|Samuel Cardinal Stritch Assembly #205 Formation and History|
|The exact beginning
of this assembly is very hard to pinpoint. No one has a clear
recollection of when the idea of an assembly in this area first
For a clearer picture, one should know the rules governing the members of the Fourth Degree, as set down by the Supreme Council. The number one rule, a member upon receiving the Honors of the Fourth Degree must join an assembly. In the Archdiocese of Chicago, there was only one Assembly, LaSalle General. This meant that all Fourth degree members in Lake and Cook Counties were required to belong to LaSalle Assembly. Their meetings were always held in downtown Chicago, necessitating considerable travel for members to attend meetings. This, naturally, caused much resentment by those members who wanted to become active. It led to many comments about forming an Assembly in the South Side area.
Early in September 1959, John Barton, Archangel Council, Orland Park, became involved and enthusiastic about the idea of having an assembly in the area. He discussed his plan for an Assembly with many Fourth Degree Members, some of whom wished to join his crusade. John composed a letter that would be sent to the Supreme Council and the Master of the Northern District of Illinois, requesting permission to form an Assembly in the South Suburban area. He cited difficulties in attending meetings and becoming active in the LaSalle Assembly, as well as the potential growth of new members in the area. His letter met with hearty approval and support by those who supported his crusade and urged John to send his letter to the Supreme Council and Master McGillen.
During his campaign to form an Assembly, John Barton became closely associated with Bill Weddington, President of Marian Council Fourth Degree Group. Bill played an important part in the organization of the Assembly. John Barton’s letter went unanswered and it was Bill who suggested and carried out a plan to invite the Master of the Northern District of Illinois to speak to their Fourth Degree Group. Master McGillen accepted the speaking engagement and agreed to answer questions pertaining to the formation of an Assembly. Bill, wanting to have a large number in attendance when the Master would speak on December 1, 1959, invited representatives from the twelve councils in the suburban area to attend.
A very good attendance was on hand to greet and listen to Master McGillen talk about the works of the Fourth Degree. However, after he finished, he was deluged with questions pertaining to the formation of a new Assembly. He was very good at answering all of the questions and explained the rules that were required to form a new Assembly. To some members these rules were strict, but to the majority, they were a challenge. A meeting for further discussion was planned.
On January 7, 1960, a small group of staunch supporting members met to review the rules and regulations set by the Master and outline a plan of action. It was unanimously agreed that an early meeting with representatives from the twelve councils be held in order to gain more support and cooperation. A meeting with these council representatives was scheduled for January 16, 1960 at the Chicago Heights Council Clubhouse.
This meeting produced the cooperation and support that was hoped for and was termed a great success. The councils that were represented were: Pinta, Blue Island, Lansing, Coronata, Fr. C.C. Boyle, Garcia Moreno, Marian, Our Lady of Fatima, Archangel, and Chicago Heights. This group was extremely interested in forming a new Assembly in the area and was certain they could obtain the approval of the 60% of their Fourth Degree Members to meet the requirements. They also approved John Barton to continue as temporary chairman and Tom Wilson as temporary secretary. Having a monthly meeting met with their approval.
The same enthusiastic support was received from the council representatives at the February meeting. They all reported progress in getting members to sign the petitions. A deadline for the return of the petition was set for the March meeting. Master McGillen had promised to be present at this meeting.
Other business at this meeting was the selection of a Bylaws Committee made up of: Ted Sailor and Ed Henly, Lansing Council, Bill Waddington, Marian Council, Joe Doheny, Garcia Moreno Council, and Paul Pina, Pinta Council.
The meeting of March 28, 1960, brought the needed signatures of members desirous of forming a new Assembly. However, a phone call from the Master stated he would not be present and stressed that the petitions must contain only the names of bonafide members of LaSalle Assembly to be considered in the 60% of the required signatures. The April meeting had to be postponed because the Master was busy with an Exemplification in Kankakee. He made a firm promise to be present on June 27, 1960 to receive the petition.
Master Frank McGillen attended the June meeting and was surprised by the number of signed petitions presented to him. His remarks,” I accept these petitions as an indication of your sincerity and will work with you and request the Supreme Council to permit you to form a new Assembly.” He also asked if a name had been selected, and if not, recommended the name of a person dedicated to his role in the church and to the Knights of Columbus, that of “Cardinal Stritch.” A spontaneous approval was given by those in attendance. He also advised selecting a nominating committee composed of a representative from each council, and with instructions to report back with their selections at the August meeting.
Blue Island and Our Lady of Fatima councils requested to withdraw and the requests were approved.
The August meeting brought good tidings from the Supreme Council. They approved the formation of a new Assembly in the South Suburban Cook County, to be named “Cardinal Stritch Assembly.” Reports of the By-law and Nominating Committees were made and accepted. The date of election of officers was set for September 21, 1960, at Pinta Council, Riverdale.
