COUNCIL HISTORY

On April 27, 1947, Leo XIII council #3042  received its charter from the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus.
The charter class was initiated at Amity Hall of Gabriel Richard Council #2463 in Detroit, Michigan. Under the direction of our Charter Grand Knight Meinrad Braun and the Grand Knights that followed, the council grew and flourished to a membership high in 1970 of 2300. For approximately 20 years it was the second largest council, in membership, in the state behind Council 305, the first council in the State of Michigan. Five years later they won back-to-back Century awards and the more difficult, especially for councils over 1000 members, the Champion of Champions award. It developed and maintained one of the best initiation teams in the state. The team was invited to perform across the state and Canada.

The council had a strong association with the local parish, St. Veronica, and its pastor, the charter chaplain, Fr Leo Huver. (In fact the council was named after him.) The involvement of the council in the parish is still strong, 97% of the ushers, Lectors and Eucharistic ministers, Dad's club members, parish council and catechists belonging to the council.

This was the glory time for the council. The time when the council made visits to other councils in the area and on both sides of the border; the time when council elections, due to run-offs, could run into the wee hours of the morning; the time of baseball teams and bowling leagues. This was, also, the time when the council had its own Scholarship Fund and Spelling Bee. The Spelling Bee format started by Bro. Al Hayek was so successful that the program has been adopted by the Michigan State Council and after his death the trophy was named in his honor.

The council still maintains its own welfare system for its members. This program was started by Past Grand Knight Joseph Siklich while he was the Deputy Grand Knight. It provided for payment of council dues, the member's food and utility bills while he was attempting to get through the red tape of government assistance. It is funded by a once-a-year raffle.

The council was instrumental in the creation, and is a charter member, of the Council of Fraternal and Veterans Organizations which handles many of the civic functions in the city. The inter-fraternal actions of the council have seen competition in membership, baseball and bowling with the East Detroit Eagles. One year the winning of a membership contest by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, resulted in the Worthy President of the local Aerie riding in a wheel-barrow being pushed by the Grand Knight of the Council, down the full length of the Memorial Day parade. Over the years the council grew from a storefront meeting room to a beautiful building with club and banquet rooms. Its membership donated land that the council has since disposed of. There was a parking lot and a playfield donated to the parish.

During the 50's, 60's 70's and 80's it was the home of  First, Second and Third Degree ceremonial staffs that were requested statewide. The Knute Rockne Squires Circle was extremely successful. They were rated as the best ceremonial team in the state. Only once were they beaten by a circle accepting their challenge. "Anywhere, any time, in any sport, we will accept the challenge and win."

The council is following the same trend as the rest of the world. Its membership is getting older. They can not do the things that they used to do. The membership has shrunk to less than 1100, of which 300 are life members. The remarkable thing is that the old programs are still running.

In the early 70's, the council tried to provide emotional and physical assistance to the widows of the council. No matter what was tried, the program couldn't get started. Out of this effort, a group of senior men and women got together and established a retirees group. The group was to provide a simple social setting for its members that numbered about 25 to 30. The programs started by this small group caused a great demand for membership in the group. Since then their membership, of now over 300, is the prime support of all council functions.

This council has been fortunate. The interaction of the council and Our Lady of Loretto Circle #937, Daughters of Isabella, has been so great that where other councils require a Ladies Auxiliary we have found it completely unnecessary. They have used their funds and energies to assist in the functions of the council. The council has provided active participation in their functions and continuance. Although they have been in existence for over 40 years, their Charter Regent is still active in both the circle and the council.
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