Columbia IN SERVICE TO ONE. IN SERVICE TO ALL.
Celebrating 125 Years of Faith in Action 1882-2007
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Columbia MARCH 2007
MARCH 29, 1882 MARCH 29, 2007
A special series of articles on the history of the Knights of Columbus at the start of its 125th year PUSHING BOUNDARIES Over the course of its history, the Knights of Columbus has been an unstoppable force for good in the Church and society. BY KEVIN COYNE. .. . . . . . 7 AT WORK EVERYWHERE Once an organization for ‘second-class’ citizens, the Order’s influence now ranges throughout the Church and the world. BY ARCHBISHOP DONALD WUERL ..............................9 HIS TIMELESS MESSAGE The founder’s vision must be handed on to new generations and new nations of Catholic men. BY DOMINICAN FATHER GABRIEL B. O’DONNELL. .. . . . . . 16 ON DISPLAY Nothing tells the story of the Knights of Columbus better than some of the one-of-a-kind objects displayed at the Order’s museum . . . . 20 125 MILESTONE MOMENTS As the Order’s 125th year gets under way, a look back at 125 significant events in SERVANT OF GOD FATHER MICHAEL J. McGIVNEY Architect, builder, visionary, founder; but above all a parish priest
OPENING ODE 2 A Letter Home BY TIM S. HICKEY
PLUS The Pope’s Prayer Intentions
BUILDING A BETTER WORLD 3 Father McGivney has guided our Order for 125 years and will continue to do so for years to come.
K of C history from 1882 to 2007. . 22 ADDING IT UP What’s on the mind of Knights today? A survey of K of C leaders offers some interesting findings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
K N I G H T S O F CO L U M B U S N E W S 5 Supreme Knight moderates U.N. meeting on interfaith relations • Knights take part in annual March for Life • Supreme Knight’s Book Club • Relic of Puerto Rican Knight given to Supreme Council
COLUMBIANISM THROUGH THE YEARS 28 Reports from K of C units from the late 1800s to today show that charity is, and will always remain, a cornerstone of the Order.
BY SUPREME KNIGHT CARL A. ANDERSON
4 The Knights has endured for 125 years because Father McGivney placed it on firm footings of faith and fraternity. BY SUPREME CHAPLAIN BISHOP WILLIAM E. LORI
PHOTO FINISH 32 Photos from Around the Order
OPENING ODE Knights of Columbus
A Letter Home tto Vetter didn’t just make Knights of Columbus history, he lived through a significant chapter of it. When Vetter died in April 1990, at age 95, he was the oldest living member of the Knights in Ohio. He had joined the Order in 1914 at Portsmouth (Ohio) Council 741 and eventually became a TIM S. HICKEY Fourth Degree member. In 1918, as a 24-year-old soldier, Vetter was stationed at a U.S. military hospital in Montpont, France, between Lyon and Dijon. The hospital was actually a church, and it was from there that Vetter composed by candlelight a Christmas Eve letter home to his fiancée, Agnes. His stationery was imprinted with “Knights of Columbus Overseas Service” and the Order’s emblem. Perhaps this little bit of something familiar made Vetter feel closer to his family and brother Knights back home in southern Ohio. The Order started its wide-ranging World War I relief efforts to attend to the welfare of U.S. troops. While the unique spiritual needs of Catholic soldiers were being looked after, the Order’s recreation centers were places where “Everybody Welcome, Everything Free” was the guiding principle. Wherever U.S. troops went between 1917 and 1920, “Casey” was close behind. Dozens of recreation huts were built and staffed by volunteer K of C secretaries. Volunteer chaplains lived in the centers where they celebrated Mass and heard confessions. On the other side of the building, soldiers of all faiths or none played cards, read magazines, sang in choirs, held boxing matches or wrote letters home. Vetter’s holiday letter described a
Christmas stocking given to him by the Red Cross. It was filled with candy, nuts, handkerchiefs and cigarettes. He also reminisced about previous Christmases in Ohio. “There will be a Midnight Mass at Montpont tonight,” he wrote, “and was seriously thinking of attending…with several other boys, but now have decided to go to 9:30 Mass in the morning. “I have never missed 5 o’clock Mass on Christmas morning since being seven years old. Happy are the memories, indeed, of all those Christmas mornings, from the time I served Mass on those days until the last Christmas spent at home.” Otto Vetter made it back to Portsmouth to celebrate Christmas in 1919. He married Agnes, and together they raised seven children. He had a successful sales career with the National Cash Register Co., and remained active in the Knights. A 1988 newspaper photo shows him helping to burn the mortgage on the council home. I learned all of this from George Vetter, one of Otto and Agnes’ sons, who is also a member of Council 741. Last Dec. 27, Brother Vetter sent me a copy of his father’s 1918 letter. He was prompted to do so, he said, because a week earlier he had mailed Otto’s letter to his own daughter, Teresa, a U.S. Army nurse serving in Baghdad. “She spent Christmas Eve 2006 in a U.S. military hospital in a foreign land, just as her grandfather did on Christmas Eve 1918,” Vetter wrote. As we start this anniversary year, if you ever need reminding that our Order is as needed today as it was 50, 100 or 125 years ago, I hope you’ll remember a nearly 90-year-old letter written on K of C stationery with a message that is truly timeless. n
HOLY FATHER’S PRAYER INTENTIONS — MARCH Reprinted as a show of our solidarity with Pope Benedict XVI. GENERAL That the Word of God may be ever more listened to, contemplated, loved and lived. MISSION That the training of catechists, organizers and lay people committed in the service of the Gospel may be the constant concern of those responsible for the young Churches. 2
POPE: CNS PHOTO/TONY GENTILE, REUTERS COVER: PAINTING BY ANTONELLA CAPPUCCIO © KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
Supreme Officers Carl A. Anderson Supreme Knight
Most Rev. William E. Lori, S.T.D. Supreme Chaplain
Dennis A. Savoie Deputy Supreme Knight
Robert J. Lane Supreme Secretary
John “Jack” W. O’Reilly Jr. Supreme Treasurer
Paul R. Devin Supreme Advocate
Editorial Tim S. Hickey, Editor 203-752-4303 firstname.lastname@example.org Patrick Scalisi, Associate Editor 203-752-4485 email@example.com Arthur F. Hinckley Jr. Art Director
Richard J. Cesare Senior Designer
Father Michael J. McGivney (1852-90) — Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Intercede for Us.
How to Reach Us MAIL: Columbia, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326 PHONE: 203-752-4398 FAX: 203-752-4109 E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org INTERNET: www.kofc.org CUSTOMER SERVICE: 1-800-380-9995 MOVING? Notify your local council. Send your new address to: email@example.com or Knights of Columbus, Membership Records, PO Box 1670, New Haven, CT 06507-0901
On the Cover As the Order commences its 125th anniversary this Founder’s Day, March 29, we celebrate the vision of the Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney.
BUILDING A BETTER WORLD BY CARL A. ANDERSON, SUPREME KNIGHT
Reasons to Celebrate Father McGivney has guided our Order for 125 years and will continue to do so for years to come
THIS MONTH WE CELEBRATE the 125th anniversary of the founding of our beloved Order. This is a time to reflect upon the great accomplishments of our past and show our gratitude to the countless brother Knights who have volunteered time and treasure to bring us to this day. Above all, we are grateful for the gift of our founder, the Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney, whose vision and determination made everything possible. It is also an appropriate occasion to look forward to where the Order is headed in the years to come. As we celebrate our founding by a young and energetic parish priest, we must continue with even greater effort to develop our parishbased councils. It is now a realistic goal to have every parish linked to a council, and every parish should see a Knights of Columbus council as one of the most active and dynamic examples of support for parish life. Pope Benedict XVI has stressed the need for renewal in our parishes, and our parish-based councils are perfectly positioned to assume a leadership role in this important effort. This means also that we must encourage greater solidarity with our priests. Thousands of priests are enthusiastic brother Knights, but thousands more are ready to become members. Every parish
Philippines and Mexico. In the days priest should be welcomed into the ahead, we will continue to forge Order, and every parish priest greater cooperation among should see his local Knights of Catholics in Canada, Mexico Columbus council as a strong partand the United States. ner in building up his parish comAnd because of our success in munity. the Philippines and Poland, we are No fraternal insurance program positioned for even in the world today equals greater growth in the financial strength of the Asia and Europe as Knights of Columbus. Only It is our duty a handful of commercial to share Father globalization continues in the companies can match our McGivney’s decades ahead. record. With more than Charity, unity $61 billion of insurance in great gifts with and fraternal force, we offer the highest millions of brotherhood — quality financial Father McGivney security for thousands of Catholic men knew these were Catholic families. In the the keys to years to come, we will seek and their promote an to provide thousands more authentic Catholic families with the protection families. way of life among of our top-rated insurance Catholic men and their families program. when strongly united with the In his first encyclical, Deus sacramental life of their parish. He Caritas Est, Pope Benedict called has left us a great legacy. It is now the universal Church to a greater our duty to share this great gift commitment to the life of charity. with — dare I say — millions more. Here too, our Order will seek to No doubt we will face many build upon our steadfast commitchallenges in the future, much as ment to the first principle of our we have in the past. If we remain Order. As millions who are in need faithful to the mind and heart of have come to realize, the letters the Church, and in solidarity with “K of C” stand not only for Knights our bishops and priests, I have of Columbus, but also for “Knights every confidence that future of Charity.” brother Knights will have even As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Order’s more to celebrate on the Order’s founding in New Haven, we also next major anniversary. remember that we celebrate our Vivat Jesus! 110th anniversary in Canada and more than a century in both the columbia /march 2007 3
A Solid Foundation The Knights has endured for 125 years because Father McGivney placed it on firm footings of faith and fraternity BY BISHOP WILLIAM E. LORI, SUPREME CHAPLAIN
n his First Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul speaks of building up the Church. “Everyone,” he says, “must be careful how he builds. No one can lay a foundation other than the one that has been laid, namely, Christ Jesus. If different ones build on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will be made clear. The Day will disclose it” (1 Cor 3:10-13). In this anniversary year, we celebrate how the Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney built the Knights on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. Of course, we don’t usually think of Father McGivney as a “brick-and-mortar” man. At the end of his all-too-short life, he had not built a sprawling corporate headquarters or even a church or chapel. Instead, he left behind something much more precious and enduring. In viewing the astonishing growth and financial success of the Knights over the past 125 years, we may be tempted to conclude that the Order’s strength is due to the fact that Father McGivney was a businessman at heart. No doubt he was astute and energetic. In 1881, he brought together a few dozen men in the basement of St. Mary’s to discuss founding a fraternal society that would pay insurance benefits to members’ families. In doing so, he demonstrated natural leadership ability. Without being cynical or self-serving, he quickly mastered the most difficult aspect of leadership — the art of dealing
knew the people to whom he was with other people charitably, justly sent. He knew their joys and and effectively. A man of hope and sorrows, their hopes and dreams, inner strength, he knew how to their doubts and dilemmas. Out of overcome opposition from outside those experiences, he realized the the Church and also from within. need for a benevolent fraternal Father McGivney also knew association rooted solidly in Christ when to be assertive and when to and in the Church. step back, when to act and when to Without a doubt, Father wait. He also did his homework. McGivney was ahead of his time. In their masterful biography, Parish Long before the Second Priest, Douglas Brinkley Vatican Council and Julie M. Fenster Father focused on the laity’s write that Father involvement in McGivney became New McGivney evangelizing culture Haven’s resident expert and in strengthening on fraternal societies gave his the life of the Church, and the insurance Knights what Father McGivney industry. These biograenabled his beloved phers reveal that the they need to Knights and their life insurance formula families to participate he set in place has fulfill their wholeheartedly in stood the test of time. building up the Body of And with more than role in the Christ. Long before the $61 billion of Knights contemporary assault on of Columbus Insurance family, in the the family and unborn currently in force, we workplace and children, Father could easily conclude McGivney supported that this is his most in society at family life and the enduring legacy. protection of the I would argue, how- large. vulnerable. And long ever, that this is not the before today’s focus on men’s case. Pope John Paul II once said spirituality, Father McGivney that “Father McGivney’s vision provided a means for husbands and remains as relevant as ever in the fathers to grow in their knowledge changing circumstances of today’s and love of the Lord and of the Church and society.” The source of faith. He helped equip them to his vision was not his leadership fulfill their role in the family, in skills, business acumen or energy. the workplace and in society at It was his holiness — his deep large. relationship of love with Jesus As we enter this anniversary Christ. He was a truly holy parish year, we have much for which to priest who loved the Lord so much be grateful. May we celebrate our that he dedicated his every waking hour to prayer and to helping his 125th anniversary by redoubling parishioners grow in the likeness our prayers for the beatification of Christ. Like a good husband and and canonization of the Servant of father, he loved his parishioners God Father Michael J. McGivney, and made them a true family of the architect and builder of our faith. Like a good shepherd, he Order! n w w w. ko f c .o r g
Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson led an interreligious panel discussion at the United Nations in New York Jan. 17. Taking part were Seyyid Hossein Nasr of George Washington University, Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola of Venice, and Rabbi Israel Singer of the World Jewish Congress.
