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125 Years in Review – 1920s

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.
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.
A correspondence school is also started to help veterans. More than 25,000 enroll, and the Order awards more than 400 scholarships to veterans.
As a result of the Order’s wartime work, nearly 400,000 men join the Knights between 1917 and 1923.
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.”
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.”
The Order’s anti-defamation 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.
The Knights’ Rome youth work stimulates interest in similar projects elsewhere, and the Columbian Squires 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.
In 1924, the University of Notre Dame starts a two-year 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.
The institution of the first Columbian Squires circle takes place at the Supreme Council meeting in Duluth, Minn., in August 1925.
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.
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.
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.



Historical Highlights
125 Years in Review
The McGivney Legacy
Supreme Knights Gallery
St. Mary’s Church
Papal Moments
At Work Everywhere
His Timeless Message
Faith in Action
Knights of Columbus Photo Album