The COVID-19 pandemic may have kept people in their homes and altered life as we know it, but it certainly has not stopped the Knights of Columbus Madonna Maria Council No. 3560 of Saint Joseph Catholic Church from completing the mission to support their parish and help people in need as they “build a bridge to faith,” according to a Sea Isle City press release.
In the summer of 2020, the Knights of Columbus purchased a hand-held “fogging” machine and gallons of cleaning solution, which are used to disinfect the interior of their church. In addition, many of the Knights volunteer their time to clean the facility following the parish’s weekday and weekend masses.
To continue their charitable efforts during the months of December 2020 and January 2021, the Knights donated $11,800 to numerous schools and service organizations in the region, including $7,500 to Bishop McHugh Regional Catholic School in Clermont, according to the release.
“Our motto is ‘Charity, Fraternity and Unity’ – but it all begins with charity, which is the main purpose of our existence,” Knights of Columbus Grand Knight Ed McFadden said. “We are very grateful for the tremendous amount of support we receive from the community, but we can always use additional members and participants.”
Other organizations that benefitted from the Knights of Columbus donations include New Jersey Right to Life ($500), Wildwood Catholic Academy ($300), Hope Pregnancy Center ($500), Holy Redeemer Food Bank ($500), Guadalupe Family Services ($500), Good Counsel of New Jersey ($500), Family Promise of Cape May County ($500), Covenant House ($500), and Atlantic City Rescue Mission ($500).
In addition to donating money to good causes, the Knights also host annual spelling bees and foul-shooting competitions for local students. They also work with elderly residents at nearby nursing homes. They support Special Olympics of New Jersey, and each year they host an “Ice Cream Social” at the New Jersey Veterans Home in Vineland and a Christmas luncheon for the homebound, retired veterans and people with special needs.
In addition to other efforts, the group also distributes annual scholarships to local high school students, and they honor local teachers, first responders, senior citizens and others in the community during the Madonna Maria Council’s annual Community Service Awards Ceremony.
To raise money for their good deeds, each year the Knights host fundraisers, including their popular 400 Club Raffle. The organization also accepts donations directly from the public and from their own members.
“The 400 Club is our main fundraiser and it is very well supported by our year-round parishioners and Sea Isle’s summer visitors,” said Rick DiBruno, a past Grand Knight of the Madonna Maria Council.
He continued, “Basically, we raise money so we can give it away to worthy organizations and worthwhile causes, such as making physical improvements to our parish.”
He said one such example of a good cause was the purchase and installation in 2020 of new outdoor signs that display the church’s weekly mass schedule, which is helpful because the mass schedule changes throughout the year.
The Knights of Columbus of Saint Joseph Catholic Church meet each month (currently virtually), and new members are always welcomed.
For more information, go to https://www.stjosephsic.org/ or phone Ed McFadden at 215-300-0561.