Thanks to the efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven and some of his parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature on March 29, 1882, officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. The Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity.
The Knights was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
The history of the Order shows how the foresight of Father Michael J. McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican, brought about what has become the world’s foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society. The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.
The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to more than 15,100 councils and 1.9 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam, Saipan, Lithuania, Ukraine, and South Korea.
Bishop Richter Council #7761 of the Knights of Columbus was chartered March 9, 1981 at Our Lady of Consolation parish in Rockford, Michigan. The charter Grand Knight was James Wingerter. Other charter officers were: Deputy Grand Knight Fred Faber, Chancellor Mike McGregor, Recorder Chet Koziol, Treasurer Roger Mawby, Lecturer Bill Anderson, Advocate Don Kaiser, Warden Glen Bittenbinder, Outside Guard Bill Sawinski, Inside Guard Pat Norton, Trustees Fred Peters, Ron Biewer, and Ed Czanopys. Appointed charter officers were, Chaplain Father Paul Milanowski and Financial Secretary Bob Loula.
The name Bishop Richter was adopted for the council in honor of Bishop Henry Joseph Richter, the first bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Bishop Richter was born April 9, 1838, ordained a priest June 10, 1865 and consecrated as Bishop of the Grand Rapids Diocese April 22, 1883.
Since its beginning the council has been very active in our church and community affairs. The council conducts annual events raising money for seminarians and religious, the physically and mentally challenged, Catholic Children Services, and Right to Life just to name a few. The council conducts sporting and academic events for the school children, as well as fun activities such as Easter egg hunts, Christmas parties for adult foster care homes, Parish Lenten dinners, and Sunday Breakfasts. Members also prepare and a serve monthly breakfast at the Haven, a youth dentition facility in Grand Rapids, and assist residents to Sunday Mass in the chapel at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. As parishioners, Knights of Columbus members of the council serve on many parish ministries at Our Lady of Consolation.
Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism are the principles which guide the Knights of Columbus in service to God.
To read a more detailed history, check out history section of our orders website by clicking here.