Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 28, 2003
Circle of Honour rings Klein
Devotion to duty and teamwork wins K of C tribute
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Knights of Columbus state deputy Leo Klein will be a tough act to follow when he steps down at the end of June.
During his two years in office, he not only kept Alberta and NWT jurisdiction on the map of the order, but also, through his leadership the jurisdiction, was recognized in the supreme knight's circle of honour.
This accolade meant his group raised the spiritual bar of the order by creating a better balance between charitable and spiritual activities, as well as making the insurance agency of the jurisdiction number one out of 70 agencies in the order.
"Our group has not seen (the circle of honour) recognition for 20 years," Klein told the WCR.
The requisite for being in the circle of honour is for the jurisdiction to meet the goals that the supreme council sets for each jurisdiction at the beginning of each Columbian year.
"Obviously we had two great years. There's no question about that. We had just a great team," said Klein, who has been a K of C for 40 years.
The jurisdiction far exceeded its requirements, one of which is to have a 3.5 per cent growth in membership.
It increased membership 151 per cent of that goal, ending up with a 5.28 per cent growth last year.
"It was phenomenal growth. We recruited last year 890 new knights. I don't believe our jurisdiction has seen this for a long, long while. We're well on track to do it again this year."
The other requisite is to establish new councils. Last year, they had six either new or re-activated councils and this year their goal is to establish six more.
When the WCR interviewed Klein two years ago about his goals, he wanted to establish six new councils and see a membership of approximately 15,000.
"I thought it was doable, yet I recognize that it's a huge work. We have achieved our goal. . . . We're also very well on track with our target of 15,000 membership in the jurisdiction. In fact we're only 200 members away."
Klein thinks part of the success comes from the fact he made an effort to travel in the jurisdiction and provide that leadership.
"I put on a lot of kilometres going throughout the jurisdiction. I thought it's very important to meet the different councils on their home turf and discuss membership and other related issues that I felt K of C should be involved in.
"I believe that had some significance. I guess I'm fortunate to be retired and have the luxury of time."
When he began his term, he often heard the comment that one has to put one's life on hold for two years as a state deputy.
"But I've looked at it as a phenomenal opportunity to serve. We have many wonderful people. Particularly it is an incredible honour to meet the six bishops in our jurisdiction and the many priests. It's really reassuring that they support the K of C in the works we do."
Seeing the jurisdiction grow and continue to be vibrant is not only his work.
"I rather credit not so much myself but the team of excellent chairmen and district deputies that I have been working with on the state executive board. I think, as a team, we work very well together."
In terms of the spiritual dimension of the order, member knights often told him that they have indeed raised the spiritual bar of the order by creating a better balance between charitable and spiritual activities.
"I am happy to see that. I think we've made some inroads with respect to support in our own communities. It's been reassuring to me that we've provided that Catholic presence in communities that perhaps we didn't have representation before."
Klein underlined how they continue to support the poor and marginalized.
"I think we need to do that and I think we even have to do more in the areas of vocations and support of our Catholic schools, respect for life and family issues.
They will elect a new state deputy at the next jurisdiction convention in Edmonton. A state deputy can serve for four years, but that has never happened in this jurisdiction.
"There's always been someone on our state board who looked forward to the challenge of being the state deputy."
Klein has been asked from time to time whether he will consider serving for another term. His response? "I think two years is quite enough. I'm quite happy to say that we have very qualified people on our state executive board."
After he steps down, he will still be involved as part of the executive board as immediate past state deputy.
"I'm certainly going to be involved and I'm looking forward to our order growing and staying as vibrant as over the last couple of years," reassured Klein.