Knights – Memorial
TEMPUS FUGIT, MEMENTO MORI
“Time Flies, Remember Death!” This is the motto of the Knights of Columbus. It is a reminder that we are all on a pilgrimage through life and that death is inevitably at the end of it. To quote a once popular song, “None of us are getting out of this alive.” And as Catholics and Christians we know with the absolute certainty of Faith that after death there is an eternal life and that life will be spent either in Heaven or Hell.
Besides being conscious of the fragility of our own lives, one of the duties and obligations of the Knights of Columbus is to remember our own dead, not as an exercise in sentimentality but with a charitable purpose of assisting those of us who must spend some time in Purgatory in expiation of sins forgiven but which justice requires that we yet atone for. Catholics can say with certainty that those in Hell cannot use our prayers while those in Heaven don’t need them. Thus we pray for the souls of our deceased members who may be in Purgatory.
Council 13118 had its beginnings in 2009 and fortunately we have not yet suffered many losses of our members whom we remember in our prayers and in our annual memorial Mass.
Michael Gambello 2009
John Cullen 2013
William Sylvia 2014
John Spiegel 2014
Fr. Anthony Gagliardo 2014
THE DOCTRINE OF INDULGENCES
St. Anthony Council 13118 is almost unique among councils of the state and nation in that it has enacted a By-Law in its rules which require that upon the death of a member of the Council, another member shall volunteer to obtain for that deceased member a Plenary Indulgence which, for over a thousand years Holy Mother Church assures us will obtain for the deceased soul the grace to be fully expiated of all sin and released from Purgatory as a result.
The following is contained in a booklet issued by St. Anthony Council and includes a condensation of the Papal Constitution issued by Pope Paul IV in 1967 and renewed and updated by Pope John Paul II in 2000.
Christianity and our Church teaches that because of the sinful and fallen nature of man, even when God in His infinite grace and mercy forgives our sins, justice demands reparation and when we die without that price being paid in this life, it must be paid in the next. We are taught that souls in purgatory suffer intensely for indefinite periods of time, even until the end of time. They cannot help themselves nor can the saints in heaven help them. Only we, the Church Militant, can commute their suffering by our prayers and offerings.
The doctrine and practice of indulgences have been in force for many centuries in the Catholic Church and has a solid foundation in divine revelation which comes from the Apostles and “develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit”. It is a direct implementation of “The Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven” which Our Lord conferred upon His first Pope, Peter, when he said, “I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on Earth will be loosed in Heaven.”(Matt. 19).
The following principles should be understood.
There are three parts to Christ’s Church: The Church Triumphant, The Church Militant, and the Church Suffering. The Church Militant is composed of the living who are possessed of free will and are still struggling to reach the divine promise of heaven.
The Church Triumphant are those souls who have attained heaven and enjoy the Beatific Vision forever. The Church Suffering are those souls whose struggle has ended but whose souls were not perfected in this life. These are the souls who died in the state of grace, that is without unforgiven mortal sin on their souls, but whose souls must be purified before they can enter into the presence of God. Of this Pope Paul wrote:
- It is a divinely revealed truth that sins bring punishments inflicted by God’s sanctity and justice. These must be expiated either on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and calamities of this life and above all through death, or else in the life beyond through fire and torments of ‘purifying’ punishments…
- “These punishments are imposed by the just and merciful judgment of God for the purification of souls, the defense of the sanctity of the moral order and the restoration of the glory of God to its full majesty. Every sin in fact causes a perturbation in the universal order established by God in His ineffable wisdom and charity….
- “That punishment or the vestiges of sin may remain to be expiated or cleansed and that they in fact frequently do even after the remission of guilt, is clearly demonstrated by the doctrine on purgatory. In purgatory, in fact, the souls of those who died in the charity of God and were truly repentant, but before satisfying with worthy fruits of penance for sins committed and for omissions are, cleansed after death with purgatorial punishments .
- “For all men who walk this earth daily commit at least venial sins; thus all need the mercy of God to be set free from the penal consequences of sin . . .
- “Following in the footsteps of Christ, the Christian faithful have always endeavored to help one another on the path leading to the heavenly Father through prayer, the exchange of spiritual goods and penitential expiation. .. . This is the very ancient dogma of the Communion of Saints . . . . Thus is explained the ‘Treasury of the Church’ which should certainly not be imagined as the sum total of material goods accumulated in the course of centuries, but the infinite and inexhaustible value the expiation and the merits of Christ our Lord have before God, offered as they were so that all mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father.
- “The remission of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven insofar as their guilt is concerned has been called specifically ‘indulgence’.
- “Although indulgences are in fact free gifts, nevertheless they are granted for the living as well as for the dead only on determined conditions. To acquire them, it is indeed required on the one hand that prescribed works be performed, and on the other that the faithful have the necessary dispositions, that is to say, that they love God, detest sin, place their trust in the merits of Christ and believe firmly in the great assistance they derive from the Communion of Saints.”
RULES FOR OBTAINING INDULGENCES
There are certain strict rules which apply when obtaining a plenary indulgence:
- 1. An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due sin.
- 2. Indulgences are only useful to the souls in Purgatory or the living. Souls in heaven do not need them and souls in Hell cannot use them.
- 3. One can only obtain a plenary indulgence for oneself or for a deceased person. One cannot obtain a plenary indulgence for another living person.
- 4. With one rare exception one can only obtain a plenary indulgence once a day.
- 5. In order to obtain a plenary indulgence one must be in the state of sanctifying grace through each stage of the process, i.e., no unforgiven sin on one’s soul, not even venial sin.
- 6. There are four elements to obtaining the plenary indulgence, three of which are constants and one of which is a variable.
