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
email@example.comPlease insert your text here.
Msgr. George A. MacDonald K of C Council #10808
St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anne’s, St. Martin’s Parishes
Good Shepherd Pastoral Unit, Diocese of PEI
Summary of Activities for 2017-18
Church Service and Leadership
Our K of C Council’s parochial services in the Good Shepherd Pastoral Unit continued to be very strong in all 9 areas this past year. These included reading ministry, with 8 members serving regularly as lectors; music ministries, involving 10 Knights singing in 4 choirs for Masses and two members on guitar solos and accompaniments in 3 choirs including our Knights To Remember Chorus formed last year; Mass service ministries including Eucharistic ministry by 7 Knights, collections by 8 Knights, and greeting and ushering by 8 Knights. We also have 4 Knights involved in Funeral Mass direction and facilitation. Each year for Christmas and Easter services, we have 10 dedicated members directing overflow parking at St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church.
Council members served in a number of key Church leadership roles this past year, including one Knight who heads St. Francis of Assisi Parish Property and Finance Committee. Also our Chancellor and his wife coordinate the lector schedule for the Parish, and our past Grand Knight directs the Knights Chorus, along with several funeral choir services. In addition, our new Grand Knight and past Grand Knight volunteer time working with our Pastoral Team. In February we formed a St. Vincent de Paul Conference at St. Francis of Assisi Parish and Knights have taken on four of the five executive positions in this important new organization serving people in our local communities who are poor and marginalized.
A significant new Council initiative this year has been the creation and distribution of a Baptism Gift Package to help couples to welcome their newborn children into a faith-based environment that promotes Catholic beliefs and values. The kit, which is now given to parents of each child at Baptism in our Pastoral Unit includes a welcome letter from our Grand Knight, a children’s book I Know Jesus Loves Me, a rosary for parents and four K of C publications including Prayer Time, Baptism and Confirmation, Becoming a Real Man of God, and The Family in the Modern World. We are especially proud of this significant initiative.
Our Keep Christ in Christmas sign, which was built and erected last year on the highway entrance of St. Francis of Assisi Church, drew widespread praise and attention again this year after being blessed by our Pastor in a special ceremony in December. We also expanded our Keep Christ in Christmas Poster Challenge this year and this is reported later in the report under Youth Service.
Our Knights to Remember Chorus performed the music liturgy for four special Masses this past year including the Third Sunday of Easter last April, a special Mass on June 25th to welcome the visiting Canadian Celtic Choir on their Maritime tour, the First Sunday of Advent at St. Anne’s in Emyvale, and the Christmas Morning Mass at St. Francis of Assisi. Three members of our K of C Chorus performed with the Canadian Celtic Choir in their special evening concert in our Church.
Our Council donated $500 to the Foreign Mission Fund in support of training for new seminarians. And, last but not least, there were the countless hours spent by our new Pastor and Chaplain, Father John Molina, and Associate Pastor, Father George Palamattam in multiple pastoral services throughout our Good Shepherd Unit. We are blessed to have Father John as our Chaplain and also thankful to have Father George in our Council and actively promoting our projects. As a thank you to our Pastoral Team of 6, we presented Christmas gift packages to them and recently made a donation of $500 to the Parish as a thank you for all the support we received this year.
In total, our Council contributed almost 1600 volunteer hours to Church life in the Good Shepherd Pastoral Unit this year. This included Lectoring (220 hours), Music Ministries (550 hours), Mass Collections (110 hours), Greeting and Ushering (130 hours), Eucharistic Ministers (100 hours), Funeral Direction Services (110 hours), Parking Services (200 hours), and Committee Leadership Roles (170 hours).
Charitable community service contributions soared again this year. One of our most successful projects before Christmas was our donation of 60 new winter jackets and pants with all accessories including winter boots, gloves and toques to children in need in our local primary and elementary schools. Thanks to our partnership with the CWL, and the remarkable leadership of Cindy Wood, guidance counsellor in Westwood and Eliot River Schools, our Coats for Kids Project helped many families and also brought huge PR benefits across the communities served by our Council.
Another community event that we were delighted to have initiated this year was the first performance of our Knights to Remember Chorus at Andrew’s Senior Care Home in Charlottetown. This brought together a group of 50 residents, among them our most senior Council member, for a fun evening of singalongs to Celtic folk songs, Mitch Miller memories and Christmas selections. Based on the enthusiastic response from the residents and staff coordinator, we plan to offer another evening program in May and again next Fall to launch the Advent season.
We continued our contributions to the Upper Room Hospitality Program in Charlottetown with over 200 meals prepared and served by 12 members in Charlottetown. Several Knights who are also Franciscans also took active roles in the Upper Room Ministry. In addition we maintained increased funding for three Upper Room Angels this year.
