women’s Center including significant financial donations, an ultrasound machine, and countless hours donated to complete the renovation of their building.

This year, we have the opportunity to give back to our local priests in a very specific way. Our council is leading the effort to build a new rectory for our priests, present and future. Dei Dome Gratia (Home by the Grace of God) – a new rectory for our priests in St. Michael – will provide for the material needs our priests. This effort has the strong support of Grand Knight Jim Wiegers and council officers: as a council, we will provide the leadership and support to make this project a reality.
For many of you, this may be the first time you have heard of the project and you may have some questions.  We want to explain the reasoning for a new rectory and what each of you can do to help make this a reality.

  • So why build a new rectory? There are a few main reasons. The current living conditions of our priests are substandard – well below those of most of us. We could take several pages detailing all the issues our priests endure on a daily basis, but to save space, let’s just say the rectory is in rough shape and needs a lot of work. The repairs needed to bring the rectory to satisfactory condition would also cost a great deal of money. Location is another reason. As Saint Michael has grown over the last 20 years, the intersection the current rectory occupies is one of the busiest in the area. Because of the active “night life,” sleep is very difficult. Finally, and most importantly, our priests are an extension of our family. So many lives are impacted by these great men, and they deserve the living conditions we would want for our own family.  
  • Why are the Knights of Columbus leading this project and why now? For several reasons, but first and foremost, to show our appreciation to our priests for their leadership and to provide for their material needs. We also have a large and dynamic council who can provide the expertise and thousands of volunteer hours that will be needed to complete the project. We also have some financial strength and are well known in the community, which reassures people who may want to contribute time and financial support that the project has a high probability of success. Finally, the project is not intended to be part of any parish building process. The long-term planning and concern of Fr. Richards and the parish is to someday have a school and social hall at our Frankfort Parkway location. Fr. Richards is also much too humble to ever ask for a new home, but we shouldn’t expect our priests to live in the current conditions. With the cost of fixing the old rectory, it makes sense to invest in a long-term solution for the parish, not a temporary fix. Finally, we have a unique opportunity to obtain much of the building materials at significantly reduced costs, as Fr. Nathan has family members who are heavily involved in construction. We have been fortunate enough to receive many sizable donations already because of his connections.  When you look at all these factors, it becomes clear that our council should help lead this project, and the timing is right to make it a reality.
  • Where will the new rectory be located?  The parish owns a small piece of property at Frankfort Parkway and Cottonwood Avenue near our current church. This location makes sense, as it moves the rectory near the church. It uses property already owned by the church and moves our priests away from noise and traffic and into a residential neighborhood. Someday in the future a new school and social hall will be built at the Frankfort location, so having the rectory nearby makes logistical sense.
  • What will be done with the existing rectory?  This is probably the biggest question most people have. The first thing to make sure everyone understands is that we are not planning to do anything with the Rectory. Prior to Fr. Richards and Fr. Michael Becker moving back into the current rectory, our priests had not lived there for some time. The Knights’ priority is simply to help build a new home that shows our appreciation and support of our priests and provides reasonable living conditions. It seems likely that nothing will be done with the existing rectory until long-term planning is discussed by our parish committees and priests.
  • What does the timetable and building process look like?  God willing, we will begin this project in the very near future! There are many factors involved in setting a project schedule, but right now our hope is to begin construction before winter. Through the generosity of several donors including a $20,000 donation from our council, we have secured the earthwork and enough money for the foundation to be completed in late fall. Our hope is to get the structure framed before winter. This would enable volunteer tradesmen and laborers to work through the winter when they are less busy. The project will be modeled after Habitat for Humanity, in which just about every aspect of the build is done through volunteer labor – and all Knights and parishioners are invited to help. Once we finalize the start date, we will create a building timeline and expect the project to take six to nine months to complete.  Again, nearly all the labor will be donated, and after framing, we will have two or three build days per week. This will make it easy for everyone to know what days they can show up and help. There are many moving parts to navigate before we can set a schedule and break ground, but we will continue to send updates so people know when they can help!
  • So how can I help?  We need three things to make this project a success. First, we need prayers. Like anything worth doing, it’s worth praying for, so please pray for the success of the project. Second, we need men and women to help build the rectory. It will take an estimated 2,500 hours to build the house. The Habitat for Humanity model uses all the labor it can get, so even if you don’t have construction experience, we need your help. No one should feel they cannot pitch in. We will need people to help provide food. We will need help making sure everyone who shows up has signed in and has read the safety rules. We will need people who can hammer, saw, sweep, dig, and haul away trash. We need you!

