State Deputy Report 2014 Convention


Reverend Fathers

Worthy Supreme Director

Worthy State Officers

Worthy Past State Deputies

Worthy State Directors

Worthy State Chairmen

Worthy District Deputies

Worthy Grand Knights, and

My Worthy Brother Knights

It has been an honor and a privilege to have held the office of State Deputy of the Missouri Knights of Columbus the last two fraternal years. It truly has been overwhelming to have represented the largest lay Catholic service organization in the State of Missouri.

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 over the last two fraternal years. 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 again 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 their 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 they have done and continue to do in support of the Ladies Auxiliaries. It is my understanding the Ladies Auxiliaries this year have had a banner year. Of special note is the Ladies Auxiliaries’ “Recipes for Life” cookbook raising funds for the Meet Life Campaign. This project has been a great success with proceeds of $27,000 to date. I understand there are still some cookbooks available for those of you who would like to gain considerable weight. 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 State Advocate has dealt with a number of issues as State Advocate, and handled each of the matters presented to him very professionally. I thank him for his two years of service as State Advocate.

Our Worthy State Treasurer, Mike Grayson, 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, 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 State Warden, Roland Cretel, Sr., truly exemplifies what it means to be a Knight of Columbus. Our Order has benefited from his loyal service in maintaining the property of the State Council and always being available when he is needed to act in the capacity of State Warden. When a job needs to get done you ask Roland Cretel, Sr., for help.

Immediately prior to becoming State Deputy, 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. Over the last two years I have had the great good fortune to work with Joe and no matter what the circumstances, I cannot recall a time when he was not in good spirits and sought to do all he could in furtherance of our Order. Thank you, Joe.

The major programs of the Knights of Columbus here in our great State of Missouri, include the Religious Information Bureau, the new Knights of Columbus Developmental Center located adjacent to 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, 2014 total $230,482 which exceeds last year’s donations thru March 31, 2013. The Developmental Disability Drive this year through April 12, 2014 totals gross proceeds collected at $621,980.12, which exceeds last year’s gross proceeds collected which totaled $604,982.63. The Meet Life Campaign has placed 34 ultrasound machines in Missouri and has raised through March 31, 2014 the sum of $1,122,511.69 with additional matching funds received from the Supreme Council in the sum of $395,492 since July, 2011, plus Vitae Foundation funds in the sum of $133,000 for a total sum of $1,651,003.69. I am sure we will reach $1,200,000 by the end of this fraternal year staying on pace to race $2 Million Dollars in 5 years. As concerns the Msgr. Joseph Mancuso Education Fund this year $53,500 will be distributed 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 again 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, staff of Special Olympics of Missouri will be putting on a workshop entitled “How to become a Special Olympics Missouri Coach”. 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 Meet Life Campaign seeks to preserve life, the Developmental Center seeks to assist youth in their formative years with disabilities and Missouri Special Olympics seeks to assist adults with disabilities for the rest of their life. By assisting the Training for Life Center, we are bringing to conclusion our purpose to serve those in need who cannot help themselves.

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, 2014, this fraternal year is in excess of $24,000, and that currently, the Missouri jurisdiction ranks 5th in the Order in funds raised. 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. Of special note are the pilot Wheelchair Sunday Drives which have taken place in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. It is my understanding that in the near future there will be other Wheelchair Sunday fund raising efforts throughout our state as our Order continues to expand its support for this program which is giving people their lives back with mobility.

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. The Supreme Council’s “Refund Support Vocations Program” final report as of February, 2014, notes that in the State of Missouri 89 Councils participated with donations of $92,725.00 and refunds of $18,020.00, which provided for 149 male and 3 female awardees. I would like to thank those Councils participating in this worthwhile program in support of vocations and would note that this year more Councils participated with greater donations and more awardees received financial support.

This fraternal year we established the position of Diocesan Chairmen for each Diocese under the Church Activities Director. The Diocesan Chairmen, is 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. I would like to thank each of the Diocesan Chairmen who in recent months has sought to develop this position. For example, in the Kansas City/St. Joseph Diocese an effort is under way to expand our relationship with Catholic Charities in support of the over 1,800 homeless veterans in the Kansas City Metropolitan area wherein Knights will be mentoring homeless veterans. Knights are also in the forefront in support of the construction of a new facility to provide housing for our veterans. On June 21, 2014 spearheaded by the Diocesan Chairman, I and my wife, Clarissa, will be honorary chair persons of the Outpace Poverty Catholic Charities fundraising drive. It is contemplated that approximately there will be 1,000 participants in this fundraiser to seek funds to feed the homeless and to assist our veterans with the hope of raising approximately $200,000. Knights will be actively participating in this effort which truly will make a difference in the lives of enumerable individuals to provide them food and shelter including many truly worthy veterans.

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, it is projected that 36 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. Missouri is leading the way in the ultrasound initiative sponsored by Supreme. I believe we will reduce abortion by over 50% by 2016, and the reason I believe, is because it is happening. In partnership with the Vitae Foundation and with the assistance of Joe and Jane Dalton of “In His Image Ultrasound” in 2013 from the reports received we can confirm 1,600 babies were saved from being aborted. There were many more saved but not reported. The Missouri Department of Health reports that just over 9,000 abortions were performed in 2012 and while we are making inroads, your prayers and continued efforts in support of the Meet Life Campaign are vital.

As concerns the dedication of our Respect Life Director, Doug Kissinger, his Chairmen, the Diocesan 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 Ultrasound” 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 Ultrasound” works hand-in-hand with the Meet Life Campaign to make sure things are done properly. This afternoon the Respect Life Team will be conducting a workshop in addition to updating you on the Meet Life Campaign, on how to conduct a successful Baby Bottle Campaign.

Of special interest, is a significant result noted by the Vitae Foundation, as to the use of Google places. Many pregnancy resource centers are now 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 the 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 Tim Beussink, Youth Activities Director. We have new circles being started across the state like St. Joseph Columbian Squire Circle in Farmington. 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. At this time I would like to give special mention to the scholarship program which over the years has made a difference in the academics of so many seminarians and students and with the Resolution before our delegates this weekend to now include a “Tech Scholarship” which hopefully will be approved, we can further expand our financial assistance. 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 Auchly, 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 26 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 until recently, has been overseen by Director, Rick Schmidt, now deceased. We will all miss our Brother Knight, Rick, and your prayers for his family are greatly appreciated. A special thanks to the Family Life Activities 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.

As was the case last year in my report, I have waited to the end to discuss one major directorship, 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 hundreds of 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 “In Service with Pope Francis and Father McGivney” membership drive, has brought in good results. Missouri just received a $300 Membership Increase Award from Supreme. 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. During the Pope Francis membership drive I have worn out a number of pens signing my name. 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 new First Degree video. 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. I believe as we continue to develop our use of telecommunication, Constant Contact and other social media, we will 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. It should be noted that this fraternal year it is projected that we will have eight new Councils and one re-activation. I would like to thank all of the members here today who have worked long hard hours to bring about these new Councils which are energizing our Order. My request of you here today is that you each, during the remainder of this fraternal year ask just one good man to become a Knight who might then become a better man and hopefully a great man in service through our Order, to the Church and our communities wherein we are truly making a difference.

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, the over 1,600 children who were given life in 2013.

Vivat Jesus!