How it began
In 1958, Father T.D. O'Connell, pastor of St. George parish called together a group of parishioners who were members of the Knights of Columbus, Father O'Connell believed in the principles and objectives of the Knights and felt that the Knights of Columbus Council located in St. George's parish would benefit the parish as well as the Knights.
It was Father O'Connell's perseverance and tenacity which led to the formation of this new Council. On November 30, 1958, a charter was granted and 72 men were established as charter members. John Logsdon was selected as the first Grand Knight of the new Council Father O'Connell became the first Chaplain and remained in that position until her retired in 1976
The Council name was selected in honor of Father Christopher Columbus Boyle, the first pastor of St George parish. The Father C.C. Boyle Council has constantly strived to honor the name of this first pastor and also to live up the vision of Venerable Father Michael McGivney, who started the Knights of Columbus in 1882.
The Father C.C. Boyle Council currently has 387 members. Only once in the 50 year history of this Council has there been a merger with another group. That occurred in 1983 when Father Leon V. Czyl Council 5039 merged with Father C. C. Boyle Council, adding 30 members at that time.
While neither the largest or smallest council in Illinois, Father C.C. Boyle Council can list many proud achievements in their history. The ones that are most outstanding are the ones that benefited the surrounding communities.
Council programs have been a mainstay of activity for members and their families since the inception of the Council. For many years a New Year's Eve party was the premier event. At this time home cooked dishes-to pass were the mainstay of the event since the advent of caterers had not established themselves yet.
Another great annual event, one that generated not only revenue but friendship and fun, was The Annual Beef Dinner. Held each year on Father's Day, and sporting the slogan "Take Dad to Dinner" , this event was well received and hosted as many as 900 guests annually.
In 1963, a group of "would-be" thespians gathered together and presented the World War II comedy, "Stalag 17", a comedy drama about American airmen who were held prisoner by the Germans. The play was presented on two different evenings at Central School in Tinley park to sold out audiences. Many other Councils requested Father C.C. Boyle take the show "on the road", but due to logistic problems, this proved impossible.
In 1965, the comedy/drama "Brother Orchid", a story of gangsters hiding in a monastery, was performed by members of Father C.C. Boyle Council, again to rave reviews and sold out audiences. The play was performed in 400 seat theater on the grounds of the Tinley Park Mental Hospital.
For fifteen years Father C.C. Boyle Council sold Christmas trees as its primary source of revenue. The public came to expect a fine quality tree at the reasonable price of $4.00. Unfortunately, in 1978, the program had to be abandoned due to rising costs and a lower quality of tree.
the "200 Club Dinner" has since become one of the primary fund raising programs of Father C.C. Boyle Council. Proceeds from this event along with the council's Supplemental Fund allows the Council to generously donate monies to St. Vincent DePaul Society serving various parishes, Women's Centers, Seminarians, and various other worthy organizations.
Programming has been one of the principle reasons the Council continues to flourish. Besides the "200 Club Dinner", other programs include the Council Christmas Mass and party, Children's Halloween Party, Council Picnic, Annual Past Grand Knight, involvement with Special Olympics, and most recently, the Parrot Head Night. These and many more programs encourage members and their families to share their friendship and fraternity with each other thus enabling the Council to continue to thrive.
Many of the Father C.C. Boyle Council members have joined the Fourth Degree, the Patriotic Degree of the Order. These members provide honor guards for special liturgical celebrations, civic ceremonies, and wakes for departed Brother Knights. The majority of Father C.C. Boyle Knights 4th Degree Sir Knights belong to Father O'Callahan Assembly, which many of C.C. Boyle's members were instrumental in forming.
The Ladies Auxiliary of Father C.C. Boyle Council was originally formed in January or 1987. This group recently reorganized with the goal of allowing ladies the opportunity to share in both the charitable and fraternal aspects of the Council. Through their dedicated efforts, the Ladies Auxiliary have been able to donate thousands of dollars and hours to charitable causes.