Finally, if you have the financial ability and think our priests deserve better living conditions, I ask you to consider making a donation. As I mentioned previously, the project needs to be led by the Knights because the project cannot pull financial resources away from the parish. With that said, the project will need some large donors to help offset the material costs. We are putting together a registry that should be ready by late October.  This registry will be much like a bridal registry, in which you will be able to purchase materials to be donated to the project. If you feel called to contribute something to the project, you will be able to. Maybe you’re a plumbing contractor and can’t contribute all the plumbing fixtures, but could consider a donation in the amount of one of the bathrooms. Maybe you want to donate $1,000 toward the project. Again, please let us know.  

We have a great opportunity to show our support for our priests. If you want to help our Council give back to the men who give so much to us, please contact us.  If you would like to volunteer to help, you can contact Jim Shovelain at  If you have any further questions, you can contact me at

Fraternally in Christ,
Mike Engel
Trustee First Year

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Busy Weekend: Rectory Fundraiser, Soccer Challenge This Saturday

Brother Knights examine the renderings for a new rectory at the
St. Michael Catholic Church Fall Festival last weekend.

This coming weekend is a busy one for Council 4174. Don't miss your chance to get involved!

This Saturday evening, St. Michael parishioners and anyone else who is interested is invited to join Council 4174 and the Marv Nissel Band at Neighbors Eatery and Saloon in Albertville for a special event to raise funds and awareness for the rectory project for Saint Michael Catholic Church. The project was announced at last weekend's parish Fall Festival and already is garnering strong support in terms of donated materials, expertise, and labor.

The band will play from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. -- no cover; freewill offerings will support the new rectory. Enjoy great polka music, food specials, and fun, and learn more about how you can help support a great cause: a much needed new home for our priests!

Also, a reminder: earlier on Saturday we have the Knights of Columbus Soccer Challenge on Saturday, Sept. 14. All boys and girls ages 10-14 are invited to participate in the local level of competition for the 2013 Knights of Columbus Soccer Challenge.  The local competition will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 1 p.m. at the St. Michael Middle School East soccer fields.  In the event of inclement weather a rain date has been set for Sunday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. at the same location. Knights and their children who are interested in volunteering can sign up online today!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Spend Time With Christ in Adoration

The Knights of Columbus have been acting as God’s hands and feet on Earth for over 130 years. Knights have performed countless charitable acts in communities all over the world and continue the fight for Catholic family values. The Venerable Michael McGivney’s great vision is alive and well—but much like solders need to drill to keep sharp for the fight, so too must Knights train in order to be at the ready.

Our training is rooted in the strength of our faith and our relationship with Jesus Christ. After all, who better to go into contemporary cultural battles with than our lord and savior? How better to grow closer to Christ than through prayer? And what better form of prayer than Eucharistic Adoration?

Please allow me to discard the technical definition for the purposes of this article, which is to define what it means for the average Catholic man to come and spend quality time with his lord and savior Jesus Christ. Friendships are built over time; they become stronger with each hour they are together. The same is true with your relationship with Jesus Christ. Come  spend an hour per week in the Adoration Chapel getting closer to your redeemer. You can do it in your own way, no profundity is needed here. Just come to talk, pray, or just sit and listen to what he has to tell you. There is something very spiritual, therapeutic, and satisfying when you come to adoration after a long week of life’s joys and trials. Your savior does not require that you pre-qualify; there are no tests or expectations. Come if your faith is strong; come if you are struggling. Bring with you your humanity, with all of its burdens, joys, and sorrows, and spend an hour talking and visiting with your savior and good friend Jesus Christ.

There is currently a need in the adoration chapels at St. Michael and St. Albert churches. Please prayerfully consider signing up for one of the hours of need. For information, go to and and check Eucharistic Adoration heading.

Thank you, and God bless. 
Your Chancellor, 
Gary Frandsen

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2013 Bulletin:
Make Time to Pray

Grand Knight's article from the September 2013 bulletin.

As the Year of Faith is drawing to a close, I was reflecting on if I had made any sustainable changes in my faith life. To my surprise the answer smacked me right in the face as I watched the news on my lunch break.

As I sat in the lunch room, a story came on that you may have heard. It goes something like this: a young woman was hit head-on by a drunk driver. She was barely clinging to life, and her vital signs were falling fast. The fire department’s equipment was failing, and they were having a hard
time getting her out. That’s when she asked them to pray with her.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a man dressed as a Catholic priest appeared, even though the road was blocked off for two miles. The priest prayed and gave the young woman the anointing of the sick as well as absolution. After this there was a calming on the scene, and the fire fighters equipment was working again. They were able to get her out and off to the hospital, and the priest had vanished.

