International Service Program Awards
The Knights of Columbus will present Family of the Year, service, recruiting and insurance awards for fraternal year 2007-08 during the 126th annual Supreme Convention Aug. 5-7 in Quebec City.
International Church Activity Awards
Father Simpson and Father Dwyer Council 6191
Building the Church of God
Building a church is a labor and time-intensive process that eventually pays off when the project reaches fruition and Mass can be celebrated in the new space. In 2007, Knights of Father Simpson and Father Dwyer Council 6191 in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, saw the efforts of a decade worth of work reach its culmination as their new church, Our Lady of the Lake parish, was consecrated.
It took more than $1 million and thousands of volunteer hours, including more than 2,000 hours this fraternal year, to accomplish this task. More than 35 Knights volunteered their time and craftsmanship to build the altar, crucifix, tabernacle, ambo, places for the Holy Oils, the Presider’s chair, statue bases and tables. Knights also spent 150 hour landscaping and planting. Overall, roughly half of the council’s 70 members have been active in this difficult, but rewarding project, which has benefited the entire parish.
Additionally, the council had to help relocate a social concerns group’s used clothing store into the old church, which needed renovations. This project required $56,000 to complete, and more than 200 man hours from Knights over a six-month period.
International Community Service Award
San Marcos Evangelista Council 13910
Paraiso Tabasco, Mexico South
Help Flood Victims of Villahermosa
A strong commitment to their community in the face of a natural disaster was the motivation that prompted Knights of San Marcos Evangelista Council 13910 in Paraiso Tabasco, Mexico South, to get involved after flooding decimated Villahermosa Tabasco and some adjoining areas.
The Knights were compelled to assist these communities by collecting food, clothing, medicine, bottled water, cushions, bedspreads and other items. Broadcasts were made in the streets using vehicles with sound equipment, and the Knights and local residents gave generously. In total, the council gathered nearly 25 tons of materials.
Working with their ladies' auxiliary, girls' youth group (Colombiats) and Squires, the council transferred the goods collected via trucks to two storage areas where the items were sorted, packaged, and then delivered for distribution to the flood victims.
Support was also given to the people who sought shelter in the Cathedral del Sr. De Tabasco, with the Knights aiding in the preparation, transportation and delivery of 800 rations of prepared food as well as 3,000 tamales. Knights gave more than 1,912 volunteer hours to help these communities.
To provide assistance to people in New Orleans still trying to rebuild their homes and lives after Hurricane Katrina, Marian Council 3111 organized a trip by several volunteers who would work to repair homes through the Operation Helping Hands program. The council raised $2,000 to help cover the traveling expenses for the volunteers. Prior to leaving, the three volunteers who would be traveling to Louisiana took lessons in installing drywall. To support this effort 38 council members (38 percent of the council) put in 1,275 volunteer hours.
To provide support to members of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed overseas, members of the Ray McKowen Council 1362 held a communitywide effort to collect items and funds for the troops. After several months, $2,000 and roughly 2,000 pounds worth of materials were gathered. The items were then packaged and shipped to the troops.
To honor the priests serving in Moose Jaw parishes (of whom four were from Sierra Leone), members of the Father Gilpin Council 9760 decided to hold a drive to collect funds to send 280 wheelchairs (through the Wheelchair Foundation of Canada) to Sierra Leone. The council held donation drives and events (including a “Rock, Paper, Scissors” contest for students) to raise the needed monies. The council raised the full $28,000 needed to purchase a container of wheelchairs. Four council members then traveled to Sierra Leone to distribute the wheelchairs.
The members of St. Monica Council 11927 worked to help a needy family in the community by performing repair and renovation work on their house. The family members (a single mother and three daughters) also assisted the Knights with the work. The work included painting, plumbing and electrical repairs, and removal of mold. Seventeen Knights (roughly 23 percent of the council) put in more than 440 hours on this project.
