OOLSANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA Fr. Joseph M. Geary Council 3523
In Service to One. In Service to All.
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  • Sunday, August 28, 2016 11:40 PM | Rafael Betancourt (Administrator)

    Dear Brother Knights,

    First, please be aware that the next Council's Business Meeting scheduled for  September 8th has been re-scheduled to September 22nd at the usual time (7:30-9:00pm) and location (St. Justin's Room 2). Mark your calendars.

    Other important topics discussed at the August 25th council meeting follow:

    1. On multiple occasions the request for spiritual events has been proposed. For our married Brothers, I’d have you consider “TO THE END OF LOVE”; a one day marriage conference being held in Phoenix on October 1, 2016.  Special packages are available. For more information you may visit: http://thechoicewine.org/the-choice-wine-live-phoenix/ I’ve requested information on future events in the San Jose area.   
    2. Our Council is planning special events in support of St. Justin's School.  Helpers are needed – so don’t be bashful about volunteering. The first is likely to be a Pancake Breakfast on September 25th.
    3. Joe Bauer needs help with the St. Justin's Community Ministry Food Pantry. He’s lost the driver that picks up discarded food items from stores. Call him directly if you can assist: 408-296-1193, ext. 109
    4. SAVE THE DATE: St. Juan Diego's Women's Center 30th Anniversary Banquet, October 15, 2016 at David's Restaurant in Santa Clara. Proceeds from the Banquet and Fundraiser provide help for pregnant women and their babies. This is an organization that our Council has supported for years. Our council will have a table at the event. More details to follow. If you’re not already familiar with this organization, check it out: http://jdwcenter.org/
    5. Juan Diego Center is also inviting everyone to "An Afternoon with Fr. John Ngbapia," pastor of St. Bakhita Parish in South Sudan. Fr. John, whose heroic struggle was featured in LifeSiteNews, founded the first (and only) pro-life center in South Sudan, inspired and supported by the St. Juan Diego Center. Everyone is welcomed to this event free of charge, that will be held at Our Lady of Peace Church (Family Learning Center, Rm 1101) in Santa Clara on Sat. September 3rd from 3:00-4:30pm.  For more information call Willie Lapus at (408) 258-2008.
    6. Our own Brother and Council 3523 member, Fr. James Mweyuge, is expanding his efforts in Dar es salaam, Tanzania. His parish consisted of raw land when he was assigned there a few years back. With the help of Council 3523 (and others) there are now three communities with power, water, gardens, a church for 800 people, and a school is in the planning stages. Fr. James was recently in San Jose to discuss additional fundraising for his efforts; more on this later.
    With summer coming to a close, I pray that attendance at our Council Meetings will improve. Again, mark your calendar; the next council meeting is on Thursday, September 22, 2016, St. Justin, Rm. 2, 7:30 pm. to 9:00 pm.

    In His Service and for the greater glory of God,

    Vivat Jesus!

    SK Fred Loew, Grand Knight

  • Saturday, September 20, 2014 12:54 AM | Rafael Betancourt (Administrator)

    Dear Brother Knights,

    During our 9/11/14 business meeting we reviewed our Council’s demographics. If everyone born prior to 1940 is excluded, the breakout is as follows:

    • 64 or older = 19%
    • 44 or older = 68%
    • 24 or older = 11%
    • 23 or less =2%

    My concern is two-fold: the failure of current Knights to move into leadership rolls, and the lack of participants to staff our projects. As is, it’s usually the same Knights staffing our activities. Many of you had comments and suggestions on how to increase participation. These revolved around added spiritual guidance and activities that enhance the meaning of “being Catholic”. I discussed your concerns with Fr Chris on Thursday, 9/18/14. Following are the meeting results and action items:

    CHAPLAIN: Fr. Chris has offered to be our Chaplain, with the caveat that he’s on hospital call on Thursdays. I told him that our meeting days could possibly be moved. This will be discussed at our next scheduled business meeting.

    That Man Is You! Br. Rafael Betancourt recommended this program which is on its second year at St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish in Santa Clara. I joined him at last Saturday’s gathering and was really impressed. I strongly recommend that each of you review this program (TMIY!). For anyone interested I recommend you attend the Saturday morning sessions at Saint Lawrence. They start with breakfast from 6:30 – 7:00 AM, then a video, followed by a discussion group. The current sessions are on marriage. My belief is that this program will improve both church and KofC participation.

