March 31, 2010 > Knights of Columbus Month
Knights of Columbus Month
By Shavon Walker
Photos By courtesy of Frank Lavadia
Union City's Mayor Mark Green designated March as "Knights of Columbus Month" on March 23. The Knights of Columbus Union City St. Anne's Council #8627, founded by Roger de la Cruz Narciso and chartered on March 29, 1984, received the proclamation.
Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGiveney, an Irish-American Catholic priest who wanted to promote faith, fellowship and philanthropy. The organization was named after Christopher Columbus, a role model for the American Catholic population. Father McGiveney also hoped that naming the organization after Columbus would help bridge the gap between Irish Catholics and American Catholics of other ethnicities. The organization has grown to more than 12,000 members in a variety of countries, including Canada, the Philippines, Guatemala, Guam and Saipan.
The order's original work was to provide insurance to widows and orphans so that if the primary earner died, they would be able to survive. As a result, a widow could receive as much as $1,000 upon the death of a member. A Sick Benefit Deposit, designed for members, who were too sick to work, was also created. This allowed ill members to draw $5 a week ($125.75 in today's dollars) for 13 weeks. If he were ill for more than 13 weeks, his local council would determine what he should receive in additional payments.
The Knights of Columbus have participated in many philanthropic endeavors, such as Special Olympics, The Wheelchair Foundation, and blood drives. They have donated over $1.1 billion to various charities over the past ten years and have family and youth programs focusing on education, sports, drug awareness and guidance for young Catholics through the Catholic Youth Organization.