Supreme Knight Moderates U.N. Panel on Interreligious Dialogue s the “civilization of love” championed by Pope John Paul II possible? That was the provocative question Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson posed to Muslim, Jewish and Catholic scholars at a panel discussion he moderated at the United Nations Jan. 17. The event was held to launch the publication in the United States of Oasis, an international journal to support small Christian communities living in predominantly Muslim countries. The supreme knight has served on the publication’s advisory committee since its founding in 2004 and has contributed articles to it. Participants included Cardinal Angelo Scola, the patriarch of Venice; Seyyid Hossein Nasr, formerly of Tehran
MIGLIORE: CNS PHOTO/TODD PLITT
University in Iran and now a professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; and Rabbi Israel Singer, chairman of the Policy Council of the World
Jewish Congress and head of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Dialogue. Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s representative to the United Nations, hosted the event and welcomed nearly 200 people to the Dag Hammarskjöld Library at the U.N.’s New York headquarters. Anderson quoted from Pope John Paul’s October 1995 address to the U.N. General Assembly. The pope, he said, had come to the U.N. because it represents a “moral center” where all nations and cultures should come together to promote the “universal values of peace, solidarity, justice and liberty.” Pope Benedict XVI has elaborated on John Paul’s teaching “by eloquently emphasizing the profound recognition of Christianity that God is love,” Anderson said.
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s nuncio to the United Nations, speaking at the panel discussion.
“If man is made in the image of the God who is love,” the supreme knight concluded, “can and should all men join together in constructing what John Paul II described so often as a ‘civilization of love’?” Cardinal Scola proposed that what is happening in the world today is a “hybridization” of civilizations and cultures. He urged
KNIGHTS MARCH FOR LIFE College Knights from around the United States were among the thousands of Knights and their families joining Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., Jan. 22. The Supreme Council donated thousands of “Defend Life” posters for marchers to carry, and the supreme knight led the Pledge of Allegiance prior to the march. On Jan. 21, Supreme Knight Anderson addressed more than 600 high school and college students at the Cardinal O’Connor Conference for Life held at Georgetown University.
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religious people “to build up society” by their testimony as believers. Every man and woman, he said, must become “personally involved” and not “prejudge” what can be achieved through
dialogue or through encounters with others whose beliefs or culture may be different. For more information about Oasis, visit www.cisro.org. n
POLAND KNIGHTS GROWING IN CHARITY, FRATERNITY
THE SUPREME KNIGHT’S BOOK CLUB Join the Next Online Discussion March 27 at www.kofc.org classic Catholic novel by a former Columbia editor and a collection of Pope John Paul II’s inspiring homilies are the featured books for the March session of the Supreme Knight’s Book Club. Myles Connolly’s Mr. Blue (Loyola Classics, www.loyolaMARCH TITLES books.org) was first published in 1928. In his introduction to the current edition of Mr. Blue, Jesuit Father John B. Breslin says the book “is about a young man…who decides to take Christianity seriously as a layman, not as a chore but as a challenge.” The Way to Christ: Spiritual Excercises (HarperSanFrancisco) is a collection of sermons Pope John Paul preached to young people during spiritual retreats he led as archbishop of Krakow. The homilies were preached in 1962 and 1972, and cover topics that John Paul continued to expound upon during his papacy. Visit www.kofc.org for more information about the Supreme Knight’s Book Club and the live discussion, scheduled for March 27 at 5 p.m. (ET). A special section of the Order’s Web site has been created for the book club and includes a link for ordering the books online. The featured titles for April’s book club are Let God Light’s Shine Forth: The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI by Robert Moynihan (Image Books/Doubleday) and Listen My Son: St. Benedict for Fathers (Morehouse Publishing).
Father Wieslaw Lenartowicz, chaplain of Radom Council 14004, Grand Knight Leszek Waksmundzki of Starachowice Council 14023 and Grand Knight Krysztof Orzechowski of Council 14004 with the recipient of a wheelchair donated by their councils. Currently, there are approximately 350 Polish Knights in six councils and four round tables. The round tables are on target to become councils this fraternal year. Seven parishes have also been identified for new councils, and priests there are recruiting new members. The Polish Knights have held two national training meetings and have formed their own First Degree team.
RELIC OF PUERTO RICAN BLESSED, KNIGHT VENERATED
Supreme Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori holds a reliquary containing a relic of Blessed Carlos Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican Knight. Knights of Columbus members of the Circle for the Canonization of Blessed Carlos presented the reliquary to the Supreme Council during a meeting of the Order’s Board of Directors in San Juan, Jan. 27-28. Shown from left with Bishop Lori and Supreme Knight and Mrs. Carl A. Anderson are: Former Supreme Director and Mrs. Enrique Rivera Santana; Luis Malpica, a Blessed Carlos member of San Jose Rodriguez Council 5928, and his wife; Ismael Sánchez of Council 5928 and his wife; and Past State Deputy Manuel Rivera Santiago and his wife.
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A HISTORY OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
PUSHING BOUNDARIES Over the course of its history, the Knights of Columbus has been an unstoppable force for good in the Church and society. Learn how a handful of immigrant Catholic men, led by one visionary priest, seized the spirit of their times to found an organization whose appeal is timeless because its goals are for all eternity BY KEVIN COYNE
t each crossroads, each hamlet, each farm town it passed on its way south through Nebraska, the festive campaign train was met by curious onlookers straining for a glimpse of the man who hoped to be the next president of the United States. They sat in their Model T’s as it sped past them into the next cornfield. They waved from station platforms when it stopped long enough for Al Smith to step out and doff his signature brown derby. In Fairbury, 800 of them cheered as a band struck up “The Sidewalks of New York,” a song about a place few of them had ever seen. A local banker welcomed the governor from the East, predicting a “tidal wave” of votes six weeks hence. Kansas, reliably Republican Kansas, greeted the Democratic nominee with even bigger crowds as the train sped south through the sun-baked afternoon: more than 1,000 at Belleville and Clay Center, 4,000 at Manhattan. At nightfall the train reached Topeka, home of the vice-presidential nominee on the opposing ticket. Spectators climbed the sides of the campaign car and Governor Smith walked back and forth across the platform in the ghostly light of white flares, swinging his derby and shaking every hand he could reach. On days like this, it was easy to believe
that he might actually win. The voters of a largely Protestant nation might set aside fear and prejudice and elect a Catholic to lead them. The train left Topeka and sped through the night toward Oklahoma. There, Smith was scheduled to deliver a major speech meant to show the farmers of the nation’s vast midsection that a man from the teeming streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan could understand their problems. It was in the last hours before dawn, after the train had crossed the state line and Smith was asleep, that some of the passengers looked out the windows and noticed a light in the distance — a cross burning in a field, a poisonous welcome from a group that was particularly active in Oklahoma, the Ku Klux Klan. PART II: PROUDLY AMERICAN, DEFIANTLY CATHOLIC More than 10,000 people packed the Oklahoma City Coliseum that evening. They heard a fiery Al
Knight Al Smith, Democratic presidential candidate, 1928. Kevin Coyne is the author of numerous magazine articles and books including Domers: A Year at Notre Dame (Penguin, 1996) and Marching Home: To War and Back with the Men of One American Town (Viking Penguin, 2003). He is a professor of journalism at Columbia University and a columnist for the New Jersey edition of the Sunday New York Times. Coyne is working on a new history of the Knights of Columbus.
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Father Michael J. McGivney was 29 years old when he founded the Knights in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven.
Knights at the 1901 national meeting in upstate New York. Msgr. Patrick J. McGivney, the founder’s brother, is shown seated center in the front. He was supreme chaplain from 1901 to 1928.