International Council Activity Awards
Archbishop James V. Casey
Nick Patrick Fundraiser Dinner Dance
In June 2006, Nick Patrick was struck by a hit-and-run driver and left for dead in the middle of the street. Patrick, who uses a wheelchair due to Multiple Sclerosis, had severe injuries and was in a coma for a time. Facing a difficult rehabilitation and road to recovery, Patrick also faced mounting medical expenses. It was then that his brother Knights of Archbishop James V. Casey Council 9349 in Littleton, Colorado, came to his aid.
The Knights held a benefit dinner/dance to help set up a trust fund in his name to cover medical costs. More than 20 Knights helped the committee in ticket sales, publicity and setting up the trust fund. The event was heavily advertised via the church bulletin, posters, ticket sales after Masses, e-mails to council members, letters and phone calls to other organizations where Patrick had contacts. A band was hired for the event and Knights purchased and prepared food. The local newspapers also ran articles regarding the accident and the Knights plan to help their brother.
The event was a huge success due to these preparations and the 100 council members who put in 200 volunteer hours on the project. After expenses, the fund-raiser brought in $9,157, thanks to more than 140 paying guests who attended.
When Charlie Burton, a charter member of Bishop Reed Capital Hill Council 5759, was diagnosed with a lung problem, he was told not to exert himself or climb stairs. His home, unfortunately, had high steps at its entryway. To solve this problem, Knights of Council 5759 built a wheelchair ramp from his front door to his driveway. The Knights assembled and installed the ramp at a cost of $1,000. Twenty members (25 percent of the council’s membership) spent 400 volunteer hours on the project, including purchasing materials, bolting the ramp to the porch, cutting in the 30 foot ramp and pouring a concrete slab to support the walker.
When 24-year-old council member Matt Cross was killed in an auto accident, his fellow Knights from Marian Council 3779 went to work raising funds for their deceased brother’s pregnant wife and 2-year-old daughter. The council held a chicken charbroil, their specialty, and cooked more than 800 chicken halves. A local grocery store let the Knights hold the event in their parking lot and sell plates to the public. The event raised $4,500 for the widow and her family. Fifteen members of the council (9 percent of the membership) put in 150 volunteer hours on the project.
In celebration of their 100th anniversary, Victoria Council 1256 raised $5,000 for the Mount St. Mary Hospital Foundation, held a barbecue, a banquet and a pancake breakfast, and sponsored a Mass. Fifty-five members (40 percent of the council) put in 1,492 hours on the three events held during a busy weekend in July.
To support a local parish and a technology park complex, Stella Maris Council 4265 helped establish a new council. The council recruited prospects, constructed a council hall, set up an admission committee, held a First Degree, organized the election of officers, and sponsored a first council Mass followed by a dinner. Forty three Knights (30 percent of the council members) put in 8,758 volunteer hours on this project.
International Family Activity Awards
St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Council 13294
Benefit Bull and Oyster Roast
When a child is born with a serious medical condition, it will impact his entire immediate family, as well as his extended family. In the case of baby Andrew Morrissey, the grandson of the pastoral director of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Council 13294 in Woodstock, Maryland, this extended family came in the form of 42 Knights who were eager to help out.
In March 2006, baby Andrew was born with little or no kidney or liver function and required extensive transplant surgery in a Pittsburgh hospital. This long, drawn-out medical crisis placed an enormous spiritual, emotional and financial burden upon the family. They even had to maintain two residences during a four month span in late 2007 when the child received a liver from his father and a kidney from his grandmother.
In November, Knights held their benefit bull and oyster roast with the proceeds to go the Morrissey family. The benefit, conceived in August, required more than 500 volunteer hours, but that effort paid off when the catered event raised $7,800 for the family. More than 60 percent of the council was involved in the preparation and successful initiation of the raffle and celebration.
In February, Father John Howard Council 8500 held a fundraiser to benefit Kathy Fortunato, the daughter of Past Grand Angelo Lamia, and her family after the death of her husband following a lengthy battle with cancer. Kathy was facing the burden of her husband’s medical costs, plus the financial difficulty of raising their four children when the Knights got involved with their dinner/dance fundraiser. Sixty Knights, more than 25 percent of the council, were involved in cooking, decorating, serving, cleaning up, organizing raffle prizes and soliciting donations from community vendors. The event sold out to 200 attendees, and, in total, the event raised $10,400 to benefit the Fortunato family.
