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Alabama Knights of Columbus Gather in Tuscaloosa

State Council Holds 119th Annual State Convention

The Alabama State Council of the Knights of Columbus held its 119th Annual State Convention at the Hotel Capstone on the campus of the University of Alabama during the weekend of April 22-24. This gathering marked the first in-person meeting of the State Council since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 150 Knights and their families came together to conduct the business of the order, renew old friendships, make new ones, and have a good time.

The weekend began with the opening Mass held at St. Francis of Assisi University Parish and celebrated by Father Vernon Huguley, state chaplain. Following Mass, the convention attendees were welcomed by State Deputy Joe Flaherty, III at the opening dinner. Along the route to dinner, attendees were able to view various displays supporting various ministries and activities.

On Saturday, the day began with “Breakfast with the Bishops,” an opportunity for attendees to meet the bishops of Alabama. The business meeting began with the posting of the colors by District Master Michael Weist. Father Hughley then conducted a Holy Hour of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, where the attendees joined in prayer and personal devotion.

Distinguished guests in attendance included Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, Archbishop of Mobile; Bishop Steven J. Raica, Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama; and Stephen J. Kehoe, member of the Supreme Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus, representing Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly.

During the course of the meeting, numerous items of business were conducted.  Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly presented a virtual address on the status of the order and the works and successes conducted over the course of the year. State Deputy Flaherty presented a “State of the Order” message to attendees on the status of the Alabama State Council and the numerous activities over the past year. Director Kehoe presented greetings from the Supreme Knight and elaborated on the charitable works of the order and the state council. A significant donation was made to Dr. Bob Bushong, director of the Alabama Special Olympics to support Special Olympic programs. Dr. Bushong was accompanied by Jane Cameron, an accomplished Olympian who thanked the state council for the donation.

A major event taking place during the business meeting was the election of State Council Officers. The 2022-2023 officers elected were: Danny Garcia of Madison as State Deputy, Bill Mores of Hoover as State Secretary, Pat Jackson of Huntsville as State Treasurer, Brian Lagasse of Huntsville as State Advocate, and John Bares of Mentone as State Warden.

The officers will begin their one-year term of office on July 1. Current State Deputy Joe Flaherty, III will become the Immediate Past State Deputy on that date.

Later in the evening, the annual awards banquet was held. The new officers were introduced and awards were presented. Some of the awards included: State Family of the Year – Benjamin Ward Family from Council 8696, Auburn University; State Knight of the Year – Gary Johnson, Council 5636, Daleville; and State Youth of the Year – Sam Haglund, Council 11480, Enterprise.

The convention concluded on Sunday morning with the convention attendees participating in the annual Memorial Mass in honor of those Knights who had passed away during the previous year.

Alabama Knights of Columbus Gather in Tuscaloosa 2

Lois Mores, president of the Alabama State Kouncil of Auxiliary Ladies of the Knights of Columbus, presented Archbishop Rodi and Bishop Raica checks during the 119th Annual State Convention. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Marks)