Who are the Knights of Columbus?
On Oct 2, 1881, a small group of men gathered in the basement of St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut, for a meeting called by their 29 year old parish priest Father Michael J McGivney. The end result was the formation the next year on March 29 of an organization that came to be known as the Knights of Columbus. Its founding purpose was to offer financial help to members and their families who were sick, disabled and financially challenged and this remains today one of the principal goals of all Councils.
Today the Knights of Columbus is world's largest Catholic family fraternal service organization. There are 15,342 Councils with a total of 2 million members in 14 countries around the world. They include Canada, United States, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam, Saipan, Lithuania, Ukraine, and South Korea.
Our 135 year old Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity. Knights are Catholic men, 18 years of age and older, who are committed to making their communities better places through charitable service. Charity is the first and foremost principle of the Knights of Columbus. Our five key areas of service are Families including Children and Youth, Community, Church, Council and Culture of Life. Knights are called to help those in need and all Knights believe they can make a positive difference and change the world through small acts of charity and kindness at all levels, local to global.
Our K of C Council #10808
Our Council, one of 21 Councils across Prince Edward Island, is celebrating its 25th anniversary next February 2017. We are the Monsignor George A MacDonald Council, named after a renowned physics professor at St. Dunstan's University, in Charlottetown who was well known for his community activism and leadership. Four of our founding members are still actively involved in our Council.
Last October we were honoured to receive a 4 Star Award for a 475% increase in membership and our growth in community service ventures. We were one of only 5 Councils across Canada and the United States to receive such a distinction. Check out our link to K of C Cornwall Summary of Activities for 2015-16.
In the last two years we have grown from 53 to 82 members. Currently 25% of our members are in their 30's and 40's and the vast majority of them are actively involved with our senior members in the many projects we undertake to help out people in need.
Our Council believes that teamwork is the fuel that allows ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results. We work in true collaboration to serve our communities in many ways and we are especially proud of our growth in family oriented activities and our engagement with children and youth. For example at our annual State Convention which we hosted last April we hired 10 youth from our Good Shepherd Pastoral Unit to serve the luncheon and the closing banquet.
Our executive team for 2016-17 includes:
Chaplain Fr. John Molina
Grand Knight Paul Roberts
Deputy Grand Knight Don MacDonald
Chancellor Dana Dennis
Lecturer Arthur Mahar
Recorder Ray Gaudet
Treasurer Arquel Lizama
Financial Secretary David Murphy
Warden Darrell Evans
Advocate Peter Murphy
1 Year Trustee Trevor MacKinnon
2 Year Trustee Wally Kowalchuk
3 Yr Trustee Bruce Hillstron
Inside Guard Charlie MacDonald
Outside Guard Mark MacDougall
Our meeting times
We meet the first Thursday of the month in our Parish Hall at St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church. On average 25-30 members take part in our meetings and visiting Knights are always welcomed. All meetings are followed by a social hour with treats donated by volunteer members. Monthly meetings are usually preceded by an Executive Meeting on the previous the Tuesday evening. We continue to be active and proactive throughout the summer through fund raising initiatives such as barbecues in our local shopping plaza and building garden benches for sale. We also host a family fun day in August which brings a large turnout of members, spouses and partners, children and grandchildren.
Check out our K of C Cornwall Summary of Activities for 2015-16 and also our Calendar of Events for 2016-17 for a snapshot of who we are and what we do.
Basil Favaro, Grand Knight
902 569 8826
firstname.lastname@example.orgPlease insert your text here.
K of C Cornwall Council #10808 2016/17
Calendar of Events
Date Event Location & Time
Sun Aug 13 Annual Family Picnic McKinley Park Cornwall
Msgr. George A MacDonald Council #10808
St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anne’s, St. Martin’s Parishes
Summary of Activities for 2016-17
Church Service / Leadership
Our parochial services in the Good Shepherd Pastoral Unit expanded in 9 areas this past year. These included lectoring (140 volunteer hours) recorded by 6 Knights, including our Chancellor who with his wife co-coordinates the lector schedule; singing, involving 12 Knights in 4 choirs (460 hours) at three weekend and funeral Masses; collections taken up by 8 Knights (60 hours); greeting and ushering by10 Knights (175 hours); altar service, including coordination by one of our Trustees and his wife (60 hours); Eucharistic ministries involving 8 Knights, (60 hrs); funeral direction services with 4 Knights (165 hrs); and parking at Christmas, Easter and funeral Masses by 10 Knights (140 hrs).
Council members also served on key pastoral committees including Parish Council and Property and Finance (80 hours), which is headed by one of our newest members. Four Knights assisted with the rearranging of our Parish Secretary’s office in the Fall (15 hours). In addition to 15 hours weekly from home, our Grand Knight spent on average 10 hours each week (490 hours) in our new Council office, including meetings with the pastoral team – Pastor, Associate Pastor, Pastoral Associate, Parish Secretary and Custodians. Our Council gave them Christmas gifts again this year as an expression of gratitude for all they do for and with Council members and their families.
