STATE DEPUTY REPORT 2013
112th Annual State Convention
It is a great honor and a privilege to have held the office of State Deputy of the Missouri Knights of Columbus this fraternal year, and it is truly overwhelming to have represented the greatest lay Catholic organization in the State of Missouri.
I would like to express my appreciation to all the State Officers, Directors, Chairmen, District Deputies, Grand Knights and Councils throughout the state for their hard work and dedication.
Over the last number of years, wherein I have been blessed to be a member of the State Council in various capacities I have come to realize the magnitude of service of the Missouri Knights to our church and to the people of our State. As we work in partnership with old and new friends, I believe we will continue our great traditions and that our numerous accomplishments of the past will continue to grow into the future as we truly make a difference in our ever-changing world.
As has been the practice of prior State Deputies at this time, I would like to share with you some of the accomplishments of our Order this fraternal year. If I fail to mention an accomplishment or an area of interest to you please understand it is not due to its importance, but due to the brief period of time for my report.
To begin, I would like to thank my Brother Knight, the Worthy Immediate Past State Deputy, John Appelbaum, for his help and assistance to me as I have attempted to take on the responsibilities of State Deputy over the last number of months. I do truly appreciate his friendship and support.
I would also like to express my appreciation to our Worthy State Chaplain, Father Christian Malewski, for his spiritual guidance and prayers in support of our Order. It is my understanding so far this fraternal year, he has the best Mariner articles.
Over the past number of years, while I have been on the State Council, I have had the good fortune to come in contact with many Worthy Brother Knights in various offices. I am truly blessed and I believe we as an Order are truly blessed with the current State Officers, State Directors, Chairman and District Deputies currently in office, and I would like to express my appreciation to all of these Worthy Brother Knights for all other help and assistance to all of us this fraternal year.
I would like to express my appreciation to Chris and Jerry Herbert, the Ladies Auxiliaries Chair Persons, for all of their hard work with the Ladies Auxiliaries. It is my understanding the Ladies Auxiliaries this year have had a banner year. Our Order here in the State of Missouri truly appreciates all the efforts and support of the Ladies Auxiliaries and their hard work and dedication to the programs of our Order.
As with any organization, the State Officers are vital to its success. Our Worthy State Secretary, Keith Milson, has worked long and hard hours, making sure all of the bills are paid, records are kept, and generally to do all of the numerous tasks of a Secretary, without which we could not, as an Order, succeed. Working hand-in-hand with our Worthy State Secretary is our Worthy Supreme Director, Mick Gilliam, who also has the task of State Bookkeeper. I can assure you that Keith and Mick are constantly striving to improve our record keeping and generally to do all things necessary for the annual audit of our State funds. I believe with their assistance, we have maintained a high quality of record keeping necessary for an Organization such as ours to be transparent and in good order.
Brother Knight James Baldwin, our Worthy Supreme Advocate has dealt with a number of issues as State Advocate, and handled each of the matters presented to him very professionally and I thank him for his service this fraternal year.
Our Worthy State Treasurer, Clarence “Book” Lawrence, has worked many hours to handle the chores of a treasurer. I would like to say I have not dealt with a better and more dedicated group of individuals attending to financial matters, than our Worthy State Treasurer, alongside the Treasurer of Columbian Charities of Missouri, Inc., Ralph Cupelli, and our Worthy Secretary-Treasurer of the Religious Information Bureau, Bill Lucas. Each day, I receive numerous mailings, and emails pertaining to monetary issues, deposits, checks being prepared, and accounting which is all part of a healthy and vibrant organization in fulfilling its obligations. I can truly say these Brother Knights have performed a great service to our Order this year.
Our Worthy Warden, Pete Lorenz, and I have known each other for many years and in fact, Pete is the Brother Knight that asked me to join the Knights of Columbus and be a Knight. He has been a close friend, and our Order has benefited from his loyal service. When a job needs to get done you ask Pete Lorenz for help.
