Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 5, 2000
Alta. Knights back bishops
They throw their support behind prelates' letter on health care
By By GLEN ARGAN
The Alberta-Northwest Territories Knights of Columbus are out to show greater support for Alberta's Catholic hierarchy.
"We would like to make our support for the members of the hierarchy more pronounced," state deputy Julito Reyes said following the Knights' 90th annual convention held May 19-22 in Edmonton.
At the convention, the 13,000-member organization passed a resolution in support of the Alberta bishops' February statement The Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ.
Reyes said while the Alberta government's controversial Bill 11 regulating private health clinics was not raised at the convention, the ideas behind the bill were discussed in the bishops' statement.
In their letter, the bishops said they hoped a health care system that treats all Canadians equally "will not be eroded by a lack of concern under the guise of economics."
They also asked six pointed questions about the effect of private hospitals on health care.
Reyes said the Knights want to support the bishops not only in their ministry, but also when they come under attack in the press.
He referred to the recent controversy between Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry and Calgary Herald owner Conrad Black. The media baron called Henry a "jumped-up little twerp of a bishop" and a "useful idiot" to the union leaders in the Herald labour dispute.
"Calling the bishop names I think was a cowardly act," Reyes said.
"As a bishop, (Henry) had the right to have this type of concern," he said, referring to his April 3 article in the WCR challenging Black's handling of the strike. "He's not interfering; he just wanted to help resolve the issue."
While the Black-Henry controversy wasn't discussed at the convention, Reyes said, "I, the state deputy, support Bishop Henry on that issue with Conrad Black."
About 450 knights and spouses representing 107 councils attended the convention, the culmination of Knights of Columbus Week in Edmonton.
Reyes said the Knights will also set up a committee to launch special millennium projects in Calgary and Edmonton to honour the order's founder, Father Michael McGivney.
The convention also heard a pitch from Brother Anthony Council in St. Albert, which is working with Alberta Pro-Life to develop a pro-life calendar to go on sale in the fall.
In his report to the convention, Reyes listed an array of Knights' projects and accomplishments across the province during the year.
Alberta Knights donated $1.5 million to charity during the year and worked 715,000 volunteer hours at a variety of Church, community and youth programs. That placed them eighth among 68 jurisdictions in the order, although only 73 per cent of the 149 councils filed reports.
"The Alberta Knights of Columbus is very active and dynamic," he said. Across the order, "The Knights of Columbus has never been stronger and we should be proud."
At the opening Mass for the convention, the state chaplain, Father Michael Troy urged the Knights to take St. Francis of Assisi as their example.
After Francis heard Jesus tell him, "Rebuild my Church," Francis came to realize "that somehow he was supposed to bring a new spirit into the Church," Troy said.
Our time, like that of Francis, said Troy, is a time of crisis. In such a time, one needs courage to take a leap of faith. And we need to know that "One person with the Holy Spirit behind him, like Francis, is a mighty power."
Ron Tessier, supreme director from North Dakota, told those attending the convention banquet to "take time and focus on what we are all about."
"If we don't take time out to reflect on what we are all about, we will become busier and busier and we will accomplish less and less," Tessier said.
The Knights also gave out numerous awards during the convention, including:
- Council of the Year: Father Bonner Council of Edmonton.
- Fraternal Council of the Year: Msgr. Leo Sullivan Council of Calgary.
- Grand Knight of the Year: Ken Schwartz of Father Bonner Council.
- District of the Year: District 14 in south Edmonton with district deputy Randy Yatscoff.
- Family of the Year: George and Deborah Montpetit and their two children, St. Albert.
- Insurance Agent of the Year: Daniel Bouchard of Camrose.
- Edmonton area knight of the year: Boniface Markowski.