Thanks to the initiative and creativity of Lecturer Arthur Mahar, a Keep Christ in Christmas sign was built and erected on the highway entrance of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, representing at 35 hours of donated time, and achieving a very positive response from the local community. Early in the new year our Grand Knight made a recruitment pitch at a Sunday morning Mass at St. Anne’s, Emyvale and three Knights were present for the following Sunday Mass to sign up new members (15 hours). Our goal for the coming year is to have a more visible presence throughout our Pastoral Unit.
And last but not least, countless hours are spent by our Pastor, Father Bob Coady, and Associate Pastor, Father Dovari Joseph, in multiple pastoral services throughout our Good Shepherd Unit. We are blessed to have two priests who are such inspirational and valued members in our Council.
Total Council contribution of 1760 hours to Church life
Community services soared again last year with over 300 meals prepared and served by 12 members on 3 weekends at the Upper Room Hospitality Ministry in Charlottetown (150 hrs). In addition we increased our funding to three Upper Room Angels this year. Our Mikinduri Children of Hope Foundation partnership project, which was launched three years ago through our Council, grew in both volunteer effort and parishioner support this year, providing over 14,000 nutritious meals to the children in Eastern Province, Kenya. A larger collection box served us well for holding clothing, footwear, books and small appliances dropped off regularly by parishioners and visitors. Their donations are taken bi-weekly by our Lecturer to Superior Sanitation Services, the new drop-off site in a new collaboration with the Canadian Diabetic Association.
A celebratory dinner evening last May to commemorate Charter Night and a Fall Harvest theme dinner in November were two big social events, with the latter adding $600.00 to our savings account. We also hosted the mid-year State Executive meeting in January. Partnerships with two local businesses – PEI Baked Potato and Mary’s bakery – were keys to the financial success of these ventures.
A long standing partnership with Leary’s Independent Grocery and more recently with Cornwall Pharmasave, were significant factors in our successful community fund raising again this year. Don Leary and two of his staff and their wives were special guests at our Fall Harvest dinner as an expression of gratitude for all they do for us. A full pancake breakfast/brunch with two sittings after both Sunday morning Masses brought in a record 150 parishioners in February. All of these events played a key role in community spirit building in our Pastoral Unit.
Wreath laying at two Veterans’ Memorial services in Cornwall in September and in Hartsville in November and one our most successful Christmas tree sales on record, involving 22 members and 440 volunteer hours, were also recorded this year. Over $2000.00 were added to our account for ongoing charities from the Christmas sales drive. Five Knights anchored our annual Community Christmas Food Basket Project for 55 families in December. In addition an autographed Connor McDavid Jersey ticket draw proved to be one of our most successful fundraisers in the history of the Council.
We also provided regular transportation and assistance to meet the needs of elderly parishioners that involved 120 volunteer hours. In addition we assisted a woman on
long term disability by preparing and delivering a Thanksgiving dinner to her apartment.
Finally, in partnership with the Town of Cornwall, our meetings are now promoted electronically on a main highway billboard for visiting Knights to our community.
Our Council grew by 11 new members since our last report, thanks in part to an inspirational invited presentation by Kyle MacNeil, Grand Knight from Kensington Council, at three weekend Masses during our October recruitment drive. Regular monthly meetings recorded an average of 28 members, representing 560 hours, and strong turnouts representing 140 hours were evident at our monthly Executive meetings. Our dinner evenings in November and May were well supported and resulted in record financial contributions to our Service Projects.
We officially formed our own Admission Degree Team of 12 Knights in October and conducted a First Degree ceremony with 5 newcomer Knights from three Councils in early February. As second Admission degree was conducted in early April with candidates from three Councils in our District #5.
Our Grand Knight won the Top Recruiting Award at the State Convention again this year. Once again, this award was humbly accepted as, in actual fact, it represented a collective team recruitment effort on the part of many Council members. Our Associate Pastor, Father Dovari, won the State Chaplain of the Year Award, which made us very proud. Our Council Knight of the Year Award in June went to Peter Embelton, one of our most senior and dedicated Council members.
In September, Brian Zalewski took on the role of Program Director with a significant role in Executive decision making. He took the lead in designing and implementing a survey to all members in February, as a critical step toward a decentralized approach to Council decision making and service, to be implemented in July 2017.
Family-Centred Projects and Special Events
Promoting and nurturing Christian family values continued to be a dedicated focus this year. A special Holy Hour for families in October was facilitated by our Pastor Father Bob Coady. It lead into a Mass with the travelling icon on our altar at St. Francis of Assisi and concluded with a social hour in the Parish Hall. Over 45 parishioners including 15 pre-school children took part.
