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 | By Nancylee Bareham

Getting to the Cor

Michigan Knights of Columbus adopt new goals for building faith and fellowship

It was an ordinary April evening at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Brighton when the Knights of Columbus Council 12295 members gathered. While it began with discussions of numbers and participation—and the ongoing NFL draft—it quickly became much more.

Following a brief prayer and Gospel reflection, the purpose of this meeting was unveiled. This gathering was aimed at founding and building up a new goal for Catholic men: Cor

St. John Henry Newman’s motto “Cor ad cor loquitur,” or “Heart speaks to heart,” inspired Cor. The initiative focuses on men practicing the Catholic faith, helping them develop a more intentional and fruitful relationship with Jesus through prayer, formation, and fraternity. 

Returning to the ideals of the Knights’ founder, Blessed Michael McGivney, the organization has always sought to form men of solid faith. 

“What Cor represents is a re-emphasis of Blessed Michael McGivney’s vision for the Knights since the very beginning,” says Paul Kelsey, director of faith formation and evangelization for Michigan’s Knights.

Initially, the Knights were founded to form men into disciples who would be the stalwart basis of Catholic faith and morality in a society that too often rejects these gifts. Furthermore, the order today is primarily known for its hospitality and incredible acts of service within the community.

To continue to be formed into leaders, defenders, and examples of faith that stand out today, the Cor initiative aims to direct today’s Knights back to their founding roots.

“Men are looking for purpose and direction. We used to have a culture that made it easier for men to find those things, and Cor is about helping men start to find their way back to Catholic teachings, community, and fellowship,” observes Father Paul Erickson, former state chaplain of the Michigan Knights and current pastor at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Brighton. 

In correlation with the pillar of fraternity, the Knights meetings are not exclusive to members only. Parish men are encouraged to attend the meetings to help them grow as faith-filled individuals and find fellowship and camaraderie in a society that is too often fragmented.

“What men, especially young men, are looking for is a way to help them live their Catholicism, and that’s what Cor is trying to do,” Father Erickson says. 

While Michigan orders hope Cor will help them continue to draw new members, that’s not the initiative’s primary purpose. Instead, it is aimed at helping men take a step into a more profound formation and relationship with Christ. Father Erickson believes that non-Knights will be encouraged to join an order or group that walks with them through life through Cor

“If guys are going to become Knights, it’s not because of pancake breakfasts. It will be because they’ve had an encounter with the Lord, and they get to share that with brothers,” Father Erickson says. 

The weekly Cor meetings held at St. Mary Magdalen Parish enrich the faith journeys of the men who attend, not just in their relationship with God but in their brotherhood with one another. 

“It’s a very personal, respectful type of trust that develops for guys to be able to talk about their challenges in life and to give some personal testimony to their faith,” says council member Michael Tucker. 

Across the Diocese of Lansing, Cor encourages men to be honest with themselves, others, and God, to build a brotherhood that models the disciples who followed Jesus Christ.

Learn more 

Contact your local Knights council or visit to learn more about the initiative.