    Fr Chris has agreed that this is a worthy endeavor. WHAT’S NEEDED NOW IS FOR MEN TO CARRY THE TORCH. January would be a good time to start publicizing it in the Church's bulletin. A leadership core team will need to be groomed, and there is plenty of program support for this (all videos and training material are provided by Paradisus Dei at no cost to the parish). Our target start date for TMIY! at St. Justin's is SEPTEMBER 2015.

    FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (Dec. 8th): It was suggested by Br. Chris that we have a public procession (around the property) with the Blessed Sacrament. Perhaps we could also arrange for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction? A Rosary procession would be a good idea: imagine brother Knights leading the mysteries of the rosary.

    This is a viable idea, one which Fr Chris supports. Since this December 8th is not a day of obligation, the recommendation is that this be a 2015 event. The goal is to have a sizable crowd. WORTHY KNIGHTS – for this to happen we need to complete a plan. What will this look like? Who will step up and take the lead? Who will support this project?

    Fundraising for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PWID, aka, Tootsie Roll Drive): YES! THE KNIGHTS MAY HAVE A COLLECTIONS ON 10/25 AND 10/26 outside of the Church after each Mass. FOR THIS TO BE REALLY SUCCESSFUL, NOTICES NEED TO BE IN THE CHURCH BULLETIN. Knights and family members will be needed to man the collection booths. All donations received will be directed to support local organizations: Parents-helping-parents, and Special Olympics of Northern California. 


    • Coffee & Donuts after Mass (we used to do this a few years ago, Stan's Donut shop across the street donated donuts)
    • Monthly Pancake Breakfast (in addition to the Annual Catechumens' Breakfast). Saint Lawrence's Council does this as their main fundraiser.

    Both of these would increase our exposure within the community and encourage membership.

    1. Extend the bricked area outside of Fr Chris’s quarters, and provide a covered area for 20 people (teachers and staff). Prepare the planter adjacent to his quarters, and the garage, for plants.
    2. Upgrade the landscaped areas in front of the church to improve visibility of the church. The grassed area directly in front of the church would have 3 flag poles and a mix of plants. The grassed areas on either side would be landscaped too.
    3. Irrigation would be part of the overall project.
    4. These projects will be discussed in detail at our next meeting. 
    • Power-wash buildings and walkways
    • Scrub the large white tables stored in the gym area
    • Upgrade the Sacristy
    • Sprinklers for the priest yards
    • Covered yard area for all priest.


    As Knights our core values and principles by which we live are Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. Fulfilling these precepts requires action on our part. My request is simple. I want my fellow Knights to select any one of the projects listed in this letter and commit to supporting it. Some involve single day commitments, other are more demanding. You choose.

    Please come to our next Council Business meeting on Thursday, October 9th, at 7:30 PM. We meet at Saint Justin Parish in Room 2. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions, or want to lead and/or participate in a project.

    Vivat Jesus!

    Fred Loew, Deputy Grand Knight
    Fr. Joseph M. Geary Council 3523, Knights of Columbus
    PO BOX 3195, SANTA CLARA, CA 95055-3195
    cell: 408. 205.5309
    email: dgk@kofc3523.org
    website: www.kofc3523.org

  • Wednesday, November 17, 2010 7:39 AM | Rafael Betancourt (Administrator)
    Dear Brother Knights,

    October was a good month, full of activity. We had a Membership Drive on Oct 10th organized by Br. Martin Orlando where we met about 10 prospects. Right after that, we held the Tootsie Roll Drive, Oct 15-17 for people with intellectual disabilities and we will donate all proceeds to Parents Helping Parents in San Jose. Finally, Br. Wayne Cope led a morning of Coffee & Donuts on Sunday 11/7, were we collected almost $150 despite the rain.

    During the last business meeting we had elections to fill positions recently vacated. Br. Gilbert Rodriguez was elected as Outside Guard to replace late Br. Ike Latoza and Br. Robert Carvalho was elected Trustee to replace Br. Vince Gonzalez, who had to step down due to his appointment by Supreme as our new Financial Secretary.

    In November 17th, Br. Matt Noisat organized a fundraiser dinner at Chevy’s to benefit the RSVP program that will fund a scholarship for a seminarian. Br. Israel Gonzalez is again leading an effort to sell Keep Christ in Christmas Cards to also benefit the RSVP program. The Council will sell the cards during St. Justin’s Bazaar on Dec. 5-6th. To end the year, we will have our Christmas Social Celebration on Sunday, December 12 (Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe) @ 4pm at St. Justin’s Parish Ministry Center.

