About Us - Fr. C. Ralph Monk Council #9549
Thanks to the efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary's Church in New Haven and some of his parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature on March 29, 1882, officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. The Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity.
The Knights was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
The history of the Order shows how the foresight of Father Michael J. McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican, brought about what has become the world's foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society. The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.
The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to more than 14,000 councils and 1.8 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam and Saipan.
Knights of Columbus
Father C. Ralph Monk Council
Father C. Ralph Monk Council #9549 was chartered on April 13th 1987 with thirty-one Charter members at Holy Family in Hillsborough, NC a small mission church of St. Thomas More Catholic Church of Chapel Hill, NC. The primary force behind the organization and chartering of the Council was our first Grand Knight Vaughn Farrie. GK Farrie had been a Knight up north and missed the work and camaraderie of the Knights. The original officers w ere: Grand Knight Vaughn Farrie, Deputy Grand Knight John Devitto, Financial Secretary David France, Chaplain Fr. James Keenan, Recorder Joe Page, Warden Joe Nowak, and Inside Guard Billy Latta.
The Council was named at the suggestion of Joe Page in honor of Father C. Ralph Monk who had recently passed away in 1985 after serving Holy Family as the sacramental minister in the early 1980's. Fr. Monk was a chaplain at Duke University Medical Center and had been instrumental in the growth of the Catholic Church in Hillsborough even before the church had a permanent home. This gentle servant of God in our midst was an example of the Order's highest ideals of charity, unity with the church and fraternal care of our brothers.
During the late 80's and early 90's the Council grew dramatically and participated in a number of programs to benefit the church and the Hillsborough community. It was during this time that our Council's special mission of educating the Yankee palate began with Brother Jamie Stewart introducing grits to our monthly Knights breakfast. Operation LAMB became a parish wide annual event with LAMB Director Joe Page organizing a concerted street collection at the local Wal-Mart and grocery stores in Hillsborough and Mebane. Over the years a number of local organizations assisting the intellectually disabled have benefitted from these efforts including the Respite program at ARC o f Orange County, Holy Angels, NC Therapeutic Riding Center and special education classes in the Orange County School System.
In 1993 under the leadership of GK Jim Logue, Council #9549 achieved a pinnacle in its history when it was awarded the highest honor in the national organization: Star Council. This award is limited to less than ten percent of the Councils in the world and recognizes membership growth, insurance growth and the Council's programs designed for the benefit of the church and community.
During the late 90s the Council experienced a period of limited growth and activity to the point where the only regular Council activity was our popular monthly breakfast. A debt of gratitude is owed to GK Mike Coveyou and FDD Ron Kellett for their efforts in keeping the Council alive.
In 2010 a committee of Knights with the leadership of SK Rick Chambless, PGN, chose to reinvigorate the Council with new members and new programs. Since that initial membership drive the Council has added many new members, established a Youth program to support an annual Soccer Shootout, an Essay/Poster Contest and a Basketball Free Throw contest; a Pro-Life Program supporting participants in the NC and DC Marches for Life, planning a Rosary on the Feast of the Annunciation; Church Programs to support the Raleigh Diocese seminarians through both prayer and financial support; Family/Council Programs to include Family/Knight of the Month awards, Knights Night out at the Durham Bulls and our monthly breakfast; Community Programs including support for the Wounded Warrior Project to assist servicemen in NC to get home for the holidays and Operation LAMB in support those who are intellectually disabled!
The Council was honored for its work during the 2010-2011 fraternal year by being chosen for the NC State Councils State Deputy's Award as the best small council in North Carolina. Brother Joe Wisnewski, who joined our order in 2010 participated immediately by becoming the Council''s Youth Director was recognized by the State as the NC State Council Rookie of the Year for 2010-2011. Our chaplain Father Tom Tully who has been extremely supportive of the Knights and their work was honored with the NC State Councils Chaplains Award for the 2010-2011 AND 2013-2014 Fraternal years! . Finally the Supreme Council recognized Council #9549 as a Star Council for our growth and programs during the 2010-2011 fraternal year and then a Double Star Council in 2012-2013. This was only the second time in our council's history that we have received this international award!
Grand Knights of Council #9549
Charter Grand Knight 1987-1989: Vaughn Farrie
Grand Knight 1989- 1991: John Devitto
Grand Knight 1991 - 1992: Gaspare Lofaso
Grand Knight 1992 - 1994: James Logue
Grand Knight 1994 - 1996: Robert Ward
Grand Knight 1997 - 2001: Michael Coveyou
Grand Knight 2001 - 2005: Ronald Kellett
Grand Knight 2005 - 2010: Charles Kellett
Grand Knight 2010 - 2013: Rick Chambless
Grand Knight 2013 - 2015: Joe Wisnewski
Grand Knight 2015 - 2018: Robert Shaw
Grand Knight 2018 - 2019: Marc Laclair
Grand Knight 2019 - Present: Eric Garrison
Charter Knights currently with Council #9549
The Knights have donated 12,000 lbs of food during the Lent Season, 2017
Thank you for the $3000 donation to Pathways and all the support over the years.
Special Olympics thanks the Knights for the $3000 given in spring 2017. Special Olympic athletes are never charged a fee to compete. All athlete expenses are paid for through generous donations from groups like the Knights of Columbus.