In 1882, Father Michael J. McGivney invited a small group of parishioners to gather in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut. His goal was simple—to establish an Order that would unite men in their faith as well as help provide for Catholic families in times of need. It was in that humblest of beginnings that the Knights of Columbus was founded. Guided by four core principles—charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism.
These founding members strove to overcome the hardships of the time; poverty, unemployment, and even persecution. Father Michael J. McGivney’s perseverance and foresight have resulted in the largest Catholic fraternal and humanitarian organization ever created. Knight is an organization that has endured for well over a century because of the inspirational courage of so many.
We are an organization of dedicated individuals—1.6 million members strong, and growing. An organization that, since 1882, has embodied the selflessness of man as it has helped overcome the problems of the world. Poverty; ignorance; apathy; are things which imperil not only a single individual, but the whole of humanity. We are men of faith, comprising over 12,000 Knights of Columbus councils at home and overseas. We ar guided not only by our belief in God and the Catholic Church, but by our belief in each other, and in ourselves. We are the Knights of Columbus. Believing that a man is defined by his actions as a follower of God, and as a leader in his community. We believe that a man is more than simply a man, when he bears the title of “Knight.”
SANTA MARIA COUNCIL 4999
Our council was established on June 12, 1960 in Riviera Beach, Florida under the spiritual leadership of Father Joseph Borg, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi and first Grand Knight Paul Templeton. The council charter was signed by 69 men and met in the VFW building on US One in Riviera Beach.
The council brothers looked for property to build a council hall in 1964. Property was purchased in Riviera Beach just east of the railroad tracks near Avenue H. Under the direction of Brother and General Contractor Vince Paccone the council’s building was completed in 1966. The first grand knight in this council hall was Brother Coleman O’Toole.
There were many great years from 1966 to 1979. The council members were younger and raising their families. The council had communion breakfasts, socials, dinner/dances, picnics and many other events. The council in 1978 decided to sell the building and find another location in the northern end of Palm Beach County. The building was sold in 1979 for $53,991 and the funds were not received until 1980. The council arranged to have their meetings at St. Clare Parish Hall in North Palm Beach, Florida.
The council purchased a parcel of land of approximately two acres on Prosperity Farms Road from J.D. MacArthur Foundation for $25,000, which is the present council hall site. This purchase occurred in the early 80’s. The brothers set out to raise the money to build a council hall on the property. The council raised $200,000 by selling $1,000 building bonds that were for ten years and paid 10 percent annual interest. The building was estimated to cost $300,000 so they went to a bank operated by Brother Robert Betteker, Sr. and received a bank loan to build the council hall. Brother and General Contractor John Chiodo started building in 1983. The building was completed in 1985 and our first meeting was in October 1985 with Grand Knight David Foley. The 8,000 square foot building was dedicated and blessed by Bishop Dailey. The building loan and all the building bonds were paid off in 1992.
Our Council has used their Bingo Program to raise the funds for the building program and funding the programs of Church, Community, Council, Family, Membership and Youth. The council has a membership of almost 400 brothers and on the average spends over $100,000 a year on these programs and expends over 21,000 volunteer man-hours a year.
The council history was composed by Past Grand Knight Ray Waddell