Program Manual

Message From The Membership Director

Jack Gunn, Membership Director

My Brother Knights in Texas. As we embark on the 2017-2018 fraternal year, the second year of WSD Doug Oldmixon’s administration, it’s time to take stock of our performance during the 2016-2017 fraternal year, and set some expectations for the 2017-2018 fraternal year. As I write this, Texas has not yet secured its place in Supreme’s coveted Circle of Honor, although I have high hopes for a tremendous recruiting push the next eight days so we send our elected delegates and Officers to the Supreme Convention on a high note. Reflecting on this year, we’ve had areas of tremendous success in furthering Fr. McGivney’s dream and others where we will be striving to improve next year. For those who have done well this year, thank you for your leadership, commitment to Fr. McGivney’s dream and drive to bring it to realization. For the rest of the team, your Texas brothers and Fr. McGivney are counting on you to re-double your efforts the next fraternal year so we can confidently advance Fr. McGivney’s vision, and rest solidly in the Circle of Honor by convention time in Houston next year. I know we can make that happen!

As leaders, our roles are to motivate, inspire and coach. Whether that be a Diocese, District or Council, we are called to lift our brothers vision and dreams to the possibilities that exist. Forget the numbers and the goals, let’s go back to the Venerable Fr. McGivney’s dream. A Catholic fraternal organization that exists to support our Holy Mother Church, to perform the numerous acts of charity for which we are known, to deepen our faith and to protect our families in the event of our untimely demise. Commitment to these ideals will propel us to growth in Texas, in the charitable works for which we are known and in the support of our Bishops and Priests.

Realistically, any organization of our size has goals and metrics by which we measure our success. Accordingly, I ask for your commitment to help in moving our attitude on recruiting to one of continuous recruiting, one where we are full of joy about what we as Knights of Columbus do as brothers and where it is a pleasure and a burning desire in each of us to invite other practical Catholic gentlemen to join us! When potential candidates look at happy and engaged Knights, it quickly becomes something which they want to be a part of. It is always possible to become a “Stronger Right Arm of the Church” and in our case strength comes from members. Members afford us the opportunity to stand for what we believe in significant numbers! It also affords us the ability to do more, for our Bishops and Priests, our parishes and communities and for each other.

The most often cited reason for not being a Knight is “no one asked me”. Many of us are uncomfortable reaching out to those we don’t know, but I think that is exactly what Fr. McGivney and Jesus Christ call us to do. How many of us have had the experience growing up of being in a group waiting to be picked for a team? How badly did you long for your name to be called so you could be welcomed to the group and be a part of something bigger than yourself? That is our challenge – we are called to lead our brother Knights to ask their families, friends and even those they don’t know but might see at Church or Knights events to join us. It is human nature to gravitate to those we know, please step out of your comfort zone, talk to someone you don’t know, get to know them, invite them to join us! Our Worthy Supreme Knight’s challenge to each of us during his tenure has been a reminder that we have a moral obligation to offer membership in the Knights to every eligible Catholic gentleman. To accomplish Fr. McGivney’s dream, we must each consider ourselves part of the Texas Knights of Columbus membership team.

Again this year, we intend to provide some monthly reflections, some short bits of information on social media and some draft agendas for Council Membership Directors with an aim to inform our members of things about the Knights each of us may not be aware of. Our goal is to allow you to be better informed and as a result more comfortable talking about the Knights and sharing what your participation means to you. Councils and DD’s are also being encouraged to schedule more Admission Degrees (First Degrees). It has been observed that recruiters recruit to degrees – so frequent availability of degrees is a key to our success this year. 

Retention of members is a key component of our success as well. As pointed out by Dennis Trainor later, this is an effort that should begin with each brother Knight as soon as he completes his Admission Degree. Again this year, I challenge each Council to reach out to all of our Brothers – let’s ensure we’re accomplishing our Charitable and Fraternal mission. Many Councils have asked Brother Knights who wish to leave our Order to submit a withdrawal letter which can be processed. Sadly, I report that more than 500 of these were received in the 2016-2017 fraternal year. Frequently, reasons for withdrawing included financial need, medical issues or sickness or simply moving – frequently somewhere else that has Knights Councils nearby. I challenge us to do a better job here – we should be caring for brother Knights in need due to financial or health reasons. They need to know we will stand by them, as they have stood by their Brothers when they were able. Lastly, if suspension becomes necessary, let us approach the process like Mother Theresa cared for those she served, or perhaps like a wounded warrior being returned to safety. Let’s bring compassion to the process and ensure we treat all our brothers as we would like to be treated if we were in their shoes.

New members bring continued life to our Councils and new perspectives and energy. The Knights have been a strong and growing organization since our founding more than 129 years ago and we are each called to help ensure their viability for the future. Please take some time to review the Supreme Website – . Interested candidates can review the join us section of the website for some of the benefits in belonging. Extending an invitation to eligible Catholic gentlemen provides them the opportunity to grow in faith, to serve the communities to which they belong and to associate with a bunch of like-minded Catholic gentlemen. Please be creative in your approach to recruiting – share what works with your DDs’ so we all can learn!
Thank you for all you do for the Knights of Columbus. And, thanks in advance for all you will do to make this year successful for the Texas Knights of Columbus and for the Order. I would point out that there is not much difference between a good year and a great year! Let’s stretch a little and aim high! The membership team looks forward to working with you to make this a great year! Finally, I would like to thank Ed Glisky who is stepping down as Membership Retention Chairman. Brother Ed’s commitment to ensuring that our Brother Knights were fairly treated in the retention process, DD’s and Council teams educated on the required procedures and his ability to work effectively in a frequently contentious process have been greatly appreciated by many State Deputies and administrations. Thank you Ed!

Thanks also to:
• The Membership Chairmen – Brad Meyer, Tony Fontanelli, Sean Stenovich, Tony Munsch, Dennis Trainor, Reggie Vasquez
• The Membership Committeemen – John Daly, Luke Stuckey, Fred Guillory, Robert Hernandez, James Torline, Jim Stark, Isaac Sandoval, Pat Poskey, Bernie Grant
• Our Conferring Officers: Phil Apgar; Paul Bettge, Bernard D. Bixenman, Fred Guillory, Eli Farias, Clarence Fey, John Ganguzza, Joseph Verastegui, Bill Kennedy, Michael Morrison, Peter Soo-Guan Tan
• Our Major Degree Team Captains: Tino Frausto, Joseph Hernandez, Tony Leto, David Carr, Louis Martinez. Dennis Helgeson, Robert Alcala, Ricardo Moreno, Pedro Webber
• The State Office Staff: Mike McLaughlin, Kari Jordan and Kathleen McLoughlin
Your dedication and passion to the Knights in Texas is greatly appreciated!
Lastly, thanks to my wife and partner, Lori, who does so much to allow me to serve. I love you.


2017-2018 Star Guide

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