Growth Is Key Theme of Membership Meeting

Hispanic Recruitment Vital to Knights of Columbus

Supreme Director Dennis Stoddard of Florida speaks to Knights during a membership seminar Aug. 3.

Supreme Director Dennis Stoddard of Florida speaks to Knights during a membership seminar Aug. 3.

The lifeblood of the Order – new members and council development – was the topic of discussion during the Membership Seminar on Monday morning. A panel of Board members, fraternal experts and insurance leaders addressed a roomful of Knights from many jurisdictions, covering the key strategies and proven methods in growing the Order.

Supreme Director Dennis Stoddard of Florida was the chairman of the seminar, introducing each speaker and summing up important points at the end.

Among the speakers was Emilio Moure, supreme director from California and vice president of Business Process at the Supreme Council headquarters. Moure, who was born in Cuba, made a presentation on ethnic recruiting, especially on how to attract Hispanic or Latino men to the Order. He underlined the demographic facts in the United States and Canada, where the growth of the Catholic Church is due mainly to the presence of Hispanics.

He said one key to recruiting Hispanics is recognizing that family is the foundation of their lives, and to realize that they are little different from the rest of the population. As Catholic family men, they have the same needs, responsibilities and concerns about their families and the future as any other men, Moure stressed.

Language may be a barrier, he acknowledged, yet he also pointed out that 40 percent of Hispanics in the United States also speak English. The Supreme Council also has a full supply of recruitment and membership materials in Spanish, he added.

Field Agent Jim Eisele, Membership and Program Coordinator Joe Pietruzynski and State Deputy James St. John of Georgia were among the speakers at a K of C membership seminar Aug. 3.

Jay Eisele, a top field agent in Arizona, spoke about how to include fraternal benefits advisers in the recruiting process. Agents can assist a council’s efforts in four areas: 1. in preparing for a recruiting drive; 2. on the day of the drive; 3. in following up with candidates; 4. in general, in moving associate members to the insurance rolls.

As trained professionals, he said, agents have a background in promotion and presentation that can aid in the recruitment and retention process, he added.

Assistant Supreme Secretary Ronald Tracz opened the meeting with details on what the Supreme Council means when it calls for “a Knights of Columbus presence in each parish,” and he also outlined what resources and guidance the Supreme Council provides to help councils achieve their goals.

Speaking on new council development, parish Round Tables and council reactivation, Tracz said that, on average, 225 new councils and 4,000 new Round Tables are formed each year. About 60 Round Tables develop into full councils each year.

He concluded by saying that membership growth is a mandate stemming from the vision of Father Michael McGivney, the Order’s founder, that offers opportunities to Catholic men and their families to secure their future, support their Church and assist in the communities.

Also on the Membership Seminar panel were: Supreme Director Alberto Solis of the Philippines; Supreme Director Thomas Smith of Connecticut, who is executive vice president of Agencies and Marketing; Supreme Director Javier Nájera Cabrales of Mexico; Joseph Pietruszynski, membership and programs coordinator, and State Deputy James St. John of Georgia.