    All this work had been the result of great effort and sacrifice of a small dedicated group of 10-15 Brother Knights. In order to sustain our call to service, we need the participation of the rest of you – there are over 130 in our roster, if all of you just dedicated a few hours a month we could easily do twice as much to the benefit of our Church, our Families, and our Community. Please join us in Service to One, in Service to All.

    Vivat Jesus!

    SK Rafael Betancourt, GK
  • Saturday, October 02, 2010 11:15 PM | Rafael Betancourt (Administrator)
    Dear Brother Knights,

    It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the passing of our Worthy Outside Guard, Br. Enrique “Ike” Latoza on September 16th. Council members joined Br. Ike’s family to bid him farewell at St. Justin during a funeral Mass on September 25th presided by our Chaplain Fr. Ritche Bueza. The 4th degree Color Guard was in attendance. I would like to honor the memory of Br. Ike during this month of October by focusing our energies on being of service to our Church and community:

    1. Membership Drive Oct 10th – we need to man a table on Sunday to make the opportunity of membership in our Brotherhood available to all qualified Catholic men. It is our duty to do so. Our Membership Director, DGK Martin Orlando needs help to make this a successful drive – please sign up.

    2. Tootsie Roll Drive, Oct 15-17 - people with intellectual disabilities are counting on our sacrifice, hard work, and dedication. We need to get out there and take care of them! Contact Br. Davison Vivit to secure your time slot at a local supermarket.

    3. Coffee & Donuts on Sunday 11/7 - We have a commitment with Fr. Ritche to do this the first Sunday of every month.  All net profits benefit a fund so that we can make donations to members of the Parish in need. During the first two Sundays, we have collected over $250 so far. We need people to show up 7:30am-12:00noon to setup, serve, clean up. We also want to set up a table to recruit. Br. Wayne Cope is leading this effort. Who is signing up?

    So that we may live up to the legacy & mission of our Order, let’s join in service to those in greatest need, so that we may proclaim the Gospel of Life by our example as we build together a Civilization of Love.

    SK Rafael Betancourt, GK
  • Sunday, September 12, 2010 10:00 PM | Rafael Betancourt (Administrator)
    Dear Brother Knights,

    Last month was full of activity: the Council hosted the Handicapables on August 21, Social dinner on the 28th and Coffee & Donuts after morning Masses on the 29th. We have to thank Br. Israel Gonzalez for organizing and leading the Handicapables event, Br. Davison Vivit (and Lady Novelle) for leading the Social, and Br. Wayne Cope for starting up the Coffee and Donuts fundraiser for community assistance. All of these accomplishments would not have been possible without the help and participation from many other Council members. I exhort all members, especially those who joined recently to attend our meetings and volunteer. By dedicating only two hours per month you can make a huge difference in the lives of our families, the Church, and the community at large.

    A very special project for which I would like to see 100% participation from Council members and their families is the Annual Tootsie Roll Fund-raising Drive that benefits local non-profit organizations that serve People with Intellectual Disabilities. This year’s goal for California alone is to collect over 1.5 million dollars. All Knights across the US with the help from many other volunteers will be collecting donations at local supermarkets, malls, and churches during the weekend of October 15-17.

    On that last day of the Drive, October 17, Holy Cross Brother André Bessette of Canada will be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI. By his devotion to and through the intercession of St. Joseph, Br. André brought healing upon thousands in his lifetime. Let’s follow the example of this poor and humble servant of God, asking St. Joseph, role model of service, to be better husbands, better fathers, and better brothers in Christ to our neighbors. Let’s join in service to those in greatest need, so that we may proclaim the Gospel of Life by our example as we build together a Civilization of Love.

    St. Joseph, pray for us.

    Vivat Jesus!

    SK Rafael Betancourt, GK
  • Monday, August 09, 2010 12:00 PM | Rafael Betancourt (Administrator)
    Dear Brother Knights,

    I had the privilege of attending a Town Hall meeting with our newly elected State Deputy, Ivan Reek, who came to the Bay Area to meet with Brother Knights of the San Jose Chapter. I would like to briefly share a few key takeaways from that meeting. The California State Council had a record year, meeting all of our recruiting, fundraising and program objectives. This year we would like to focus in three key areas: membership, vocations, and culture of life.