Last fraternal year I had the honor of being the Missouri State General Program Director. In this capacity I learned the importance of this position and the issues and difficulties regarding the job. You are the right-hand-man for the State Deputy and are vitally important to the administrative success of the programs being offered by our Order. Joe Rosenthal has had many years of service to our Order and Joe brought to the job of State General Program Director a wealth of knowledge and experience. Joe has made the position of State Deputy much easier to perform by his strong and continuing support and efforts to assist his Brother Knights and State Directors in good and difficult times. Joe is the kind of individual who keeps walking and working and attempting to get things accomplished and I thank him for all of his help and service.
The major programs of the Knights of Columbus here in our great State of Missouri, include the Religious Information Bureau, the Knights of Columbus Developmental Center at Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis, in conjunction with the Developmental Disability Drive, the Msgr. Joseph Mancuso Catholic Education Fund, and the evolving Meet Life Campaign. These major programs involve the substantial funds being raised and expended by our Order. As to financial matters I can report the Religious Information Bureau this year is having a banner year. Contributions for the 9 months thru March 31, 2013 total $211,258 which exceeds last year’s donations thru March 31, 2013. The Developmental Disability Drive this year through March 20, 2013 totals gross proceeds collected at $596,270.41, and the Meet Life Campaign has surpassed the gross proceeds of $800,000 representing the required financial support to raise $2 million dollars over 5 years. It is the hope of the Meet Life Campaign Team that by the end of the fraternal year we will have reached $1 million dollars in proceeds. As concerns the Msgr. Joseph Mancuso Education Fund which totals over $1 million dollar producing an annual income to be disbursed, this year provided funds for 31 $1,000 grants and 22 $500 grants for the total sum of $42,000 in educational grants.
Our Religious Information Bureau which began in 1948 has grown and prospered over the years because of the generous support of our Councils and individual Knights through their R.I.B. donations. This program offers free programs on the Catholic faith, giving Catholics and non-Catholics alike the opportunity to learn more about our faith. I am sure we can all agree the heart and soul of the R.I.B. Program is Father Oscar Lukefahr, the Director of the Catholic Home Study Services. It is Father Lukefahr’s passion and energy that has inspired us and we thank you, Father Lukefahr for your service to the Order. A special thanks goes to Bob Hawkins, Director of R.I.B., for all of his hard work and efforts and excellent appeal letters this fraternal year. Bob assures me that he is going to beat the record of $277,081.80 in donations reached when I was the R.I.B. Director, and I am sure he will accomplish this task.
Over recent years the programs under Community Activities have expanded and this year’s State Director, Mike Grudzinski, and his team have done a great job. One of the best parts of being State Deputy is signing hundreds of checks to all types of needy organizations receiving funds from the annual drive for persons with developmental disabilities. I would like to thank all of our Worthy Brother Knights who have with their families and Ladies Auxiliaries, worked tireless hours on the annual Tootsie Roll Drive which supports numerous not-for-profit organizations, including the major donations each year going to the Knights of Columbus Developmental Center. We are truly making a difference in the lives of enumerable individuals.
During this fraternal year, efforts have been under way to expand our partnership with Special Olympics of Missouri. This afternoon, Mark Musso, the CEO of Special Olympics of Missouri and his staff will be putting on a workshop entitled “Strengthening Your Council By Partnering With Special Olympics”. I believe our increasing partnership with the programs of Special Olympics of Missouri will benefit more and more individuals and also re-energize our Councils in this worthy cause. Please visit with the Special Olympians who will be here this afternoon.
The Missouri Council on American Wheelchair Mission, to date this fraternal year, has received significantly increased financial support from our Councils. It is my understanding the total contributions of Councils as of April 12, 2013, is $10,600.00, and I would like to thank all of the Councils who have participated in this program, for your support and ask those who have not yet, to please become involved in this worthy cause.
In recent months, our Worthy State Church Activities Director, John Mautino, has been in close contact with the Serra Clubs throughout the State of Missouri who work endless hours to support the nurturing of vocations to the religious life. As we grow in this partnership, I believe, Brother Knights, we will be able to increase vocations throughout our Diocese here in the State of Missouri. We are now entering the second year of the “Adopt A Seminarian Program”, and efforts are ongoing to attempt to improve and enhance this program which has been enthusiastically supported by seminarians. The Supreme Council’s “Refund Support Vocations Program” final report as of January, 2013, notes that in the State of Missouri 85 Councils participated with donations of $87,475.00 and refunds of $17,120.00, which provided for 142 male and 2 female Awardees. I would like to thank those Councils participating in this worthwhile program in support of vocations.