Smith speak a truth he had previously left mostly unspoken — that he was running against not just Herbert Hoover, but against a “whispering campaign” of “bigotry, hatred, intolerance and unAmerican sectarian division.” “I here and now drag them into the open and I denounce them as a treasonable attack upon the very foundations of American liberty,” he said about the Klan, which had attacked not just him, but the entire Catholic Church, as well as an organization to which he proudly belonged: the Knights of Columbus (Dr. John C. Coyle Council 163). “Nothing could be so contradictory to our whole history,” Smith argued. “Nothing could be so false to the teachings of our divine Lord himself. The world knows no greater mockery than the use of the blazing cross, the cross upon which Christ died, as a symbol to instill into the hearts of men a hatred of their brethren while Christ preached and died for the love and brotherhood of man.” He spoke without notes, his public voice unleashed, rising to a pitch that matched his private outrage. “Let me make myself perfectly clear: I do not want any Catholic in the United States of America to vote for me on the sixth of November because I am a Catholic,” he said to a wave of applause. “By the same token, I
EARLY SUPPORTER A statue honoring Cardinal James Gibbons, one of the first U.S. churchmen to endorse the Order, was dedicated in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 14, 1932, the 42nd anniversary of Father McGivney’s death. Gibbons had ordained McGivney a priest in 1877.
cannot refrain from saying that any person who votes against me simply because of my religion is not a real, pure, genuine American.” The Coliseum filled with more applause, and it radiated out from Oklahoma City, taken up by American Catholics who were tired of having their patriotism questioned. “Win or lose, I think Smith’s campaign has
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More than 12,000 Knights and family members attended the Order’s Jubilee Year Mass at the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. April 1, 2000.
AT WORK EVERYWHERE The Knights of Columbus has evolved over its 125-year history. Once an organization for ‘second-class citizens,’ its influence now ranges throughout the Church and society BY ARCHBISHOP DONALD WUERL OF WASHINGTON, D.C.
hen we look at today’s religious, cultural, educational and social landscape, we see the great change that has taken place in the lives of Catholics. The Knights of Columbus has played a significant leadership role in that transformation. As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Knights of Columbus, I would like to highlight, from the perspective of the Archdiocese of Washington where it is my privilege to
serve as chief shepherd of this faith-filled and vibrant flock, just a few examples that speak to the prominent place our Order has in enhancing Catholic life here and, by extension, to the wider world. MARIAN DEVOTION The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception stands in northeast Washington as a monument to the faith of American Catholics. It reflects visibly, pastorally
and spiritually the presence of the Knights of Columbus. The great bell tower, the 329-foot Knights’ Tower, was
completed in 1959. This gift from the Knights of Columbus proclaims the Order’s undying devotion to
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done much for Catholicity by dragging ‘Old Man Intolerance’ out into the broad daylight where the public can have a good look at him,” wrote Luke Hart, who, as the Order’s supreme advocate, had been fighting his own battles in the same long war against anti-Catholic bias. Hart was less certain, though, about Smith’s prospects in the election, in which the Knights remained officially neutral. “Much as I would love to see it, I cannot convince myself that he has a chance,” he wrote.
A VATICAN PRAYER SERVICE Pope Benedict XV offered Mass in the Vatican gardens for a delegation of Knights visiting Europe in 1920. The Knights were honored in France and Italy for the Order’s assistance to soldiers during World War I.
‘KC’ AT THE BAT During World War I, the Knights of Columbus became known worldwide for the support it provided soldiers. “Everybody Welcome, Everything Free” was the Order’s motto at its recreation huts, where U.S. and Allied troops received items ranging from stationery to cigarettes. The Knights organized Masses, baseball leagues, boxing matches and other diversions for the troops.
the Mother of God and our Mother while, at the same time, making a quiet statement about the Order’s presence in the U.S. capitol. Within the basilica, the Order is equally visible. The Knights usher at the basilica, particularly in the Great Upper Church during Sunday and special liturgies. Thanks to the generosity of the Order, the Eternal Word Television Network is able to share liturgies at the shrine with U.S. viewers and beyond. Just this past August, scaffolding was put in place in the nave of the basilica to begin work on the dome that will depict in mosaic the events of the Incarnation. This dome, reflecting the
generosity of the Order, will be called the Knights of Columbus Incarnation Dome. Alongside the shrine is The Catholic University of America (CUA). This also is a national Catholic entity — the bishops’ university. Founded in 1887, it addresses now, as it has since its founding, the desire of the Church to provide academically excellent educational opportunities within the context of our great Catholic faith tradition. The Knights of Columbus is found here as well in the Columbus School of Law, which traces its origins to a nighttime vocational training program the Knights
The Knights of Columbus is engaged in some of the great debates of the day
offered to veterans after World War I. The Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family is an initiative of the Order to highlight, articulate and transmit the Catholic understanding of God’s creative plan for human life. The North American branch of this worldwide graduate school will soon be moving onto the CUA campus into a building being renovated and renamed after the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Father Michael J. McGivney. This action speaks to the Order’s commitment to bringing the wisdom and values of our faith to the great debates in our land, particularly as they touch on Christian anthropology or the identity of the new person in grace, marriage and the family.
PROMOTERS OF POPE JOHN PAUL II’S CULTURE OF LIFE Up the road from the National Shrine and the CUA campus is the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center. Here, too, the Knights’ generosity is visible. The purpose of this center is to form at its core a “think tank” to engage modern culture in dialogue with the wisdom of our Catholic tradition, particularly as it was so extraordinarily articulated for a quarter of a century by the late Pope John Paul II. The Order continues to support this intellectual and scholarly outreach. Another equally prestigious institution with which the Knights has been intimately connected for more than 25 years is the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) in Philadelphia. The center’s primary concern is under-
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standing controversial life-science issues in light of the Church’s teaching office. The Order’s support of the NCBC places the Knights alongside the bishops as we face such important challenges as cloning, stem cell research, end-of-life issues and more. The center has become a leading voice in the ongoing application of the Gospel of Life to a society too often overwhelmed by the voices of a culture of death. Since 1980, working with the NCBC, the Knights of Columbus has sponsored a workshop on bioethics and related matters for bishops from Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico and, of course, the United States. A RIGHTFUL PLACE ON THE WORLD STAGE It would be tempting to name other events and initiatives that show how in 125 years the Knights of
Columbus and the Church in the United States have come of age. Other examples demonstrate how greatly engaged the Church and the Knights are in efforts to shape the soul of the United States by touching the human mind, heart and soul. On Jan. 17, 2004, a concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s papacy was performed before a standing-room-only audience at the Vatican’s Pope Paul VI auditorium. The papal concert of reconciliation, called “A Celebration of Faith,” was made possible through the generosity of the Knights of Columbus, and it spoke to me of an extraordinary evolution in the 125 years of the Knights of Columbus. What began as the dream of Father Michael J. McGivney to support Catholic working men and their fami-
local council and assembly, as I do with Duquesne Council 264 and Fort Pitt Assembly, we should also realize how much the Knights Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson greets Pope means and John Paul II while then-Bishop Donald Wuerl looks on at a reception for the papal concert of accomplishes reconciliation at the Vatican in January 2004. at the service of the Church throughout the United States lies in his parish, has grown and every country where we and flourished into a worldare active. Truly this is reason wide fraternity. It has rightto celebrate, and to thank fully earned a place on the God for so many blessings national and world stage by received and for the great addressing the great and promise of blessings for the defining issues of our day future that is our order — the while staying true to its Knights of Columbus. n founder’s vision and faithful to the Holy Father, and the bishops and priests in union with him. While each of us as a Knight identifies with our
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He was right. Smith won the big cities, with their large populations of immigrant Catholics, but got barely 40 percent of the total vote, losing even his own home state of New York. America in 1928, it seemed, just wasn’t ready for a Catholic president. PART III: THE ORIGINS OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS During the Civil War, many of the nation’s native Protestants had the same question about the tide of immigrant Catholics, overwhelmingly Irish, that had been surging across the Atlantic: Just how American — how real, pure, genuine American — were they? Some New Haven men thought they had answered that once and for all by joining the Union Army and serving alongside scores of thousands of other Irish immigrants. So deep was the bond they formed among themselves while fighting for their new nation that they stuck together after they returned home. Their regular meetings evolved into a fraternal group that took its name, the Red Knights, from the color of the blankets they had carried in their knapsacks. And when a young curate at St. Mary’s got the idea to start a Catholic fraternal organization, he borrowed many of his ideas about its form and purpose, as well as most of its first leaders, from this local group of patriotic Catholics. Father Michael J. McGivney was himself the son of immigrants. Like many other first- and second-generation Americans, he was concerned about what role the faith his family had brought from the Old World would have in a new world that often regarded it with suspicion, even scorn. The Church provided spiritual sustenance to be sure, but what practical value might it additionally offer? How might it keep men from drifting away from the faith and into the competing rituals of the secret societies that were so popular? How might it help the families
themselves ‘Knights of
the founders were
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PAPAL APPLAUSE Pope John Paul II greets the Order’s officers and directors during a private audience granted the Knights in October 1993. Pius XII, 1950
left behind, as his own had been, when fathers died too young, felled by hard jobs and heart-straining worries at the bottom of the economic ladder? How might it help Catholics become better Catholics at the same time that they became better Americans? PART IV: STAKING THEIR CLAIM How to be Catholic in America — that was the theme which inspired and animated the organization that Father McGivney founded in the basement of St. Mary’s Church 125 years ago. It was embodied in the name chosen by the 75 men at the first official meeting on a snowy February evening in New Haven. By calling themselves the “Knights of Columbus,” they were indelibly linking their church and their country, staking their own claim to the New World. By invoking the name of the Italian explorer, they underlined a simple, stark, unassailable fact — that this predominantly Protestant nation might openly discriminate against Catholic immigrants and impugn their loyalty, might scurrilously defame the Church and the pope, might do everything it could to make Catholics feel unwelcome here, but it was in fact a nation that celebrated as its discoverer a Catholic. And the Catholic descendants of Columbus, one charter member said, “were entitled to all rights and privileges due to such a discovery by one of our faith.” By 1885, the Order had paid its first death benefit and accumulated enough members for a thousand Knights to parade through downtown New Haven, led by a carriage carrying Father McGivney. “The parade is a credit to the Irish race,” the former governor of
John XXIII, 1961
Paul VI, 1973
John Paul I, 1978
Benedict XVI, 2005
Connecticut said as the marchers passed. The Hartford Telegram agreed: “There are some narrowminded people living in New England yet who imagine that the Irish race are idle, slovenly and often vicious,” an editorial declared, but the parade proved that “the second generation in this country are intensely American in their instincts, and they are forging ahead to prominent positions in commerce, trade and in the professions.” By the mid-1890s, the Order was spreading beyond Connecticut, and fighting back hard as the Nativist movement gained strength during a four-year economic depression. “With true American patriotism,” wrote Thomas Cummings, editor of The Columbiad and the Order’s national organizer, “they demand from their members respect for manhood and liberty for the individual, particularly that liberty which is the essence of all liberty and which was first planted on this continent by Roman Catholics, viz: Freedom to worship God according to one’s conscience.” c o l u m b i a / m a r c h 2 0 0 7 13
The remains of Father McGivney were entombed in St. Mary’s Church on March 29, 1982. Members of the McGivney family and the Order’s Board of Directors served as pallbearers.