That is when I realized what has been missing in my life. I have gotten so consumed in my hectic life, with work, a new baby, and my son’s sports. I was so consumed in all this that I didn’t leave time or was too busy to spend time in prayer.

Watching the news that day made me do some soul-searching: how could I be so busy as to not find time to pray? What is so important that I couldn’t spend some time talking to God our Father? Well, I will tell you what: nothing. I decided to make a change and get back to some time with our Lord.

And I will also tell you this: things don’t seem as chaotic, and I feel more relaxed. I am still busy with all the other things, but they don’t seem to consume me like they did before. If your life is anything like
mine, and you find yourself out of balance, I want to challenge you to spend some time in prayer with our Father.
“The Lord never tires of forgiving – never! It is we who tire of asking his forgiveness. Let us ask for the grace not to tire of asking forgiveness, because he never tires of forgiving. Let us ask for this grace”
 — Pope Francis

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Don't Miss Catholic Man Night
at St. Michael Historic Church!

Fr. Peter Richards, Fr. Nathan LaLiberte and the Knights of Columbus Council 4174 invite fathers and sons to a special Catholic Man Night event:

Fr. Michael Skluzacek
“The Emotions of Jesus Christ”
Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Historic St. Michael Catholic Church 
14 Main Street North in St. Michael

This great father-son event includes adoration, confession, Fr. Skluzacek’s reflections and discussion, a man-feast, fellowship, and a raffle!

Please download and share our online flyer with Catholic men you know in the area. Information about upcoming monthly Catholic Man Night events and catechesis about about Jesus Christ can be found at

Monday, August 12, 2013

Knights of Columbus Soccer Challenge Scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14

The Knights of Columbus Soccer Challenge is coming to St. Michael! All boys and girls ages 10-14 are invited to participate in the local level of competition for the 2013 Knights of Columbus Soccer Challenge.  The local competition will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 1 p.m. at the St. Michael Middle School East soccer fields.  In the event of inclement weather a rain date has been set for Sunday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. at the same location.

This competition is designed for players to demonstrate the most basic of soccer skills – the penalty kick.  Each player will be take 15 shots at the goal from the penalty line that is 12 yards back.  The goal is divided into 5 scoring zones with ropes.  The upper corners are worth 20 points, the lower corners are worth 10 points, and the center is worth 5 points.  The participant in each age category with the highest point total will be declared the winner.

The Knights of Columbus Soccer Challenge is sponsored annually, with winners progressing through local, district, and state competitions.  International champions are announced by the Knights of Columbus international headquarters in New Haven, Conn., based on scores from the state-level competitions.  All boys and girls age 10 to 14  are eligible to participate and will compete in their respective age divisions.  All contestants on the local level are recognized for their participation in the event.  Participants are required to furnish proof of age and written parental consent. 

The Knights of Columbus is an international Catholic family fraternal service organization with 1.8 million members in over 14,000 local councils.  Last year, Knights donated 70 million volunteer hours and $154 million to charitable and benevolent causes, sponsoring projects to benefit their Church, communities, councils, Culture of Life, families and youth.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 2013 Bulletin:
Here to Serve In Charity

Grand Knight's article from the August 2013 bulletin

I want to start off by congratulating past Grand Knight Mike Engel on a great year—but why did it have to go by so fast? These last few years it was an honor and a privelege to learn from past Grand Knights Steve House and Mike Engel. They are hard acts to follow and I pray that I, too, can leave a mark on this great council.

For this fraternal year I would like to continue to grow this council in fraternity, unity and charity. I have to admit I really don’t know many of the men in this council, and I’m sure many of you don’t know or haven’t heard of me. So here is a brief overview: I am married and have two children, Jake (age nine) and Sophia (five months old). We have been members of the St. Michael parish for just over four years, which is about when we moved to the area. I have been a Knight for four years and am a fourth-degree member. My main reason for joining the Knights was to have a way to give back to such a warm, welcoming community.

To try to accomplish this, we are going to do a couple things: first after some constructive feedback, we are going to revert back to the old format for meetings—we will start the business meeting at 7 p.m. and have a light meal or snack afterward for those who want to hang around. The other idea is to bring back the Knight of Columbus family of the month. All that would be needed is a short intro like I offered above and maybe a picture. I would appreciate any feedback on how to do this.