This next fraternal year we will be establishing Diocesan Chairmen under the Church Activities Director. The Diocesan Chairmen, of which there will be four, one for each Diocese, will be an assignment lasting more than 2 years in order that relationships might be developed and greater harmony can be reached in developing programs throughout our state, which will enhance our ability to support vocations and numerous other Diocesan related activities. Numerous ideas have been forthcoming about this new position and how we might improve such things like attendance at pilgrimages. For example, there could be a pilgrimage in each Diocese which may be done in harmony with other Diocesan organizations. It is my belief that as we expand our partnerships with other organizations in each of the Diocese, we will be more productive in service to our Church.
In July of 2011, then State Deputy, John Appelbaum, challenged the Missouri Knights to reduce the number of abortions in Missouri by over 50% in 5 years and the Meet Life Campaign was born. By the end of this fraternal year, over 30 ultrasound machines will be placed in pregnancy resource centers throughout our State. When the Meet Life Campaign commenced, I know some of us thought how are we going to reduce abortions by over 50% here in the State of Missouri after 40 years since Roe vs. Wade. My Brother Knights, I believe this will happen. I believe we will reduce abortion by over 50% by 2016, and the reason I believe, is because it is happening. In conjunction with the Vitae Foundation working in partnership, we are going to reach our goal. As noted earlier, it is the hope of the Meet Life Committee that by the end of this fraternal year we will have raised approximately $1 million dollars through our Baby Bottle Campaigns, fundraisers and private donations, in support of our Campaign. What an accomplishment. Missouri is leading the way in the ultrasound initiative sponsored by Supreme. As concerns the dedication of our Respect Life Director, Doug Kissinger, and his Chairmen, and Immediate Past State Deputy, John Appelbaum, I can only say they are so dedicated to the pro-life cause that at each Meet Life Committee Meeting I am at, I continue to be overwhelmed by their efforts and hard work in this initiative. At this time, I would like to give special thanks to Joe and Jane Dalton of “In His Image” for their support and assistance to the Meet Life Campaign. The process is long and arduous to qualify for an ultrasound machine on behalf of a pregnancy resource center and “In His Image” works hand-in-hand with the Meet Life Campaign to make sure things are done properly. This afternoon the Vitae Foundation, working in partnership with the Meet Life Campaign, will have a workshop on media and how to get a woman to the Pro-Life Store. Of special interest, is a significant result noted by the Vitae Foundation, is the use of Google places. Many pregnancy resource centers are seeing an almost 200% increase in traffic to their websites due to Google places. I want to thank all of you on behalf of the Meet Life Campaign who have participated, and ask that you keep up the good work and those who have not had an opportunity to have a Baby Bottle Campaign, please make plans to do so in the near future. As to other pro-life programs, please support “Roses for Life Weekend” and “Our Lady of Guadalupe Silver Rose Run” which were very successful this last year.
This year has been a banner year for Youth Activities under the guidance of Mike Auchly, Youth Activities Director. We have new circles being started across the state like Father Tolton High School in Columbia. The Youth Activities programs are many and the Youth Activities Chairmen have worked long and hard hours to produce quality programs with the support of our Councils. One amazing development took place recently in that 3 of the 10 Soccer Kick Challenge international winners are here from the State of Missouri. At lunch, each of the winners, Joseph Hipskind, boys age 10 from Chesterfield; Noah Aubuchon, boys age 11 from Normandy, and Rachel Sporleder, girls age 14 from Marshall will receive a beautiful trophy. What an accomplishment when you think we are in competition with youth from many other countries of the world where soccer is their major sport. From the scholarship program, to the essay contest, to the poster contest and Child Protection Program along with the supporting activities sponsored by Youth Activities, I believe, Brother Knights, we are doing a great job in support of our youth who will be the future Knights of our Order.