Father C.C. Boyle Council has been blessed with outstanding leadership both in the temporal and spiritual manner. Dedicated Chaplains have given of their time and talent to assure that Council members continue to practice and share the Catholic faith as they do their good works. Father C.C. Boyle Council members owe each of them a debt of gratitude and are grateful for their service to Church and Council.
Father C.C. Boyle Council has provided the Illinois State Council with fine leaders as District Deputies, various State Chairmen, and Directors. Special mention must be made for Past State Deputy August Hurt, who served both Father C.C. Boyle Council and the State Council with great distinction. The Fourth Degree has also benefited from Father C.C. Boyle Council membership. Several members have served in the role of Faithful navigator of either Cardinal Stritch or Father O'Callahan Assemblies.
The most important and enduring legacy of Father C.C. Boyle Council these past 50 years is the regular membership who have supported and assisted the Council in numerous ways. It is through their dedication, caring and commitment that Father C.C. Boyle Council has achieved and thrived throughout the past five decades. These same principles will hold true when Father Council celebrates it's 100th year and beyond.
This presentation of the 50 year history is but a brief look at the past. To give Father C.C. Boyle Council and the many individuals associated with the Council proper recognition would require and epic multi-volume book. Fortunately, Brother Knights are not driven by personal ambition, but by the cumulative effort that produces the greatest result for all concerned.
Let us remember those members who precede us and that have been called to their eternal reward. They nurtured the growth of the Father C.C. Boyle Council and helped develop its strength. May their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen
Congratulations to all Father C.C. Boyle Council members on this historic occasion. Let us enjoy the Council's success today and look forward to a bigger and brighter tomorrow. Like the Knights of old, may all Brother Knights continue to utilize their resourcefulness and remain responsive and caring to those in need as they look forward to may more years of Charity and Patriotism to Church and Community.
Intellectual Disabilities Program. One Council Makes a Difference
John G Schutzius, PGK
In attempting to present this brief history of the history of the Mental Retardation Learning Disabilities (MRLD) Program, several individuals were contacted to insure that the presentation was as detailed and correct as could be. The information was discussed with Past State Deputy Gus Hurt who wrote, "Write it the way it happened" which is what has been done to the best of our ability. Al Reed was contacted and verified the historical accuracy of the program and thanks are extended to the Scott family for a copy of the original resolution and their insight into the program as well. As you read this history let us remember all who had a part in the forming of this great program as it is a testimonial to their vision and hard work.
In the Spring of 1966 Brother Raymond berg, whose daughter was mentally retarded, spoke to the Council Officer's of a way of helping to promote the Knights of Columbus as well as doing a great deal of good for person who needed assistance, especially the mentally retarded. At this time there were very few programs with these challenges and he felt the time had come for the Knights to step up and assist them is some manner.
Deputy Grand Knight William E. Heinbecker took Ray's thoughts and ideas under advisement and, upon his election as Grand Knight in July of 1966: he along with Deputy Grand Knight Gus Hurt made it a priority to investigate a program that would be effective and profitable. A great deal of legwork went into the investigation process and the formation of the program. Many different organizations were contacted and asked for their input.
The Lions Club members and Brother Knights Frank Herzer and Frank Dudiak presented a progrom in regards to a "candy day" and how this program could be a success and raise a great deal of money for the cause we were looking to support. After much discussion and additional planning it was decided to present this program to the Illinois State Council and the following resolution was presented on March 6, 1968.
PROGRAM FOR INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGED CHILDREN
"Whereas, the Knights of Columbus were formed by Father McGivney to promote the principles of Charity, Unity , Fraternity and Patriotism and
Whereas, all subordinate councils in the State of Illinois embark on charitable activities throughout the year and
Whereas, there is a need for all subordinate councils in the State of Illinois to ban together to promote one specific charitable program, and
Whereas the support of such a program would create a favorable Public Image of the Knights of Columbus
Therefore it be resolved that the Illinois State Council of the Knights of Columbus in the 1968 convention assembled in Peroria, Illinois on May 17th thru May 19th, voice its approval to adopt a permanent fund-raising program for Mentally Retarded children, and
Be it further resolved that the program for Mentally Retarded Children be considered as the approved program of the Illinois State Council and its subordinate councils and that every member of the Knights of Columbus in Illinois be urged to give this program their wholehearted moral and financial support.
