Knights of Columbus
Gate of Heaven, Council #468
Huntington Station, NY
This segment of our website is dedicated to the events, chaplains and Grand Knights that have brought our council from the year 1899 to the present. The following segments are taken from the works of John Schling, Neil Dolan and George Seif
During this period, the Grand Knights were George W. Hren (1953-1954), Myron R. Walker (1954-1955), Wallace J. Stevenson (1955-1957), and John Auletta (1957-1958).
On February 12, 1953, Grand Knight Harold Molinelli called a meeting for the purpose of forming an auxiliary to be chartered under the title Gate of Heaven Columbiettes. In the years to followed, the Columbiettes made many contributions to our Council, the local parishes and other Church-related bodies both here and abroad, and to the community of Huntington. For example, later in the year, the Columbiettes purchased the kitchen equipment, china, silverware and draperies as projects designed to assist the membership in the new clubhouse. Over the years, the Ladies contributed time and great effort to the annual carnival and weekly bingo operations. They maintained a spiritual core around our Lord, Jesus Christ, as typified in many of their activities; communion breakfasts, retreats, days of recollection, living rosaries, etc. They conducted charitable programs like the Diocesan Seminary, Maryhaven, NY State Transcription Program for the Blind, the NY State Council Charity Drive (more detail in installment #9) and help to the needy of our local parishes. Through the years they donated scholastic awards and medals to students in local schools. Always alert to support good government and legislation in our local, state and federal governments, they met their civic challenges of the day.
On the evening of December 17, 1953, a special meeting of the Huntington K of C Club, Inc. was convened to consider an offer made by Bro. Dominic Boccard for the conveyance of one acre of property on Wall Street, near Southdown Road, as a gift and for the purpose of erecting a clubhouse building. Preceding the acquiring of the new property, on September 11, 1953, a Certificate of Reinstatement was issued by the Secretary of the State of New York to the Huntington Knights of Columbus Club, Inc. After reinstatement, the Club By-Laws were amended to confine the membership to only Third-Degree members of the Council. A short time later another amendment created “the current status of membership” in the Club, giving full rights of usage of its facilities and the right to vote at annual elections of the Club to any member in good standing in the Gate of Heaven Council.
A favorable report by the committee culminated almost five years later in the raising of over $30,000. The ground-breaking ceremonies took place on October 12, 1958 for the Council’s new home. It was erected at 224 Wall Street at a final cost of $55,000 in 1959.
The first meeting in the new Council Hall was held on July 2, 1959, with Grand Knight Harold J. Molinelli (1959-1960) in the chair. Bro. Harold Molinelli (GK & PGK) was instrumental in securing the site in 1953 and was now opening the first meeting in 1959. During the week of October 11-17, 1959, the 60th Anniversary of our Council was moved back to coincide with the official dedication ceremonies of the new Council Hall. Corporate communion at St. Patrick’s and breakfast in the new clubhouse took place on Sunday, October 11th, with dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremonies following in the afternoon. In quick succession, Squires Day was held on October 12th (Columbus Day); an Open House on October 13th, and Columbiettes Day on October 14th. It was the first time in almost 30 years that the membership could enjoy an anniversary in their own Council Hall. Grand Knight John P. Hackett (1958-1959) helped orchestrate the ground-breaking ceremonies along with Council Chaplain Msgr. Thomas F. Murray, Pastor of St. Patrick’s Church.
Here are some other activities conducted during this time period:
In 1953 the Council adopted an amendment to establish a Chalice Committee. Upon the death of any member, the Chalice Committee secured and delivered either a chalice, ciborium or vestments to a missionary society selected by the family of the deceased member. As of 1999 21 chalices, 34 ciboria and six sets of vestments (totaling $2,463.00) have found themselves in such locations at Bataan, Tanganyika, Formosa, Philippines, Kenya, Korea and India.
Since 1954, quietly, unobtrusively, a small handful of devoted men have furnished transportation to blind residents of Burrwood Home in Cold Spring Harbor to Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s.
Annual Easter donations to the eight parishes within the Council’s jurisdiction have been made since 1955.
The Council adopted an amendment in 1956 to establish a scholarship in memory of the late Right Rev. John B.C. York, former Council Chaplain. The scholarship was $100 to a Catholic student residing in Huntington for academic, moral and leadership attainments. This was modified in 1961 to $500 along with an additional Chaplain’s Memorial annual donation of $500 to the Director of St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary, Uniondale NY for a seminarian (through 1969 $5,600 had been donated.) Another amendment was set by the Council for an annual donation of $500 to the Madonna Heights facility, operated by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Dix Hills, Huntington for the education of girls who were victims of broken homes or poor environment.
In 1956 the Council started its Blood Bank program which would run for over 30 years. Traditionally, the Blood Drive was held on Election Day.
The Columbian Squires were inaugurated on September 28, 1958, under the title “Father Duffy Circle No. 1126.” It’s currently inactive. Past Grand Knight John P. Hackett was the last Chief Counselor for the Circle.
Recapturing a piece of history: Back in January 1929 to 1935, a Boy Scout Troop was organized by the presentation of a charter to Bro. James Morgan in ceremonies in St. Patrick’s auditorium; Troop No. 9, its Scoutmaster was PGK John F. Schling. 24 years later, in 1959, Gate of Heaven took over the charter of Boy Scout Troop No. 106, which went on to celebrate 10 years under our sponsorship. Under the Scoutmaster talents of Bro. Ron Koseluk, the troop became one of the finest in the Nathan Hale Scouting District.
Since I ran out of room for this installment, and since Fr. Uris overlaps this timeframe and the next one, in the next installment I’ll cover our #6 Chaplain Fr John T. Uris (1953-1965).