When America went to war against Spain in 1898, the Catholic Church opposed it, but the Knights did what it regarded as its national duty and supported the war. “[A]t the declaration of war all personal opinions as to the wisdom of such a course were forgotten” one state deputy reported, “and the Catholic people, imbued with the teachings of our Holy Church, to be always ready to sacrifice everything for our Faith and Country, offered themselves by the hundreds to fight and, if need be, to die in defense of our Country’s cause.” PART V: STRONG ENOUGH TO TAKE A STAND Some of the more traditionally minded bishops had initially been skeptical of the Order — believing
A CAUSE TO SUPPORT On April 24, 2002, Pope John Paul II granted Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson a private audience at which the cause for sainthood of the Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney was discussed. Anderson presented the pope with a sculpture of Father McGivney. In 2003, in a meeting with the Order’s Board of Directors, Pope John Paul urged Knights to be faithful to the founder’s vision and a “spiritual force for the renewal of the Church.”
The Father McGivney memorial chalice was commissioned by the Order in 1990 in observance of the 100th anniversary of the founder’s death. It is used exclusively at Supreme Councilsponsored Masses.
that it leaned too close to America, and too far from Rome — but by 1905, there were councils in every state, and most of the clerical opposition had melted away. And the Knights had spread beyond America by then as well, into most of Canada, all the way across the Pacific into the Philippines, and into Mexico, a presence that would take on particular importance after the revolution there, when the Catholic Church was often under attack by the government, and the Order was a powerful force of resistance. The Knights of Columbus was
part of the great Progressive debates of the era, pressing for the kinds of governmental reforms that were in tune with Catholic social teachings. And in June 1912, 20,000 of them came to Washington to mark their biggest public triumph yet, the dedication of a potent symbol of how far they, and their religion, had advanced: the Columbus Memorial near the Capitol. In attendance was the whole official apparatus of the nation: President Taft, Supreme Court justices, Congress. The parade of Knights, Supreme Knight James A. Flaherty declared, represented “the flower and chivalry of Catholic manhood,” a spectacle that “would thrill and gladden the heart of any Christian man.” Not the hearts of their enemies, though, the number of which grew again as anti-Catholicism swelled in the years before the First World War, a reaction to the great wave of immigration. The Knights fought back with lecture tours, libel suits, even a Commission on Racial Prejudices. In one court case, a judge turned to a panel of Masons, who, investigating the Knights, declared that it “teaches a high and noble patriotism, w w w. ko f c .o r g
regime that was brutalizing Catholics. It successfully fought every outbreak of the compulsory education movement, a series of ballot measures, proposed laws and court cases aimed at requiring all children to attend public schools — what Flaherty called “a national movement to abolish the parochial school.” And it claimed as its most famous member Babe Ruth, who joined Pere Marquette Council 271 in South Boston when he was still playing for the Red Sox. On a summer afternoon in 1920, before the first pitch of a game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers, a cluster of Knights gathered at home plate at the Polo Grounds to present him with a diamond-studded watch fob in the shape of the K of C emblem. He hit his 25th home run in the fifth inning, into the upper tier of the rightfield stands, one of the previously unimaginable 54 he would hit that year. And then Al Smith lost, and the Knights learned just how much more work they still had to do.
define what it means to
be both a Catholic
and a real
PLACE OF PILGRIMAGE The Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney is entombed in the nave of St. Mary’s Church, the birthplace of the Knights of Columbus.
instills a love of country, inculcates a reverence for law and order.” When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, the Order entered, too, with the same patriotic fervor as those Red Knights from New Haven. By the time it ended, the K of C emblem on the khaki-uniformed arms of the secretaries at the Order’s network of recreation centers, clubs and welcome huts had evolved into a fond nickname: Casey. “Everybody Welcome, Everything Free” was the motto of the Knights’ war effort, and it earned such goodwill that new members poured into the councils back home, more than 400,000 new Knights by 1923. “God has so guided us that today we stand more powerful than ever and with ever-increasing power,” wrote Supreme Knight Flaherty, “acknowledged throughout the world as a force for good.” The Order published the work of W.E.B. DuBois, America’s most prominent black intellectual, as part of its Racial Contribution series, which was designed to upend what it called “the theory that the bulk of the nation are ‘hyphenates’ who are not, and never can be, true to the United States.” It urged the American government to take a tougher stand against a Mexican ALL PHOTOS: SUPREME COUNCIL PHOTO ARCHIVES EXCEPT POPES: © L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO
PART VI: NEW HORIZONS In 1960, the Democrats nominated another Catholic as their candidate for president: John F. Kennedy, a member of Bunker Hill Council 62 in Charlestown, Mass., and a Fourth Degree Knight. Hart was by then the supreme knight of an organization that had grown so much in stature and influence that its 75th anniversary in 1957 had been marked by a cover story in Life magazine. Hart believed that Kennedy’s election “would do more to eliminate bigotry in this country than anything else that ever happened.” Anti-Catholicism wore different masks than it did during Al Smith’s campaign, but Kennedy had his own Oklahoma City moment. His was in Houston, in a speech to a group of Protestant ministers. “I am not the Catholic candidate for president,” he told them. “I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church, and the Church does not speak for me,” he said. He railed, too, as Smith had, about religious prejudice, and he outlined his belief in an America “that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish…and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.” But Kennedy won, and when Luke Hart visited the White House, the president greeted him by saying, “Hello, Chief” — a moment that showed just how far upward the Knights had helped to redefine the boundaries of what it meant to be both a Catholic and a real, pure, genuine American. n c o l u m b i a / m a r c h 2 0 0 7 15
THE SERVANT OF GOD FATHER MICHAEL J. McGIVNEY
HIS TIMELE The founder’s vision must be handed on to new generations and new nations of Catholic men B Y D O M I N I C A N FAT H E R GABRIEL B. O’DONNELL
n the 125 years since Father Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of the Columbus, the world has changed radically. Some things have been for the better, and others for the worse. ° Would Father McGivney do things differently were he starting the Knights of Columbus in 2007? Would he recognize today’s Knights as his own? Would he be pleased with the changes the Order has made and the new directions it has taken over the years? These are questions to ponder as we reflect on our future in this anniversary year.
An undated charcoal drawing from a photograph of Michael J. McGivney, perhaps as a seminarian or shortly after his ordination in 1877.
GROWING IN HOLINESS In his message for the World Day of Prayer for Peace last Jan. 1, Pope Benedict XVI pleaded that 2007 be a year of peace. We must work each day to establish peace in our world, he said. “Peace is promoted by respecting the person,” the pope said, because it is in the human person that the heart of peace is found. There can be no peace between nations until there is peace in our hearts, peace in our families, peace in our neighborhoods and peace in our cities. Creating a peaceful world depends upon each of us affirming the worth and dignity of every person and every human life. In light of the pope’s teaching, we can be sure that whatever Father McGivney might do differently today, his would be a fraternal society we would easily recognize. Why? Because it could only be established, before all else, on the principle that each person possesses a dignity and has certain rights that set him apart from the rest of creation. Father McGivney’s vision of protecting and building up Christian families was founded on the timeless truth that promoting respect for the person leads to everything else that is good for the family and society. Father McGivney’s encounters with anti-Catholic bigotry and working men with destitute families touched w w w. ko f c .o r g
ESS MESSAGE him deeply. He saw these injustices as affronts to what it means to be a fully human person. Father McGivney’s vision for the Knights was based on his belief that Catholic men had an inherent dignity which would find its full flowering only as these men grew in holiness through their vocation as husbands, fathers, providers and protectors. ‘HANDS-ON’ MEN Father McGivney was a man of peace. He could talk to anyone with ease because he viewed himself as a creature of the same worth and stature as every other person he encountered. He was never known to be arrogant because he was better educated or because he was a priest. He was a man among men; a human being like all the rest. Father McGivney wanted his Knights of Columbus first of all to be something rather than to do something. Knights were called then, and still today, to be members of a brotherhood where the dignity of each member is recognized and respected. The Order’s ceremonials and traditions bear this out. Dressing formally when the occasion demands it and wearing ceremonial attire or Fourth Degree regalia speak to the importance of a person according to his role and dignity. The use of fraternal Some of Father McGivney’s titles and ceremonial gestures is recognition that the indipersonal effects, including rosaries, crucifixes and a vidual being addressed is picture of the Sacred someone of significance. All Heart, to which he had a of our customs express our special devotion. recognition of the person, his dignity and his rights. The Order’s insurance program is nothing more than a recognition that each person must be provided for, both in life and in death. One’s body is treated with reverence and respect, even as it is placed into the earth for its final commendation into eternity. Father McGivney presumed that every new member
As part of the Order’s 75th anniversary celebration, this statue of Father McGivney was erected in his hometown of Waterbury, Conn.
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A McGivney homestead in Waterbury.
The beauty and dignity of our brother is affirmed as we organize and share in every council project 18
would see the Order’s insurance program as something integral to his vision of Knighthood. Knights of Columbus are known to be “hands-on” men. When members cooperate with one another in any project for the good of others, they are implicitly acknowledging the worth of their brother. Knights need one another to get the parish hall painted or a Communion breakfast prepared. Many hands make possible the programs that feed the homeless or provide wheelchairs to people with disabilities. In every case, the beauty and dignity of our brother is affirmed as we organize and share in the responsibility for every council project. For Father McGivney, the socials, dances, banquets and other outings of the early Knights said, in effect, “You are important. You are worthy of the very best that can be provided.” He spent many hours planning events for the enjoyment of Knights and their families. MEN OF PRAYER AND ACTION Where did Father McGivney get this wisdom? How was he able to anticipate the Church’s emphasis on the role of the laity that would be articulated by the teachings of the Second Vatican Council nearly 100 years after his death? How is it that he expressed in practical terms what Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI would teach in more theological and spiritual language more than a century later? The only answer is that Father McGivney’s foresight was a gift from God. He was enlightened by the Holy Spirit to found a fraternal society for Catholic men that the same Spirit would protect and guide into the 21st century and beyond. Father McGivney’s relationship with Jesus Christ formed the basis for his wisdom and foresight.
