Notre Dame Council #2901- Knights of Columbus

Knights of Columbus - Notre Dame Council Baltimore MD

Council History

 

 Notre Dame Council had its humble beginning in the fall of 1944 when twenty-five stalwarts from Santa Maria Council decided they would like to form a new Knights of Columbus Council in the North Baltimore area.  The Supreme Council acknowledged their request and a new Charter was officially granted on October 16, 1944. 

The first meetings took place at the Cameo Hall in Hamilton.  They met here through the year 1947, then in 1948, moved to the Knights of Pythias Hall in Hamilton, and shortly thereafter, moved again to Eagles Hall on Lyman Avenue in Govans.  During these first four years, the Council established a firm reputation of holding one of the finest Oyster Roasts in the City of Baltimore.

 The Council, now in its fifth year, numbered some seventy-five men.  Again, it was to move, this time renting the lower room of the old St. Mary's School on Homeland Avenue.  They were so well satisfied with this arrangement, that they entered into negotiations to purchase the property from St. Mary's Church.  The deal was consummated in 1953 and at last, Notre Dame Council was permanently located.  Also, during this year, the Council undertook its first city-wide endeavor of promoting a circus. 

From 1953 to 1955, Notre Dame grew in size from two hundred fifty members to five hundred.  The first permanent step in the creation of a great Council was accomplished by the members when they approved a rigid set of By-Laws.  Many firsts occurred during this time, which probably makes this two of the most formative years in the history of Notre Dame Council.  The first and only Grand Knight to be elected to two consecutive terms took place.  Later, the same Grand Knight served the Order as State Deputy of Maryland from 1960 to 1963.  The rapid increase in membership, as previously stated, necessitated two Major Degrees in one fraternal year, another first.   

With such high caliber leadership as its stepping stone, and a permanent meeting place now settled, each succeeding Grand Knight would take it upon himself to contribute a lasting memento in building Notre Dame Council.   

Such activities as the Living Rosary, and the ever popular Work Detail were added in 1956 and 1957 respectively, then came the Family Picnic, Circle of Squires, as well as the formation of the Notre Dame 2901 Credit Union in 1958 and the first Ladies Palm Sunday Cocktail Reception. 

In 1961, the Council held a Charity Ball with the proceeds of over $1,000 presented to St. Elizabeth's School for Special Education; that same year the Council sponsored a pilgrimage to the Mother Seton Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, Maryland, the first such pilgrimage ever to be sponsored by a men's group.  The Traveling Rosary was built in 1963.  In 1964, a second Charity Ball was held with the proceeds this time going to Sister Rachael's Educational Clinic.  The rest of the 1960's brought  Crab feasts, Mardi-Gras, bull roasts, a family Holy Hour, a Father-Son-Daughter day, a Moonlight Cruise on the Bay, the Luau, and a children's hobby contest.  The first Past Grand Knight from the Council was elected State Deputy.  The Memorial Mass began; the Singing Knights were formed.  Dance classes were held; Rosaries prayed for peace; tape recorders were given to the Workshop for the Blind; the Council's newsletter was renamed "Grotto".  The outdoor grotto statue was blessed.  In 1966, 45 Council members went on retreat to Manresa.  There was a motorcade to St. Mary's Emmitsburg, a youth pet show and Easter egg hunts. The  Traveling Rosary visited almost every council in the State; a Rosary Callout list was started; a Sadie Hawkins dance, the Retired men's club began to meet;  there was an ocean fishing trip; a Quadrathlon contest, and a sports night.  The Council celebrated its 25th anniversary with a weekend of special events. 

The Council made its mark during the 1970's: a Flag pole was erected at the Council Home; the 1st dinner theater was presented; there was a German smorgasbord and a kiddies carnival; dialog meetings began with B'nai B'rith; 15,000 toys raised for Toys for Tots.  The First Friday Mass & Dinner began.  A Lectors course was started; the mortgage was burned; a bull roast was held for Baltimore area retarded; the Keswick Nursing Home project began; also new was a Seder supper with B'nai B'rith.  Other activities were a children's puppet show, Bike-A-Thon for retarded children, the Kitchen Krew at area churches, the Red Orchid Lounge, Cinema races, Rock dances, Athletic dances.  The Council began the Villa Maria projects with the youth; a bond sale program for renovating the council home was set in place; Day of Recollection; the Family to Family charity;  the first Singing Knights dinner show; CPR training for members;  the council chambers were rebuilt; first Homecoming Meeting was on the books. A hospital equipment loan program was started;  bus trips to Penn National were an event; as was a  moon-light boat ride. The Council's second Past Grand Knight was elected State Deputy.  Council members traveled to Washington to marshall the parade route for the Papal visit. The first Shrimp Feast; Police and Fire Fighter of the Year, Fast-A-Thon for youth; the Singing Knights Show moved its production to Notre Dame Preparatory School.