Submitted by Council #4698
Similar resolutions by the following Councils: 3620, 1628, 2964, 1316, 665".
The resolution was presented too late to be presented and voted upon at the 1968 convention but the resolution was placed on the agenda for the convention to be held in 1960. Gus Hurt was grand Knight in 1969 when the resolution passed and was adopted and, upon adoption, many more hours of work went into selection a worthy product to use and assist the program.
Brother Knight Ray Berg and Past Grand Knight Lionel Scott (1970-1971) used their sales expertise in meeting with representatives of various companies in utilizing their product as the one that would be beneficial to the program. During the investigation process Gus Sundemeier put them in touch with the Tootsie Roll Company and aided them in their quest to secure a favorable product. Gus, a Past Grand Knight of Our Lady of Fatima Council in Oak Lawn, has been a true champion of this program from its inception and h is help has been invaluable throughout the years.
Prior to the first drive being held it was necessary to assure that councils throughout the State were "on board" and that they would support it to the best of their abilities. Brother Knight Al Reed went throughout the state promoting the program and selling it but many councils took a wait and see attitude towards it as they were supporting the State Council's number one Charitable Program, the Newman Campus Ministry Program.
In order to assure that the first drive was a success, Anthony Venckus, PGK, Pope John XXIII Council (later a member of Father C.C. Boyle Council and Faithful navigator of Samuel Cardinal Fourth Degree Assembly along with John Schutzius, PGK (1971-72), and Faithful Captain of Stritch Assembly, promoted the program to all the member councils of the Assembly who assured them of their support. Thus , in November of 1970, under the leadership of Grand Knight Lionel Scott, the first Drive was held and a total of $30,000.00 was collected for God's Special Children.
Through the years the program has been modified in order to assure that the program benefits those who it was intended to at its onset. In 2007 Illinois Councils and those organizations they they benefit raised over $1.8 million to assist those with mental retardation and learning disabilities.
The program has been adopted in some form throughout the 50 states, Canada, Mexico and the Philippines and continues to raise millions of dollars annually for those who are in most need. What a tribute to those who envisioned a program that would benefit the local community and now benefits so many countless ways.
The following Brother Knights are the originator of this great program and therefore need to be publicly thanked for the hours of hard work they put into it assuring it of its great success. Brother Knight Ray Berg, PGK William Heinbecker, Past State Deputy August Hurt, PGK Lionel Scott, James Hoenig, Alex Putz, David Cullen, John Logsdon, (Charter Grand Knight), Allen Bettenhausen, and Robert Coates. Many thanks are also extended to Brother Knight roman Mazurowski, Tony Spata, Al Reed, John Huges, Joseph Vlkadika and all of the members who were, and continue to support this program to the best of their abilites. Our council has also been blessed with many Charimen who have given of their time and talent assuring that this program is successful locally and they include the following: Frank Herzer, Frank Dudiak, James Rovak, Bill O'Connor, PGK PFN, Alex Bulow, PGK PFN, and our current Chairman Roger Smuczerowicz, PGK PFN.
In concluding this brief history we thank Almighty God who has given us the grace and fortitude to see this program from its inception to where is stand today. We are grateful to all who have assisted in raising the funds for those who need it and give special thanks to those parents and organizations who, on a a daily basis, care for those who are affected by mental retardation and learning disabilities. It is through their efforts that we all benefit, and we are most grateful for their love and dedication in caring for those with special needs. May god bless all of us with continued health as we strive to do His work here on earth, all for His greater glory.