Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism: Knights of Columbus Going Strong in Franklin after 100 Years

J.D. O’Gara
Issue Date: 
December, 2017
Article Body: 

You see them around town – a group of men who might be helping with a community blood drive, who are raising money for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, who are running children’s events and always seem to be involved in charity work. They are members of the Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council No. 1847, of St. Mary’s Parish, a local branch of the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization that was begun in 1882. This year, in June, the Knights of Columbus celebrated 100 years in Franklin with the biggest event in New England Knights’ history, a high Mass given by Cardinal O’Malley.
The Knights are “a brotherhood; it’s a partnership with Catholic men who want to give back, who want to support charity in their parish,” says Jim Lane, who became a Knight three years ago upon his retirement and just achieved the fourth, and highest, degree as a Knight. “If you feel good as a Knight, that might help you feel good as a person, as a father, as a husband, as a friend.”
Lane was involved in planning the 100th anniversary event that included processions, trumpets and a big buffet prepared by Tri-County students. It drew over 1,000 people.
“The reason we did this, was to get the families to the church, get the parish more involved, and gain more exposure to our council,” says Lane. In fact, just this past September, Father Brian Manning became Massachusetts Chaplain of the Year for the Knights of Columbus.
Lane says he is impressed with how active the St. Mary’s council is.
“Franklin is very active, self-responsible, a good organization,” he says, noting that the group, which has about 262 currently active members out of a membership of about 400 total, makes financial contributions to support St. Mary’s Church as well as sizeable donations to the St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Society.
“We sponsor them when they do their 5K hunger walk, work with Stop & Shop on gift cards we sell to parishioners – and run a Tootsie Roll drive each year and that money goes to SVdP. (The Franklin Knights) also donate clothes for the poor in Franklin, and we donate to the Wounded Warriors on a national scale,” says Lane. The group is also considering a scholarship for Franklin High School graduating seniors.
The Knights hold a business meeting on the first Wednesday of the month, at 8 p.m. at St. Mary’s lower church, and a social meeting on the third Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at Alumni Restaurant’s side banquet room.
“We’re always trying to develop membership,” says Lane. Men who join must be at least 18 years old. “We’re trying to bring in people who want to give back, whether that age is 25 or 45 or 65. We try to really work with them on how they can contribute.”
Different Knights will often run different events.
Lane, for example, is running the Knights’ Free Throw Championship, a free event for boys and girls 9-14 in which they compete at a district level that this year to take place on Saturday, January 13, 2018 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Hockomock YMCA, 45 Forge Hill Road, Franklin (Kids must bring a birth certificate and parent). This month, on December 3 and 4, the Knights will also hold a table after mass at St. Mary’s selling Stop & Shop gift cards to raise funds for SVdP, and recently, one Knight created a movie night fundraiser for Black Friday.
Membership in the Knights of Columbus not only offers a sense of brotherhood, connection to the church and opportunity to give back, but there are also rewards of membership. For example, the Knights can take part in certain opportunities to purchase life insurance, long term care and annuities. Local businesses, such as Franklin Ford, sometimes also reach out to the group to offer discounts. And brothers in the organization will help each other, such as standing guard in full regalia at the funeral of a fellow member.

“The thing about Knights is – it’s really a refresher about values,” says Lane, who says the four degrees of Knighthood are based on four founding principles of the order: charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.
The Sacred Heart Council No. 1847 of the Knights of Columbus holds monthly post-Mass coffee and donuts sessions to introduce prospective members to the benefits of becoming a Knight. For more information, call Jim Lane, Membership ­Director and Chancellor, at
(508) 520-1947.

Knights of Columbus Annual Free Throw Championship January 13
Knights of Columbus 1847, Franklin, Mass. invites Children 9-14 to the Annual
Date: Thursday January 13, 2018, 3-6 p.m.
Location: Hockomock YMCA, 45 Forge Hill Road, Franklin.
Ages: 9-14 Years Old, Boys and Girls
Must Bring Birth Certificate and Parent
Contact: Jim Lane, (508) 520-1947
Great fun for our contestants and fans! Who will be the champs?
Each contestant receives a certificate and memento. The champs are invited to the District, winners of that are invited to Divisional, and those winners are invited to the National.