Submitted by St. Mary of Huntley Knights of Columbus
The St. Mary of Huntley Knights of Columbus Council 11666 sponsored a Special Columbus Day Mass on Oct. 8 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley. This Mass honored the patron of the Knights of Columbus, Christopher Columbus and celebrated the first gathering of Catholic men 132 years ago on Oct. 2, 1881 by Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, who at the time was the pastor of St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Conn., to propose establishing a lay organization of Catholic men, known today as the Knights of Columbus.
At the time of the order's founding, Venerable Father McGivney proposed establishing a lay organization to unite men of Catholic faith and to provide for the families of deceased members. Writing in the Columbiad in 1889, and before being elected Supreme Knight, Edward L. Hearn stated the members of the Knights of Columbus were to live according to the virtues of loyalty, charity, courtesy and modesty as well as "self-denial and careful respect for the feelings of others." Fraternity and patriotism were added to the founding principles of charity and unity in 1885 and 1900.
As a symbol that allegiance to their country did not conflict with allegiance to their faith, the organization's members took as their patron Christopher Columbus -- recognized as a Catholic and celebrated as discover of America. Thanks to McGivney's persistence, the Knights of Columbus elected officers in February 1882 and officially assumed corporate status on March 29, 1882.
The St. Mary's Council invited brother knights and their families from the neighboring area as well as others interested in joining in this celebration honoring the heritage of the Knights of Columbus.
The members of the council feel the legitimacy of Captain Christopher Columbus and of the church are being called into question and it is now more important than ever to honor the heritage. The Rev. Scott DuVall was the celebrant and during his homily recognized the many charitable activities of the Knights of Columbus, especially in support of seminarians. Sir Knight Don Moore delivered a history of the Knights of Columbus at the conclusion of the Mass, showing the growth of the order since its founding by Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney 132 years ago.
Today, living the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism, the Knights of Columbus is an international Catholic family fraternal service organization with nearly 1.8 million members in over 13,000 local councils. Last year, Knights donated 69 million volunteer hours and $151 million in charitable and benevolent causes, sponsoring projects to benefit their church, councils, communities, families and youth.