Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

KC leadership meeting: an exercise in leading from the ground up

by Dr. Jonas Hiner, for the Inland Register

(From the November 19, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

From left: Michael Rutland, KC District Deputy 12, Federal Way, Wash.; Grant Ricken, KC Deputy Grand Knight, St. John Vianney Parish, Spokane Valley; Dr. Jonas Hiner, KC District Deputy 5, Spokane; and Terrence Gaffney, KC Grand Knight, Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes. (IR photo courtesy of Dr. Jonas Hiner)

On Saturday, Oct. 10, Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral Knights of Columbus Council #14922 hosted the first fall meeting of grand knights, deputy grand knights, chancellors, financial secretaries, and district deputies from across Eastern Washington. The event was co-hosted by Dr. Jonas Hiner, District Deputy of District 5 in central Spokane.

The purpose of the event was to explore what it takes – and, more importantly, what it means – to be a successful fraternal leader. Ray Lopez, past State Deputy of Utah and recently retired law enforcement professional of 23 years, was invited as the keynote speaker for the event.

Lopez, Knights of Columbus Supreme Council Member and Program Coordinator for nine western states, was asked to define fraternal leadership and suggest ways that grass-roots leaders in parish councils and assemblies can be more successful.

In order to prepare for the meeting, Lopez was asked to speak on Oct. 7, 8, and 9 at four Q&A sessions hosted by the other four councils in District 5: Spokane Metro Council #683, St. Rose of Lima Parish Council #9145, St. Aloysius Gonzaga College Council #12583, and St. Aloysius Parish Council #15143. It became clear to those attending these sessions that one of the main things fraternal leaders need to do in their home councils, according to Lopez, is to change the caricature of the typical Knight of Columbus as a “beer-drinking pancake flipper.”

Lopez said that Knights of Columbus generally do not do a very good job on the local parish level of “show-casing the many charitable programs we do for our parishes, our families, our communities, our youth, our council members’ spiritual development, and our commitment to protecting life from conception to the grave.

“If the public, if our parishioners, really understood what we do, the problem of recruiting new members would be a problem of the past, and new programs, addressing unique, unheard of challenges to our Order, would be the focus of the future, and where our greatest contributions to parish, family, community and the youth will be made,” he said.

More than 80 people, both Knights and their wives, attended the Q&A sessions and the fall meeting – the “main event.” Some came from as far away as Newport, Deer Park, Omak, Richland and Federal Way.

For everyone, the major take-away was this: even though the 2.3 million member organization, with councils in more than a dozen countries around the world, of necessity must be managed from the top down, the Knights of Columbus is led from the ground up, as it always has been, starting with the first council organized in 1882 by its founder, Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, at St. Mary Parish in New Haven, Conn.

The first fall meeting was a success. Because of that, the five councils of District 5 are already planning a similar spring meeting in mid-March, and a second fall meeting next year, to further explore the potential and celebrate the successes of Knights of Columbus fraternal leadership in Eastern Washington.

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