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July 2010 - The heirloom that we have been given

posted Jul 18, 2010, 5:29 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 18, 2010, 5:49 PM by Council Geek ]
When I was about 14 years old, my Father entrusted me with a family heirloom, a gold signet ring that his Father had given to him. Because I am named after my Father Frank, the initials were the same and it was only fitting to him that I receive it. I wore the ring everyday and never removed it. I loved my Dad and still do, I wanted to be like him and I wanted him to be proud of me for taking such good care of what my Grandfather had given to him. It was a right of passage, a very honorable thing to be considered as "one of the Men."
At the time, I was trying very hard to find my place at school in athletics. I was running cross country and was trying to earn a place on the wrestling team. Because of my size, I had a lot of work to do to get into shape and so I spent a lot of time in the gym after school. Working out with free-weights and Nautilus equipment was wearing down the gold band on that ring and so I began to remove it while working out. It seemed to work for awhile and I noticed that the ring was no longer being damaged as it had been.
One day, after working out, I went to the gym showers and began to change from my workout clothes to get cleaned up. I noticed that I had failed to put my ring back on my finger. A very cold feeling shot completely through my body and I panicked. I had left the ring on one of the pieces of work-out equipment in the gym! I rushed to get dressed and ran up to the gym area where I had been working out. I scrambled from machine to machine and bench to bench on my hands and knees to find that ring. I couldn't find the ring, I had lost the family heirloom! I had let my Father down by losing the very precious thing that he had entrusted me with at such an early age. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I continued to search in a frenzied panic. I couldn't think straight, I couldn't see too well either as the hot tears burned my eyes.
"I am such a fool",  I thought. "Why did Dad trust me with that ring?"
I never found the ring, it haunts me to this very day. Of course, it took me a while to tell my Father that I had been careless and lost the keepsake. When my Father heard what had happened, he was very disappointed but he did forgive me. I just really haven't forgiven myself I suppose. I know that I should, maybe someday I will.
Why am writing this? Because I liken this Council to that signet ring. Many of you know that I didn't aspire to be a Grand Knight. In fact, I won't be a "Grand" anything until I have served out my term. But, I do know that this is what I am being asked to do and I gladly accept if it means that this Council will survive. You see, this Council like all others, is an heirloom. It has been given to us from Men who have served before us. Some are still living and others have gone on to their final reward.
Father McGivney had a vision for Catholic Men. And in 1882, when he founded the Knights of Columbus, Jesus Himself struck the imprint upon the signet ring that we all wear as Knights. Of course, I trust that you know that I am speaking figuratively. Jesus placed before our founder, the pattern that He wanted us to follow as Catholic Men and defenders of the Church and of the Priesthood. Our Order is a very storied one and has lasted for this long only because Men have agreed to live by the promise to care for the widow, the orphan and the poor. All the while, conducting ourselves as true Catholic gentlemen. I look at the charter document in the back hallway of the Parish Center. I admit that I only recognize one name on the document, that Man is still an active Knight and Officer today.
But, I feel a connection with, as well as a responsibility to,  the entire list of names on that document. They like my earthly Father, have passed on to us an heirloom of great value. This responsibility is an honor for me that I will not take lightly. But, unlike a solitary gold signet ring of temporal value, we have in our hands something more precious. We have been entrusted with a legacy in a Council of the Knights of Columbus.
Stop by the back hallway and look at that charter document for our Council. Many of you are familiar with more than just one name. Ask yourself what you can do to take care of this gift that we have been given. Protect this gift with me all the while knowing that father McGivney trusts us to do so. All the while knowing that Jesus, our Divine Commander and King wants us to do so.
I'm 44 years old, and those hot and stinging tears are still a very vivid memory for me. That signet ring is long gone. I will never be able to replace it or pass it on to my Son Tim. I never want to say the same about this Council and I know that you do not either.  Please join me in the work ahead to ensure that our Council grows in number and in holiness. Please pray daily for your brother Knights both those who have gone on to be with Jesus, as well as those who remain here with us.
And if I may ask, pray for me that the Holy Spirit will help me to guide the Council that you have entrusted me with.

God Love you,

SK Frank Finch
Grand Knight
Council 10963