We all joined the Knights for one reason or another, but a huge part of being a Knight is charity. In this council we are fortunate enough to have many activities in which we can participate. So I encourage you all to volunteer to help out in at least one event and maybe even show up to a business meeting. Along with that we are in need of some men to fill open directorships or to help lead some of the upcoming events. If you are interested or know of someone who may be, feel free to contact me or one of the officers for more information.

As a last thought I will leave you with these words from Pope Francis on the Christian life:
In this period of crisis, today, it is important not to turn in on ourselves, burying our own talent, our spiritual, intellectual, and material riches, everything that the Lord has given us, but, rather to open ourselves, to be supportive, to be attentive to others. Set your stakes on great ideals, the ideals that enlarge the heart, the ideals of service that make your talents fruitful. Life is not given to us to be jealously guarded from ourselves, but is given to us so that we may give it in turn.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Former Chaplain Speaks on Catholic Social Teaching Tomorrow!

Fr. Meyers
Brothers: Please don't forget the June Council Meeting tomorrow, Thursday, June 6, at the St. Albert Parish Center. Our former chaplain, Fr. Nathaniel Meyers (now at Our Lady of Grace in Edina), and our Past Grand Knight Steve House will be speaking on Catholic social teaching.

A light supper begins at 6:30, with the presentation beginning around 7 and the monthly business meeting to follow. Join us!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June 2013 Bulletin:
Tremendous Pro-Life Message

The pro-life message for the June 2013 bulletin was written for Mother’s Day by a parishioner of St. Michael Catholic Church, who agreed we could share it . Please pray for her, her unborn babies, and her family. — Pro-Life Director Jim Shovelain 

PRO-LIFE. Hey, guess what? Ever since I was very, very young, my mom taught me about something a child should never know, but it was real despite the atrocity, and we had to know about it in order to fight it. Abortion.

We fought by quietly praying. We fought by getting together every year to make Mother’s Day flowers/corsages to sell to raise money and awareness. We fought to...teach others who may not have known, or who may have been too scared to learn the TRUTH of what was happening when they were “terminating.” We spoke of it as it was: killing a baby. We fought to provide support for those who learned too late. We prayed for all of them. For the babies, the MILLIONS of babies and for the mothers who suffer in silence, in many cases.

And then, I grew up and had children of my own. And it shocked me that in this day and age still a mother, a MOTHER, could kill her own child. So I continued to fight and pray. And then one day, a few months ago, I learned that my two babies were in the same amniotic sac. And then another day I learned that one of my baby girls was missing a majority of her brain.

“Incompatible with LIFE,” they said. In other words, “your baby girl with anencephaly WILL ABSOLUTELY DIE and what’s more, uniquely, very uniquely, her being in there with her sister MAY KILL HER SISTER via cord entanglement.”

So they gave me options:

  1. “Terminate” your baby to give the other baby a better chance but no guarantee. 
  2.  Risk allowing them to continue to grow to term and deliver both, then kiss one goodbye shortly after she is born. 
Immediately I spoke of these “options” as:

  • KILL my baby, or 
  • Not kill my baby. 
I had no patience or tolerance for anything but the truth of what would take place. As you can see, there really was only one option, as my sister pointed out.

I saw them today, moving around like crazy, holding hands, playing, kicking the @#$% out of each other. It is HARD. HORRIBLE. EXCRUCIATING seeing them together knowing that they will never ever be together on Earth, save perhaps a few moments.

But guess what isn’t hard? Seeing her worth, seeing her value, understanding that she is a living human being who is apparently unaware that that her condition is incompatible with life. She is, for now, living. Just like millions of babies who right at this moment are being sent to slaughter for no “reason” at all.

This Mother’s Day, please join me in praying for an end to this evil. Pray that hearts and minds are changed. Pray for the babies and for God to forgive what we have become or have allowed to happen. Pray that others are strong enough to continue the fight.

Monday, May 6, 2013

"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ..."

Archbishop Nienstedt prays over Deacon Paul Shovelain.
Deacon Paul's first baptism...

Last Saturday, many of our council witnessed the ordination of one of our own. Paul Shovelain, son of our former Grand Knight and long-time Pro-Life Director Jim Shovelain, was ordained to the transitional deaconate along with six other young men at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. God willing, these seven will be ordained priests next year. Numerous families drove in from Albertville and St. Michael, along with countless family members, and even the elderly priest who baptized Paul decades earlier. In addition, among the Fourth-Degree Honor Guard escorting the seminarians, clergy, and the archbishop in were at least five local Knights. Paul has given so much of himself to St. Michael parish, the St. Michael and St. Albert youth groups, and the community. It was good to give him something back, in the form of our presence and our prayers.

