GREENVILLE—When members of Knights of Columbus Council 1668 get together, they’re carrying on a century-old tradition.
The council, the third to be chartered in South Carolina, is preparing to celebrate its centennial with a Jan. 12, 2013, Mass and gala in Greenville. Members, however, have already started to pay tribute to their long tradition.
Council 1668 was officially chartered on Jan. 12, 1913, at St. Mary Church in Greenville with 55 members, and was the first in the Upstate. It is now affiliated with Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Anthony of Padua churches.
Newspaper accounts of the 1913 ceremony described a Mass at St. Mary and a banquet at the now-defunct Ottaray Hotel.
During World War I, the Knights participated in war bond drives and offered entertainment for soldiers who were stationed at Greenville’s Camp Sevier.
After the war, a building that was used as a coffee and donut shop for the soldiers was moved to the grounds of St. Mary Church and became the council’s first meeting place. The current hall on Mauldin Road was built by fellow Knights and opened in 1983.
In 1953, the council was officially named after Msgr. Andrew K. Gwynn, one of the initial members and its first official chaplain.
Msgr. Gwynn served as a priest in the Diocese of Charleston from his ordination in 1895 until his death in 1953. He became pastor of St. Mary in Greenville in 1900 and served there for 52 years. During his tenure, he was credited with renovating the church and helping start the school and establish missions around the Upstate.
Grand Knight Bill Hooks has been affiliated with Council 1668 for 28 years. He joined in 1984, but was transferred to Tennessee and Georgia, and reunited with the group after retiring in 2003.
“We’ve got a lot of great things happening — we have 188 members and we’re growing,” Hooks said. “I’m so proud of our past and the fact we’ve been involved in this community for so long, proud of the Knights that built the council. My focus now is what we can do going forward in the future, especially with everything happening in our church right now.”
Hooks said one of their main themes is promoting family and community. Recent events such as a dinner and ice cream social at Our Lady of the Rosary drew more than 100 people.
The Knights also work to support seminarians and have committed to help educate members of their parishes about issues related to faith and religious freedom, and the importance of voting in the upcoming general election.