 During the 1980's, there were Hawaiian Luaus, Polish Dance lessons, a trip to Mother Seton's Shrine, a Day at the Races to help start a new church; Shrimp feasts and candy sales for charity.  The Crab Feast moved indoors; Notre Dame Council hosted a reception for State's 100th Anniversary program; the Council softball team became the State Champions; the Traveling Rosary was rebuilt; Bull Roasts for the League of Handicapped were started;  a widows cocktail party was hosted; the State Family of the Year was the Holloway family; Softball team repeats as state champs and go on to the national tournament; the Bond Program was retired.  The Council  raised money for a new water system for CYO Retreat House in Sparks; hosted a watering hole for 5K Run for Muscular Dystrophy; the Chaplain was sent to the Supreme Convention;  monthly Bingo's began at Keswick Nursing Home.  In 1987, we saw the first Grand Knight of the council whose father previously serve as Grand Knight.  The Family to Family baskets reached 100 families each year;  fund raiser for School for the Blind; the first Grand Knight to follow his brother who previously served as Grand Knight;  the three remaining charter members were honored at a Third Degree Banquet.

 The 1990's began with the initiation of The Members Relief Fund by the Council; the State Family of the Year was the Klein Family and the Council was named as number one Council for General Excellence by State.  The Council supported Fr. Roos's hospital mission in Chimbote, Peru; District Bull Roast to fight legalization of abortions; the first Grand Knight to serve two non-consecutive terms; P.A.C.T., Parents and Children Together was another Council charity; Bull Roast was held and clothing collected for homeless.  In 1993 renovations began to update the council home,  the Grotto outside main entrance was bathed in light; the needs of the homeless and the unborn were addressed with donations.  In 1994, the Council celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a weekend of special activities.  In 1996, the Council began renewal of marriage vows at the First Friday Masses;  purchased a microcomputer and the computerized Financial Secretary program; pledged $30,000 to the capital program for St. Elizabeth's School; donated $13,754 to charity; and brought color back to the Grotto.  The Council enjoyed an afternoon German Octoberfest and an Italian Night Dinner Dance; more than $10,000 was raised for P.A.C.T. and St. Elizabeth's School with additional donations to protect the unborn and assist the homeless; a live animal show was provided for the children; a Police Officer and a Fire Fighter of the Year were recognized.  Each year since 1989, food baskets were donated to 120 families in need through the Family to Family Program (this is approximately 7,200 pounds of food each year); the money for this program comes directly from donations from the members.  

The Council's long tern on-going activities include: Traveling Rosary, Dinner Theater, Singing Knights, Homecoming Meetings where 25 Year, HLM and PGKs are recognized, First Friday Mass & Dinners; continued commitment to St. Elizabeths Center; entertainment programs at Keswick Nursing Home with Bingo's, Christmas Parties and cookouts; and the special Family to Family program.

 The Council has provided leadership for both the State Council and the Baltimore Chapter: two of our PGKs have served as State Officers and State Deputy; some have served on the State Executive Staff; other PGKs have served as District Deputies, District Wardens, Chapter President, State Directors and Chairmen and also as State Bulletin Editor.  When the State undertook the special Social Action Fund to raise $250,000, it came to Notre Dame Council for a finance chairman.

 The Council has provided leadership for the Fourth Degree with many men serving as assembly officers and especially as Faithful Navigators; with one PGK serving as Secretary to the Maryland Master. 

The Council maintains an exceptional First Degree team; the Ceremonial Chairman for the District Second Degree team comes from the Council as do most of the Degree Team; the council has also provided team members for the Third and Fourth Degree Teams.

in 2016, the council decided to drop it's membership in the Chapter of Baltimore Grand Knights due mostly to lack of interest and dwindling funds to pay their per-capita. This reason was coupled with the lawsuit against a former BCGK for embezzlement, which made the council reluctant to remain with the organization. 

On October 1, 2017, after struggling to maintain an aging building, and with rentals dwindling, Notre Dame Council sold the council building and property to Notre Dame University of Maryland. The council started meeting at St. Mary's Seminary and University on Roland Avenue and Northern Parkway. Specifically, the council rented a conference room for twice a month meetings. The conference room is located in the "Center for Continuing Formation" branch of the seminary. The council at this point has approximately 225 members, down from twice that number in the council's heyday. The disposition of the on-site credit union is yet to be determined, but presumably will locate to an office in the surrounding area. A request has been submitted to St. Mary's Seminary to locate on their site if possible, but a decision has not been made as of yet.