A century of service

Local Knights of Columbus mark 100th anniversary Saturday

By ERIK SANDIN – Stillwater Gazette

Larry Conrad considers it remarkable that what a group of St. Croix Valley residents started 100 years ago is going strong today.

"It’s really something that 60 guys got together and kept this thing going for 100 years," he said.

The "thing" Conrad refers to is the Knights of Columbus Solanus Casey Council No. 1632, which celebrates its 100th anniversary Saturday with a Mass, dinner and dance.

The celebration begins with a 4:30 p.m. Holy Mass open to the public led by the Rev. Jack Donahue at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 423 Fifth St. in Stillwater.

"It’s just a regular Mass. The only thing different is the Fourth Degree (Honor Guard) will be there to do their thing," Conrad said. "They’ll escort the priest in and escort him out."

After the Mass, the event moves to the KC Hall at 1910 S. Greeley Street for a 5:45 p.m. social hour, 6:30 p.m. dinner followed by introduction of the state KC Council officers and guests, a 7:15 p.m. speech by the Rev. Randal Kasel, past chaplain of the Solanus Casey Council No. 1632 and 8 p.m. dance. Tickets to the dinner and dance cost $15.

Conrad said the Knights of Columbus are comprised of practicing Catholic men and are a fund-raising arm of the Catholic Church.

"We do a lot of fundraisers," he said about Solanus Casey Council No. 1632. "We have every Wednesday and Friday bingo and pull tabs. Once a month, we have a breakfast. Most everything we do, we donate to charity."

Other KC events include an Easter egg hunt in Washington Square Park and until this year, marching in the Lumberjack Days Parade.

"We have some fun things we do," Conrad said. "We have a champagne dinner for the KC Hall. We have what they call mystery theater. It helps support the hall."

Knights of Columbus Solanus Casey Council No. 1632

Founded: May 12, 1912. A solemn High Mass was celebrated at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Stillwater.

First KC Hall: Third floor of the Telephone Building at the northwest corner of Myrtle and Main streets. The hall moved to the Stillwater American Legion club in 1954; then to St. Joseph’s church in 1960; the Elks Club in 1962; the Stillwater VFW in 1977, and the Eagles Aerie No. 94 in 1980. The current KC Hall was opened in October 1986.

1942: Council 1632 hosts the state convention of the Minnesota Knights of Columbus in Stillwater

Parishes served: St. Michael’s, St. Mary’s, Guardian Angels, St. Jude, St. Francis and St. Charles

March 12, 1979: Joe "Papa Joe" Carroll, last surviving charter council member, dies at age 105.

1995: Local KC members vote to rename the council the Knights of Columbus Solanus Casey Council No. 1632 to honor the humble priest declared venerable by the Catholic Church. The solemn dedication of the renamed council was April 14, 1997.

Council Activities

Annual Twins game

Champagne Dinner

Columbus Day Awards

Corporate communion breakfasts

Mid-winter party

Annual steak fry picnic

Youth Activities

Marathon for non-public education

Basketball free throw contest

Student loans and scholarships

Community Activities

Tootsie Roll drive

Lumberjack Days

Donations to local causes.

Support Minnesota Special Olympics

Easter egg hunt

Church Activities

Living Rosary

Memorial Mass for deceased members

Support for vocations

Officers installation Mass

Fruit baskets for hospitalized members

Support for pro-life

Harvest Mass