Our council 20th Anniversary dinner was held on Saturday April 11th at El Presidente Banquet Hall in Concord. More than 200 people attended this event in which we rendered tribute to the founding members of the Maple council.
Below is the speech from the council founding Grand Knight: Carlo Osellame.
Worthy chaplain Fr. Ernie;
Deacon Br. Domenic;
Deacon Br. Steve;
Worthy State Deputy Kevin & Lady Gigetta;
Worthy District Deputy Orazio & Lady Rafaella;
Worthy Grand Knight Mario & Lady Solidea;
Worthy Sirs & Ladies;
Brothers & Ladies;
Whew. The protocol salutation alone is a speech. But that’s part of the reason for the evening.
In 1882, a young catholic priest had a vision of the Knights of Columbus, with the goals of Charity, Unity, Fraternalism & Patriotism. One of Fr. Michael McGivney’s dreams was that every church would have a Knight’s Council in it. In the late winter of 1994 a group of eight men took up that challenge. Carlo Campeotto, Art Larman, Peter Meffe, Marc Osellame, the late Frank Stadler, & myself, led by the then Grand Knight of King City Council, Al Trambley, sat together & decided that a Council needed to be formed in the area. In the late winter of 1995, then District Deputy Wayne Gibbson filed the required paperwork for the formation of a new Council at St. David’s Church in Maple. Bishop Robert Clune Council #11535 was chartered on March 30th, 1995, with 31 Brother Knights.
A conscience agreement was unanimously made by the members of the new Council that the Council would honour Fr. McGivney’s dream & the new Council would be a ‘parish council’. This meant that St. David’s church would be the working base for the Council & its greatest beneficiary of Councils work.
One of the best parts of growing old, & I speak from experience, is that when you tell stories, most of them, if not all, you experienced. Council was but a few weeks old when late one Saturday evening I received a call from a member of St. David’s parish saying she had a woman & her two sons at her house that had been thrown out of their apartment that morning for not being able to pay their rent. She had found another apartment & had made arrangements with government agencies for moving forward, but they needed the first & last months’ rent as they had nothing but the cloths on their back. The next morning I started calling the members of Council asking for assistance, hoping I could raise maybe half the first month’s rent. I stopped calling to go to mass & after mass starting driving to the homes of our Brothers to pick up the money committed. By early evening I had: first & last month’s rent; grocery money for three weeks; & a car so full of sheets, blankets, dishes, and other household items I could barely see out the windows.
Bishop Clune Council has a BBQ program where BBQ’s are done for schools & organizations in order to raise funds for them & us. This is as a result of Br. Danny Petrelli committing Council to doing one for Fr. John Kelly School without getting an approval vote from Council (something Br. Danny does more often than not). I remember that first BBQ at the community centre with two charcoal BBQs & Br. Fausto leading the laughs, as usual, & a great bunch of volunteers. Today, Council does an average of 8 to 10 BBQs a year, has its own industrial sized BBQ, a trailer to haul it & all the other components required to facilitate a well-run operation. But some things never change: Br. Fausto still leads the laughs and we still have a great group of Brothers volunteering.
The then pastor of St. David’s, Fr. Evasio Pollo, approached me & Br. Mario Ferri (then Grand Knight & Deputy Grand Knight of Council) in our early years of operation requesting the Knights put a very much needed handicapped elevator in the church. This was a huge challenge for a new & small Council. The night of the discussion of this item the meeting went on for over three hours. The loudest voice against this project, for all the logical reasons, was Br. Peter Meffe. When I rapped the gavel to end the meeting, the project had passed by a margin of one vote. The brother who spearheaded the largest amount of donations for the project was Br. Peter Meffe.
And that is what these three memories show about this Council: Brotherhood! Regardless of what one’s personal feelings are about a project, when the membership approves it, many come out & participate for the benefit of the project & Council.
Tonight we honour the names on the Council Charter & remember when we started & where we are, with an eye on where we are going. We honour the Order’s protocol & history. As its first Grand Knight, & knowing the struggles the Council went through, I am proud of how far this Council has come through the efforts of all its executives, all it’s Grand Knights & the membership.
Maria, my wife, likes to tell the story of after the meeting of eight I told her not to worry that nothing would change. I was proven a liar. A lot changed & most of it for the better as the first thing was that she met a lot of really nice people from the Knights & their families, many who are still friends today.
The Knights of Columbus are a Catholic, family oriented, fraternal, charitable organization whose members believe in Charity, Unity, Fraternalism & Patriotism. Proudly, I say, that Bishop Robert Clune Council #11535 was built on what the Knights are all about & has practiced it’s principals for 20 years. May it do so for at least another 120.
Carlo M. Osellame, SK
Charter Grand Knight.