On Sunday morning at the 10:30 mass, Deacon Paul baptized two infants and delivered a moving homily (below) about meeting and sharing Christ. He spoke without notes, with the earnestness and joy that every knows and loves in Paul.

Congratulations, brother -- may God continue to bless and guide you. Blessed Mother, pray for him!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Called to Serve?
Consider a Directorship!

By Jim Thorp
Outgoing Council Director

“Surely the great secret of the spiritual life is to abandon ourselves to all that he wishes, in perfect confidence that all will be for the best; and hence it has been said that all things turn to good for those who serve God.” — St. Vincent de Paul
Council booth at the St. Michael Fall Festival

For most of us, this call to the KCs is one of many crying out for our time and attention. We also hear the call of work, which helps us to provide for and protect our families; our wives, children, friends and relatives, who need our attention; our church and community, which need our time and talents; and our God, who wants a closer relationship with us—and we only have so much of ourselves to go around. With so many demands on our time and ability, how do we decide which calls to heed, and which to ignore?

In my case, I looked for overlap. In the KCs, I found an organization that actively supports the Catholic Church and its teachings, parish ministries, and people in need right here in our communities. I found an organization dedicated to protecting and strengthening Catholic families—and an organization in which I could demonstrate my love of, and service to, God as well as my wife and children, with real action.

St. Nicholas Party
For the past few years I have served our council, first as Community Director, and currently as Council Director. These directorships are coordinator positions, which work with others to ensure the projects our council undertakes are successful. Each director generally has a few primary projects they help to lead each year, and the support of good, experienced men who have worked on these projects for years.

We currently have two directorships opening up at the end of June. The position of Family Director organizes the Father-Daughter Dance, Father-Son Fun Day, and St. Nicholas Party. Our current Family Director, Jeremy Rohr, has been supporting these activities, plus leading KC-funded marriage enrichment activities, and is stepping back from the former to focus on the latter. My position, Council Director, works with our worthy Financial Secretary to organize and oversee the annual Christmas Tree Lot fundraiser and with the St. Michael Fall Festival Committee to organize the German Dinner. I am stepping down to focus more effort on this bulletin and council communications—so my replacement will not need to fill that role!

German Dinner at the St. Michael Fall Festival
These are manageable, but much-needed, leadership roles that have the strong support of the officers and the entire council, and we are looking for a couple of men who feel called to serve. Worried you’ll bite off more than you can chew? Partner with a friend to be co-directors, or offer to help lead one of the individual projects within these directorships.

We are all called to serve. If you are interested in learning more about serving as a director in the KCs, join the council officers on at the Grand Knight Mike Engel’s residence on Wednesday, May 29, 7-7:30 p.m., for snacks, refreshments, and a brief information session to answer your questions. Contact Mike at for details and directions. We hope to see you there!

Christmas Tree Lot Fundraiser

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 2013 Grand Knight's Message: Council Social and Awards Dinner on June 19

Grand Knight's article from the May 2013 bulletin.

Brother Knights,

Our council has had another busy and successful year carrying out programs, and I want to personally thank you all for your hard work!

Council Social and Awards Dinner
Council 4174 cordially invites you and your spouse to our second annual council social and awards dinner. We hope you all will consider attending. It’s a great opportunity for our new members and veteran Knights to meet each other.

  • When: Wednesday June 19, at 6:30 p.m. 
  • Where: St. Albert’s Parish Hall 
  • What: Food, fellowship and recognition 
  • Dress Code: Casual 
  • Cost: Free 

Please RSVP to me at as soon as possible to help us plan for food and drinks. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Council Funds
As outlined in our updated council bylaws, funding requests larger than $500 are to be published in the monthly newsletter for your consideration. At our next council meeting, the council will vote on the approval of the following requests (going forward, these will appear in the Financial Secretary’s column):

  •  Three funding requests in support of Albertville Friendly City: $1,200 for liquor liability insurance, $12,000 for liquor expenses, and $1,500 for a general donation to AFCD committee.
  • A budget request of up to $7,500 for the purchase of the trees for the 2013 Christmas Tree Lot.
  • A funding request in the amount of $1,500 for the Council 4174 Over-50 fishing trip to Mille Lacs Lake.
  • A funding request for $925 to the State Student Loan Fund
  • A budget request of up to $600 for All in God’s Plan 

A Few Thoughts 
Brother Jim Thorp has written an article this month about the role of directors in the council. I encourage each of you to consider new ways you can help support the council’s mission. Also, please join us at our last two council meetings of the fraternal year for an evening meal and our guest lecturer speakers. On Thursday, May 2, Brother Knight Matthew Christoff, one of the founders of Catholic Man Night, will speak to us. And on Thursday, June 6, Fr. Nathaniel Meyers will address our council. As is typical, an informal dinner and fraternity will begin at 6:30 p.m., with our speakers beginning at 6:50 p.m. Our business meeting will start promptly at 7:30 p.m.