Our Mikinduri Children of Hope Foundation partnership project with the Canadian Diabetic Association, which was launched originally through Value Village four years ago through our Council, sustained itself through both strong volunteer effort and parishioner support this year, providing an estimated 15,000 nutritious meals to school children in Eastern Province, Kenya. A larger collection box installed two years ago continues to serve well for holding clothing, footwear, books and small appliances dropped off regularly by parishioners and visitors. Just this past week we delivered another 200 kg of clothing to the drop-off station, which effectively will translate into 600 more school meals for the children of Mikinduri.
Long-standing partnerships with two local businesses –Don Leary’s Independent Grocery and Wally and Nancy Kowalchuk’s Pharmasave in the Cornwall Plaza –continued to be significant factors in our successful community summer barbecue fund raising ventures again this year. Six pancake breakfast/brunches offered after Sunday morning Masses brought in record parishioner good will offerings for our various service projects. These events also played a key role in building community spirit in our Pastoral Unit. Another tradition, now in its 20th year, is our Christmas tree sales drive, also in partnership with the Independent Grocery, which this year was one of the most successful on record. In total, 22 members were involved in selling and delivering the trees, recording a total of 440 volunteer hours which resulted in $2200 raised through a huge Council team effort. Five families in need received free Christmas trees again this year.
Wreath laying at two Veterans’ Memorial services in September and November continued a long standing tradition of support for our veterans. Our annual Community Christmas Food Basket Project sponsored by St. Francis of Assisi Parish involved 5 Knights as anchors this year. In total 55 families in our local communities received all their meals on Christmas Day along with some surprise treats. Two Knights also assisted in setting up a free shop filled with new and slightly used clothing, toys and children’s books, all donated by parishioners and friends, and another Knight and his wife gave significant donations from their Pharmacy to help out families in need at Christmas time.
Our most successful fundraising venture this past year was an entirely new project. In June we hosted the Canadian Celtic Choir based in London on their Maritime tour that ended with an evening concert in our parish church that raised over $6500. A dinner was provided to all 27 choir members in return for their donation of time and talents. What made this project especially significant was our first-time partnering with the PEI Council of People with Disabilities. With concert profits we were able to donate $1500 to the PEICOD Summer Tutoring Program. As a Council we are especially proud of this new community partnership and the direct tangible benefits to children with disabilities across the Island.
On a one-to-one level, we assisted a woman on long term disability by preparing and delivering a Thanksgiving dinner and contributed to several overdue power bill payments for community members in need. We also provided regular transportation and assistance to meet the needs of elderly parishioners. This involved 120 volunteer hours.
Finally, in partnership with the Town of Cornwall and the provincial government, we erected three notice signs on the highway entrances to Cornwall advertising our monthly meetings. We are especially grateful to our Provincial K of C Executive for their leadership in getting this project off the ground and to GK Jeff Sampson and his crew for making it all happen.
Our Council grew by 5 members since our last report, two transfers and three new recruits, thanks in large part to three Council members who made excellent recruitment pitches at St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anne’s Parishes last Fall. They included our Deputy Grand Knight, one of our youngest members, and one of our most recent recruits. Regular monthly meetings recorded an average of 24 members, representing 560 hours, and strong turnouts representing 140 hours were evident at our monthly Executive meetings. Our social evenings in November and May were well supported and resulted in record financial contributions to our Community Service Projects.
Our own First Degree Team which was formed a year ago October conducted two first degree installations this year. They were well attended by Knights from four Councils in addition to strong showings of support for our newest members from our own Council.
Our Council maintained a proactive social calendar this year, which we found once again to be key to a dedicated and active membership. Two celebratory social events –a dinner in May and a wine tasting combined with a rock n’ roll dance in November–were well attended and added $1000 to our savings account for our charities. We also hosted the mid-year Provincial K of C Meeting in January that included a hot lunch prepared and served by our kitchen crew. .
Our past Grand Knight was honoured to win the Knight of the Year Award at the Provincial Convention last year. This award was humbly accepted, with gratitude to his Council for its amazing teamwork and support.
Our Council sponsored a new project that was a huge success. This was a Couples Getaway Program at Our Lady of Hope Retreat Centre in Stanley Bridge in February. While not limited to KofC members, this was a sellout event with 28 couples, among them 18 Knights and their wives representing from districts. With summative evaluation ratings of 9.1 to 9.9 on all 12 components of the program, this event by popular demand has been booked again for next February 1-2, 2019.
Promoting and nurturing Christian family values continued to be a dedicated focus this year. A team of 14 Knights hosted a fall barbecue to open our parish Catechetical Program and served over 400 students and their families. A similar event took place in April to close out the catechetical year.
