Immediately following the close of the 133rd Supreme Convention in Philadelphia, the Supreme Assembly met to discuss the operations of the Order’s Patriotic Degree. The Supreme Assembly is composed of the Vice Supreme Masters and met under the leadership of Supreme Master Dennis Stoddard.
“When we ended this fraternal year on June 30, our Fourth Degree membership total was 347,177,” the Supreme Master said in his report. “Now is the time to rise to the challenge (of growing the Fourth Degree) and take the Fourth Degree to the next level”.
During the meeting, the assembled Vice Supreme Masters discussed various resolutions, dress code for the Patriotic Degree and the vital need for membership growth. One membership growth suggestion to come out of the discussions was the possibility of having a Fourth Degree member give a report at each council meeting on the activities of the attached assembly, to give Third Degree members an idea of what is being done in the assembly and encourage them to join the Patriotic Degree.
Following the meeting, an awards banquet was held.
Supreme Assembly Meets
During his address to the Vice Supreme Masters, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told them that the Fourth Degree needs to be the organization “that is linked with our military and involved with our veterans”.
He urged the Vice Supreme Masters to foster Fourth Degree membership growth in their districts and to bring Knights into the Order’s patriotic degree. “It is so important that we have a sense of what it means to be a faithful citizen, to stand up for those in need, to stand up for the Catholic faith, to stand up for what we know is right,” Supreme Knight Anderson said.
He added that he hopes the Fourth Degree will continue grow in its support to the Warriors to Lourdes program and the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program. He also encouraged assemblies (and councils) to look to include disabled veterans, Special Olympics athletes and others in their council activities and good works as a way to show that the Order is interested in them and cares for them.
Two Vice Supreme Masters were recognized for exceeding their membership quota for the past fraternal year. Dionisio Esteban Jr. of the Ferdinand Magellan Province reached 107 percent of his quota, and Carlos Alberto Carrillo Colorado of the San Felipe De Jesus Province reached 232 percent of his quota.
Six Vice Supreme Masters reached or exceeded their goal for new assemblies:
- Karl Hadley or Archbishop Blanchet Province, Charles Dover of the John H. Reddin Province and Russel Ruh Jr. of the Bienville Province each made 100 percent of quota.
- Willian Baalmann of the Father Padilla Province achieved 125 percent of quota.
- Marvin Harris of the Junipero Serra Province achieved 150 percent of new assembly development quota.
- Dionisio Esteban Jr. of the Ferdinand Magellan Province made 323 percent of quota
Retiring Vice Supreme Masters were also recognized during the awards session:
- Neil Gannon of the Simon Fraser Province
- Richard Head of the Calvert Province
- Gary McLain of the DeSoto Province
- Charles Dover Jr. of the John H. Reddin Province
- Marvin Harris of the Junipero Serra Province
- Harold Stohlmeyer of the Marquette Province
In addition, the newly appointed Vice Supreme Masters received their jewel of office.
- Wayne Freet, Calvert Province
- Robert Anderson, DeSoto Province
- Michael Kingman, John H. Reddin Province
- Lawrence Campitiello, Junipero Serra Province
- Paul Isherwood, Marquette Province
- Albert West, Simon Fraser Province
On Wednesday, the winners of the Fourth Degree’s To Be A Patriot Awards were announced.
The To Be A Patriot Award was presented to Father Nicholas Schneider Assembly 3188 in Franklin, Ohio, for their work honoring the veterans at Blackford Senior Living Center. Sir Knights organized a special Veterans Day program in recognition of the veterans at the center, and they also distributed certificates of appreciation and personalized caps to the veterans. Presenting the award is Supreme Master of the Fourth Degree Dennis Stoddard and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
Father Joseph T. O’Callahan Assembly 3441 in Johns Creek, Ga., received the award for their Veterans Memorial Walk. The assembly created a memorial walk with plaques honoring veterans from World War I through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as women in service and prisoners of war. Presenting the award is Supreme Master of the Fourth Degree Dennis Stoddard and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
Our Lady of the Americas Assembly 3123 in Bothell, Wash., received the award for their support of the nonprofit “Heartbeat - Serving Wounded Warriors.” Through a partnership with the organization, Assembly 3123 provided services to veterans throughout the year, including the organization of a Christmas party for veterans, the creation an Independence Day float, and the presentation of Patriotic Service Awards.