Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 17, 1999
Knights of Columbus ready for annual convention
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The Knights of Columbus of Alberta-Northwest Territories will discuss pro-life and pro-family resolutions as well as elect a new state deputy at their May 21-23 convention here.
Delegates will also set new goals for the upcoming Columbian year as well as reviewing the goals they set at last year's convention. A Columbian year runs July 1 to June 30.
About 500 people, including 250 voting delegates, are expected at the convention at the Westin Hotel. Coadjutor Archbishop Thomas Collins of Edmonton and Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary will be among 40 special guests at the convention.
Spread the Word in Tribute to God the Father is the event's theme.
At the convention the Knights will reaffirm their pro-life and pro-family stance and are likely to approve three resolutions in those areas, said state deputy Dennis Castellino.
One resolution urges Knights to work for full legal protection for the unborn, the sick, the terminally ill and the elderly.
The resolution says the Knights deplore the marketing of all abortifacient drugs, RU-486 in particular, the performance of late-term abortions and especially such "barbaric practices" as partial-birth abortions.
Another resolution calls upon the media to exercise self-restraint and voluntarily refrain from producing morally offensive and injurious forms of communication, particularly those attacking family values and religious faith.
Another resolution reaffirms the Knights' fidelity to the teaching of the Church regarding the nature of Christian married love and responsible parenthood.
The Knights vigorously oppose same-sex marriages and the extension of rights to homosexual couples.
High on the agenda is the election of a new state deputy.
Julito Reyes, a retired Leduc teacher and the Knights' current state secretary, and Don Gartner, a retired Calgary oil executive and the Knights' current membership secretary, are the only two candidates for the position.
Castellino, state deputy for the past two years, will not seek a third one-year term.
However, he leaves the post with an array of goals achieved. During his last term, the Knights' membership increased by 315 to a total of more than 12,700.
At the beginning of his term, in keeping with the goal of having a council in every parish, the Knights identified 12 possible new councils. So far six have been activated, bringing the total number of councils to 148.
Most new members are in their early 20s and mid-30s - the result of having introduced younger leadership at the council level, of having more relevant programs and of a resurgent spirituality among younger families, Castellino said.
The jurisdiction has also reduced the number of members it loses due to transfers and lack of involvement. The Knights used to lose the equivalent of 80 per cent of their new members. Now that rate is below 50 per cent, thanks to a new program for dealing with inactive members.
"We have been listening to their concerns as to why they were not active and we have brought them back into activity," Castellino said.
"We have also gone through a process of retention where the individuals are phoned, they are talked to and any concern they have is addressed as to why they did not participate."
At the convention, the Knights will discuss new ways to promote family values and religious vocations. One initiative calls for the distribution of two free videos on vocations to every Catholic high school in Alberta-NWT.
The Knights will also give $10,000 for vocations to the dioceses in Alberta-NWT. Another $40,000 will be provided through the K of C councils in support of various local vocation initiatives.