Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 5, 2008
Wally Streit leads Knights for 2nd term
Recruitment challenge brought in 373 members
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Wally Streit will continue leading the Knights of Columbus of Alberta/Northwest Territories for another year. As expected, the 65-year-old Edmonton bank executive was acclaimed to another term as state deputy at the Knights' 97th annual convention in Edmonton April 25-27.
About 600 people, including knights' families and various guests, attended the weekend convention at the Ramada Inn on Kingsway.
Streit, a member of the Father Bonner Council at Edmonton's St. Thomas More Parish, was elected state deputy at the Knights' convention in Calgary a year ago. He is known as the Knights' top recruiter, having signed up a total of 923 recruits.
Acclaimed along with Streit was Neil Gannon as state secretary. Phil Birch was elected state treasurer, replacing Brad Cody who stepped down. Gary Johnson was acclaimed state advocate and Jim Myhre was re-elected state warden.
Streit, a senior assistant vice president of the Canadian Western Bank, said he is happy to have been re-elected leader of the Knights for another term.
"Notwithstanding the fact nobody run against me, it is a vote of confidence in the work and the direction that I'm taking the jurisdiction," he said April 28.
During his first year, Streit challenged the Knights to create a culture of recruitment, which means taking advantage of every opportunity to recruit new members into the organization. It worked. When Streit assumed office membership stood at 15,767. Currently it stands at 16,140 - a net increase of 373 members in one year.
The order also established four new councils this year, including one at Our Lady Queen of Poland Parish in Edmonton.
Recruitment will continue to be one of Streit's priorities during his second term. "That's because if we have more members then we can do more good works for the Church and the Church community," he said.
Archbishop Richard Smith spoke to delegates about the importance of the Knights and their work toward the Church, praising them for their witness to life, their concern and love for the family, their avoidance of gambling as a source of revenue and their support for vocations to the priesthood.
Fred Abraham, the Knights' supreme director, reiterated the organization's core value of standing in solidarity with bishops and priests.
Last year the organization collected almost more than $30,000 through its Pennies for Heaven program. That money is divided among the bishops of Alberta to support their work on vocations.
The order also raised $500,000 for the operations of St. Joseph's Seminary and Newman Theological College this year. The money was raised through various councils, the Knights' supreme council and a local donor who contributed $250,000.
St. Mary's College in Calgary has also received significant monetary support from the Knights. In recognition of this support the college will name its soon-to-be-renovated convocation hall Father Michael McGivney Hall in honour of the order's founder.
A few years ago the Knights made a commitment to provide funding for $500,000 to cover the costs of the theatre at St. Joseph's High School in Edmonton. This commitment, known as Father McGivney millennium project, was also fully satisfied this year, Streit said in his annual report.
The Knights presented several awards at their convention. The fraternal council of the year award went to St. Nicholas Byzantine Council 7659 of Calgary. The council of the year award was presented to Edmonton's Nazareno (Filipino) Council 12904.
Ed Miller of Fairview won the district deputy of the year award. The grand knight of the year award went to Ryszard Kazek of Edmonton's John Paul II Council 11334.