A Brother’s Embrace

The embrace of a brother is the embrace of Christ.

When my coworker, who I felt had resented me for the better part of a summer, was in a time of need, he came to me and asked me for a hug before we turned in for the night. That hug lasted nearly an hour.

He certainly wasn’t a normal coworker, but then again, Totus Tuus isn’t a normal summer job. It requires you to travel every week, working long days in a team of three other people. Our objective: to spread Christ’s love to the youth we encounter. I never thought more tribulations would come from my team than the kids, and that was my first mistake, I suppose.

I felt criticized and ignored. Most days I would stress before I fell asleep, asking myself “What could be causing this man to be hostile towards me?” I couldn’t figure it out. Still, I had a sense that there was an underlying cause to this madness, something besides our interpersonal conflict. In the end, I’m glad that God sent me the message to be compassionate when he needed it the most. If it wasn’t for the counsel of a Brother Knight and seminarian who was at the parish that week, I don’t know if I would’ve been open to receiving this message, either.

So we stood there for an hour as I held him, and I could tell that wounds were being healed. I may not understand what those wounds were, but I could tell God was at work. My prayer life hadn’t been as good as it should have been, and I’d seen the unwanted results of that in numerous ways. But God still worked through me and offered me his warm embrace just as I offered mine to a man in need.

I’ve realized that times like these are times when I encounter Christ’s loving embrace the most. When I held a friend as he cried about how he was a burden to me and didn’t understand his struggles with same-sex attraction, Christ was there. When I held a friend who was ready to crack under the weight of bipolar disorder, Christ was there. When I held a friend with trust issues stemming from past relationships and violations nobody should have to deal with, Christ was there.

And if an embrace or a listening ear is deemed too sentimental, so be it. Though some would disagree, I’d call it masculinity in the most authentic sense of the word. These relationships, based on the true relationship to which Christ calls us, show what it truly means to be a brother.

I’ve got many great brothers in the Knights of Columbus and otherwise. My brotherhood to you is not contingent on whether you join an organization. However, I hope that we, by our lives, inspire you to live out this brotherhood with us. We are brothers united in Christ and called to serve.

I’m honored to be a defender of these ideals as your Grand Knight this year. May the embrace of Christ be apparent in all that we do here at Illini Council. We hope you feel truly welcome as we offer our arms in service to you, as brothers and as Knights.

God Bless,

Sam Giglio


We’re officially the largest blood drive on campus!

On April 7th, the Knights of Columbus organized a blood drive for the American Red Cross.  We’re proud to say, that with 55 pints of blood donated, we are the largest blood drive at the University of Illinois.  Some of our Knights volunteered all day long in order to make the blood drive a success, and many more donated.

Many thanks to Warren D’Souza for spending a week’s worth of dinners at Newman Hall in order to sign up people for the blood drive.ImageImageImage

It’s been a busy semester!

The Illini Council has been very busy this semester, volunteering lots of free time to serve the community.
In March, several of our knights braved the cold to participate in the Special Olympics Polar Plunge, and each managed to raise several hundreds of dollars in donations.

The Sunday before spring break, the Illini Council hosted a chilli cook-off.  Several contestants entered their best chili, and the judges voted for their favorite.  Needless to say, the judging was not an easy process.  All donations obtained from the chili cook-off will be used to fund charitable ministries run by the council.ImageImage

Knight’s of Columbus Major Degree and Adoration

This weekend is the Major Degree. This is a great opportunity for practicing Catholic men to join the Knights, or for current Knights to receive their Second and/or Third Degrees.

Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See.

For those wishing to make the First Degree, transportation will be provided from Newman Hall starting at 8:15. Please meet in the void at 8:00, after transportation will be provided to the event at St. Patrick’s in Urbana.

For those wishing to make their Second and Third Degree, transportation will be provided at 10:00 from Newman Hall. Please dress in semi-formal attire; dress pants and a collared shirt is all we ask for.

Following the First Degree, breakfast will be served to those attending.

Also, come to adoration at St. John’s Catholic chapel on Friday 15 November at 8:00, in order to prepare ourselves in prayer for the Major Degree the following day.  All are welcome join us in adoration.

UPDATE: This Friday Night’s Adoration is canceled because our chaplain, Fr. Jim, is sick.  Please offer a prayer for the intention of his health.  The Major Degree will still proceed as planned.

RSVP for the events at the following links: 
Major Degree: https://www.facebook.com/events/360470770765675/?notif_t=plan_edited
Adoration: https://www.facebook.com/events/573449049393320/

Upcoming events: we’re in for a fun time!

In these next two weeks, the Knights of Columbus are hosting a slew of exciting events, perfect for relaxing and blowing off steam during the stressful time of midterms.  We invite you to join us in the spirit of fun and fraternity.

  • On October 17th, we invite you to join us for a night of bowling in the Rec Room of the Illini Union.  For those interested, come to the Newman lobby at 6:45, and then we’ll head as a group to the Union for a night of smashing pins.  The event will end by 9:00 PM, so those interested in going to mass later will still be able to do so.
  • On October 21st, we are hosting a 1st degree initiation.  If you know anyone who is interested in becoming a brother knight, please tell him to join us then.  Following the initiation, we are going to have our monthly Man Night.  Monty Python and the Holy Grail will be screened in the St. Paul room.  For those with a taste for British humor, be sure to come.
  • It’s also time for another Nerf War!  It’s the usual plan of events: meet in the Newman Lobby at 8:45, and then we will head to the DCL for an epic battle, unmatched by anything on XBOX!  Of course, guns will be available to be borrowed.

Service & Justice Outreach 5K

The Knights had a great representation today at the SJO 5K. The weather this morning held up well, and we had a great time running in Meadowbrook Park. This event helps to support the charitable activities of SJO throughout the year, which benefit both the Champaign-Urbana community, as well as communities abroad.