Catholic fraternity charters state’s first full-fledged chapter

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Several founding members of the Alpha Zeta chapter of the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity pose with the chartering document May 7 at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Several founding members of the Alpha Zeta chapter of the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity pose with the chartering document May 7 at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Phi Kappa Theta, a Catholic fraternity on 46 college and university campuses nationwide, chartered its first Arizona chapter May 7.

A group of 34 young men at Arizona State University signed themselves up to become its founding members during a private ceremony. A chartering banquet for their family members and friends followed.

“Gentlemen, build wisely with joy and no fear,” Fr. Rob Clements told charter members at the banquet.

The director of All Saints Catholic Newman Center is a third-generation Sun Devil and gently challenged the young men to serve as examples to the university community. Fr. Clements said his own maturity grew and his priestly vocation solidified during his time in a college fraternity.

He labeled the “band of apostles” as a sort of fraternity. Greek life can be places to model commitment, work ethic, forgiveness and patience, plus an avenue for allowing others to show us the image we put forth, Fr. Clements said.

Phi Kappa Theta’s pillars of development seeks to refine a man’s leadership, fraternal, intellectual, social and spiritual potential. Charter members who spoke throughout the evening expressed gratitude to mentorship from neighboring PKT chapters, especially Colorado State — the ASU chapter’s “big brother” who had several members present — and to members of Mu Epsilon Theta, the Catholic sorority at ASU.

“I hope it’s something you continue to celebrate, but only if you continue with the same effort and vigor and love that you’re put into it in years past,” Seth Wilden, a founding member of the PKT chapter at Colorado State said.

Several founding members, including Edward Flore, second from left, pose with the chartering document for Phi Kappa Theta's newest chapter May 7 at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Several founding members, including Edward Flores, second from left, pose with the chartering document for Phi Kappa Theta’s newest chapter May 7 at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

The Arizona chapter, the “Alpha Zeta” chapter, formed in the fall of 2014 with 15 men. Membership has more than doubled since.

That includes Edward Flores, who just graduated two days after chartering the Catholic fraternity. He transferred to ASU as a junior and sought similar opportunities to stay involved in the life of the Church. Flores, a first-generation university student, ended up at the Newman Center where he ultimately befriended PKT’s founders and joined himself.

“It was a decision I will forever be grateful for,” the sustainability/urban planning major and future airman said.

“I’ve really learned to see God in other people — in people I really wouldn’t have otherwise had conversations with,” Flores said. He’s able to see their challenges and pray for them and doesn’t hesitate to ask them to pray for him.

Zach Blomberg takes oath as president of Phi Kappa Theta at Arizona State University May 7. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Zach Blomberg takes oath as president of Phi Kappa Theta at Arizona State University May 7. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Zach Blomberg, who was sworn in as president, has been with ASU’s fraternity from the start. He knew the university would benefit from a fraternity that rooted men in authentic virtues. Others saw similar value and at least 25 new members joined during the current academic year. They all stand for a faith in God — although the chapter is open to men of other faiths — respect for women and a true brotherhood.

Isaiah Adona modeled that while giving Phi Kappa Theta’s newest members some advice. The fraternity’s membership engagement coordinator reminded his ASU brothers that the young men didn’t need a formal title to be a leader, they just needed to be genuinely involved.

“Don’t just vote in chapters. Come to a consensus,” he advised. “So much growth and understanding can happen in consensus. If you just vote, someone’s voice might get left out.”

So far, members of the fraternity’s newest chapter have shown much cooperation. Larry Dorocke, national president and a PKT member for 51 years, recapped their service efforts — more than 800 service hours for the spring semester alone and a $1,500 philanthropic donation. Dorocke called ASU’s chapter definite contenders for PKT’s Founders Cup if they continue the good work.

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