Finally, our country continues to endure tragic events, and our witness and prayers are needed greatly. Please hold in your hearts everyone affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy and accidental explosion in Texas.

Sincerely in Christ, 
Mike Engel 
Grand Knight

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Christ the King Assembly Welcomes New Fourth Degree Members from Council 4174

Eighty-eight Minnesota Knights were initiated into the Fourth Degree on Saturday, April 20, in Rochester, Minn. The Fourth Degree is the patriotic degree of the KCs and has regional assemblies in addition to the local councils. Seven of the new initiates are now members of our local Christ the King Assembly, including three from Council 4174. Photos courtesy of Brother Sheldon Barthel.

Seven new members of the Fourth Degree, Christ the King Assembly
(left to right): Scott Fredrickson (St. Michael-Albertville),
Gary Frandsen (St. Michael-Albertville),
Wayne Hermanson (Buffalo), Andrew Lindquist (Big Lake),
Mike Engel (St. Michael-Albertville), Wayne Mevissen (Montrose),
and Dale Lesser (Buffalo)
Representing Council 4174 (St. Michael-Albertville) and looking sharp
doing it: Scott Fredrickson, Mike Engel, and Gary Frandsen
Several of the Fourth Degree members from Council 4174:
Gary Frandsen, Joe VanHoorik, Gordy Bongaarts, Jim Weigers,
Mike Engel, and Scott Fredrickson

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

April 2013 Grand Knight's Message: Prayers for Pope Francis

Grand Knight's article from the April 2013 bulletin

 My wife and I sat on the beach in Florida enjoying the beautiful weather and our children making sand castles on a beautiful afternoon. As we sat in our chairs, I overheard a couple of women talking about the day’s events. "Well, we have a new Pope! I think the Catholics will now be happy again."

Just how true her words are! To have the Vicar of Christ watching and praying for the Church should bring us great relief. With great excitement we announced to our children the good news, and were excited to learn more about who our new Pope was. We stopped for a moment and offered up a Glory Be in thanksgiving for our new Pope and for his Pontificate.

And so, this is a very simple article. I ask you all to pray for Benedict XVI in his retirement — in great thanksgiving for his sacrifice to Mother Church and for blessings on him in all his journeys yet to come. Let us also pray for Pope Francis. Please spend time in prayer for him as we begin to discover how God will use him to guide the Church. Certainly, we will see great scrutiny around the departure of Pope Benedict and the shortcomings of Pope Francis. Let us be their support through constant and continual prayer for them.

Please take a moment to offer up The Angelus for the intentions of Pope Francis:

  • Leader: The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
  • Response: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
  • All: Hail Mary, full of grace...
  • Leader: Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
  • Response: Be it done unto me according to thy word.
  • All: Hail Mary, full of grace… 
  • Leader: And the Word became flesh. 
  • Response: And dwelt among us.
  • All: Hail Mary, full of grace…
  • Leader: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
  • Response: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
  • Leader: Let us pray.
  • All: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Council 4174 Welcomes Seven New Members!

Seven new Knights were welcomed to the First Degree before the March council meeting. Pictured (left to right) are new members Jeff Madore, Andrew Bromenshenkel, Kurt Anderson, Joe Kulas, Toby Frelich, J.P. Gillach and Erich Kunzman. Please welcome them when you see them!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Give Blood to Save Lives!

The Knights of Columbus Council 4174 is hosting a Memorial Blood Centers blood drive on Saturday, March 16, from 8:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m. at St. Michael Catholic Church, 11300 Frankfort Parkway NE, in St. Michael. Your donation could help up to three people in need!

Sign up at and enter the sponsor code 3912. Spots fill up fast, so don't delay!

