St. Augustine Parish seeks to encourage the vitality of service organizations with long traditions of organizing the men of the Roman Catholic Church into “men of action.” The Knights of Columbus Ministry is charged with the liaison role between the Parish and area Knights of Columbus organizations, which since the Order’s founding in 1882 have sought to be worthy of the role of “the strong right arm of the parish.” In addition to supporting individual service and formation goals, the ministry focuses upon fostering unity and appropriate collaboration between such groups whenever possible.
The parish has primary relationships with the Andover Knights of Columbus (Council #1078) and the Lawrence-based Fr. O’Donnell Fourth Degree Assembly (Assembly #393). In addition, men of the parish belong to several other K of C councils, including those nearby St. Roberts (#10877), Msgr. Shea of North Andover (#3819), Lawrence (#67) and North Reading (#454) and some far away. A hand of fraternal welcome is extended to all such organizations and their service objectives, and to their individual members who seek to work on these organizations’ behalf. For more information on the Andover Knights of Columbus, please see: www.KofC1078.com.
The Knights of Columbus, the largest lay organization in the Roman Catholic Church, styles itself as “a family fraternal service organization.” The Order was founded in New Haven, Connecticut on March 29, 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney, a 29-year-old parish priest. Fr. McGivney was initially encouraged to do so as a way to provide for the widows and children of parish men, who regularly died at an early age during this era due to poor sanitary conditions, unavailable health care services and primitive workplace safety practices. Currently numbering more than 1.7 million members, the Knights support the efforts of the Church with programs of evangelization, education, civic involvement and aid to the needy. The influence of the Knights of Columbus, named in honor of Christopher Columbus who brought the Catholic faith to America, is widespread. With the reputation as “the strong right arm of the Church,” the Knights financed the restoration of the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, as well as its historic Maderno Atrium. For years, the satellite communications carrying the Roman Pontiff’s messages “To the City and the World” have been paid for by the Knights of Columbus. Over the past decade, the Knights have donated nearly $1 billion to numerous charitable causes and nearly 400 million hours of volunteer service. For example, in the immediate aftermath of 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the Order established a $1 million “Knights of Columbus Heroes Fund” for families of all full-time professional law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel who lost their lives in rescue and recovery efforts, with these families receiving a related payment of $3,000 — in most cases — well before other relief programs were made available. For more information on the international Knights of Columbus organization, please see: www.KofC.org.