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Archives K of C Council celebrates 120 years

Sept. 20, 2017

By Shawn Ryan
Staff writer

Plattsburgh -  In 1882 in New Haven, Connecticut, a group of Catholic men led by an unassuming Irish priest K of C 120 yearsformed a secretive society dedicated to bringing help to Catholic widows and orphans in that working class, immigrant city.

In an era when information and ideas passed no faster than a horse’s trot, a council of that fraternal order was founded in Plattsburgh a scant 15 years later.

In early August,  the Knights of the Msgr. Morris L. Dwyer Council 255 gathered to celebrate 120 years of the charitable works the council has performed over the years, and continues to perform today.

Addressing a packed Emmaus Room at St. Peter’s Church - which included Bishop Terry LaValley, five past Grand Knights of Council 255, council chaplain Father Timothy Canaan as well as numerous Knights and their families - Advocate David Clark focused his attention not on the past but on the present works of the Plattsburgh council.
In the calendar year 2016 alone, Clark said, Council 255 donated nearly $100,000 to churches and charitable causes in and around the Plattsburgh area.

He then introduced the Knight of the Year Kevin Goddeau who, Clark said, is the lynchpin in the bingo operation, and it’s bingo which allows the Knights to do what Past Grand Knight Randy Smith described as the yeomen’s work that they do.

Obviously surprised by the honor, Goddeau said, “We’ve got a great crew that works very well together, and we’re able to achieve some great goals together.”

Bishop LaValley took the occasion to thank the men of Council 255 for continuing to represent the 120 years of service to faith, charity, unity and fraternity that the Knights of Columbus stand for.

“I just think it’s a great day to celebrate,” the bishop said, “On the Feast of the Transfiguration, we hear ‘listen to him’. For the past 120 years these Knights have done more than just listen. They have acted on what they’ve heard. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Council Lecturer Steven Forgette, a stalwart of the Council for as long as those assembled can remember, took to the microphone to sum up what the Order means to him, and to those Knights who have gone before him in the past 120 years:

His message follows:
Our Honored Order of The Knights of Columbus is a mystery and an enigma to many people.  Some people find our exclusive membership to be kind of pompous and elitist.  However, if they are honest, they cannot deny the great comfort and consolation that our order brings to those who are in need, through our heroic acts of charity.  This year alone over $177 million and over 75 million volunteer hours were donated to many worthy charitable causes.

Our order, like our beloved Holy Roman Catholic Church cannot be understood from the outside.  It can only be truly experienced from the inside.  For those who observe us through the critical lens of an outsider, is to miss the character and the true spirit of our order's motive and foundation. 

There are some dangers in belonging to an order such as ours.  We can be tempted to thoughts of 'self-Importance.'  As Knights, we must guard against these temptations by protecting our souls with 'The Armor of Faith & Humility.'  Please, let us reflect on this for just a few moments:

As Roman Catholic Knights, our 'nobility' does not depend on an accident of birth – but on how we choose to live our lives every single day.  It is the grace and promises of our Baptism, which makes us 'children of God and co-heirs with Jesus Christ.'

Down through the centuries, there have always been Knights.  As Knights of the 21st Century, our vocation is to serve.  So, we humbly serve to bring glory and honor to our King.  We also 'serve' in order to ennoble our own souls through the practice of 'Heroic & Knightly Virtues.'

In closing, I would like to end with these 'two great truths' that my mentors taught me, when I first started my 'Quest for Knighthood,' so many years ago.  They are what I call 'the heart and  soul of Catholic Knighthood: 1. for God and  neighbor – we live and serve, and 2, by our 'deeds' shall our Knighthood be known.

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