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