For over 140 years, the Knights of Columbus have performed valuable service and provided essential assistance to those in need. Established in 1882 in New Haven, Conn., Fr. Michael McGivney began the organization to carry out the mission of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism. There are now Knights councils across the world, serving in various capacities in their own communities and parishes.
Here in our community, we are blessed to have two active councils that give in many different ways. Council No. 4863 covers St. Paul and Our Lady of the Angels in Sauk Centre, and St. Alexius Mission in West Union. Council No. 13284 covers St. Francis de Sales in Belgrade, St. Donatus Mission in Brooten, and Sts. Peter and Paul in Elrosa. Both councils serve their respective communities through various events, fundraisers, and activities throughout the year.
Mike Mastey serves as financial secretary for Council No. 13284, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this past year. A member of the Knights since he was 18, Mike witnessed his own father’s participation in the Knights. Mike has been a member of this particular council since the beginning.
“It’s a way for the men in the parish to not only celebrate your faith but also to work together as a group and give back,” he says. “We help take care of people in the community and grow together as a group of men within the parish, and it spreads back to families and communities.”
From the Knights’ founding principles of charity, unity, and fraternity come its tenets of faith, family, community, and life — from these, all of their activities flow. The Knights fundraise and serve to give right back to the community. Council No. 13284 facilitates several annual events and fundraisers, from fish frys during Lent, to the youth essay contest, supplying Bibles for religious education classes, and much more.
“Our whole goal is we take the money we raised and try to give that back — how we can use it within our church communities or school,” Mike says.
While they are primarily dedicated to giving back, the Knights themselves also receive the benefit of fellowship with like-minded Catholic men in the community.
“I just enjoy being out and about with my brother Knights,” says Dennis Boeckers, financial secretary for council No. 4863.
Dennis joined the Knights in 1986. Upon moving to Sauk Centre from St. Cloud, he jumped right in as a member in 2000. The Sauk Centre council has been around for more than 70 years.
“I wanted to get more involved with men in the parish and other parishes as well,” he says. “It was a great opportunity for me to do that. I joined and I’ve been active ever since I joined.”
The Sauk Centre council serves in numerous capacities throughout the year. The members raise funds for our school, collect coats for kids in need, host a family picnic in the summer, set up a nativity scene for Christmas, provide rosaries for First Communion students, and much more.
“I ask every Catholic male, especially if they have families, to look into the Knights of Columbus and the wonderful opportunity for not just themselves, but their families,” Dennis says.
Both councils do important work for our parish communities and are open to new members. Council No. 13284 meets on the third Monday of each month at 8 p.m. in the Parish Center in Belgrade. Council No. 4863 meets every second Tuesday at St. Paul’s Church at 6:30 p.m. to pray the Rosary at 7 p.m. for their meeting.
Any men interested in joining the Knights of Columbus can visit www.kofc.org to learn more or to register.