Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 5, 2002
Casavant to lead Alberta Knights
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The Alberta-Northwest Territories Knights of Columbus have chosen a retired St. Albert social worker as their new supreme leader.
Mickey Casavant, 60, of St. Albert was elected state deputy of the Knights at the organization's April 25-27 convention at the Ramada Inn. He succeeds Leo Klein of Calgary.
"It's an honour to be given the trust and the support and the recognition to be the leader of the Knights of Columbus," Casavant said after the convention. "I can't think of a higher honour and a higher vote of confidence."
Close to 700 people, including 233 voting delegates representing close to 15,000 Knights in 165 councils, attended the three-day convention. Also elected to the state board along with Casavant were Peter Wong of Calgary as state secretary, Wally Streit of Edmonton as state advocate, Bill Smith of Calgary as state treasurer and Neil Gagnon of Edmonton as state warden.
Casavant, who was state secretary at the moment of his election, will serve as state deputy for two years beginning July 1. His goals include promoting projects that strengthen the family, youth and parish life. He also plans to promote a strong presence of prayer and devotion to Mary in the Knights' daily activities.
"I plan to be a leader within the community, within the organization," he said. "I'm not the kind of guy that says, 'Follow me,' but I say, 'Walk with me' because the organization is made up of all the members and every member plays a very important role."
A native of Legal, Casavant and his wife Astrid live on an acreage just northeast of St. Albert and are members of Holy Family Parish. They have two adult children, Nicole and Andre, and one granddaughter, Genevieve.
Casavant, who worked as a social worker with the Alberta government for 30 years, joined the Knights in 1974 and is currently a member of Brother Anthony Council 10014 in St. Albert.
The way he sees it, being a knight is a good way of being Catholic. "I feel that the Knights of Columbus' principles, which include charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism, are a way of life which promotes a strong spirituality."
In addition to serving in nearly every position within the Knights organization, Casavant has also served in numerous Church and community groups, including Holy Family Parish, where he was chair of the pastoral council for two years. He has also been on the board of directors of Spiritus, a Catholic lobby group, of Bosco Homes and of Keyano College.
Casavant is currently a member of the archdiocesan Pontifical Missions Council and represented the Edmonton Archdiocese at the Millennium World Missions Congress in Rome in 2000. Archbishop Thomas Collins recently appointed him to the newly formed archdiocesan Health and Pastoral Ministries committee.
"I think he is going to be a great state deputy," Klein said. "He's got lots of experience. He's served on the state board for six successful years and has been very much involved in the Knights of Columbus over many years."
Klein described his two years at the helm of Knights' as very successful, noting the jurisdiction has had a "tremendous growth" in membership and new council development during his tenure.
Membership has grown by more than 425 new members and 10 new councils have been established or reactivated since Klein took over in July 2001.
His tenure was also marked by a consistent support of vocations in the archdiocese and an increase in spiritual devotion within the Knights organization itself. "I think it was a successful (two-year term)," he said.
Several awards were presented at the convention:
- The Council of the Year award went to the Nazareno Council, a 144-member Filipino council in Edmonton.
- Vicente Reyes, Grand Knight of the Nazareno Council, captured the Grand Knight of the Year Award. This is the second year in a row that the Nazareno Council has captured both awards. The council is just two years old.
- The Fraternal Council of the Year award was given to Camrose Council 3437.
- The District Deputy of the Year award went to Brother William Patterson of Calgary. He leads district 21.
- The Family of the Year award was given to the family of Maurice Pasternak of St. Albert.
- The award for top ranking field (insurance) agent for North America was presented to Dan Dean of Edmonton.