The long awaited day, the election of Assembly officers, necessary to complete the formation of an Assembly in the South Suburban area finally arrived with a full house in attendance. Again, Master McGillen was unable to attend, but not to delay the formation any longer, authorized Bill Condon, Genoa Council, to proceed with the election of the charter officers for Cardinal Stritch General Assembly. Those elected were:
With the same zeal that inspired the men to form Cardinal Stritch Assembly, the officers began laying plans for an active Assembly. Producing a set of workable bylaws acceptable to the membership and the Supreme Council became a challenge to their committee. After many months, they were finally accepted and a charter was authorized, but was not received until January 1964. Presentation was made on February 5, 1964 by Vice Supreme Master Frank McGillen and the Master of the Northern District of Illinois, Ron Taillon.
Programs became next on the priority list. It was believed that an active Assembly must have programs that appealed to every member, and should be of a character to bring praise to the Assembly. The first program to tackle was a formal installation of charter officers.
In those days installation ceremonies were limited to members only, but the officers wanted to have a dinner and dance to celebrate this great occasion. The committee again came up with a solution. The installation at Garcia Moreno Council, Harvey, and the dinner and dance following at Pinta Council, Riverdale, on Sunday, November 20, 1960. The installation ceremony was performed by the very efficient team from Bishop McNamara Assembly, Kankakee, directed by DD Clem Raiche.
Installation of the 1962 officers was also held at Garcia Moreno Council, with dinner and dance following at Pinta Council. They were fortunate in having the same team installing the officers. In the following years, the installation ceremony was moved to various council chambers with Master Ron Taillon presiding. Later when the public was allowed to witness the installation ceremony, it was permitted to be held during the celebration of the Mass.
Dinner dances were always an enjoyable get-together for members and their wives. The first was held at Olympia Fields Country Club in November 1961. It became an annual event in 1962 when it was moved to Cherry Hills Country Club in Flossmoor and continued to be held there until about 1972. After that year, it was held at various locations on the south side.
In 1963, a donation to a religious organization was started and has continued over the years. The first recipient was Msgr. Howard, Rector of Quigley South Preparatory School.
Cardinal Stritch Assembly has always been blessed with active Faithful Friars. Our thanks to those who gave of their time, Msgr. W. Corcoran, Pastor, St. Agnes, Chicago Heights; Rev. Thomas O’Connell, Pastor, St. George, Tinley Park; Rev. R. L. Hills, Pastor, Infant Jesus of Prague, Flossmoor; Rev. T. Walenga, Pastor, Assumption BVM, Chicago; Rev. A. Gorney, Pastor, St. George, Tinley Park; and Rev. John Seary, OSA, Chicago.
Popular and well attended by their members, was the annual re-obligation ceremony held in January each year and was under the direction of the Master or his representative.
Entertainment for the members wives was always a special event for Cardinal Stritch Assembly. The first Ladies Night was held on April 26, 1962 at St. Andrew’s Parish Hall, Calumet City. John Manuszak and his committee from Coronata Council put together an interesting and enjoyable program, featuring the Madrigal Singers from Thornridge High School; The Magic Barrel presented by Standard Oil Company, refreshments and drawing for door prizes for the women. It was truly a most enjoyable evening.
Memorial Day would always see the members in their full regalia at Assumption Cemetery, Glenwood, taking part in the outdoor mass as an honor guard for the priest. Some Cardinal Stritch members have served in the honor guard at the cemetery since it was dedicated. In later years, as mass was permitted to be celebrated in all of the Catholic Cemeteries, members have served not only at Assumption, but also at Holy Cross, Calvary, and St. Benedict’s.
Honor guards have always been willing to assist at religious services when the Cardinal or Bishop was present. They consider this a singular honor. They also assist at first masses, anniversaries of priests or parishes, at wakes for clergy or members, or at civic parades when they are non-political.
In 1963 a request was received to furnish an Honor Guard for the ground-breaking ceremonies for the Mother of Sorrows Novitiate, and twenty-five members responded.
Each year, Sir Knights are asked to march in the Columbus and St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Chicago. Because of the number that attended, George Petro was asked to make arrangements for a bus to transport members to the 1964 St. Patrick’s Parade. He did an outstanding job. He obtained a green and white bus for use.
The solid foundation laid by those who were instrumental in forming the Assembly has continued through the past ten Faithful Navigators and Assembly officers. Throughout these twenty years, Cardinal Stritch Assembly has seen a steady growth in its membership.
Space does not permit listing of all members who have been active in the Assembly since 1960. However, one name comes to mind, Charles Malufka, Coronata Council. He was a representative of his council during the formation, served as a trustee for three years and in other capacities and was elected Faithful Comptroller in 1968. Yes, Charlie has earned the esteem of all the Sir Knights and the thanks and congratulations of all the officers he served under.
Throughout the forty years, the officers and members of Cardinal Stritch Assembly have been a source of help to their councils and the parishes they serve in the South Suburban Cook County area.
We are grateful and thank the Almighty God for giving us those dedicated members who stood the tremendous challenge and worked diligently for the formation of the Assembly. Also. We ask your prayers for the continued guidance of our Assembly to achieve better and more “good works” for God, Our Church, Our Country and Our Fellow Man.
Obtained from the files of PFN Joseph Doheny and presented to the Cardinal Stritch Assembly in March of 1997 by PGK Dave Wolken of Marian Council #3761.
|Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.|