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State Chaplain 2019 - 2020

Picture of Rev Kenney St. Hilaire

Rev Kenneth St. Hilaire
July 2019

With the summer months comes an onslaught of activity for many of our Knights of Columbus households. Kids and grandkids are out of school. Vacations and road trips are planned. Yard and garden maintenance is in full swing. And let’s not forget the full time jobs that all our not-yet-retired Knights are still working all the while!

There’s a lot that vies for our attention. Many succumb to the temptation to let faith-related matters fall by the wayside. Sometimes, folks don’t think about finding a place to go to Sunday Mass when they’re traveling over a weekend. I have heard “I was on vacation” used as an excuse for missing Mass more times than I care to mention. 

In response to that, others will say, “There’s no vacation from vocation!” That is, when it comes to living our faith and responding to the call of God in our life, there is no time when we are “off duty.” There is no time when married people stop considering their spouses. There is no time when it’s okay for a cleric to behave in a manner unbefitting of a man in Holy Orders.

That doesn’t mean that no one gets any time off. It just means that however we spend our downtime, we still need to be mindful of who we are in Christ and how we ought to conduct ourselves.

Now, there are legitimate reasons for missing Sunday Mass. However, my sense is that people can be a little too quick to legitimize reasons that the Church wouldn’t necessarily consider grave enough to justify missing Mass.

The principle “first things first” comes to mind. When planning a trip or vacation, one of our first questions ought to be: will Sunday Mass be available where we are going? When possible, we should plan our activities around that. If it’s a place where the nearest church is an hour’s drive away, then fine. (Actually, when I went camping as a kid, my family would always drive an hour each way to go to Sunday Mass. But I understand that that may be considered extraordinary by most people. It sure communicated to us kids the importance of making it to Sunday Mass, though!) All else being equal, it’s best to choose vacation destinations that will afford us the opportunity to participate in the Eucharist on the Lord’s Day.

The bottom line is, our commitment to the spiritual life must be non-negotiable. Our relationship with the Lord is the “first thing” that needs to be put first. Remember Martha and Mary welcoming Jesus into their home? Martha is busy with serving and even wants Jesus to scold Mary for not helping out. Jesus tells Martha that Mary has “chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her” (Luke 10:42).

Let’s not let Sunday Mass, prayer, Scripture study, and spiritual reading be elements of our life that we try to fit in around all the rest. Rather, let the opposite be true. Let’s put first things first. Let the rest of our life be structured around our relationship with God. Or, better--let everything in our life be permeated and transformed by our relationship with God. That’s not only a good recipe for a great summer, but the perfect plan for a life well-lived.

 Fr. Kenneth St. Hilaire

State Chaplain