For nearly three decades, Virgil C. Dechant served as the supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, an international Catholic organization of nearly 2 million men and their families. The Fraternalist is the first effort to fully chronicle Dechant's years leading the Order and the other four-plus decades he has spent in service to it.
Virgil Dechant joined the Knights of Columbus on the plains of Kansas as a young, 18-year-old man and rose through the ranks to lead the Order to unprecedented heights. The Fraternalist explores the unique, grassroots path Dechant took from farmer and auto dealer in western Kansas to the headquarters of the K of C in New Haven Connecticut.
Along the way, Dechant developed incredibly close personal ties to numerous world leaders, including U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush; Popes Paul VI, John Paul I, St John Paul II, and Benedict XVI; and St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Early in his career, Dechant was mentored in Rome by Count Enrico Pietro Galeazzi, who managed the Knights' affairs with the Vatican. Galeazzi's tutelage and Dechant's knack for relationship building led the Knights of Columbus to assist the Vatican in countless activities over the decades.
Included in this volume are numerous first-person stories told by Dechant and others, including: background on the K of C's real estate dealings and investment strategy, the incredible preparation needed to celebrate the Order's centennial in 1982, the Knights' association with President Ronald Reagan, and the creation of the Vicarius Christi Foundation, a fund that provides the pope money annually for his personal charities.
The Fraternalist explores Dechant's hands-on approach to business and personal matters and the foundation of his unshakable faith - qualities that made him respected by so many.
Written by John Dechant, hard cover, 320 pages