|Bishop Burbidge at Holy Cross Church|
We have just concluded another very successful calendar year as a relatively new assembly. We have much to be thankful for, but, more importantly, we have much to be proud of as knights of the fourth degree.
The singular item of the year that we should be most proud of is not our contributions to charity or our help of veterans and church events. It is the strengthening of our assembly at the local church level. It is our bonding as one to support each member parish and their church events. We often join in to provide honor guards for churches and the bishop, funerals, and special church anniversaries and holy days.
Our sir knights have done great things to promote charity and patriotism. Roxboro, with its tiny church and huge heart, is always doing outstanding things with Operation Lamb and community support. St. Matthews members, too, has been very supportive of their community and church. Maria Immaculata, St. Thomas More and Holy Cross also set the pace for local knights in action. All fourth degree knights support the goals and programs of the assembly and order, and all are ensuring that their activities extend far beyond a periodic meeting in Chapel Hill.
Our biggest fund raiser is not really an assembly fund raiser. It is the good will offerings we collect for wounded amputee warriors–soldiers, sailors and marines–on Veterans Day weekend. We held our first collection four years ago, and each year since, we have received significant parish support. This year we had two other assembly churches join in. One, St. Matthews, held a pancake breakfast to honor veterans. The meal was free, but donations for the Wounded Warrior program were accepted. They raised $680 after expenses for the food. Holy Cross passed the hat after Sunday mass and collected $724! Total contributions for the project from our assembly totaled $4,947.66.
So, how was the money spent? We sent our funds in to The Military Order of the Purple Heart where it was combined with collections from throughout the state, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Puerto Rico. We do not have the final total, but over $65,000 was donated last year. We do know, however, how well we supported our amputees. Here is the count:
- Camp Lejuene – 221 men
- Ft. Bragg – 50 men
- Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point – 11 men
“We also have 20 stragglers who are not yet released from the hospital but will be early enough to go home for Christmas. This is an all time record of Wounded Warriors. Thank God we have had a good year raising funds.” wrote Bob Singer, Vice Supreme Master, Knights of Columbus.
Four years ago, this program did not exist. Bob Singer encouraged us to help. We were a newly chartered assembly, but we went to work and our church raised $4,000 the first year. It was the largest donation in North Carolina and a catalyst for the program. Each year we, as a combined group, send many soldiers, sailors and marines home for Christmas with their families.
We, the Fourth Degree, also purchased 13 winter coats for homeless veterans (delivered via the VA hospital) and visit hospitalized veterans each month to hold bingo and award prizes. We also provide an honor guard for the Caldwell July 4th Parade.
St. Thomas More can be proud of their Knights of the Fourth Degree and local Knights Council. We continue to set a standard within the state and Order.
There has been a lot of hard work, but we have a lot more to do. If you are not a member of the Fourth Degree, maybe it is time for you to step forward and join our patriotic arm of the Knights of Columbus.