The purpose of Christ the King De Filinvest II Council 11990’s family oriented program was fourfold: to honor the sanctity of marriage though a public renewal of vows; to strengthen family ties; to set an example for the parish community by living their faith; and to set a good example for the Columbian Squires present. Nearly 100 percent of their council participated (69 Knights) in the public renewal of marriage vows after Sunday Mass. Squires presented each female in the parish with a rose. Following the ceremony, which was a surprise to the Knights’ wives, a family feast prepared by the Knights was served.
Knights of West Brazos Council 8548 organized a countywide family picnic that was held at their council hall in celebration of Family Day. The council played host to all six councils in District 61, which included more than 500 participants. The event featured games and entertainment for children, food and booths, including a drug prevention booth and a K of C information booth. The council hopes this becomes an annual district tradition.
When Council 7557 held its annual Christmas social, more than 100 Knights and their families, nearly 90 percent of their council, attended. The attendees pray the Rosary before their meal, which is prepared by Knights and the Ladies Auxiliary. Following their banquet, Santa Claus joins the festivities to give out candy to the children and take pictures with the families.
International Youth Activity Awards
Mary Mother of Good Counsel
Paranaque City, Luzon
Nine Weeks with the Needy Children
Mary Mother of Good Counsel Council 11847 in Paranaque City, Luzon, acknowledged the importance of setting a good example for the next generation and teaching them the skills they will need in the future. To this end, 58 Knights spent more than 5,200 hours during a nine week period teaching 64 needy children from their parish.
The children were separated into three groups and taught lessons based on their age and skill set. The first group, children ages four and up, were shown how to properly hold a pencil and how to recognize the letters of the alphabet. The second group was comprised of children ages 6 and up who had some basic reading and writing skills. The third group was more advanced students who were taught Catechism. Five nuns and ten college students of St. Rita College aided the Knights and their families with the lessons.
The Knights also provided food and drinks for the children following their three-and-a-half hour classes. Cash donations from council families paid for school bags, paper, pencils and other supplies. At the end of the program, a graduation and Eucharistic Mass was celebrated.
Seven Knights from Monsignor Timothy Doyle Council 13111 and their wives traveled 170 miles with six vans full of presents, food and clothing for distribution at St. Teresa Orphanage and school for their Christmas party. More than 200 children participated in the party, and, besides the presents and candy for the children, the council gave a $500 donation to the orphanage. In total, 19 Knights and their families volunteered 87 hours to make this program, which has been taking place for 25 years, a success.
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Council 7444 dedicated the proceeds from their entire fraternal year to supporting St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee. Their major events included a golf outing, a Polish dinner, selling St. Jude bracelets and selling 50/50 raffle tickets at a car show. The Knights also arranged for toy donations for the children from a local merchant. Knights expended 500 hours and raised close to $12,000 to support the hospital.
Each year for the past eight years, the Knights of St. Bernadette Council 12164 have raised money to send impoverished children to St. Joseph’s Youth Camp for a week. In July 2007, they paid the expenses of 17 children to attend the camp. In addition to the tuition cost, the Knights cover fees for camp activities such as horseback riding, kayaking and more, plus they provide needed equipment such as clothing and toiletries. The camp itself is operated by the Knights of Columbus. Fundraising was done primarily through a “Kids to Camp” raffle.
The fourth annual “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster contest at St. Thomas Moore Catholic School, sponsored by Fr. Thomas O’Reilly Council 4358, involved all 400 students and helped them understand that Christmas is truly the festival of the birth of Jesus and is not about presents under the tree. The Knights have gained the full support of the school’s faculty, as they now grade the students’ posters to encourage participation. Winning entries are given gift certificates to a gift shop that sells religious items for the home.