A team of 18 Knights hosted a parish barbecue to open our Catechetical Program in September and served over 400 students and their families. We also provided a
van for 9 altar servers and the program coordinators to enjoy a fun afternoon with lunch at the trampoline centre in Summerside in January.
Our Grand Knight and his wife hosted our second Summer Family Fun Day in August which was a huge success and we have made plans for a similar event this coming summer. Our Lecturer organized another family sleigh ride by popular demand this past winter. In December, our Council donated $500.00 to a worthy fundraiser for a Brother Knight and his family.
Our Family of the Year Award at our closing meeting in June went to Trevor and Debbie MacKinnon and their children. Trevor served a second year as Trustee and he and his wife teach in our Catechetical Program, coordinate our altar server program and made significant contributions to the success of many K of C and CWL events this past year. They included a celebratory evening commemorating the 10th anniversary of the arrival of refugees from Bhutan to PEI, in which our Good Shepherd Pastoral Unit, including several Knights, played a significant role.
Culture of Life Activities
Our Chancellor and his family maintained our Memorial Garden to the Unborn Children throughout the summer at the front of St. Francis of Assisi Church. Annual donations of $150.00 each were made to Right to Life and Birthright Associations and participation by Council members in pro-life advocacy included marches on-Island and in Washington. Two Executive members continued to serve as Directors on Birthright and on key standing committees, including advertising and fundraising. Together they devoted 75 hours to Birthright this year, for a total of 170 hours by Council members promoting Culture of Life.
Last Fall, we launched two new initiatives with children and youth that had memorable results. We took part for the first time in Coats for Kids in partnership with counsellors from the Bluefield Family of Schools, including one of our newest members Mike Sirois, and our local CWL Council. This project provided 48 new winter jackets to children and youth ages 4 –18 throughout area and the feedback we received was extremely positive. We also expanded our Keep Christ in Christmas Poster Design Challenge this year and awarded 9 young people ages 5-14 with monetary prizes for their creative designs. We plan to expand both of these projects this year and would highly recommend them to other Councils for their immediate high impacts throughout our communities.
We continued our commitment to working directly with youth at the junior and senior high levels throughout the year. A team of 8 youth were hired again this
year to serve at our Charter Night Dinner in May. Six young people assisted in setting up, serving, and closing the breakfast/brunch in February. We hosted 9 barbecues at the Cornwall Plaza between May and October, including three during the summer. This provided a significant source of fundraising for participation at the Steubenville Leadership Convention in Nova Scotia in July by three youth delegates from our Pastoral Unit. With these funds, we also presented in September four $250.00 bursaries to high school students pursuing post-secondary studies, a significant increase from one bursary which we traditionally awarded in the past.
Five Knights worked last June with a team of 16 children and youth on an evening spring clean-up of Church grounds as part of their community service requirements in the Catechetical Program. We also contributed $400.00 toward supporting four university students in the Catholic Christian Outreach Project to attend the 2016 World Youth Pilgrimage from Austria to Krakow, Poland last summer. They will make a presentation at our closing meeting in June.
For Special Olympics, one of our trustees contributed significantly (40 hours) this past year, through attendance at monthly meetings, participation in truck convoy and polar plunge projects, meet and greet and sporting events for athletes, and send-offs for athletes travelling off-Island for their competitions. One of our newest recruits works up to 14 hours weekly transferring people with disabilities from beds to wheelchairs and helping others with canes and walkers. Another trustee donated Pharmasave gift baskets for the auction for the annual Enriching Lives Gala Fundraising Dinner for Special Olympics.
Our Council also sponsored the Grand Knight and Lecturer to sit Knights of PEI corporate table at the Special Olympics Dinner. We plan to renew this commitment to attend this year’s upcoming gala. In June, our Council will be partnering with the PEI Council for People with Disabilities to co-host the only PEI performance of the Canadian Celtic Choir to be held at St. Francis of Assisi Church on June 25th. Through this we hope to make a significant financial contribution to their Summer Tutoring Program.
Our Council continued to experience strong membership growth this past year, with 5 new members since October, including 3 transfers. We are currently standing at 87 members, up by 34 members (70%) since September 2014. We are especially proud of our service record this year, which saw a record-breaking 3514 volunteer hours documented in our annual Fraternal Activity Report. This
culminated in our second consecutive Star Award from Supreme in January, as a result of a 160% membership increase and our growth in all six service areas.
Our current Executive with 5 new members, including 4 who became Knights within in the last three years, has already begun setting new goals for even more charitable community and church service in 2017-18. Next year is a big transition year, as 6 Executive positions will be replaced in mid-May, including Grand Knight and Deputy. Already there are healthy signs of at least 3 newcomers stepping up to Executive service.
In closing, we continue to reap the benefits of many newcomer Knights attending meetings regularly and taking seriously their responsibility for recruiting new members. This we feel is one of the best indicators of a healthy Council with a strong, sustainable future ahead.
Submitted respectfully by
Brian Zalewski, Program Director