BY LEANN DILBECK –
The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn. Based on the principles of charity, patriotism, unity and fraternity, the Order remains the world’s foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society.
The Knights was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.
The local Monsieur AP Gallagher Chapter 7258 was chartered in 1979 with 30 members, of which two are still living, Rudy Furr and Wayne Gahr. Currently, the chapter has approximately 70 members.
The local chapter is part of the International Order of The Knights of Columbus that has grown from several members in one council to 15,342 councils and 1.9 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam, Saipan, Lithuania, Ukraine, and South Korea.
The local chapter has been holding an annual fundraiser for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and often referred to as the “Tootsie Roll Drive”, that benefits PCDC for over 20 years. In the last 10 years, the chapter has raised over $50,000 for PCDC.
The local Knights also hold various other fundraisers throughout the year including spaghetti dinners, fish fries, and Oktoberfest that enable them to assist with Special Olympics, Elks Christmas Food Baskets, Fresh Start Pregnancy Resource Center, St. Agnes Food Baskets, and other various Catholic ministries. The group also sponsors two seminarians each year.
In 2016, the Knights of Columbus set a new all-time national record for the 18th consecutive year. Charitable donations increased from $175 million in 2015 to a new total of $177,500,673 in 2016 and the highest level of charitable service in 2016, volunteering more than 75 million hours of service.
The Grand Knight of the local chapter is Philip Ference, Deputy Grand Knight John Golding, Treasurer Avel Mendoza, Financial Secretary Mark Adams.
The group meets the first and third Tuesdays at the Knights of Columbus Hall located at 204 8th Street. Membership is open to Catholic men 18 years of age or older.