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125 Years in Review –1980s

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 Vatican secretary of state, at the 1982 centennial convention, which is also attended by President Ronald Reagan.
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.
From 1981 to 1984, the K of C 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.
On Dec. 8, 1981, the remains of Father Michael J. McGivney are disinterred from the McGivney family plot in Waterbury, Conn. On Founder’s Day, March 29, 1982, Father McGivney’s body is laid to rest at St. Mary’s Church.
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.
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.”
In 1984, in recognition of its volunteer service, President Ronald Reagan awards the Knights a President’s Volunteer Action Award at White House ceremonies.
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.
In 1985, the Order agrees to underwrite the restoration of the 65,000-square-foot façade of St. Peter’s 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.
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.
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.
In 1989, the Bicentennial of the U.S. Hierarchy Fund is established; annual proceeds to this day are used to benefit CUA.



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