    First, new members are the life blood of our organization, so a key objective for the next year will be membership, membership, and membership. Ivan asked us to reach out to lapsed members, and ask if they need assistance of any kind. He reminded us that the Columbian Foundation has grants available for Brother Knights in financial need. Second, Fr. John Poncini, Chapter Chaplain and Director of Vocations for the Diocese of San Jose, spoke to us about what we can do to support vocations. Third, the State Council has decided to give a special focus to the Culture of Life, creating a separate program area. As part of that effort, Brother Knights from San Jose and San Francisco will volunteer to be peacekeepers at the annual Walk for Life in San Francisco, next January. The State Council is also sponsoring a Youth Rally to be held at Fort Mason at the end of the Walk.

    This month I would like to focus on our response to the call to create a Culture of Life. Our Council is sponsoring multiple programs in this area: Handicapables, Tootsie Roll fundraiser for people with intellectual disabilities, and the Mass of Reparation on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The Handicapables is a program of Catholic Charities started in 1968 for individuals with disabilities. Members enjoy a monthly gathering that includes lunch, group discussions, Mass, and entertainment. On August 21st our Council will have the honor of hosting the Handicapables for a second year at St. Justin’s Small Hall at 10:00am. We will have a Mass, presided by Fr. Edsil, lunch, and will show the inspiring award-winning short film Butterfly Circus, starring Eduardo Verástegui (Bella, 2006). Brothers Israel is coordinating this event. Please contact him if you can help.

    Vivat Jesus!

    SK Rafael Betancourt, GK
  • Sunday, July 18, 2010 7:25 AM | Rafael Betancourt (Administrator)
    Dear Brother Knights,

    Last month we had elections for the 2010 Columbian Year and the following officers were elected: GK, Rafael Betancourt; DGK, Martin Orlando; Chancellor, Matt Noisat; Warden, Jan Smits; Recorder, Tom Gall; Treasurer, Gary Delucchi; Advocate, Chris Garton-Zaversky; Inside Guard, Darren O’Neill; Outside Guard, Ike Latoza; Trustee 3, Duane Zampedri; Trustee 2, Israel Gonzalez; Trustee 1, Vince Gonzalez.

    For my second term as GK, I reappointed Br Martin Orlando as Membership Director, Br. Israel Gonzalez, as Vocations Director, and Br. J. Vicente Gonzalez for Pro-life (Mass of Reparation). I also appointed Br. Wayne Cope as Community Director. Br. Vicente also has graciously volunteered to be nominated for the position of Financial Secretary (appointed by Supreme), replacing Br. Dave Williams. Many thanks to Br. Williams for his many years of service to the Council. There are still plenty of opportunities for service and many directors to be appointed so I encourage everyone not to be shy and volunteer.

    I also want to congratulate Brothers Martin Orlando, Gary Delucchi, Gilbert Rodriguez, Tony Trias, and John Mlnarik for advancing to full Knighthood within our Order achieving their Third Degree on June 19th at St. Lawrence.

    With about 25 people in attendance, our June Social, was a great success. Plenty of good food cooked by Gary Delucchi and Duane Zampedri. After dinner we presented a $500 RSVP Scholarship to Anthony Uytingco. Anthony shared his experience as a seminarian and asked that we pray for him and for vocations.
    Our next event is the Annual Council Picnic that will be held at Bowers Park on July 24th from 11am-3pm organized by Martin Orlando and Gary Delucchi.

    Finally, we will host the Handicapables on 8/21 at St. Justin – Brothers Israel, Nick Rossi and George Garcia will coordinate the event.

    Vivat Jesus!
    SK Rafael Betancourt, GK
  • Wednesday, April 21, 2010 4:26 PM | Rafael Betancourt (Administrator)

    Dear Brother Knights,

    Last month I was encouraging you to dedicate a reasonable 24 hours a year to help with our multiple projects and activities. This time I would like to comment on recent projects and recognize the people who made them happen.

    I would like to start with our sponsorship of a Free Throw contest at St. Justin School. I am proud to report that two students, Julia Lemak,11, and Zac Viano, 12, won the San Jose regional contest and went on to compete at the State Championship in Fresno. We thank Brothers Matt Noisat and Wayne Cope for their leadership.

    We also had a great turnout for our annual Essay Contest with 99 participants from St. Justin and St. Clare schools. The Grand Champion was Katherine O’Donnell, 8th grade, from St. Justin. We thank Br. Claude Remillard for organizing this event and Br. Vince Gonzalez for providing expert judging.

    With over 50 people in attendance, our March 27th Social, was a great success. We thank the Carvalho family for providing dinner. Also, Br. Carvalho and family lead the effort of cooking breakfast for over 100 people who received the Sacraments Easter Vigil.