SANCTITY ON DISPLAY The Father McGivney Gallery at the Knights of Columbus Museum includes display cases where the founder’s burial garments and other items from his original grave, including a rosary, are exhibited. When Father McGivney was re-interred in 1982, he was dressed in new vestments.
It was in the sacred humanity of Christ, especially in devotion to his Sacred Heart, that Father McGivney grew to recognize the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person. The mystery of the Incarnation revealed to him the nature of the human person, man on his way to God. Prayer is a great teacher. One who spends time with God in daily prayer learns things about himself, about God and about what God expects of us. Many of us spend our prayer time talking to God about our sins and shortcomings. In one who has already learned the way of virtue and the avoidance of sin, prayer leads to a deeper level of exchange with God. We become more receptive to what he desires to communicate and teach us. Father McGinvey’s prayer life taught him about the human person. It is because he was a man of God and a man of prayer that Father McGivney saw the needs of those around him. His reaction was to ease the burdens of others. He reminded them of their dignity by providing for their spiritual and material needs. In fact, he went beyond “needs.” He was convinced that relaxation and entertainment could provide a “breather” for those who worked hard and suffered. This deep sense of the beauty of the human person prompted him to found the Knights of Columbus. One in their humanity and one in their Catholic faith, his Knights would mutually affirm their dignity and worth as persons and would reach out to those most in need. When viewed in this way, the Knights’ mission today is a serious one. The urgency of the call to the w w w. ko f c .o r g
Carved into the limestone wall that forms the backdrop of the McGivney Gallery is a verse from the Book of Wisdom that was printed on Father McGivney’s original funeral Mass card: “Being made perfect in a short space, he fulfilled a long time; for his soul pleased God, therefore He hastened to bring him out of the midst of iniquity.”
new evangelization seems almost custom-designed for the Knights of Columbus. Our Order is perfectly positioned to serve the Church by going into every part of the secular world with the Gospel message and Father McGivney’s vision.
Father O’Donnell holds the documentation for Father McGivney’s cause for sainthood prior to it being sent to the Vatican in March 2000. Also shown are thenSupreme Knight Virgil C. Dechant and then-Supreme Chaplain Bishop Thomas V. Daily.
SONS OF FATHER McGIVNEY What Father McGivney started in 1882 has adapted to the world and the Church throughout the past 125 years. His is a timeless message: that of the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of the Christian family. Our saintly founder trusted those early Knights as his companions and friends. He entrusted to them his legacy to be passed on to later generations. He was not one to interfere. He had confidence in the goodness of his Knights and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Would Father McGivney recognize his Knights 125 years later? Without a doubt. Today, as much as in 1882, all of our activities are intended to affirm the dignity of the human person and the holiness of the family. Our imperative is to offer more Catholic men, and younger Catholic men, the spiritual richness that is ours as sons of Father McGivney, Father McGivney lived in a time of change and transition. He was not afraid of innovation. He readily took up new modes of communication and transportation, and was a great believer in modernizing parish facilities. The changes made over the many decades of the Order’s existence would not be a major issue for him, so long as his vision has been safeguarded and continued. The Order’s focus on the family and the defense of human life at every stage, the renewed emphasis on collaboration with local pastors, the consecration of the Order to Mary, the mother of Christ, are all initiatives that Father McGivney would recognize as his own. The expansion of Knights of Columbus Insurance and our renewal of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in eucharistic adoration and prayer are simply extensions of Father McGivney’s vision from 1882 to 2007. Father McGivney would insist that we stand with the vicar of Christ on earth in pushing forward the frontiers of the new evangelization. He is guiding us toward our next 125 years from his place in eternity. n Dominican Father Gabriel B. O’Donnell is postulator of the cause for sainthood of the Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney.
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PRESERVING OUR PROUD PAST
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he Order’s history can be told from the hundreds of items at the Knights of Columbus Museum. Among the objects preserved and displayed there are these: A. Miniature bust of Christopher Columbus distributed during the B. Quincentenary in 1992 Commemorative plate from the 1924 International Eucharistic Congress in Amsterdam C. Ticket to the 1995 papal Mass at Aqueduct D. First rosary blessed and distributed to a new First Degree Knight in 1968 E. Pamphlets printed and distributed by the Order in the 1920s educating the public on Church persecution in Mexico F. A statue of doves carrying olive branches symbolizing peace; a gift to the Knights from Pope John Paul II G. Gold watch presented to Supreme Knight James T. Mullen by Father Michael J. McGivney in 1885 H. Silver loving cup presented to Edward A. Sheehan in 1918; Sheehan chaired the Order’s World War I fundraising committee and helped raise $82,000 I. Bronze replica of the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica presented to the Knights by Pope John Paul II in gratitude for the Order’s restoration of the basilica J. Copper-clad wooden cross from St. Peter’s Basilica, given to the Knights by Pope John Paul II K. Medal struck by Pope Pius XI to commemorate the first Knights of Columbus playground in Rome in 1924 L. Plate commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Order in 1982 M. Medal with ribbon given to all workers in the K of C Huts in World War I N. Monstrance from the ruins of the Cathedral of Verdun, France, mounted on wood; presented to the Knights by the bishop of Verdun during Order’s 1920 peace pilgrimage to Europe O. Gavel used by Father Michael J. McGivney to chair first meetings of the Knights of Columbus P. Helmet of Knight and New York Fire Department Assistant Chief Donald Burns, who was killed on Sept. 11, 2001, in the World Trade Center; given to the Knights by his family in gratitude for the Order’s Heroes Fund.
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THE MAKING OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
id you know that the Knights of Columbus first came to the Vatican’s attention in 1895, only 13 years after its founding? Or that after World War I, more than 20,000 returning servicemen enrolled in vocational training programs sponsored by the Knights? Or that the Order published and distributed some 5 million pamphlets outlining the persecution of the Church in Mexico during the early 20th century? Or that the Knights was involved in projects to promote interracial harmony during the 1960s and ’70s? ° Members with a long record of service to the Order or a keen interest in U.S., Church or world history might be familiar with these facts. As the Knights’ 125th year gets under way, we present 125 important events from 1882 to today. Whether they highlight a financial donation, the mobilization of Knights for a special project, or a groundbreaking initiative, these events paint a picture of an order of Catholic lay men always ready to be of service to Church and country.
1. The Knights of Columbus is born on Feb. 6, 1882, when the first members choose Columbus as patron. 2. “Charity” and “Unity” are chosen as the Order’s founding principles; “Fraternity” is added in 1885 and “Patriotism” in 1900. 3. Father Michael J. McGivney’s name is listed first among the insured members of the Order in a record book dating back to the founding. 4. Immediately after the Order’s March 29, 1882 incorporation, Father McGivney sends the first diocesan-wide
appeal for new members to his fellow priests. 5. A celebratory parade and clambake held Aug. 12, 1885 in New Haven, draws a reported 12,000 Knights and supporters. 6. During his four-year tenure as supreme knight from 1882-86, Mullen presides personally at the institution of 22 of the first 38 councils.
Board of Government (Supreme Council), votes to pay $1,000 to Father McGivney “in gratitude” for his services in establishing and promoting the Knights.
12. In November 1893, The Columbiad, a forerunner to Columbia, begins publishing. Its editor, Thomas A. Cummings, is also the Order’s first national director of ceremonials.
9. John J. Phelan is elected 13. Ladies’ auxiliaries begin supreme knight (1886-97) and is to emerge in the late 1890s. the first leader to sense the Order’s destiny as a national 14. 6,000 Knights march in society. an 1892 Columbus Day parade 10. Father McGivney dies on in New Haven; nearly 40,000 people attend. Aug. 14, 1890. His funeral Mass is celebrated in Thomaston, 15. The Vatican’s first Conn., on Aug. 18. acknowledgment of the 11. In 1892, the Order passes Knights comes in 1895, when Archbishop Francesco Satolli, laws allowing noninsurance or apostolic delegate to the associate members to join. United States, writes a letter
7. The Order’s first headquarters is one room located on the second floor of a three-story building next to New Haven’s City Hall. 8. In 1889, the Order’s
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extolling the “merits of this splendid Catholic organization” and giving the Order his apostolic blessing. 16. James E. Hayes, the Order’s third supreme knight (1897-98), joins the Knights in Massachusetts in 1892; during his tenure as a district deputy and state deputy, he presides over the institution of 75 councils. 17. John J. Cone succeeds Hayes and serves from 1898-99; he is a member for less than three years when he is elected supreme knight. 18. Under Cone’s leadership, the Knights subscribe to war bonds to support the SpanishAmerican War; at his direction, soldiers and sailors are not disqualified from being insurance members.
23. On April 13, 1904, more than 10,000 Knights and their families attend ceremonies at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., in which a check for
$55,633.79 is presented to the school for the establishment of a K of C chair of American history. From 1909 to 1913, Knights raise $500,000 to establish a permanent endowment for CUA. 24. A reported 5,000 Knights meet James A. Flaherty’s train in Philadelphia in 1909, when he arrives at the annual convention where he is elected supreme knight.
19. On Nov. 25, 1897, Canada’s first council — Montreal Council 284 — is chartered. By 1905, the Order is established in every U.S. state, five Canadian provinces, Mexico, the Philippines and is soon to enter Puerto Rico and Cuba. 20. Writing in The Columbiad in 1898, a year before he was elected supreme knight, Edward L. Hearn says a Knight should live according to the virtues of loyalty, charity, courtesy and modesty, “selfdenial and a careful respect for the feelings of others.” 21. Hearn’s administration modernizes the Order’s insurance program, employing mortality tables and other tools of commercial insurers.
22. The first exemplification of the Fourth Degree takes place on Feb. 22, 1900 in New York City; 1,100 Knights receive the degree. The following May, another 750 Knights take the degree in Boston.
35. In August 1920, 235 Knights sail from New York City to France. In Paris, they are greeted by Church and civic authorities who thank the Knights for their WWI work. In Metz, a large equestrian statue of the French patriot Lafayette, funded by the Knights, is unveiled. The statue celebrates Lafayette’s defense of American liberty during the Revolutionary War, and the “glorious dead of the American and French armies.”
29. When National Guardsmen are sent to the U.S.Mexico border in 1916 to prevent Mexican Gen. Francisco “Pancho” Villa from raiding towns in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, Knights of Columbus councils in those states spontaneously respond to the religious and social needs of troops serving there.
25. In 1912, with support from the Knights, the Columbus Memorial Fountain is dedicated in Washington, D.C. Some 20,000 Knights attend the ceremonies.
