Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 15, 2000
State deputy tackles a big job
By GLEN ARGAN
When Julito Reyes was elected state deputy of the Alberta-Northwest Territories Knights of Columbus a year ago, he knew he was taking on "a big responsibility."
"At the same time, I said, 'I think I can make a difference with the support of my brother knights,'" Reyes said in a recent interview.
His election brought an almost overwhelming feeling of the trust and confidence he had received from the convention delegates to head the organization of more than 13,000 Catholic men in 148 councils.
But since then, the retired teacher from Leduc has been busy traversing the province as well as taking part in international meetings of the order.
"It's been a very challenging year," he says. "It's also been enjoyable meeting with brother knights and their families. I can see that the order is very much alive in this jurisdiction."
"Wherever we go, we have been received so warmly."
Reyes has been in every corner of Alberta, as well as attending international meetings in New Haven, Chicago and Minneapolis. Last month, he attended the Knights' jubilee pilgrimage at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception in Washington.
Reyes, 57, came to Canada from the Philippines in 1967. His father was a knight and his five brothers started a council in the Philippines. Sixteen years ago, he became the last of the brothers to join the order.
He rose quickly through the ranks, serving as grand knight in Leduc, district deputy, state program chairman and then moving on to the state board.
"I never thought about becoming state deputy," he says. "It just happened - bang, bang, bang."
But he's sure of one thing: "You can only do a good job if you have the support of your wife."
Juliet Reyes is a teacher and the couple has three adult children - Jane, Jason and Jolene - and one grandchild.
Another thing he knows is that "You have to love the order and meeting people. Otherwise, it would become a job."
There's no question where Reyes stands on those issues. "I love the Knights of Columbus," he says. "The Knights of Columbus work hard and we also know how to have fun."
In the past year, the Alberta Knights have signed up 500 new members and started one new council - Annunciation on Edmonton's west end.
The order's Respect Life Oratorical Contest was running in high schools across the province, the Knights were promoting vocations, and providing financial support for seminarians and the jurisdiction's six dioceses.
Four Celtic crosses were travelling Alberta for prayer meetings sponsored by local councils and a province-wide scholarship program was in its second year.
But most of the Knights' activity is to be found in local councils - quiet work that builds the community but doesn't attract a lot of headlines.
"The councils and assemblies are busy," says Reyes. "They have their own programs in their communities."
"The presence of the Knights of Columbus in the Church community and in the civic community is really being felt. It's a positive presence. And it makes me really proud as state deputy that our brother knights and their families are doing all this."
The state deputy pays high tribute to Spiritan Father Michael Troy, state chaplain for the past 15 years, who remains a vital force at age 82.
"He's a tremendous influence on the Knights of Columbus," Reyes says of Troy. "He's well loved, well liked."
The chaplain has developed a spiritual formation program of spiritual reading and meditation for councils that is the envy of other jurisdictions across the order.
While Reyes sees being state deputy as a great honour, he's not a proud man. "I think I'm just giving back what I've received from this country and from the Church."
And he looks forward to a second one-year term as state deputy. "I still have fire in my belly. I'm really happy."