    Our March recruitment drive, lead by Br. Martin Orlando was also a great success as 8 people joined our Council and 5 of them advanced to their Second Degree by April 11th. We also had our first ever First Degree ceremony held on April 10th at St. Justin, honoring Br. Davison Vivit, PGK.

    Like these, there are many other activities you can participate. For instance, Br. Israel Gonzalez is leading a fundraising effort to grant a $500 scholarship to a seminarian from this Diocese. He is also coordinating a Hispanic Roundtable at the San Jose Cathedral. Br. Wayne Cope needs help as he is starting up a monthly pancake breakfast to raise funds for the St. Justin Pastor’s Assistance Fund – to make resources available for members of the Parish who are in need. Finally, we will give a special welcome to all of our new members at the April 24th Social, where Br. Knights prepared a succulent spaghetti dinner under the expert guidance of Br. Israel Gonzalez.

    I encourage all of you to find those 24 hours in a year and help, or even better, to lead a project of your liking – the opportunities for service are virtually limitless.

    Vivat Jesus!

    SK Rafael Betancourt, GK

  • Sunday, March 21, 2010 3:50 PM | Rafael Betancourt (Administrator)

    It’s a common concern among many Brothers that they just don’t have the time to participate in the Council’s activities – we have over 100 members in our roster, but only about 20% of those volunteer. All of us have many commitments, from our duty to family to obligations to our workplace – there are constant calls on our time. I would like to propose how by just giving 24 hours a year to the Knights of Columbus you could make a positive difference in our community and Church:

    • 12 hours a year reading the weekly parish bulletin, the Knight Lamp, and Columbia magazine, and surfing the Council’s and Supreme Council Web sites.
    • Two hours a year volunteering at the council’s annual drive for people with intellectual disabilities.
    • Two hours a year on a council-sponsored Church, community, council, family or youth project of your choice.
    • Two hours a year attending one council business meeting.
    • Two hours a year attending, with the family, two corporate Communions or Mass of Reparation.
    • Four hours a year enjoying (again, with the entire family) a council social function such as a dinner, picnic, etc.

    That’s only 24 hours a year, which practically any man can fit into his schedule. Right now we can use some help on April 3rd, for preparing Breakfast for those joining the Church this Easter. We also have fundraising efforts to support seminarians, and wheelchair donations. We also would like to start a spaghetti dinner and/or pancake breakfast project that would fund a Relief Fund for members of our Parish who are facing financial crisis. Finally, we are in need of a new Financial Secretary.

    I encourage all of you to find those 24 hours in a year and help us out, not out of obligation or duty, but truly as a reflection of appreciation for all the blessings we’ve got, and for the benefits we will obtain for our families and the Church. There are 8,760 hours in a year. By giving the Knights less than 0.3% of those hours, we can become better Catholics, better fathers, better husbands, and better persons.

    Vivat Jesus!

    SK Rafael Betancourt, GK

  • Sunday, January 31, 2010 11:00 PM | Rafael Betancourt (Administrator)
    Dear Brother Knights,

    Last month, we celebrated life by participating in the Mass of Reparation at St. Justin’s Church. All collections were donated to the St. Juan Diego Women Center in San Jose.

    The St. Juan Diego Society Women's Center is a Catholic crisis pregnancy center located on the front lines of the pro-life battle: right in between a high school and a Planned Parenthood clinic. It was formed in 1986 through the inspiration of Monsignor Sweeny, former pastor of Our Lady of Peace. Over the last 24 years it has performed more than 6,500 pregnancy tests, thousands of counseling sessions, provided untold baby item material aid, and by the Grace of God, it has been instrumental in saving over 650 babies.

    I would like to paraphrase the words of Brother Knight John Wilhelmsson, Board member of the St. Juan Diego Society who described why their Women's Center is a ministry which reflects the ideals of the Knights of Columbus.

    First, it is 100% Catholic, pro-Magisterium, pro-Holy Father, and therefore, pro-life. They do not hide the fact that they are Catholic or the teachings of the Church but “Speak the truth in Love” in the context of a warm family-like atmosphere to those who come for help. Second, it is 100% Marian and under the maternal protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn, and Mother of the Civilization of Love. Finally, the traditional role of a Knight is to protect and serve the most innocent, weak, and vulnerable members of society. There is nobody more innocent, weak, and vulnerable than an unborn baby – worthy of a Knight’s protection.

    Along with Brother Wilhelmsson, I ask everyone to pray-fully consider being involved in the ministry of the St. Juan Diego Society Women's Center all year round. Because it is a ministry fit for a Knight.

    Vivat Jesus!

    SK Rafael Betancourt, GK

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