In an announcement that he called both happy and sad, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told participants in the State Chaplains Meeting on Monday that Father John Grace, O.S.A., was retiring after serving for four years as director of Chaplain Programs and Development at the Supreme Council. Though he and all those who worked with Father Grace will miss him,Anderson said, he was happy that he will be returning to his religious community in California to enjoy a slower pace of life.
“Although I’m not sure a missionary priest actually retires,” the supreme knight said about Father Grace, who is 76 years old and served as an Augustinian missionary for most of his priesthood.
As the supreme knight presented a gift to Father Grace for pioneering the Knights of Columbus chaplains program, the 72 chaplains attending the meeting gave him a standing ovation for his years of work with them.
The supreme knight also announced that Father Jonathan Kalisch, O.P., has been named to succeed Father Grace as director of the Chaplains Program. Most recently director of Campus Ministry atDartmouthCollege, Father Kalisch joined the Order as a student atGeorgetownUniversityin 1991. A Dominican priest, he will begin his assignment at the Supreme Council headquarters in September.
The meeting of state chaplains was chaired by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori, who pointed out to the priests and bishops that they are successors of Father McGivney. Archbishop Lori said that the Chaplains Program, in which state and council chaplains have been encouraged to become more active in the meetings and activities of their councils, has helped to develop and deepen the spirituality of Knights throughout the Order.
The next step, the archbishop said, is to guide Knights and councils in taking part in the new evangelization of the Church, through their public witness and charitable works. “We need to engage – in the words of Blessed John Paul II – in a charity that evangelizes,” Archbishop Lori said. “The Knights must become an even more effective instrument in making the connection between the faith and the community, the faith and the culture, the faith and the everyday lives of men and their families.”