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Knights of Columbus hold 120th State Convention

The Alabama State Council of the Knights of Columbus held its 120th Annual State Convention at the Wind Creek Hotel in Atmore, April 21-23. 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 the hotel, conducted by Father Vernon Huguley, state chaplin. Following Mass, the convention attendees were welcomed by State Deputy Danny Garcia 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 Huguley 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 and Antonio “Toni” Pascua, Past State Deputy of Nevada and 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 Garcia 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 Pascua presented greetings from the Supreme Knight and elaborated on the charitable works of the Order and the State Council. 

A major event taking place during the business meeting was the election of State Council Officers. The 2023-2024 officers re-elected were State Deputy Danny Garcia of Madison, State Secretary Bill Mores of Hoover, State Treasurer Pat Jackson of Huntsville, State Advocate Brian Lagasse of Huntsville, and State Warden John Bares of Mentone.

The officers will begin their one-year term of office beginning July 1. Past State Deputy Joe Flaherty, III will continue as the Immediate Past State Deputy on the same date.

Later in the evening the annual awards banquet was held. Some of the highlights were State Family of the Year being awarded to the Shawn and Renee Goodrich Family from Council 8696, Auburn University. Larry Hitchcock from Council 11480 in Enterprise was recognized at State Knight of the Year. Also from Council 11480, Jolee Fernandez was named State Youth of the Year. The Outstanding Council of the Year Under 100 Members was Council 5636, Daleville, and the Outstanding Council of the Year Over 100 Members was Council 11480, Enterprise.

Father Joy Chalissery, pastor of Most Merciful Jesus Catholic Church in Madison and Council 17519 chaplain, received the inaugural Blessed Michael J. McGivney Award for Outstanding Council Chaplain.

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.