Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 7, 1999
Reyes to head Alta. Knights
New state deputy pledges order to be right arm of the Church
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The Knights of Columbus of Alberta and Northwest Territories have elected a Leduc knight and teacher to lead the Catholic men's organization into the new millennium.
Julito Reyes, a retired school teacher and a knight for 15 years, was the choice for state deputy among the 213 voting delegates at the Knights' Victoria Day long-weekend convention at Calgary's Westin Hotel.
He defeated retired Calgary oil executive Don Gartner, the only other contender for the position.
Reyes, 56, will lead the organization for one year following his installation July 10. He replaces Dennis Castellino, state deputy for the past two years.
Also elected to the state executive board were Leo Klein as state secretary, Mickey Casavant as state advocate and Ernie Sehn as state warden. Bill Smith was re-elected as state treasurer.
Coadjutor Archbishop Thomas Collins of Edmonton was appointed honourary state chaplain for the jurisdiction. He's also been acting as liaison between the Alberta bishops and the Knights.
At the convention, the Knights reaffirmed their pro-life and pro-family stance and approved various resolutions in those areas.
One urges the 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, and the performance of late-term abortions, especially such "barbaric practices" as partial birth abortions.
After the convention, Castellino, the outgoing state deputy, sent letters to Premier Ralph Klein and the Calgary Regional Health Authority stating the Knights' support for the RCMP's ongoing investigation into late-term abortions at Calgary's Foothills Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.
"We ask for an independent body to monitor all these types of genetic abortions because right now it's implied that these babies born without organs will not survive," Castellino said.
"We also feel that in the future there should be a panel set up to monitor all these cases."
The Philippines-born Reyes has an outstanding track record of commitment and service to the order and the Church.
A knight since 1985, he has served in positions from inside guard to grand knight to state council member. During his term as grand knight, his council received the first star council award and was selected council of the year in the Alberta-NWT jurisdiction.
Reyes was instrumental in forming his council's first degree team and in founding Father McQuaid Assembly, where he became charter faithful navigator. He has received numerous awards including council knight of the year and grand knight of the year.
He was the first district deputy to receive the all-around district award and he received the supreme council star district award twice.
Reyes rose to the Knights' state council in 1993 as a district deputy. He later served as state program director during which 15 councils received star council awards - a level that has not been surpassed.
He was state secretary at the moment of his election as state deputy. He has also served as state warden and state advocate on the jurisdiction's executive board.
At St. Michael's Parish in Leduc, Reyes has served as a reader, acolyte, eucharistic minister and parish council president.
Reyes is so committed to the Knights that last year he took early retirement to solely concentrate on K of C work. He was a school teacher in Leduc for 32 years.
He disputes the "myth" that the Knights are a "men's club" where women have no role. He described the Knights as a "fraternal family and volunteer organization" where members' wives and children are welcomed with open arms.
Women are barred from some meetings, he said, but are allowed to participate in all other activities. He said his wife Julie and his three children have been his "strongest and staunchest" supporters since he became a knight.
Reyes' goals include forming four new councils at the parish level and recruiting at least 300 new members. That would bring the total number of councils to 152 and the total membership to 13,000.
"We are also going to be very strong with programs on youth, family, community, Church and council because I believe they are synonymous with membership," he told the WCR. "If you've got excellent programs it's easier to attract new members."
Reyes also vows to support parish
restructuring and to keep councils going in all parishes that merge or close.
"If a parish folds, we'll continue with the council because there is still a community there," he said. "We are not going to lose councils."
Reyes will also emphasize vocations promotion. Under his leadership, the Knights will distribute two free vocation videos to every Catholic high school in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. There will also be essay and poster contests on vocations.
"We are supposed to be the right arm of the Church and we are going to act like one. We are going to be there to serve our priests and bishops."