Welcome to the Knights of Columbus
Council #3481 of Oceanside, New York
The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal
service organization. Founded in the United States in 1882,
it is named in honor of Christopher Columbus and dedicated
to the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism.
There are more than 1.7 million members in 14,000 councils.
The Vision of Father Michael J. McGivney
Led by the quiet, unassuming curate of St. Mary's Parish in
New haven, Connecticut, a small group of men established the
Knights of Columbus in the church basement early in the spring
of 1882. The priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, saw clearly
that both Catholics and the Church faced serious problems
in the last half of the nineteenth century such as anti-Catholicism
and ethnic prejudice; under-employment; lack of social standing
and early loss of the breadwinner.
To resolve those problems Father McGivney conceived the idea
of an organization of Catholic men who would band together:
- To aid one another in times of sickness or death, by means
of a simple insurance plan, so that their wives and children
would not face abject poverty.
- To strengthen themselves and each other in Faith.
- To strengthen families and family life.
- To be a strong pillar of support for their priests and
- To be of service to Church and community by coming to
the aid of those most in need of society.
They called themselves
Knights of Columbus - Knights to emphasize chivalry's ideals
of charity and support for Church and state, and Columbus
as a reminder that Catholics had been the backbone and bulwark
of America's growth and greatness from the very beginning.
The State of Connecticut officially chartered the Order on
March 29th 1882. It's founder, Father McGivney, and those
first Knights dreamed of the day when there would be a council
in every parish in Connecticut. Little could they know that
their small group would grow into a global organization of
more than 1.6 million members in nearly 12,000 local councils
in 13 countries: the United States, Canada, the Philippines,
Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic,
Bahamas, Cuba, Virgin Islands, Guam and Spain.
In the years since 1882 the Knights of Columbus has become
one of the largest and strongest life insurance companies
in North America with more than $43 billion of insurance in
force. More than $4 billion in new insurance is sold annually
and last year the Order paid $124 million in death benefits
to the families of deceased members and $275 million in dividends
to insurance members.
Father Joseph O'Connell and Council #3481
The story of the Father Joseph O'Connell Council #3481, Knights
of Columbus of Oceanside, is a story of many successes of
good people working together. In 1951, a number of members
of St. Agnes Council, Rockville Centre, who resided in Oceanside,
realized the need of a Knights of Columbus Council in a fast
growing community such as Oceanside. At an annual Ushers Dinner
at St. Anthony's Parish it was declared by these few brothers
that steps to be taken to gather information to form a Council
Andrew Hickey became the first Grand Knight in February 24th 1952. Under
G.K. Hickey many committees were formed, committees that not
only helped to raise needed money for the Council but that
also brought together these fine men working to further the
principles of our order. Father Barrett, beloved Pastor of
St. Anthony's Parish offered much help and encouragement to
these few men. The good Father supplied G.K. Hickey with a
list of 100 names of men that he thought might be interested
in joining the Knights of Columbus.
When it was decided by the membership in 1952 to name the
new organization "Fr. Joseph O'Connell Council,"
Father Barrett was very pleased and donated $250 to our Council
thereby starting our building fund which is still very active.
He knew Father O'Connell and worked together with him to build
the Grotto at St. Anthony's which became a tourist attraction.
The most Reverend Bishop Molloy in 1937 appointed Father Joseph
O'Connell to serve as curate to Father Barrett. A graduate
of St. Francis Xavier High School in Manhattan, and Georgetown
University, Father O'Connell was an All-American
star and also played basketball. After studies were completed
in Theology at St. John's Seminary in Brooklyn he was ordained
at St. John the Baptist church in Brooklyn in May 1934.
Father O'Connell formed a Catholic Youth Organization in Oceanside
to guide the interest of our young towards sports thereby
preparing them to meet the challenges of life in the future.
Serving the Parish well, this good priest was taken ill in
1941. He was transferred to Camp Molloy in Mattituck, Long
Island, where he served as director. On July 18th 1949 Father
Joseph O'Connell died of cancer while in residence at St.
This good priest left his mark on our Parish and on the entire
community. As never before this Council began to have a tremendous
impact on our community Father O'Connell became respected
by all in Oceanside and throughout the state.
Our Christian Principals, our striving for the Brotherhood
of Man. As St. Paul said to the Corinthians: "There are
in the end three things that last, Faith, Hope and Love &
the greatest of these is Love." That day in 1952, when
Grand Knight Hickey rapped the gavel and called the first
meeting to order, was not the beginning, but an extension
of our Christian teaching. Brothers, this is really the Beginning.