PLATTSMOUTH — A milestone recently occurred with the local council of the Knights of Columbus, which was worth celebrating.
It was 100 years ago, in the spring of 1919, that the first meeting of the Knights of Columbus Council 1966 (Plattsmouth) took place.
Local members gathered last Friday at St. John the Baptist School to recognize a century of dedication to the Catholic faith, as well as charitable service to the community.
The Knights of Columbus, named in honor of Christopher Columbus, is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. It was founded by Michael McGivney in New Haven, Conn., in 1882.
Originally, it served as a mutual benefit society helping working-class and immigrant Catholics in the United States with financial needs, particularly for the widows and family members of deceased workers since life insurance was almost non-existent back then.
Eventually, it developed into a fraternal benefit society dedicated to providing charitable services and promoting Catholic education and values.
The first Plattsmouth meeting took place on May 2, 1919, at the old St. John’s Parochial School House for the purpose of organizing a Knights of Columbus lodge here, according to Harlan Seyfer, who presented a local history to the audience.
The meeting was called to order by the Rev. M.A. Shine. Initiation fee was set at $15 with monthly dues set at 50 cents.
Michael Allen Shine was born in Ireland, but studied for the priesthood on the East Coast in America. Eventually, he came to Nebraska and became pastor of St. John’s Parish in Plattsmouth in July of 1908, according to Seyfer.
Since Shine was instrumental in forming a Knights council in Lincoln when he was there, it was only natural that he would lead the way with a council here, according to Seyfer.
In July of 1925, Pope Pius XI conferred the title of Monsignor on Shine.
When he died in 1927, the local council was renamed the Fr. Michael Shine Council, which remains to this day.
“Monsignor Shine will always be with us in the next 100 years,” said Bonnie Seyfer, who spoke on the history of the Catholic Daughters of America, which has worked with the Knights on many projects over the years.
That organization was founded in Utica, N.Y., in 1903. Father Shine and the Plattsmouth Knights in 1922 organized the Catholic Daughters of America’s Our Lady of Loretto Court 709 here and dedicated it to the principals of “Unity and Charity,” which remains the motto today, according to Bonnie Seyfer.
She and other fellow members presented the Knights a portrait of Monsignor Shine in honor of the 100th anniversary.
It is easier to learn and cherish history when there are pictures available, as well as words, Bonnie Seyfer said.
“You can read books on our history, but without pictures a thousand words are missing,” she said.
The featured speaker was Nebraska Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, who praised the Knights of Columbus, both the national organization and the local council, for taking a leading role on important Catholic values, such as being pro-life.
“The pro-life movement would be nowhere without the Knights of Columbus,” Foley told the audience.
In a later interview, Foley described the Knights as an “extraordinary charitable organization,” which is expected to reach 2 million members in the near future.
The Knight of the Year Award was posthumously given to Lowell Daisley, which was accepted by his widow, Mary.
“I’m very proud of him,” she said. “He’s so loved by everyone.”
The Old Krusty Minstrels provided the entertainment for what turned to be a fine evening of history and fellowship, Harlan Seyfer said.
“I thought it went tremendously well,” he said. “We all had a good time.”