Two of our members hosted our third annual Summer Family Fun Day in August which was a huge success with over 50 Knights and their families in attendance. Our Deputy Grand Knight and one of our Trustees organized another Family Sleigh Ride in February by popular demand to celebrate Islander Day. Our special guests for this event were a single Mom and her son aged 6, who were both very grateful to have been invited.
Our Council was honoured this year when our past Warden Andrew Burt and his wife Priscilla and their three children won the Family of the Year Award at last year’s Provincial Convention.
Culture of Life Activities
Our Council Chancellor and his family continued to maintain our Memorial Garden to Unborn Children at the entrance of the St. Francis of Assisi Church. Annual donations of $150 each were made to the Right to Life and Birthright Associations. 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. We also donated $500 to enable a group of students to travel by bus to Ottawa for a Right to Life march on Parliament Hill.
Children and Youth Service
This past year we continued with two new initiatives introduced the previous year, which had even more memorable, community impacting results. We took part for the second year in the K of C Supreme-initiated Coats for Kids Project in partnership with counsellors from the Bluefield Family of Schools, and in collaboration and our local CWL at St. Francis of Assisi. This project provided 60 new winter jackets and skipants to children and youth from ages 4 –18 throughout area and the feedback we received was extremely positive. Our donations included this year for the first time winter boots, toques, scarves and mittens to compliment the outfits.
Our donations to specific causes on behalf of children and youth continued this year. We provided $300 in funds to enable an 8 year old primary student whose Dad was killed tragically in an automobile accident to take an equestrian therapy program last summer. As reported earlier, we contributed $500 to our Field Agent’s initiative to take a group of students to Ontario for a Right to Life march. We also continued our bursary program this year with $250 post-secondary bursaries awarded to each of four applicants whose Dads are in our Council.
We also expanded our Keep Christ in Christmas Poster Design Challenge this year and awarded 9 children between 5 and 14 years of age with monetary prizes for their creative designs. Thanks to the initiative of our Council, this project was expanded to a provincial competition this year in collaboration with Kensington Council inHoly Family Parish. The mid-year Provincial Meeting in January which we hosted provided an opportunity for the Provincial Executive along with Grand Knights and Deputies from across the Island to vote on the winning entries. At the time of this report, for the first time in the history of the Knights of PEI, seven award winning posters from two K of C Councils are now in the hands of the Selection Committee in New Haven for the International Competition later this month. It is our hope that this project will enjoy even more widespread support in Councils across PEI next year.
We hosted 5 barbecues at the Cornwall Plaza between May and October, including three during the summer. This provided significant 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.
Our Council actively participated in a Basketball Free Throw competition organized by two of our members of our Council. In total, 21 children and youth aged 10-14 took part, 16 boys and 5 girls. Two Council members worked in collaboration with the Eliot River School Physical Education teacher to make this happen. The winners participated in a provincial competition hosted Kensington Council in mid-March.
Again this year we worked with a group of 16 children and youth on a morning spring clean-up of Church grounds as part of their community service project in the catechetical program.
For Special Olympics, our Deputy Grand Knight contributed significantly (45 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. In addition, 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. One of our trustees donated pharmaceutical items for gift baskets for the Enriching Lives Gala Fundraising Auction for Special Olympics. Our Council also sponsored the Grand Knight and Lecturer to this event at the Knights of PEI corporate table. We plan to renew this commitment this June.
Four Knights from our Council volunteered 12 hours to help with the Special Olympics Annual Bowling tournament and one represented us at the final awards ceremony.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, 175 children with disabilities benefited from our donation of $1500 toward the Summer Tutoring Program of the Prince Edward Island Council for People with Disabilities. This proved to be a very fulfilling partnership with lots of future possibilities.
Still beaming on the heels of two consecutive Star Awards (an historic Four Star award in 2015 and another Star in 2016) and one new member shy of reaching our Star quota last year, K of C Council #10808 continues to be one of the most vibrant, proactive and innovative Councils in Atlantic Canada. We are currently standing at 93 members, up by 40 members in the last four years. We are especially proud of our service record, which saw a record-breaking 5121 volunteer hours documented in our annual Fraternal Activity Report submitted on February 1.
Our current Executive, which includes 5 members who joined the Knights within the past 5 years, has already begun setting new membership targets for the end of June and even more charitable community service projects in collaboration with the CWL and St. Vincent de Paul in 2018-19.
In closing, we continue to reap the benefits of many of our newcomer Knights attending meetings regularly, playing active roles in our fund-raising and community service ventures, and showing real leadership in many Council activities, including recruitment. This we feel is one of the best indicators of healthy, sustainable growth as a Council.
Paul Roberts, Grand Knight