Cresco native John McGee named Iowa Knights of Columbus State Deputy

HOWARD COUNTY - It’s been said by many Priests and Pastors, that God has a plan for everyone.  For Cresco native John McGee, that plan has led him to lead the Iowa Knights of Columbus!
A true man of faith, McGee has devoted much of his time and energy to the Knights of Columbus and was recently voted in to lead the 30,600-plus K of C members in Iowa.  He had run as the State Deputy earlier this year, after serving two years as the State Advocate and another two as the State Secretary. He was elected at the K of C State Convention, which took place April, 14-16 in Des Moines.
“It was really an honor to get voted in by the many delegates attending the convention,” said McGee, who was visiting in Cresco this past weekend and is a fourth-generation Knight. “My Dad attended and had the privilege of nominating me from the floor. It was a great moment.”
Upon winning the position, McGee was later sworn in at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn. on June 9th.  The church is the birthplace of the Knights of Columbus where blessed Father Michael J. McGivney started the organization back in 1882.  
McGee pointed out that all State Deputies of the 50 states, plus Washington D.C. and 25 international countries are all sworn in that day.  
“There are 76 jurisdictions in the order and we are sworn in by Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly at the ceremony,” added McGee. “The church is just beautiful, and my family attended the ceremony.”
Taking over the position on July 1st, McGee has been plenty busy traveling throughout the state of Iowa, meeting with Iowa District leaders of the 242 Councils representing the Knights.  The State Deputy recently met with his 56 District deputies. He is planning to travel over 30,000 miles a year for his role as the State Deputy, and has been working on building the group this year, looking to add 1200 members across Iowa this year.   
“The biggest goal I have this year is to reinvigorate the Knights of Columbus,” said an excited McGee, who brings a ton of energy to the organization. “We are already known for charity, evangelization and faith formation but we need to get more involved. I want our councils to recognize that in driving membership, we need to especially recognize the 18 to 30 year-olds  who are searching to deepen their faith, that as a brother Knight, you can do that. We, at the state level, are here to help with that and have the tools to make that happen. It’s working and going well.”
McGee stated that there are plenty of “new ideas” that seem to be working in attracting those younger members.
Already in place is “Faith in Action” where the K of C offers men a place to lead their families and communities with events or different programs and then uses those  happenings to put their Faith into Action!  It’s a new program model, offering a mission driven platform designed to consider the needs of men and their families in the 21st century. There are currently 32 Faith in Action programs to pick from. 
Some of those ideas include:
• Food for families;
• Keep Christ in Christmas; 
• Family Fully Alive, putting God first, year-around;
• Family Prayer Night;
• Coats for Kids;
• Habitat for Humanity, building homes in need;
• Soccer Challenge or Free Throw Championship;
• Helping Hands, helping those less fortunate in the community;
• Global Wheelchair Mission;
• March for Life;
• Ultrasound for Life––80% keep their baby if they see an MRI before an abortion;
• Mass for Special Needs individuals; and so much more. 
“One idea a council came up with was called, “Guns & Resources” where they meet for breakfast one time a month, pray the Rosary, say other prayers and then spend time with kids out at the shooting range. They teach them gun safety, trap-shooting, how to clean a gun and all sorts of stuff.  It’s a neat way to bring kids together and possibly get them interested in the Knights as they grow older, plus it stirs interest in other kids to get involved.”
McGee stated that another newer program is a Hockey Challenge, offering kids a chance to shoot at a goal and then advancing in competition. 
“All these programs are open to the many parishes, but also to the outside public,” added McGee. 
The new State Deputy pointed out that when Father Michael McGivney started the Knights back in the late 1800’s, he had three principles in mind:
~ To care for the parish priests.
“Currently, with the lack of priests, they need the Knights more now than ever before,” said McGee, who has seen many parishes close over the years, due to the lack of priests in the four Iowa Diocese.  “Many of our priests have several parishes to take care of, making it almost impossible to cover what all needs to be done. The Knights are here to alleviate some of those duties.”
~ Father McGivney also asked the Knights to include and recruit immigrants to the order.  McGee stated that in the 1800s, many immigrants were getting sick with no one to take care of them. 
~ The final principal was the fraternal side of the order, keeping citizens “right with morals” and taking care of each other.  “To love thy neighbor,” added McGee. “Back then, it was keeping guys out of the brothels and showing them the true ways of God.  Ironically, we may need that more today than ever before in helping a man become right!  To give that individual values and to believe.”
The internet has caused many lives to be changed for the worse, allowing porn, temptation of adultery and more. Also drugs and alcohol are playing a huge role in those bad behaviors. 
“We believe that when you teach good values you get the husband right. When the husband is right, the family is right. If you get the family right, it helps the community as a whole, making it a better place to live and worship.”
In the short time McGee has been the State Deputy, he has seen that many of the Knights do a very good job of the current needs of each parish they serve, but what he would like to examine is what has yet to be done.
“There are a lot of unknown needs that need to be explored,” said the K of C head. “When you rest or are satisfied with what you are currently doing, it stops success.  Granted, we want to keep the staples in place, but we also want growth and we have a lot of great programs in place to meet those needs.”
McGee stated that “the initiative for the Knights” is to work hard in meeting the people in their faith journey and then meeting their needs to keep that journey moving forward. 

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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