30. When the United States enters World War I in 1917, Supreme Knight Flaherty writes President Woodrow Wilson telling him that the Order plans to establish centers to provide for the troops’ “recreational and spiritual comfort.” The Knights’ services, he says, will be offered “regardless of creed.”
36. The K of C delegation continues to Rome, where it is received in a private audience with Pope Benedict XV on Aug. 28. Supreme Knight Flaherty tells the pope that the ideals of the Knights are “wrapped up in the well-being of the Church.” He also remarks that the Knights “claim kindred with you” and pledges the Order’s “love and support and all the energy of our Catholic manhood.”
31. By the summer of 1917, the Order’s War Activities Committee is fully operational. The Order open service centers or “K of C Huts” in training camps and behind the lines of battle. The Knights and independent fund drives raise nearly $30 million to finance the huts.
26. A reporter for the Washington Star notes that the large number of Knights in attendance “marked anew the important position of the Knights of Columbus as an order in the social fabric of the United States.” 27. Tens of thousands of copies of a “bogus oath” are circulated to defame the Knights of Columbus. In 1914, the Knights lay the groundwork for a lecture series and educational programs to combat anti-Catholic hostility. 28. Between August 1914, when the Order’s Commission on Religious Prejudice is established, and January 1917, when it is dissolved, the number of anti-Catholic publications drops from 60 to fewer than five.
32. At the conclusion of World War I, the Order starts educational, vocational and employment programs for veterans. In 1920, more than 50,000 students are enrolled in evening school programs across the United States and Canada.
37. In response to a request from Pope Benedict, the Knights opens St. Peter’s Oratory, the first of five K of C recreation centers for youth in Rome established between 1924 and 1927.
33. A correspondence school is also started to help veterans. More than 25,000 enroll, and the Order awards more than 400 college scholarships to veterans.
38. The Order’s antidefamation work resumes after World War I. The K of C Historical Commission publishes the Knights of Columbus Racial Contributions Series in 1924. Three monographs dealing with the positive contributions of blacks, Jews and Germans to American society are published.
34. As a result of the Order’s wartime work, nearly 400,000 men join the Knights between 1917 and 1923.
39. The Knights’ Rome youth work stimulates interest in similar projects elsewhere, and the Columbian Squires
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program is established. Brother Barnabas McDonald, a Christian Brother who had gained renown for his work with delinquents and orphans, consults with the Knights on the creation of the Squires.
Knight Carmody and other K of C officials meet with President Franklin D. Roosevelt about the situation in Mexico. By mid-1937, tensions ease between the Mexican government and the Church.
40. In 1924, the University of Notre Dame starts a twoyear graduate-level program in Boy Guidance to train Knights and others in working with young men. Notre Dame football great Knute Rockne is among the instructors.
48. The 50th anniversary of the Knights is celebrated with Commemoration Week, June 24-30, 1932. Among the highlights is the unveiling in Washington, D.C. of a statue of Cardinal James Gibbons, an early supporter of the Knights who had also ordained Father McGivney.
41. The institution of the first Columbian Squires circle takes place at the Supreme Council meeting in Duluth, Minn., in August 1925. 42. In response to the passage of laws in Oregon in 1923 prohibiting children under 16 from attending private schools, the Knights work to overturn the law. In 1925, the Supreme Court declares the Oregon law unconstitutional. 43. In September 1926, Supreme Knight Flaherty, Deputy Supreme Knight Martin H. Carmody and other officers meet with U.S. President Calvin Coolidge about the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico.
K of C discussion groups. College students and seminarians are enlisted as “lay apostles” in the Knights’ efforts.
49. More than 400 councils stage a one-act play on the founding of the Knights during Commemoration Week. 50. In January 1936, the “Five-Point Program of Progress” is launched. Its aim is to provide councils with a framework for their activities. The five categories are: Catholic Activity, Council Activity, Fraternal Protection, Publicity and Maintenance of Manpower.
44. The Order launches a $1 million educational campaign to influence American public opinion on the need for a strong stand against the Mexican government’s attacks on the Church.
45. More than 5 million copies of various pamphlets with eyewitness reports on Church persecution in Mexico are printed and distributed by the Order. 46. In 1934-35, the Order drafts a resolution for the U.S. Senate calling for an investigation into the persecution; it is defeated. 47. On July 8, 1935, Supreme
53. On Sept. 13, 1939, less than two weeks after war was declared, Canadian Knights establish a welfare program for soldiers comparable to the KC huts program that operated during World War I.
58. In 1947, several hundred radio stations broadcast K of Csponsored programs with the titles “Safeguards of America” and “Foundations of Our American Ideals.” A 1948 series is entitled “The Future of America.”
51. Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, Vatican secretary of state, visits the Knights of Columbus headquarters in New Haven in 1936; in 1939, Cardinal Pacelli becomes Pope Pius XII. 52. In response to Pope Pius XII’s petition for prayers for peace, the Knights of Columbus sponsors an international prayer-for-peace program on Armistice Day, 1939, and a radio prayer-for-peace broadcast on May 19, 1940.
54. Between December 1939 and April 1940, Canadian Knights raise nearly $250,000 to support troops. When the U.S. enters the war in 1941, the Order’s outreach to soldiers is conducted via the National Catholic Community Service organization. The NCCS models many of its programs on the Order’s successful WWI efforts.
55. John E. Swift is elected supreme knight in 1945. Among his first initiatives is to authorize funding for full-page advertisements in 12 major U.S. newspapers and five Canadian papers highlighting the dangers of communism. The ad offers a free copy of Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen’s pamphlet, “Communism, the Opium of the People.” 56. The Order creates a $1 million trust fund for the education of children of members who had died in World War II. This evolves into the current scholarship fund for use at Catholic colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. 57. In December 1946, the Order launches its Crusade for the Preservation and Promotion of American Ideals. Educational pamphlets on communism and the dangers of secularism are published and distributed; councils set up groups where the pamphlets are discussed. By August 1948, there are more than 1,300
59. Luke E. Hart becomes supreme knight in 1953; he is the first supreme knight to move to New Haven to assume his duties, reflecting the development of the Knights as a corporation. 60. On Dec. 17, 1953, the Knights of Columbus purchases for $2.5 million the land on which Yankee Stadium is built. When news breaks of the Knights’ acquisition, councils and members send congratulatory telegrams to New Haven.
61. A Catholic advertising program launched by Missouri Knights in the 1940s is adopted nationally by the Order during Hart’s administration. The ads encourage readers to learn more about Catholic teaching by contacting the Religious Information Bureau, later the Catholic Information Service. 62. In April 1951, the Order votes to fund the microfilming of irreplaceable documents from the Vatican Library, some dating to the pre-Christian era. The library at St. Louis University is named as the repository for the
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microfilm. By the 1956 opening of the Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library at St. Louis University, 9.5 million manuscript pages have been microfilmed and made available for scholars. 63. From 1951 to 1954, the Order spearheads efforts to place the words “under God” in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. On June 14, 1954, Flag Day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs it into law. 64. On May 10, 1959, Pope John XXIII becomes the first pope to visit a K of C playground in Rome.
65. On Nov. 20, 1959, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., is dedicated with more than 1,000 Knights forming the honor guard. Knights contributed $1 million, via a $1.25 per-capita assessment over five years, for construction of the 329-foot bell tower.
66. In 1963, the Order finances installation of the carillon of 56 bells at the National Shrine. 67. On Oct. 11, 1961, Supreme Knight Hart visits President John F. Kennedy in the White House. Kennedy, a Fourth Degree Knight, reportedly greets Hart by saying, “Hello, Chief.” 68. In the spring of 1963, Hart attends a special White House meeting of religious leaders to discuss civil rights.
69. Supreme Knight John W. McDevitt takes office in 1964. His first priority is amending the Order’s admission policies to counter charges of racial discrimination. 70. In April 1965, the Order co-sponsors with the Archdiocese of Hartford a Conference on Human Rights at Yale University in New Haven. More than 2,000 people attend the conference on interracial justice.
76. In 1969, the Order contributes $75,000 to the U.S. Catholic Conference’s Task Force on Urban Problems to help address poverty and discrimination. The Order also publishes a booklet on Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical affirming the Church’s teaching on marriage and procreation.
71. At the Supreme Council meetings of 1965 and 1966, McDevitt addresses how the Knights will respond to the Second Vatican Council and its call for renewal and reform within the Church and its organizations. The Knights, he says, will be “characterized by respect, reverence and relevance” and a “dynamism which is willing to adapt, to explore and to act.” 72. In 1967, the Order collaborates with the John LaFarge Institute in New York City on programs to promote social justice and ecumenical outreach. Jesuit Father John LaFarge was a leader of the Catholic interracial movement. 73. The Knights provides funding for CARA, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which, since its founding in 1964, has conducted social scientific studies on the Church.
77. In 1971, the Order marks the achievement of $2 billion of insurance in force; today that figure is more than $61 billion.
78. In 1975, the Order agrees to fund “uplink” transmissions for major worldwide satellite telecasts from the Vatican; the program continues to this day with audiences estimated in the billions for Midnight Mass from St. Peter’s Basilica. 79. Supreme Knight Virgil C. Dechant begins his administration with a 1977 visit to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where he places his work under the Virgin Mary’s protection.
84. In cooperation with the U.S. bishops, the Order underwrites filming of Pope John Paul II’s first pastoral visit to the United States in 1979. 85. Pope John Paul II receives the Order’s officers and representatives at the U.S. apostolic delegation’s office in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 7, 1979.
86. The Knights establishes a $1 million Father Michael J. McGivney Fund for New Initiatives in Catholic Education to be administered by the National Catholic Educational Association. Annual proceeds are used to this day to finance programs that advance Catholic schools. 87. In 1981, the Order establishes the Vicarius Christi Fund, with annual earnings to be used for the pope’s personal charities. The first check for $1.2 million is conveyed to
80. The Order’s Board of Directors holds its April 1978 meeting at the Vatican. Pope Paul VI meets the Knights. 81. Beginning in 1978, each new First Degree Knight receives a rosary blessed by the supreme chaplain, a practice that continues to this day.
74. On June 30, 1966, Supreme Knight McDevitt visits the Vatican Transmitting Center for the blessing of a new shortwave radio transmitter donated by the Knights. Pope Paul VI blesses the transmitter. 75. The present Supreme Council headquarters is completed in 1969. Its four 320foot towers symbolize the Knights’ four ideals of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism.
83. The Order holds its first Marian Hour of Prayer program in 1979. Images of Our Lady of Guadalupe circulate among the Order’s councils.
82. Pope John Paul I receives Supreme Knight Dechant and other representatives of the Knights in the first private audience after his election.
Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, the Vatican secretary of state, at the 1982 centennial convention, which is also attended by President Ronald Reagan. 88. From 1981 to 1984, the Order refurbishes St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, the birthplace of the Order. The renovations are capped with the placement of a 179-foot steeple atop the church. 89. On Dec. 8, 1981, the remains of Father Michael J. McGivney are disinterred from the McGivney family plot in Waterbury, Conn. On Founder’s
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Day, March 29, 1982, Father McGivney’s body is laid to rest at St. Mary’s Church. 90. Beginning in 1982, the Order establishes several funds to help finance studies for priests and seminarians in Rome at pontifical colleges; these funds have been increased over the years to support seminarians and priests from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Philippines. 91. In 1981, at the request of Pope John Paul II, the Order prints the proceedings from a Vatican meeting on “The Common Christian Roots of the European Nations.” 92. In 1984, in recognition of its volunteer service, President Ronald Reagan awards the Knights a President’s Volunteer Action Award at White House ceremonies.
94. In 1985, the Order agrees to underwrite the restoration of the 65,000square-foot façade of St. Peter’s
96. In 1988, the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family opens a North American branch in Washington, D.C., with funding from the Knights. Carl A. Anderson is the institute’s first vice president and dean. 97. In 1989, the Bicentennial of the U.S. Hierarchy Fund is established; annual proceeds to this day are used to benefit CUA.
93. In 1985, the Order presents a mobile television production unit to the Vatican Television Center for the taping, recording and transmission of papal ceremonies. It is used during Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s historic visit with Pope John Paul II that same year.
Basilica, the first time it has been cleaned in more than 350 years. Several subsequent projects have taken place at St. Peter’s, including the creation or restoration of chapels within the basilica’s grottoes.
95. Mother Teresa of Calcutta visits the Supreme Council office in 1988. The Order agrees to print copies of her Constitutions of the Missionaries of Charity, prayer cards and other religious items, a project that continues to this day.
98. Beginning in 1990, the Knights of Columbus funds a bi-annual workshop on medical-moral issues for bishops from the Americas.
99. In 1992, the Knights celebrates the fifth centenary of evangelization in the Americas. Replicas of the Cross of the New World presented to Pope John Paul II on his pastoral visit to Santo Domingo in 1984 are distributed by the Knights and used in dioceses throughout the Order in prayer services highlighting the theme of evangelization.
101. The Order co-sponsors with the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y., Pope John Paul II’s Mass at Aqueduct during his 1995 pastoral visit to the United States.
Jubilee Year Mass and pilgrimage at the National Shrine on April 1, 2000; the event includes the praying of the rosary with Pope John Paul II live via satellite from Rome.
102. In December 1997, the Archdiocese of Hartford officially opens the cause for canonization of Father Michael J. McGivney with support from the Knights of Columbus. The Father McGivney Guild is established to promote the cause.
105. In May 2000, Pope John Paul II canonizes six Mexican priest-members of the Knights of Columbus who were martyred during the era of Church persecution there in the early 20th century; two additional priest-members from Mexico have since been beatified, and one canonized.
100. Mother Teresa is presented with the Order’s first Gaudium et Spes Award at the 110th Supreme Convention in New York in 1992. The “Joy and Hope” award acknowledged her contributions to the Church and the world.
103. In preparation for the Church’s celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, the Knights underwrites the restoration of the Maderno Atrium at St. Peter’s Basilica and of the Holy Year Door; millions of pilgrims pass through the atrium and door during the Jubilee Year.
106. Carl A. Anderson is elected supreme knight in September 2000; in ceremonies at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, he places his administration under her intercession. 104. More than 12,000 Knights and family members attend the Knights of Columbus
107. The Knights of Columbus Museum opens in New Haven on March 9, 2001.
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108. In response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Knights on Sept. 12 establishes its $1 million Heroes Fund. Checks for $3,000 are presented to families of all full-time professional law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel who lost their lives at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Forty-five Knights were killed on 9/11.
114. The Knights provides $1 million to World Youth Day in Toronto in July 2002. 115. The one-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is marked by the Order with a Mass and patriotic program at the National Shrine. During a ceremony for peace, participants’ candles are lighted from a tiny oil lamp first used at a prayer meeting for peace in Assisi, Italy, convened by Pope John Paul II on Jan. 24.
111. The first Knights of Columbus Day of the Unborn Child is observed March 25, 2002, to coincide with the feast of the Annunciation.
122. Thousands attend an outdoor eucharistic celebration in Chicago’s Grant Park at the conclusion of the Order’s third Eucharistic Congress, Aug. 4, 2005. 118. In October 2004, the Order’s Board of Directors make a pilgrimage to Poland as part of the Order’s celebration of Pope John Paul’s 25th anniversary as pope.
109. The Knights of Columbus is honored by the Path to Peace Foundation with its Champion of Peace Award in ceremonies in New York, Nov. 26, 2001. Archbishop (now Cardinal) Renato R. Martino, apostolic nuncio of the Holy See’s mission at the United Nations, presents the award. Cardinal Martino is now the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. 110. The first Blue Mass sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council is held at St. Mary’s Church, Feb. 10, 2002.
Paul II’s election and his interfaith outreach to Muslims, Jews and Christians. The former chief rabbi of Rome and an imam of the Rome mosque, among others, attend the event, entitled the “Concert of Reconciliation.”
119. In 2005, the Knights begins a partnership with the Wheelchair Foundation, sending 2,000 wheelchairs to land-mine victims and people with disabilities in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
116. In March 2003, 100,000 copies of a pocket-sized prayer book are printed by the Order and the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and sent to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with 10,000 rosaries.
123. To promote devotion to the Mexican saints of the Knights of Columbus, the Order sponsors a pilgrimage of their relics in communities throughout Mexico and the United States.
120. Villa Maria Guadalupe, the Order’s pro-life retreat center in Stamford, Conn., operated by the Sisters of Life, opens in 2005.
124. In its first international expansion in 100 years, the Order charters its first councils in Poland in 2006.
121. In 2005, the Order marks the 100th anniversary of its presence in Mexico and the Philippines; Supreme Knight Anderson travels to Mexico and the Philippines (below) to take part in celebrations.
125. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. Gulf, Knights raise and donate close to $10 million to help rebuild Catholic churches and schools. n
112. In 2002, the Order establishes a $2 million Pacem in Terris fund to promote peace and education initiatives in the Holy Land and provide support for the Christian community there. 113. The first Knights of Columbus Eucharistic Congress is held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, June 22-23, 2002.
117. The Knights finances a concert at the Vatican Jan. 17, 2004, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Pope John
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COLUMBIANISM THROUGH THE YEARS Since 1893, Columbia (and its predecessor The Columbiad) has printed reports from K of C units about their charitable giving and community outreach. Here’s a look at Knights in Action through the decades.
Pre-1920s Lexington (Mass.) Council 94 hosted a social and dance at Lyceum Hall. A large number of out-oftown friends of the organizers were in attendance. (June-July 1895) Columbus Council 126 in Brooklyn inaugurated a series of lectures and debates on March 24. The first lecture was on the topic of “Practical Fraternity,” after which brother Knights discussed the violence in Cuba. (March 1896)
1920s New York Knights, in harmony with the Supreme Council, established a summer camp for boys in Monroe. Over the summer, more than 1,000 attendees enjoyed recreational facilities and met with the camp chaplain to attend to their spiritual needs. (July 1925) John R. Sears and Richard O’Hara — both veterans of the Civil War — joined Lt. John J. Galvin Council in Greenfield, Mass., on Jan. 17. Sears, 85, served with the 11th Vermont Infantry while O’Hara, 82, was a member of the 52nd Massachusetts Regiment. When asked why neither man had joined the Knights earlier, they replied, “Nobody asked us.” (March 1928)
1930s Daniel J. McLean, a member of Holyoke (Mass.)
Council 90 was awarded the Walter Scott Medal for exceptional valor during a fire. The medal was presented to Deputy Fire Chief McLean for his conduct on Dec. 16, 1931, when he carried an elderly woman from a flameswept apartment. (January 1933) Bishop Henni Assembly of Milwaukee established a scholarship fund for students at the St. Francis Seminary. The fund, set at $5,000, aided worthy students studying for the holy priesthood and unable to pay tuition. [Ed. note: Bishop Henni Assembly continues to support St. Francis Seminary to this day through the Order’s RSVP program.] (February 1935)
1940s Lt. Willibald Bianchi of St. Patrick’s Council 1076 in New Ulm, Minn., was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroic actions with General MacArthur’s forces in the Philippines. (April 1942) Trinity Council 445 in Beacon, N.Y., sent more than 7,000 packages to the men and women of their community serving in World War II. Among these were 1,000 Christmas gifts. The council placed barrels throughout the city where anyone desiring could contribute cigarettes and other items. (February 1944)
D A: Members of Nashville (Tenn.) Council 544 wash the exterior of St. Rose of Lima Church. (April 1973) B: Immaculate Conception Council 3320 in Fort Erie, Ont., provided entertainment for children at a family Communion breakfast. (January 1966) C: San Antonio (Texas) Council 786 sponsored a night of music for World War I veterans at Legion Hospital. (April 1943) D: Father Timothy Werner Council 2860 in Cut Bank, Mont., presents Sheriff T. Connelly of Toole County with a Bible for use by inmates. (February 1955)
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Massachusetts State Deputy Daniel J. Fitzgerald presented a check for $2,000 to Bishop John J. Wright of Worcester to assist those rendered homeless by a tornado. The funds will also help rebuild Assumption College, which was damaged during the storm. (August 1953) Frank M. Gersz, a member of the New Haven Board of Aldermen and past grand knight of San Salvador Council 1, successfully put forth a bill to change the name of Union Avenue to Columbus Plaza. The site is the new home of the Supreme Council office building, one of the largest in New Haven. (May 1954)
1960s The Puerto Rico State Council has undertaken the building of a new chapel and seminary at Ponce. (May 1962)
D A: Grand Knight Maurice Sanchez of Albuquerque (N.M.) Council 641 presents Archbishop Edwin V. Byrne of Santa Fe with a new Studebaker. (September 1949) B: Members of Santa Quiteria Council 8751 in Calcoocan City, Luzon, manned a sound truck to encourage people to vote in the 1986 presidential election. (July 1986) C: Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Fatima Council 9411 in Rosario, Mexico Northwest, aided in the construction of a school in Baja California. (March 1992) D: Father Joseph V. Kerr, chaplain of San Salvador Council 299 in Perth Amboy, N.J., blesses the town’s fire engine fleet. (December 1961)
Arkansas State Deputy Bernard I. Foulke has appointed a committee to help Father John Manchino’s Mexican mission work. Father Manchino, a priest of the Little Rock Diocese, is working in Morelia and plans to establish a permanent church and dispensary in Capulin. (January 1968)
1970s North Scranton (Pa.) Council 6056 donated toys and clothing to the U.S. Navy for distribution among orphans in Vietnam. (May 1971)
Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Greenville General Hospital. The “sophisticated” device aids the breathing of patients with cystic fibrosis. (June 1972)
1980s Ontario Knights donated $100,000 to the St. Peter’s Seminary library. The funds were used for a 4,000-square-foot addition to house the library offices and a new section of books and periodicals. (February 1985) Norwood (Mass.) Council 252 donated $600 toward the rebuilding of a local Jewish temple that was destroyed during a fire. (August 1988)
1990s Mankayan (Luzon) Council 10526 installed traffic signs in congested areas of the city to help prevent pedestrian and motorist accidents. (November 1993) Archbishop Michael J. Curley Assembly in College Park, Md., has produced television programs on abortion, population control, and the persecution of Catholics and Christians for public access stations in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The half-hour programs were produced at a local cable television station and included interviews with local newsmakers. (May 1996)
Msgr. Andrew K. Gwynn Council 1668 in Greenville, S.C., donated an ultrasonic nebulizer to the c o l u m b i a / m a r c h 2 0 0 7 29
125TH ANNIVERSARY SURVEY
ADDING IT UP The Knights of Columbus is living up to Father McGivney’s vision for it. Agree 91% Disagree 9% In my life as a Catholic, the Knights of Columbus has been… Extremely helpful; has helped me deepen my faith and become a more active Catholic 66% Somewhat helpful; life as a Catholic is richer because of it 34% Somewhat negative; has had little impact on my life as a Catholic 0% Extremely negative; wish I had never joined 0%
The Knights of Columbus should be more well known for… Our support of the Church (pope, bishops, priests, schools, etc.) 18% Our support of programs for people with intellectual disabilities (Special Olympics, ARC, etc.) 12% Our support of vocations to the priesthood (scholarships, RSVP, etc.) 10% Our life insurance program and other fraternal benefits 0% All of the above 60% What is the most critical issue facing the Knights of Columbus today? Attracting more, younger members 78%
Grand knights whose councils earned a ‘Double Star’ award in 2005-06 were sent the following survey; their responses are summarized here.