- A. The three constants which apply in obtaining ALL plenary indulgences are:
- 1) Sacramental confession;
- 2.) Eucharistic Communion; and
- 3) Prayer for the intention of the Pope.
- B. The variable constitutes the “work” which are many and varied and are formulated only by the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome. Some are time sensitive and apply to certain places and dates and are listed in The Enchiridion of Indulgences issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary. But there are four works which can be performed by anyone anytime. They are as follows:
- 1) The rosary which MUST be said either in a church or in a group;
- 2) The stations of the cross requiring the movement from station to station;
- 3) 30 minutes pious reading of sacred scripture; or
- 4) 30 minutes adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
- 7. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the “work”.
- 8. A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences, but communion must be received and prayers for the Pope’s intentions recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence. However the indulgences must be obtained within “days” of the confession.
- 9. The condition of praying for the Pope’s intentions is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary.
- 10. Obtaining an indulgence, either plenary or partial, is a spiritual work of mercy.
- 11. Finally, one must be consciously aware that they are attempting to obtain an indulgence. One can apply it to oneself, to a deceased soul, or give it to the Blessed Mother to apply it as she sees fit.
The Council Resolution
For those of you from other councils who are interested in enacting this procedure in your own council by-laws, the following is a copy of the resolution passed by St. Anthony Council and which outlines the process by which a member of the council obtains a Plenary Indulgence on behalf of a recently deceased brother knight of the council. Feel free to copy and use it in your respective councils:
WHEREAS, in 1968, Pope Paul VI, as the keeper of the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, issued his Apostolic Constitution redefining and regulating the Doctrine of Indulgences as it is be applied by Holy Mother Church; and
WHEREAS, we of the Knights of Columbus with special consideration to the revelations of Our Lady of Fatima regarding purgatory, believe as a matter of faith, the teachings of the Church regarding the doctrine and existence of purgatory as a place of suffering for the remission and expiation of sins still staining the souls of the faithful departed even after Divine forgiveness for them; and
WHEREAS, we believe as Catholics that some or many faithful members of our Order who depart this life in the state of grace will nevertheless be required to suffer in purgatory for the remission of their sins not expiated during this life; and
WHEREAS, the Knights of Columbus was founded as a fraternal and charitable order whose mission is to aid and assist members in distress both through corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and that the souls of our departed brothers languishing in purgatory, helpless to help themselves, are brothers in distress over whom our charitable mission has always extended; and
WHEREAS, we Knights of Columbus believe as a matter of faith and dogma the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church and our Sovereign Pontiff that the acquisition of a plenary indulgence on behalf of a soul languishing in purgatory will free that soul so that it may enter into the Kingdom of Heaven and join in the Communion of Saints,
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that from this date forward Council ________________ of the Knights of Columbus hereby promises unto each of its brothers in good standing, members of this council, who depart this life, that we shall endeavor to obtain for him a Plenary Indulgence as soon as is practical after his death.
FURTHER RESOLVED that there shall be instituted a memorial ritual of the Order to implement the above-stated promise which ritual shall be conducted as follows:
- 1. At the Good of the Order, after asking if any member knows of another in sickness or distress, the Grand Knight shall announce the passing of the brother knight and request a volunteer to perform the spiritual work of mercy on behalf of the deceased brother. If none comes forward, he shall continue to call for a volunteer at each subsequent regular meeting until one steps forward.
- 2. Any brother, properly disposed, may step forward and silently stand before the salutation table indicating his willingness to perform the work.
- 3. The Grand Knight shall meet the volunteer in front of the table and silently invest the volunteer with an appropriate Symbol of the Order whereupon he shall return to his seat.
- 4. After being so invested and charged with his mission, the volunteer shall perform the prerequisites to obtain a Plenary Indulgence pursuant to the Apostolic Constitution, “The Doctrine of Indulgences” which are a) sacramental confession; b) Receipt of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist; c) Prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father; and d)Performance of one of the indulgenced works described in the Enchiridion of Indulgences (e.g.: a rosary said in church; or the Stations of the Cross; or 30 minutes adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; or 30 minutes pious reading of Sacred Scripture.) during all of which the volunteer must remain in the state of sanctifying grace. It shall be the duty of the chairman of the memorial committee together with the chaplain to more fully instruct and advise the volunteer and to have such literature upon the subject available as they may obtain or the council may have printed.
- 5. When the volunteer has completed his mission he shall return to the council at its next regular meeting. At the Good of the Order he shall salute the Grand Knight, proceed to the table, remove the Symbol of the Order from his person and silently place it on the table. Thereupon he shall again salute the Grand Knight and return to his seat. The regular order of business shall then proceed.
FURTHER RESOLVED, together with the passage of this Resolution the council shall adopt a bylaw in its Council Bylaws, under Article VIII – Funerals, Etc., to wit:
ARTICLE VIII – Funerals Etc.
- Sec. 5. After notice of the death of a member in good standing is received, a member of the Council shall proceed to obtain for that deceased brother a plenary indulgence pursuant to the papal constitution on Indulgences of 1968 or as amended. Under the “Good of the Order” in the agenda the Grand Knight shall call for a member of the council to volunteer to obtain the plenary indulgence. The procedure for this ceremony shall be created by resolution of the council and it shall be the responsibility of the chairman of the Memorial Committee together with the assistance of the Chaplain to instruct the volunteer on how plenary indulgences are obtained and the ceremony of the Order in obtaining it for the deceased member. Once obtained the council shall send the family of the deceased an appropriate notice of the same.
DONE IN OPEN SESSION, upon Motion duly made, seconded and carried, this ______ day of _____________, 20____.