This fraternal year, our Council Activities Director, Mike Grayson, and his Chairmen have worked long and hard hours. From expanding our internet/email resources with Constant Contact, to our Ladies Auxiliaries Chairpersons, to recognizing our deceased members, the Father McGivney Guild, athletics, State Clown Club, publicity, State Council Historian to the best Knights Newspaper in the Order, the Mariner, how can you express the importance of the State Director and Chairmen under Council Activities. I would like express my personal appreciation to Ken Wehmeyer, who has assisted me on a weekly basis with the State Council’s printing needs. There are certain Knights who have been over many years involved with the daily activities of our Order who bring continuity to our purpose and Ken Wehmeyer is such an individual. I would also like to note at this time the services of Deacon Ralph Wehner, who for 25 years, has worked tirelessly to assist in preparation and in coordination of our liturgical services at many of our events. Without Brother Knights like Ken and Deacon Ralph, we would not be able to have a convention like we are having here this weekend.
Our family life activities overseen by Director, Randy Maune, has sought to promote family involvement in our Order this fraternal year. A special thanks to Randy and his Chairmen for all of their efforts and hard work, from the Children’s Christmas Program, which again, in December was a great success, to the many activities enjoyed by our Brother Knights and families. I am sure you will all be impressed with this year’s family of the year who will be presented to you at our banquet this evening.
There is one major directorship I have not yet discussed in my report, namely membership. As I have reported on all of the numerous activities which I believe show the strength and vitality of our Order here in the State of Missouri and the many positive things occurring, I thought it best to wait to the end of my report to talk about membership. Without new members, we are not able to sustain these wonderful achievements of the past and work into the future to do all we need to do. On Sunday morning at the Memorial Mass Services you will hear a listing of over 300 Brother Knights who have passed since our last Convention. With suspensions and transfers, it is imperative in order to sustain our Order that we continually bring in new members. First, I would like to thank our Worthy State Membership Director, Craig Mattox, and his Membership team who have worked numerous hours in service to our Order in an effort to sustain and increase membership. I sincerely appreciate all they have done and continue to do to maintain the lifeblood of our Order, new members and current members. Our Spring Membership Campaign, commonly known as our Bishop Blast, has brought in good results. Each month I receive from Supreme, a listing of the new Brother Knights here in the State of Missouri, and I have written a letter to each new Brother Knight encouraging them to become involved in our Order and benefit from all it has to offer. Here in the month of April I forwarded over 190 letters to new Worthy Brother Knights. I can report that this year there will be more Second and Third Degrees than in the last fraternal year, which is also quite encouraging. As concerns Third Degrees, they have been well attended and there will be a special workshop this afternoon put on regarding the Degrees. I truly believe that if we can just get the word out to the over 400,000 eligible Catholic men here in the State of Missouri about what the Knights are about and about what they have to offer to the individual and his family, our membership will rapidly grow. What we are attempting to do in part with partnerships being created with other organizations is to try to expand also the interest of individuals in our Order to further membership. We will be establishing a new Chairman to deal with telecommunication and Constant Contact, email addresses, and other communication resources to more efficiently communicate, especially with younger, eligible Catholic men to become members of our Order. I believe there has been a renewed excitement in our Councils regarding membership and with new ideas and renewed commitment, I believe we can reach our membership goals to sustain our Order and bring about its growth in the future. In addition to the number of incentives currently being offered to Councils for membership growth through the State Council, there are a number of additional incentives which are in the planning stage which hopefully, will also bring about increased enthusiasm for membership advancement. It is my understanding over the years that Missouri has been a leader in membership growth. Currently, we are in the top half of jurisdictions in membership advancement, but we need to do more at this time to increase membership and sustain our growth and programs in the future. So, my final point regarding membership is that things are not bad, in fact they are quite good in many areas, as far as membership, but they need to be better if we are going to advance and grow the way we need to in the future, and I am asking each of you to make an extra effort in the months ahead to work to bring in new members into your Council. Please contact your membership Chairman and State Director regarding any ideas you may have as far as membership. It is only when we work together as a family, a fraternity, that we can accomplish our goals.
As a final thought, please consider all that we have accomplished, and I believe you will be very proud of your membership in the greatest Catholic lay service organization in the State of Missouri. Without the Knights this would be a different world for all of those individuals and families who have received the benefits of our Order either as Brother Knights or members of our communities, not to mention all of the future unborn children who will not be aborted.