Training council/ district leaders 14% Growing the Order internationally 8%
If I could meet one Knight from history, it would be... Father McGivney 76% Babe Ruth 10% John F. Kennedy 12% Other 2% What are you most proud of as a Knight? Our support of the Church 21% Our life insurance program 19% Our charitable giving and volunteerism 34% My local council 26%
In the last five years, what has made you most proud to be a Knight? Our $1 million Heroes Fund in response to 9/11 31% Our response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita 21% The opening of the cause for sainthood of Father McGivney 15% Our first international expansion in more than 100 years with new councils in Poland 13% I am a K of C insurance policyholder Yes 76% No 24% I have recruited a new member in the last year Yes 87% No 13% w w w. ko f c .o r g
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To owners of Knights of Columbus insurance policies and persons responsible for payment of premiums on such policies: Notice is hereby given that in accordance with the provisions of Section 84 of the Laws of the Order, payment of insurance premiums due on a monthly basis to the Knights of Columbus by check made payable to Knights of Columbus and mailed to same at PO Box 1492, NEW HAVEN, CT 06506-1492, before the expiration of the grace period set forth in the policy. In Canada: Knights of Columbus, CASE POSTALE 935, Station d’Armes, Montréal, PQ H2Y 3J4 ALL MANUSCRIPTS, PHOTOS, ARTWORK, EDITORIAL MATTER, AND ADVERTISING INQUIRIES SHOULD BE MAILED TO: COLUMBIA, PO BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 06507-0901. REJECTED MATERIAL WILL BE RETURNED IF ACCOMPANIED BY A SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPE AND RETURN POSTAGE. PURCHASED MATERIAL WILL NOT BE RETURNED. COLUMBIA (ISSN 0010-1869) IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, 1 COLUMBUS PLAZA, NEW HAVEN, CT 06510-3326. PHONE: 203-752-4000. INTERNET: http://www.kofc.org. PRODUCED IN USA. COPYRIGHT © 2007 BY KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT NEW HAVEN, CT AND ADDITIONAL MAILING OFFICES. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO COLUMBIA, MEMBERSHIP DEPARTMENT, PO BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 06507-0901. CANADIAN POSTMASTER—THIRD-CLASS POSTAGE IS PAID AT WINNIPEG, MB, PERMIT NO. 01000926 99. IN CANADA, SEND RETURN COPIES TO KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS, 505 IROQUOIS SHORE ROAD, #11, OAKVILLE, ON L6H 2R3. CANADIAN TAX REGISTRATION NO. R104098900. CANADA POST PUBLICATION AGREEMENT NUMBER 1473549. PHILIPPINES—FOR PHILIPPINES SECOND-CLASS MAIL AT THE MANILA CENTRAL POST OFFICE. SEND RETURN COPIES TO KCFAPI, FRATERNAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT, PO BOX 1511, MANILA. SUBSCRIPTION RATES—IN THE UNITED STATES: 1 YEAR, $6; 2 YEARS, $11; 3 YEARS, $15. FOR OTHER COUNTRIES ADD $2 PER YEAR. EXCEPT FOR CANADIAN SUBSCRIPTIONS, PAYMENT MUST BE MADE IN U.S. CURRENCY. SEND ORDERS AND CHECKS TO: ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT, PO BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 065070901. OPINIONS BY WRITERS ARE THEIR OWN AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS.
Join The Father McGivney Guild PLEASE ENROLL ME IN THE GUILD (PRINT IN BLOCK LETTERS): If you and your family are not members of The Father McGivney Guild complete NAME the coupon and mail to: ADDRESS The Father McGivney Guild Knights of Columbus 1 Columbus Plaza CITY New Haven, CT 06510-3326 Join online at www.fathermcgivney.org.
Guild members receive a bi-monthly newsletter on the status of the cause, a special prayer card, and additional materials as they are developed. Members may also submit prayer and Mass intentions to the director of the Guild. K of C membership does not automatically make one a Guild member. 3/07
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With separate $5,000 grants from the Connecticut State Council, students from Western Connecticut State University in Danbury (shown on the roof of a new house they helped build) and Sacred Heart University in Fairfield traveled at different times to the Mississippi Gulf Coast during the spring semester to help with post-Katrina recovery efforts.
St. Martin de Porres Church in Alton, Texas, sponsored a pro-life float on Good Friday depicting the Way of the Cross. Processing behind the float were parishioners and members of St. Martin de Porres Council 11840, St. Michael’s Circle 4560 and Bishop Garriga Assembly in Mission.
Pope John XXIII Council 1696 in Whiting, Ind., loaned a silver suit of armor to the local public library for use during the library’s “Once Upon a Time” summer reading club for children.
Members of Sacred Heart Council 12537 in Southport, N.C., volunteered at the annual Brunswick County Special Olympics, held at South Brunswick High School. The council also presented $2,000 from its annual drive for people with intellectual disabilities to Special Olympics Coordinator Anita Dwyer
Members of Mantua (Ohio) Council 3766 pose with Children of Uganda Tour of Light members following their performance in Cleveland. The council pledged $300 in food for the troupe, providing all involved with three lunches and two dinners.
San Narciso Council 8584 in Cebu City, Visayas, volunteered for a community treeplanting project to prevent erosion at the Metro Cebu water shed. Thirty-six Knights and family members took part.
Bishop Noll Institute student Rena Gonzalez accepts a donation from a motorist during a collection organized by Msgr. James F. Connelly Council 1700 in East Chicago. Several Bishop Noll students assisted the council during its annual fund drive for people with intellectual disabilities.
Msgr. Joseph M. Denning Assembly in Marion, Ohio, provided an honor guard for the dedication of a tree named in honor of Sister Dorothy Stang, who was murdered by gunmen in February 2005 while working with the poor in Brazil’s Amazon region. The dedication took place at the provincial headquarters of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Cincinnati. Also attending the ceremony were members of Marysville Council 5534.
Members of Francis Cardinal Spellman Assembly in Lecanto, Fla., present Lou Whittaker, principal of Pope John Paul II School, with a check for $5,000 for tuition assistance. The money was raised at the assembly’s annual charity ball.
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OF COLUMBUS In service to One. In service to all. Members of St. Hubert Council 11357 in Langley, Wash., display potatoes at an annual bagging event held at St. Mary’s Church in Anacortes. The council collected and bagged 5 tons of potatoes that were distributed to aid organizations in and around Whidbey Island.
Building a better world one council at a time. Every day, Knights all over the world are given opportunities to make a difference. Whether it’s through community service, raising money for their parish or prayer. We celebrate each and every Knight for his strength, his compassion and his dedication to building a better world.
To be featured here, send your council’s “Knights in Action” photo as well as its description to: Columbia, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
KeeP the faIth alIve. those who are discerning a religious vocation depend on the support and encouragement of others.
Please, do all you can to promote God’s calling for men and women who are contemplating a life of sacred service.
“My greatest joy is the freedom that religious life affords me to serve God’s poor.” I was raIsed In a devout CatholIC famIly wIth ten brothers and sIsters. As a child, I recall my family life as close and fun-loving. Our faith permeated most aspects of our formative years. My Catholic grade school was staffed by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who often spoke of the Corporal Works of Mercy. The Sisters gave witness to the Gospel and their example reaffirmed for me the values of my parents. When I was in my 20s, I became involved with our parish council and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Later, when I was 27, I joined the Knights of Columbus. What attracted me to the Knights was the legacy of Father McGivney—his emphasis on spiritual commitment and service to those in need. I served as Grand Knight of
my Council and was an active Color Corps member of the Fr. Tomko Assembly in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania. My journey with the Knights led me to volunteer work at St. John’s Hospice in Philadelphia. It was there that I met the Brothers of the Good Shepherd, who staffed the Hospice. Some years later, I joined the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and made my final profession of vows in October 2003. My greatest joy is the freedom that religious life affords me to serve God’s poor. Currently, I am a vocation director for my community. I would encourage anyone who feels called to take the risk of following God in religious life to give it a try. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Brother Charles T. Schreiner Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd Albuquerque, New Mexico
Celebrating 125 Years of Faith in Action 1882-2007 I N SERVICE TO O NE . I N SERVICE TO A LL . M ARCH 2007