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College Point Knights of Columbus celebrate 100 years

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The Knights of Columbus St. Ambrose Council held its charter meeting Jan. 16, 1910, at the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point.

And nearly a century later, members of the service group re-enacted that seminal occasion, which has led to continuing good for their neighbors and local parish, St. Fidelis at 123-06 14th Ave. in College Point.

The blast from the past brought current members together to read the meeting’s original minutes aloud Jan. 6 and begin to celebrate the history of their organization, kicking off a trio of events the group will host to commemorate the occasion.

A Catholic fraternal organization founded in 1882 to provide support for clergy and help families through tough times, the Knights of Columbus is an international force that raises millions of dollars annually for those and other charitable causes.

“It was formed because back then Catholics were discriminated against, and when a man — at the time the main breadwinner — would die, there was no support for his wife and children, and the priest and church also needed a support group,” said Bob Graziano, grand knight of the St. Ambrose Council.

From pancake breakfasts, dinners and parties to fund-raisers, coat drives, blood drives and feeding the poor, the St. Ambrose Knights have a long history of community support.

The council also has a long tradition of bringing fun and recreation to local residents.

Graziano said members tell stories about the council sponsoring plays at the church and a members-only baseball team that played in the early 1900s. Babe Ruth supposedly even came to one of their games and helped them raise money by passing a hat among the spectators.

The second commemorative event the St. Ambrose Council held took place during Sunday’s Mass at St. Fidelis Church, a historical parish founded in 1856. Knights from the five boroughs and as far as Suffolk County came to honor the centenarian council, which responded by donating a plaque and a $1,000 check to the parish.

And on April 23, the council will throw a blow-out bash, inviting the public to share a dinner and dance with members, political leaders and other dignitaries at Anton’s restaurant in Queens Village. Tickets are $80 per person; people interested in attending can call the council at 718-359-9488 and leave their names and phone numbers to reserve spots.

“As far as being a knight, it’s the absolute best thing I ever did. I cannot sit there and say I ever had a bad moment,” Graziano said. “The people I met there are like family. I’ve increased my family 1,000 percent by being a knight.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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