Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
April 30, 2001
Knights on the march
State deputy ends term with membership climbing, new councils set up
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Julito Reyes is preparing to step down as state deputy after two years of significant growth in the Alberta-Northwest Territories jurisdiction of the Knights of Columbus.
More than 1,000 new members have been recruited to the order during his term, "and we're still not finished," says the 58-year-old retired teacher from Leduc. Even after deaths and men who have withdrawn from the Knights, the total membership has still grown from 13,030 to 13,688 as of April 1.
As well, three new councils have been started in Edmonton and two others - one at St. Joseph's College in Edmonton and the other in Yellowknife - that had ceased to function have been restarted.
A new Squires circle for boys 10 to 18 has been started in Brooks and two more are likely to be launched in Edmonton before the "Columbian year" ends on June 30.
"The jurisdiction is very vibrant. It is very much alive," Reyes said in an interview.
"Sometimes people think the Knights of Columbus are all about bingos and casinos and giving away money. But it's much more than that," he says.
When you join the Knights, you become part of a bigger family, says the state deputy.
"When you have some problems, you can relate to a brother knight better than to some other people. You know you're going to be helped somehow."
"We cannot solve all the problems in the world. But as a group, we can do a lot of things. Over the years, the Knights of Columbus has made itself felt across society."
When there are needy people, the Knights are always there to help, says Reyes.
As well, the order runs various fraternal activities, such as hockey, curling and golf tournaments, a campout, and essay and oratorical contests at the provincial level.
Moreover, the Knights are more than a service club, they are a Catholic family organization. "A meeting is not just a business meeting; it must also have a spiritual side."
The theme for this year's state convention in Red Deer is "At your command, I will lower the nets."
Reyes says those words by St. Peter are "a beautiful reminder that we must be obedient and trusting in the Lord. After we have done our very best, to God we must leave the rest and be at peace about it."
The key to the Knights' success, says the state deputy, are the order's ceremonials that instill new members with the virtues of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. "I believe the ceremonials are a very powerful device to make this happen."
Reyes also pays tribute to his wife Juliet who has travelled with him across the province and to state deputies' meetings and supreme conventions in the United States.
With his term as state deputy drawing to a close, Reyes might be expected to be looking forward to putting his feet up after two very hectic years.
Instead, he's excited about the formation of Nazareno Council 12904 in Edmonton, a new council for Filipinos, and plans to do what he can to make it a success.
"We just sent the papers in last week to supreme (office)," he says. "I'm really proud of it."
Himself an immigrant from the Philippines 34 years ago, Reyes hopes the new council becomes a catalyst for spiritual activity among the 10,000 Filipinos in Edmonton.
But while he plans to be busy with the new council, he says he will cherish his two years as state deputy for the rest of his life.
"I'm really thankful that the delegates gave me the opportunity to be state deputy for the past two years. I think I became a better Catholic and a better family man as a result."
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