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A Fraternal Year with Milestones to Celebrate

By Douglas Oldmixon, IPSD

Vol. 4, 2016-2017

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Brothers, we just returned from a very momentous and exciting Supreme Convention in Baltimore MD, site of the first diocese and cathedral in the USA. Over 100 Bishops, including 10 Cardinals, attended with 200+ priests. The traditional Opening Mass, Supreme Knight’s Report and the States Dinner were all broadcast on Catholic television in USA, Canada and via satellite.

First big news is that Texas has a new member of the Supreme Board of Directors – PSD Terry Simonton – one of the most accomplished State Deputies Texas has ever had, and a mentor to many, was elected to serve a three year term. I was honored to make his nomination speech. Our Brother Terry will be a great representative for Texas and a solid influence on the Board.

Secondly, Council 3217 in Dickinson received the 1st Place Award in the Community Service category across the entire Order internationally. Grand Knight Jack Neal and his wife were present to accept it on behalf of the Council. FS Mike Dunn was not able to attend although his coordination efforts were exemplary in making much of the recovery activity so effective. The amazing amount of good works done by the council members to support each other, their parish and their community was unparalleled. Here are a few other areas where Texas excelled.

Hurricane Harvey – This is where we shined the brightest this past year! Thousands of Knights rallied to assist thousands of families affected, provide tens of thousands of free meals to first and second responders and evacuees, directly assist almost 600 members with financial grants, and distributed $1.2 million more to councils and churches for recovery and rebuilding costs. In total almost $2 Million was raised and donated, with over 85% due to Supreme’s coordination.

Men’s Conferences – Gatherings of Catholic Men across Texas for spiritual formation are a natural place for the Knights to be. In North Texas (DFW) and Central Texas (AUS), we were co-sponsors of the events, had an information booth and spoke to the over 800 assembled men in each location. In San Antonio, we were sponsors and had an information booth. In Houston area, due to late notice, we attended and provided some material support. This is fertile soil!

Texas Women’s Project – The amazing women of Texas raised $80,000 in 22 months to support the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA. Archbishop Timothy Broglio was honored with the Exemplar of Chaplains award and received the check. Note that this supplements in a very meaningful way adding 20% to the $200,000 committed annually by the Order. Keeping this effort going is the commitment of First Lady Mary Evans on behalf of our great Texas family!

Our Brother and Saint - Texas became home to the first shrine in the USA of a Brother Knight who is a saint. A major relic of San Pedro de Jesus Maldonado, one of the Mexican Martyrs, was donated by the Archbishop of Chihuahua in Mexico to the Cathedral in El Paso Texas to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Saint’s ordination in that church. Bishop Mark Seitz and many Knights in El Paso worked hard to make this a very special event. We even recruited Father Fernando Zapata, the Saint’s great nephew to join our Order, following more closely in the footsteps of his great uncle. Supreme sent a film crew to document the spirit of the events.

Christ Brings Hope Award - In March, Relevant Radio – the most extensive network of Catholic Radio stations throughout the United States - bestowed its prestigious Christ Brings Hope Award on the Texas State Council of the Knights of Columbus. A hundred Knights, their family and guests from all across our great state gathered in Austin to accept the high honor represented by this very special award. Current Officers and Charity Board members, Major Directors, District Masters, Past State Deputies, and many others joined with our Bishops in accepting this special recognition of our major accomplishments, mostly done quietly and without fanfare; service often provided to the most vulnerable communities. Quite an honor!

While Texas was not recognized in Supreme’s Circle of Honor this year, we excelled in so many ways that continue to place Texas in unmatched leadership in the Order. Here are just a few:

Charity – for the fourth year in a row, Texas led the Order in 2017 with $9.8 Million donated to charity and 4.6 million volunteer hours were also provided by our council members. Also, we raised a new record over $1 Million through our State Council Charities efforts in support of our Annual Bishops’ Fund. Celebrate this fact: in the first principle of the Order, we are exceptional!

Membership – Texas led all jurisdictions in every nation but the Philippines by recruiting 4,658 new members (102.37% of goal), added to 4,497 in FY16-17 for a total of 9,155 and exceeding our two year goal of 9,100 by 55 members. In FY17-18 we asked to be part of the pilot program for online members and our results included 189 online members, 39 of whom transferred to a local council, for a net gain of 150 in 5.5 months. That’s 150 men ready to transfer to councils!

New Councils – We started 8 new councils this year, added to the 12 last year for a total of 20. Reactivated Councils – We reactivated 9 delinquent councils this year, added to the 6 last year for a total of 15. Clearly, Council Growth was our greatest area of challenge this past year. Let us all commit to finding those growth opportunities and developing them earlier in this year. Round Tables – We maintained 242 Round Tables this year, greatly up over last year’s 210.

Star Councils – July results indicate 95 Star Councils before any appeals results are known. Last year we had 109 after appeals, plus 64 more councils earned the unique Texas Spirit Award by completing all of the Star Council requirements except either membership or insurance growth, while also being net positive in both the membership recruitment and insurance categories.

All of these results add consistently to the reach and strength of our Order both in Texas and globally. Under our new state team we will look for ways to grow the results of new strategies. Keep up the great efforts and we will reach new heights of achievement next year!

So that we always remember the leaders who have gone before us, recall that in the past year, we also laid to rest PSD Emil Ogden and PSD Javier Martinez, along with several active District Deputies and other state family members. We entrust each of them to the tender care of our Holy Founder Father McGivney as their companion into the heavenly realms where they are destined in God’s infinite mercy. Pray the Rosary! Vivat Jesus! Viva Cristo Rey!

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