Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 26, 2007
K of C give window to honour founder
Stained glass window depicting Fr. McGivney installed at St. Andrew
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Grand knight of Council 1184 Joe Smith stands in front of the Fr. McGivney window.
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
One day in 1881, Father Michael McGivney, only 29 at the time, brought together a small group of Catholic men in the basement of St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Conn.
During this meeting, he told them of his bold plan to form an organization that would provide a fraternal bond for his Catholic men and offer assistance for widows and orphans of deceased members of the parish. At that time when male breadwinners died prematurely, their families were left destitute and they would often turn to their parish priest for help, noted Joe Smith, grand knight of Knights of Columbus Council 1184 of Edmonton.
Many meetings and much discussion followed. Finally, on March 29, 1882, the State of Connecticut granted a charter to the Knights of Columbus.
"Soon the organization started an insurance program that would provide for widows and families of deceased members," Smith said. "And today the Knights of Columbus insurance program is very good; they have lots of revenue to pay out insurance policies to the (families of) members that do die."
Over the years, McGivney's vision has been further enhanced for the greater benefit of members, their families and the citizens at large by the availability of numerous spiritual, social and financial programs.
The order grew slowly at first. In 1886, the Knights of Columbus had 2,500 members in 38 councils - all in Connecticut, except for one in Rhode Island. When McGivney died from tuberculosis at age 38 in 1890 there were 5,000 Knights in 57 councils.
Largest in the world
The Knights now have over 1.7 million members in more than 1,300 councils around the globe and is regarded as the largest men's organization in the world. Statistics show that during the 2004-2005 fraternal year $134 million and 68 million man-hours were donated to charity by the order.
As a tribute to their founder, members of the Knights of Columbus Council 1184, Alberta's first council, have dedicated a large stained glass window to McGivney at St. Andrew's Church, 12810-111Ave.
"We are very excited about this," Smith said before the blessing. "Father McGivney did a wonderful thing by making sure that the widows and families were provided for when the breadwinner, so to speak, passed on."
On Nov. 20, following a memorial Mass to complete the council's 100th anniversary, Father Vic Perron, St. Andrew's pastor and the council's chaplain, blessed the eight-by-two-foot window depicting McGivney - the 17th of 20 stained glass windows being installed by Winter Art Glass Studio.
McGivney joins the likes of St. Jude, St. Joseph, St. Francis and Mother Teresa at St. Andrew's Church. Stained glass windows of Our Lady of Good Counsel and Pope John Paul II will be installed in the near future.
The top and the bottom parts of McGivney's window have been dedicated to deceased members of the Edmonton council 1184, which includes Msgr. Allen Reynolds, the council's oldest living member until his death at age 95 on Oct. 30.
It cost the Knights nearly $16,000 to have McGivney's window made. The money came from investments the council made following the sale of its original building in downtown Edmonton a few years ago, Smith explained.
The Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes is currently considering McGivney's cause for canonization.