WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER
State Deputy Gary Johnson told assembled knights to demonstrate in everything we do that we are men of integrity.
The Knights of Columbus strive to keep their commitment to God, the clergy and the Church. They help the needy and less fortunate in their communities. They support youth, families and those in need.
Yet in today's changing society, and with many temptations to take an easier path, State Deputy Gary Johnson reminded his brother knights they must stay the same course their founder, Father Michael McGivney, set them on in 1882.
The 102nd annual state council meeting, themed Men of Integrity, was held April 27-29 at the Coast Edmonton East Hotel in Sherwood Park.
"Let us recommit ourselves to that course, as our mission with the Knights of Columbus, and strive to demonstrate in everything that we do that we truly are men of integrity," said Johnson, presenting his annual report.
The Knights of Columbus is the largest Catholic men's fraternal organization, with nearly two million members.
Recruiting new members and preserving existing ones remain priorities, said Johnson. He asked that all current knights reach out to men in parishes, and invite them to join the world's greatest fraternal Catholic order.
"Supreme Knight Carl Anderson has indicated on many occasions that we have a moral obligation to ask every practical Catholic man to become a member of our great order," said Johnson.
"There is no better way to render support to the Church than by recruiting men into our order, and by keeping men and their families close to their faith."
Johnson thanked all knights who recruited new members or assisted in the formation of a new council. He emphasized his gratitude to a strong recruitment leader, Wally Streit.
"Over the past three years, Brother Wally has recruited over 1,400 members to our order," said Johnson.
Recruiting Squires (Catholic boys aged 10 to 18) and younger men takes precedence for the Alberta/Northwest Territories Knights because they are the agency's future.
"I had the pleasure of meeting a young man in the hallway last night who is a deputy grand knight from Calgary, 23 years old. We need more young people in our organization," said Johnson.
For those wanting to learn more about the Knights, the order's state website is a rich source of information. Johnson encouraged the knights to view the site.
"If anyone ever asks you what we do as Knights of Columbus, there are five dynamite 40-second promos that will tell everybody. I guarantee if you watch those, you will get goose bumps," said Johnson.
"It will make you very proud to be a knight when you're updated on all of the things that we do to make a difference throughout this world."
The Knights are putting more emphasis on supporting their chaplains. The chaplains offer guidance and many practical suggestions for the Knights and, in reciprocity, Johnson said the Knights should support them as much as possible.
"Some of the surveys came back and said we're not doing enough for being there for our chaplains. So I challenge you to go back and sit down with your chaplains, and tell them, 'We're there for you. (Knights founder) Father Michael McGivney asked us to be there for you. How can we help you?'" said Johnson.
An inaugural council chaplains meeting and luncheon, organized by Father Henry Rosenbaum, the state chaplain, was held in conjunction with the state meeting.