by Rachel Gallagher
The Knights of Columbus Council #9542 celebrates 30 years as a part of the Catholic University of America community this April, continuing their mission of serving their Catholic faith through a commitment to charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism.
The College Council at the Catholic University of America celebrated their 30th year this past Sunday with a mass celebrated by his Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington and chancellor of the Catholic University of America, in the the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Crypt Church, followed by a reception in Heritage Hall.
The Council was established on April 13, 1987 by first year law student at the Columbus School of Law, Thomas L. Gallagher.
“At that time, CUA Council, the second college council in the District of Columbia, was the only functioning college council,” said Rev. Frank Donio, S.A.C., Council Chaplain. Donio was a sophomore undergraduate when Gallagher set off to start a college council at Catholic University in 1987.
“In its early years, CUA Council grew quickly. In its first full year, the Council recruited over 100 members. The Council benefited greatly from the support of priests on campus and in the religious houses nearby,” Donio continued.
The mass highlighted the council’s active presence at Catholic University, with Knights acting as altar servers, readers, ushers, and eucharistic ministers. Wuerl, a Knight himself, was the celebrant and homilist, additionally delivering a short speech directly to the Council at the end of the service.
“Always be very proud when you wear that pin,” said Wuerl regarding the pins worn by the Knights of Columbus. He concluded the mass with an address to the Knights, saying “So as we celebrate this anniversary — 30 years on campus — we thank God and remind ourselves to properly live the gospel it involves more than words, it involves living the gospel. And that is the challenge the Knights have accepted and attempted to live since their founding all those years and years ago.”
The reception following the mass, held in Heritage Hall, featured a host of speakers including University Chaplain Rev. Jude DeAngelo O.F.M., Knights of Columbus State Deputy Timothy M. Saccoccia, Council Chaplain Rev. Frank Donio, S.A.C., Council Chancellor Joseph P. Basalla, and Council Grand Knight Daniel J. Hackenjos.
“[Being] Grand Knight during the 30th anniversary year of the Council is a honor and privilege,” said Council Grand Knight Daniel Hackenjos, a junior elementary education major. “It’s hard to describe in words what 30 years of the CUA Knights mean when I’ve only been associated with them for the past three. In the past three years alone, the Knights of Columbus have given me opportunities unimaginable when I was a senior in high school, and for that I’m very grateful.”
The Knights of Columbus promote the expression of the Catholic faith through service, inspired by their four core principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism. On campus, the Catholic University of America College Council has roughly 70 members. The Council holds mass and the praying of the Rosary Mondays at 10:30 p.m. in St. Vincent de Paul Chapel, and host a variety of other events pertaining to service, pro-life ministry, the Catholic church, and fraternal opportunities, according to their website.
At the close of his address, Donio said of the Catholic University Council: “Each brother Knight learns from the others, deepens his faith in Christ and in service to the Church and community, and lives more fully what St. John Paul II said that all the baptized are called to do — to live as apostles of Christ in the Church and in the world.”