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
Bringing us into the 70s was our Grand Knight Arthur G. Lambert (1970-1971). He was our 50th Grand Knight. On July 1, 1970 we were marching in full regalia with our new Grand Knight Arthur and our own championship brass band. It was the town’s Independence Day celebrations and the Gate of Heaven Council was present and part of the festivities.
Starting in 1971, the Council Softball team was organized. It played it’s first K of C League game on the Sunday morning following the Council’s “Italian Night” (which didn’t get over until 2 AM!). The team was losing as they were going into the last inning. When our players realized that they would each have to round the bases 2 times each, just to tie – they capitulated and joined their opponents in sharing a keg of beer. The team got better after that when some younger brother Knights took over and made the team one of the better teams in the league. Although never winning the league championship, the team was in the playoffs regularly. The team had the privilege of playing 2 exhibition softball games against the NY Islanders with such stars as John Tonelli and Clark Giles.
Bro. Albert Matthews (1971-1972) was our 51st Grand Knight. He knew his members and led our distinguished worker-bees in various money-making successful projects many times. He did not hide his talents under a basket, in fact, he lifted the basket of others who would give him their best. Recognizing the musical artistic gifts of others, he was the prime mover in bringing Metropolitan Opera, Broadway and Jazz performers to the Huntington stage. With each performance Bro. Al produced over the years while rising through the chairs of the Gate of Heaven, money was made, and local charities benefited. He knew that our Council was an instrument to help the less fortunate. The sales promotion for Gate of Heaven Council of the Annual Show held at Huntington High School was led by Bro. Al for 10 years. His committee, by their sale of tickets and advertising, would net for our charities thousands of dollars each year. The Cleary School for deaf children was the main beneficiary.
Once again, the Knights of Huntington Marching Band was featured in Huntington. In the tradition of John Philip Sousa and the pageants of march and martial music, the directors of the band produced and directed a marching and maneuvering show on August 7, 1971 worthy of the Sousa stature.
Not to be passed over, the band was brilliantly showcased at the Dedication of the Statue of Christopher Columbus on October 10, 1971. The renowned sculpture was a gift to Huntington citizens from a noble and gracious Huntington citizen, Mr. Sam Albicocco.
During Bro. Albert’s tenure, ballroom dance lessons were given in our upper room by Jack and Jane Ericksen, professional instructors. Starting in March 1972 one could sign-up at a cost of $2.50 per couple, per week or $20 for the eight-week course. Instruction was given on Tuesday nights in fox trot, lindy, waltz, cha-cha, Peabody, tango, meringue, samba, pasa-doble, semi-disco, rhumba, mambo and the bossa nova.
Bro. Al was chairman for German Nights and Clambakes. He was the chairman of our Centennial Celebration, for its closing ceremony of Saturday night Mass, and Centennial Ball.
The Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus:
#8 Chaplain: John J. McGeever (1970-1975) Rev. John McGeever was confirmed in this appointment by Bishop Walter P. Kellenberg, Bishop of Rockville Centre. Fr. McGeever entered our Order through Gate of Heaven Council while serving as Acting Chaplain.
He was born in New York City on November 18, 1934 and attended Sacred Heart Parish School in the Bronx and Cardinal Hayes High School. He then attended and graduated from Canisius College, Buffalo, NY, and for a short time, entered the business world. At the age of 26, he entered the special College for the Diocesan Seminary in Buffalo. Soon, he applied to the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and was assigned to St. Bernard Seminary, Rochester NY where he received his BA in Philosophy.
Fr. McGeever finished his education at St. John Vianney Major Seminary in Buffalo, and on June 1, 1968, was ordained to the sacred priesthood at St. Agnes Cathedral by Bishop Kellenberg. He celebrated his first Mass at Our Lady of Refuge Church, in the Bronx, on June 2, 1968. His first assignment was as curate in St. Patrick’s Church in Huntington.
Fr. McGeever lists among his many parish duties to be moderator for the altar boys, the choir, and the home-school program. He was in charge of sacred liturgy and was chaplain at Hilaire Nursing Home, Huntington.
His first regular monthly message appeared in a column in The Key.