April 30, 2012

Sherwood Park - The role of a Knight of Columbus chaplain is to provide spiritual direction to the members of a council.

Now, these spiritual leaders are about to get some direction on how to better do their job.

This year prior to their convention in Sherwood Park, the Knights will hold a meeting for council chaplains from northern Alberta to help them in their role and to get feedback. A similar meeting for chaplains from the south will be held in early July in Calgary.

State Deputy Gary Johnson said the idea came from State Chaplain Father Henry Rosenbaum, who has attended personal development workshops for state chaplains in New Haven, Conn., at least twice. The supreme council offers two workshops for state chaplains annually.

Rosenbaum thought the model would work for council chaplains in Alberta/NWT and the Knights agreed with him. He sent a questionnaire to chaplains in the jurisdiction and got so much feedback "we decided to put on these meetings," explained Johnson.

"The idea is to get chaplains more active with the councils," Rosenbaum said, noting that in some cases the chaplain exists in name only.


The meeting, he said, will deal with catechetical and spiritual matters as well as communications.

"We want to achieve more harmony between the chaplains and the councils," Rosenbaum explained. Disharmony sometimes develops when a council pushes for ideas that are different from those of the pastor or the parish.

"The idea is that the council work together with the parish priest, who is usually the chaplain."

Johnson said he'll help open the session. But the chaplains would stay by themselves to discuss their concerns and needs "and how we can best support them."

"It's the first time that we have done this in Alberta," Johnson said.

There are about 160 councils in Alberta/NWT. Many don't have a chaplain. Sometimes it's because they haven't asked their parish priest to be their chaplain, Johnson noted.

It's not clear yet whether the meetings will become an annual event, Rosenbaum said.