March 2013 Grand Knight's Message: To Imitate Christ

Grand Knight's article from the March 2013 bulletin:

“And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry.”
— Matthew 4:3

I wish I could say that my understanding of fatherhood with my   first child—Katelyn, now almost 13—was the same as when our youngest child, Peter, was born nearly two years ago. Maybe at the age of 40, I understand truly how fast they grow up. Certainly, faith has changed in our lives, and I am more grateful for the gift of my children. In either case, I am more aware of my role as father to help shape the lives of my children.  To a 22-month-old boy, I have come to see, Daddy is the king of the universe. Every action I do is carefully examined and repeated by son. Every household choir involving a hammer, screw gun, or tape measure is met with tiny hands trying to hammer, screw, or measure. For to my son, he shows his love and admiration for his father through this imitation of what I do.

I watch in amazement every time he grabs my hand and walks me over to his tractor to play “fixit” with him or drive little tractors across the carpet. His response to love is to imitate the one he loves. His love is expressed back to me through his imitation of what I do. In much the same way, we witness to God’s love in our imitation of the one who loves us perfectly.

I recently witnessed an awkward exchange between coworkers: one Catholic and one Lutheran. It was that all too frequent exchange in which my Lutheran coworker jokingly stated how thankful she was to be Lutheran so she didn’t have to do any of that fasting or giving up of meat. Like all too many Catholics, my good friend the Catholic had no real response, and ended up trying to make a joke out of it.

Christ is THE example for us to imitate. Matthew 4:3 is just one verse that clearly states Christ fasted. Christ went into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights and fasted. This alone is all the reason we need to  truly embrace our Lenten journey. Scripture states it, and Christ did it.  We need no more reason to deny self and to confidently proclaim that  to others. When we enter Lent in a disposition to deny ourselves in    response to Christ love, we are saying to God, you are worth the inconvenience.  We are showing God our love for him as my son Peter shows his love for me.

Christ is also THE supreme teacher. Before his public ministry began, Christ entered the desert. He teaches us through his word, and his actions. We can thus have confidence that this time of self-denial will bring about spiritual growth within us. It will help prepare us to   witness to the world as Christ witnessed to the world.  For in Matthew 4:3, the ending of the verse states “and afterward he was hungry.”

What could Christ be hunger for? Well, clearly he would have been physically hungry. Two thousand years ago, fasting would not have meant leaving the fries out of the Happy Meal. However, scripture is speaking to a deeper hunger. Christ hungered and thirsted for the souls of others. Christ does nothing that he doesn’t want us to follow. He wants us to hunger and thirst for souls. As his perfect love was and is the very essence of total self-denial, we to can learn to love more perfectly when our love becomes self-sacrificing. Before we can give totally, we must learn to die to self in little ways. Study the lives of the saints; they all learned to die to self. Lent is essential for our spiritual growth, so we can become what God envisions us to be.

Lent has not always been my favorite of liturgical seasons. I spent many years as a Catholic not embracing the opportunity to grow in virtue and imitate the one we should love above all.  Like many Catholics, Lent was a time I grudgingly kind of followed the “silly tradition” us Catholics do. Not surprisingly, I cannot say Lent brought about any kind of spiritual growth in my life.  Lent was a waste of 40 days and nights in my life       because I did not want to unify myself with Christ’s   suffering, and thus denied myself God’s graces. There is a reason Mother Church invites us to a season of self-denial. She wants us to grow in holiness. She wants us to grow closer to God, and she knows sometimes the very best way to show love is through imitation of the ones we love.

I ask you to consider your Lenten resolution. Do you see the rest of Lent as one of the very best opportunities to show your love for Christ and to grow closer to Him?  Have you set any type of Lenten resolutions that really take some self-denial?  Have you stopped ordering the super-sized extra value meal for the regular-sized one or have you decided to go hungry just a little?  If your answer is no, then I invite you to reconsider. I pray the rest of your Lenten journey brings you closer to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Sincerely in Christ,
Mike Engel
Grand Knight

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Congratulations, Men, on
the Star Council Award!

Photo by Chris Herbst
Past Grand Knight Steve House receives the Knights of Columbus Star Council for reaching its new membership goal for the 2011-12 council year. District Deputy John Delander (also of Council 4174) presented the award at the January meeting.

