Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa delivers his homily during Mass at the 12th National Convention of the Knights of Columbus at a hotel in Manila on May 6, 2023. CBCP NEWS

By CBCP News

May 8, 2023

Manila, Philippines

Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa is leading efforts to “strengthen” the Columbian Squires, a leadership and character development program for Catholic young men.

The archbishop on Saturday gave a marching order to “organize all Catholic schools and youth ministries” in his archdiocese to recruit more members of the organization.

The Columbian Squires is the official youth organization of the Knights of Columbus for young Catholic men between the ages 10 to 17, who are members of a unit called “circle”.

“If we do that, vocations to the priesthood will no longer be a challenge,” said Garcera, who is also the K of C Luzon State Chaplain.

The archbishop made the statement on the last day of the 12th K of C National Convention of the Knights of Columbus at a hotel in Manila.

The first Columbian Squires circle was instituted in the U.S. in 1925.

Knights of Columbus Supreme Director Emeritus Jose Reyes greets Papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown after the opening Mass for the 12th K of C National Convention at a hotel in Manila on May 5, 2023. CBCP NEWS

In the Philippines, the organization was first established in Cebu and had since then spread out to other dioceses and parishes.

However, in recent years, the Squires have been slowly “disappearing” not just in the country but throughout the world.

The K of C Luzon North Jurisdiction, for instance, used to have more than 400 circles but it only has 34 active units at present.

In the Luzon South Jurisdiction, active units are only at 10 out of its around 300 circles. In Mindanao, only less than 100 out of its more than 200 circles are active.

“Our Columbian Squires have been under siege,” said K of C Supreme Director Emeritus Jose Reyes, who is also a retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

“I really hope that we could reactivate or revive our Squires,” he said.

Squires’ activities are many, varying from spiritual to active service for the Church and community.


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