NEWPORT — The first six months of the 2019-20 Oregon Knights of Columbus service year have “been incredibly successful,” state deputy Ron Boyce told nearly 50 district deputies and other Knights during a midyear meeting held Jan. 3-5 at the Best Western Agate Beach motel here.

“The second half of our year is going to be even better,” Boyce said. “Our goal is to continue to reach out to all Catholic men in our parishes and to include every eligible Catholic family.”

Boyce reminded the district deputies — 21 of 24 were present — that the goal is to add 550 new Knights statewide and to reach a total of 10,000 Knights before the 2020 convention to be held the second week of May in Newport.

Boyce said his other goals are for Oregon’s Knights to contribute more than 1 million hours of service to their communities and donate more than $1 million to charitable causes.

Boyce added that two new councils have been formed: Most Holy Trinity in Bandon and St. Jude in Eugene.

Four ultrasound machines are being sponsored by Knights councils, including one that is being delivered to a medical clinic in Uganda, Boyce said.

Several councils are sponsoring seminarians — Our Lady of the Valley Council 3591 in Tigard is sponsoring nine — and statewide councils sponsored a successful Rosary Bowl, a Guadalupe Encounter and coat drives that warmed more than 1,000 children statewide.

“A number of councils sponsored Christmas food drives and their stories are incredible,” Boyce said. “I’m excited for all of you. Remember you are not alone and our theme this year is ‘Be not afraid.’”

“God has called us to be here exactly at this moment,” said Damien O’Connor, director of member experience for the supreme council.

O’Connor said his father was a Knight for 52 years and lived his life as an example of Knighthood.

O’Connor’s father once told him, “I’m a Knight of Columbus, I can afford to be right.”

That meant Knights must be willing to “take a stand on things other people won’t and to do right even when everyone else around you is doing the opposite.”

O’Connor said Knights are called to be leaders in faith, holiness and service.

“Our goal should be to build a domestic church,” O’Connor said. “Our faith must permeate everything we do. We must evangelize within our families, our churches and our communities.”

He encouraged Knights to not be afraid, to choose to put their faith into action and to avoid anything that might lead them into sin.

“We may be the only person through which someone encounters Christ on any given day,” O’Connor said. “We must believe Christ is working through us.”

Jesse Villarreal, deputy master of the fourth degree, emphasized it is important that the Knights reach out to Hispanic members of their parish.

“Hispanic families are the fastestgrowing ethnic group in Oregon and the United States,” Villarreal said. “Some 39 of 51 parishes in the Portland area have Spanish Masses.”

Ricardo Hernandez, Grand Knight of St. Patrick Council 3484 in Canby, said he has found Hispanic members are “hungry to serve.”

“We pray the rosary a half-hour before our meetings,” Hernandez said. “We devote about 20 minutes to spiritual study and prayer and keep the business portion of our meetings to about 30 minutes. I pray for my guys every single day.”

In addition to reports from numerous committees and councils, the Knights learned about disaster preparedness through a presentation by Joe Ohama and Jacleen Simons of the American Red Cross.

Ohama and Simons challenged the Knights to consider training to assist first responders in the event of disasters such as earthquakes or wildfires and to take the lead within their parishes, which could become a gathering site for people affected by the disaster.

They added that preparation begins at home with the development of an emergency kit and a family plan on how to get out of a home. The plan should include a designated gathering spot and communication equipment such as two-way radios.

Popular segments of the meeting were breakout sessions that focused on the four key tenets of Knighthood: faith, community, life and family.

District deputies also learned about the new ceremonial degree program that will be fully implemented in about a year and learned about how to conduct a successful meeting through a presentation by state warden Ken Anderson.

Councils statewide are busy preparing for annual Polar Plunge events in partnership with local law enforcement agencies that raise money for Special Olympics chapters.

Upcoming plunge: Feb. 22: Portland.