February 2013 Grand Knight's Message: Continuing the Work of Father Michael McGivney

Grand Knight's article from the February 2013 bulletin:

As I look back on the past half year, it is hard to believe I am working on my February article already! Like most fraternal years, we have seen many great things take place this year within the council, including:
  • the support of Cornerstone Women’s Center, which now is in the final stages of renovation and preparing to open;
  • the German dinner, family rosary and picnic, toy drive, coat drive, blood drives, prolife events, All Saints Party, St. Nicholas Party, and chili football classic; and 
  • numerous men’s evangelization events, including Catholic Man Nights, men’s prayer breakfasts, and the recent event and speaker on Our Greatest Struggle.
Yes, our council continues to be active, supporting our parishes and tackling important issues we must deal with in our society. As we look at things done year to date, it is great to see the things we have accomplished, yet my hope for our council is to continue to grow in fraternal brotherhood. We have witnessed many encouraging things that our council continues to do to grow closer as Catholic men. As I sat at last month’s dinner before our business meeting, men of all ages and backgrounds sat together, enjoying each other’s company. I couldn’t help but feel as if we are growing in fraternity. I believe this is an essential aspect of our council — collectively we are growing united together, and united with Christ, for love of neighbor and love of God is essential to our mission.  And so, I ask those of you who have not attended a monthly business meeting held on the first Thursday of the month to please consider attending.  Our new meeting format begins with dinner from 6:30 to 7 p.m.  From 7 to 7:20 p.m. we have our lecturer’s series, which incorporates opportunities to deepen our faith.  Then, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. we hold our business meeting.  We hope to see more men attend, as the discussion and action at our council meeting is the foundation for council activities.

To continue the good works of the council, we must also support council growth. We must all treat membership as a personal mission.  It is no secret that the work of the council must be carried out by good Catholic men. Our “Men in Blue” campaign, in which we simply give out the new blue Knights shirts to active members and have them wear them to events we host, has gone a long way in showing prospective members the good we do. It creates a sense of fraternity, and men feel drawn to the service we provide. This simple aspect has changed many perceptions of what our council does to support the Church, yet this alone is not enough. Along with joyful service, each of our active members is our most effective membership advocate.  I challenge each of you this month to help carry on the work of the Knights of Columbus.  I challenge each of you to help personally talk to prospective members about considering joining the Knights, and letting them truly know what it means to be a Knight of Columbus.

This February and March, our council will conduct our membership blitz. It will take each of you to help make it a success.  First of all, on Saturday, Feb. 2, there is a first-, second-, and third-degree we want to invite men to attend at St. Vincent DePaul in Brooklyn Center.  The first-degree begins at 9 a.m. If you want to bring men to this degree, we can arrange to meet in the parking lot of St. Michael Catholic School at 7:30 a.m. and carpool down to the degree. The weekend of Feb.16 and 17, we have been given time at the end of the weekend Masses to briefly invite men to consider the Knights of Columbus. This year, we are trying a new approach, in which we will invite men to attend an informal meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19, beginning at 7:20 p.m. and running until around 9 p.m. This meeting will be a straightforward opportunity to share who we are as an order and answer any questions that men might have.  We want to make sure men understand what we are about, as well as directly address any concerns they may have. We will have several officers in attendance to then walk men through the Form 100 and discuss what of involvement we hope new members will ideally commit to.  Because we want give men as much flexibility as possible to attend this meeting, there is no set beginning time of a formal presentation. That means if you have a prospective member who can only make it after 8:30 p.m., please have him show up.

Finally, our next first-degree held in our council will take place on March 7 at our council meeting.  New candidates should arrive by 6:45 p.m. so we can complete any Form 100 work that is required. The first degree will begin approximately at 7:15 p.m.  This is our best opportunity to successfully bring new men into the council. To support and grow the programs of the council, we need new, committed men willing to give 15 to 20 hours a year to the service of the council.  The future success of the council depends on each of us taking this mission seriously.

Our council achieves and succeeds on the planning and work of our officers and directors. Along with support of our membership blitz, I must ask you to consider a position as an officer or director. Over the past several years, we have been blessed to have many of the same officers and directors in place.  This collectively has led to well-executed activities in the council. However, this collective leadership has also come with some cost. To a certain extent, knowing that the officers and directors will make the programs happen has led to these men carrying a heavy weight.  As the Grand Knight, I also am concerned that we are burning out our officers and directors.  In short, we need to bring new men into leadership roles to balance the “burn-out” factor.  I ask you to consider if you can step into a leadership role in our council.  I would be more than happy to discuss what this looks like in various leadership roles.  To continue the work Father McGivney started, please consider how you can impact our council’s planning and leading this coming year.

Finally, for our order to grow not only do we need to lead our faith community in service, but we must lead men in faith formation.  This year we will continue to support and grow our men’s evangelization events.  I challenge you to attend at least one of these events this year.   Make a commitment to each other and to Christ.  Together when we grow in fraternity and in love of Christ, our order grows.  Please consider supporting the council through membership, time, and spiritual development.  Our council depends on it!

Sincerely in Christ,
Mike Engel
Grand Knight