Knights Build Squires into Leaders
Boys develop passion for their faith and leadership skills through formation and service opportunities.
"The Squires program has given our boys a sense of holy pride in being Catholic. They have grown in a sense of the sacred, of holy respect for the things of God and for each other."
-Revered Richard O'Rourke, M.S.C., Pastor of St Paul Chong Hasang Parish
Harker Heights, TX
The need it meets
To help Catholic young men develop integrity, parishes in today's narcissistic culture need to provide more effective role models, fellowship, formation, and service opportunities. The Columbian Squires is a leadership development program for Catholic young men (10-18 years old) that meets this need .
Where it came from
The Columbian Squires is run by the Knights of Columbus. It was established on August 4, 1925, under the direction of Supreme Director Daniel A. Tobin and Br. Barnabas McDonald, F.S., who was known for his pioneering work with youth.
There are about 25,000 Squires in over 1,300 local units, called circles, throughout the United States,
Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and Guam.
How it works
At St Paul Chong Hasang parish, there are about 50 young men in the Squires program. Results include:
- A rise in the boys' parish involvement as altar servers and volunteers at various activities. Fr O'Rourke noted that it has helped form them in a sense of reverence for the sacred at Mass.
- An increase in the boys' community outreach: visits to nursing homes, gathering Christmas toys for poor children, serving food to the homeless, etc.
- The boys attend Confession and Mass with a solid understanding of what these sacraments mean. Many of them attend daily Mass.
- They gain a positive view of the priestly vocation. There is a culture of esteem for the priesthood and an interest in promoting and praying for vocations.
- The boys need direction and guidance from the Knights of Columbus.
- However, there must be a balance between guidance from above and the boys' own leadership. Since the program aims to form Catholic leaders, they must have a sense of ownership over their activities and meetings.
- Good formation materials are important. At St Paul Chong Hasang, the Squires receive substantive talks on spiritual formation and use a wide array of DVDs for solid Catholic formation.
- The yearly retreat is an important experience for the boys as a kick-off and a chance to go deeper.
- The parish priest only needs to provide ongoing inspiration and encouragement to those running and participating in the program; the Knights provide materials and training for the counselors.
How to implement it
- Contact the local Knights of Columbus, who would need to find men interested in being counselors.
- Get together a sufficient number of boys. There must be at least 10 boys to start a circle.
Rev. Richard O'Rourke, M.S.C. is pastor of
St Paul Chong Hasang Parish.