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By David Pels, State Advocate

Vol. 4, 2016-2017

David Pels Web

One of the most important aspects of being a Knight is performing charitable works or good deeds for others. We are often called upon to participate in various ministries in our Parishes. Indeed, most Parish ministries include Brother Knights. We all know Knights who have been serving as Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, Readers and Proclaimers of the Word, and Hospitality Ministers for many years.

As times change, new ministries arise, often due to challenges in our society. Our Brother Knights are called upon to participate in these new ministries. One of these is the provision of security services in response to threats of violence and violent acts perpetrated against Churches and schools. In the Fort Worth Diocese, and perhaps other Diocese in Texas, an example of providing security services is the Guardian Ministry. “In 2018, the Diocese of Ft. Worth established the Guardian Ministry as a parish-based safety and security ministry to address the increasing rise in unprovoked violence against houses of worship in our society.” See, Guardian Ministries page in Ministries section of the webpage of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. It goes on to state that “The Guardian Ministry is a community led safety and security volunteer ministry that provides parishes with a peaceful and safe place to worship.”

I frequently receive questions regarding the extent to which a Brother Knight can participate in this type of ministry. To what extent may Knights participate in such ministries that provide security services for their Parishes? May a Brother Knight wear his name badge or other identifying K of C insignia while performing such services? What if I have a conceal carry permit? What if I am unarmed? Knights should not provide such security services as a Council program or activity. The decision to participate in this ministry, to step into the breach, is an individual one for each Brother Knight. It takes courage and a special dedication to do this type of work.

What are the guidelines to be followed? Section 18 of the Officers Desk Reference (“ODR”), “Responding to Requests to Provide Security Services,” set forth in “Council and Assembly Issues,” provides the framework for serving in ministries that perform security services. It can be summarized as follows: whether armed or unarmed, and whether possessing a conceal carry permit or not, a Brother Knight should not participate in any security activities while wearing any K of C insignia which would identify him as a Knight. This includes, but is not limited to pins, uniforms, name badges, jewels of office or other items that would identify one as a member of the Knights of Columbus.

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