Knights of Columbus members prepare to attend a Dallas Cowboys football game in Oct. 1975.

The Knights of Columbus, Orange Council, No. 1680 has faithfully served St. Mary’s Parish and the community since 1913 and will celebrate their 100th anniversary on April 14.

The celebration will be begin following the 10 a.m. mass at St. Mary’s Parish Hall located at 901 W. Cherry. In attendance will be Bishop Curtis Guilory and State Deputy Jim Collins along with his wife, Duchess. They will have inflatables for the children and numerous door prizes.

They are still collected photos for the event, according to Harry Langston, member of the Knights Of Columbus, Orange Chapter.

The Orange Council was originally chartered with 35 members. Over the years that number has grown to approximately 100 members. The first Grand Knight was H.A. Burkhart followed by a long line of members such as his grandson who is currently a members and his great-grandson who is a priest in the Archdiocese of Houston.

The Knights of Columbus operate on the principals of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism and works to apply them to the church, community, family, youth and council. It is through this, they strive to make Orange a better place to live.

In 1982, on the 100th anniversary of the National Supreme Order, an Orange Council member who was also a former Grand Knight, S. Roy Kimar, was selected as Grand Knight of the Century.

Through the council’s efforts to promote character development of youths and teens, they have faithfully sponsored the Boy Scouts of America Troop 1 since it began more than 87 years ago.

The council continues with their support of area youth by providing college scholarships to deserving high school students.

The Orange Council is active in community events such as the recent laser light show and Art in the Park by being one of the food vendors. They are legendary with their popular brisket dinners and the famous fish and chips sold during lent. The council also supports the soup kitchen by donating the leftovers to help feed the hungry people of Orange.

In addition, they serve at St. Mary’s school and other parish organizations by providing cooking and hospitality services at Open House events and other special events upon request.

The Orange Council, affectionately known as the St. Mary’s Knights of Columbus, provides church support through fund raising for repair of parish property as deemed necessary.

They also remain steadfast in their beliefs and pro-life advocates by joining other councils and those around the world in defense of life and religious liberty.

The Knights of Columbus began when in the late 19th century when Connecticut was marked by the growing prevalence of fraternal benefit societies, hostility toward Catholic immigrants and dangerous working conditions in factories that left many families fatherless. Recognizing a vital, practical need in his community, Father Michael J. McGivney, the 29-year-old assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., gathered a group of men at his parish on Oct. 2, 1881. He proposed establishing a lay organization, the goal of which would be to prevent Catholic men from entering secret societies whose membership was antithetical to Church teaching, to unite men of Catholic faith and to provide for the families of deceased members.

As a symbol that allegiance to their country did not conflict with allegiance to their faith, the organization’s members took as their patron Christopher Columbus who was recognized as a Catholic and celebrated as the discoverer of America. Thanks to Father McGivney’s persistence, the Knights of Columbus elected officers in February 1882 and officially assumed corporate status on March 29.

In addition to the Order’s stated benefits, Catholic men were drawn to the Knights because of its emphasis on serving one’s Church, community and family with virtue. Writing in The Columbia in 1898, a year before he was elected supreme knight, Edward L. Hearn wrote that a Knight should live according to the virtues of loyalty, charity, courtesy and modesty, as well as “self-denial and careful respect for the feelings of others.” Fraternity and patriotism were added to the Knights’ founding principles of charity and unity in 1885 and 1900, respectively.

By the end of his four-year tenure as supreme knight in 1886, James T. Mullen personally presides at the institution of 22 of the first 38 councils. John J. Phelan is elected to succeed him and is the first supreme knight to sense the Order’s destiny as a national society.

In the past decade, the Order has continued to build upon its rich tradition of charitable work and spiritual formation. Various new charitable initiatives, as well as ongoing partnerships with organizations such as Special Olympics, have given Knights countless opportunities to practice what John Paul II called “a charity which evangelizes.” Organizing increased outreach to pregnancy resource centers, providing greater spiritual support for men and women in the military and playing a significant role in World Youth Days are just some of the many ways that the Order has worked in recent years to promote a true culture of life.

In April 1966 members attended their Knights Of Columbus meetings at their hall located on Green Ave. The location has changed a few times over the years.