St. Matthew Knights of Columbus continue Thanksgiving weekend traditions of helping those in need

Norwalk’s Knights of Columbus St. Matthew Council 14360 has many traditions, but helping veterans and children in need are at the top of the list.  Recently, members of the council spent part of their Thanksgiving weekend taking part in several annual events designed to help others.

To start, Council 14360 and students at All Saints Catholic School sponsored a donation drive for the veterans at the Homes for The Brave in Bridgeport (in honor of Veterans Day). Homes for The Brave is a facility in Bridgeport that takes care of veterans who are working to get back to regular life after serving in the armed forces.  This was the 4th consecutive year that the council and school have run a drive for Homes for the Brave.  The items were delivered to Homes for the Brave just in time for Thanksgiving.

The council then celebrated Mass on Thanksgiving Day at St. Matthew Church in Norwalk.  Knights in full regalia as well as members of the council were in the procession, along with other ministries and organization of the parish.  In addition, Council 14360 and Catholic Daughters of the America’s St. Matthew Court 2640 provided and delivered a full Thanksgiving meal for the residents of Homes for the Brave for the fifth consecutive year.  In addition, Grand Knight Scott Criscuolo along with Past Grand Knight George Ribellino helped serve the meal along with George’s wife and Catholic Daughters member Heather and daughter Mia.

“Our men and women both loved the food and we could not be more appreciative. What a blessing St. Matthew Council #14360 and Catholic Daughters Court 2640 have been to us. Your Thanksgiving visit and the meal you delivered was a wonderful blessing,” said Homes for the Brave CEO/Executive Director, Vince Santilli.

The day after Thanksgiving has of course become known as “Black Friday”, with many shoppers rushing about in search of the best deals on everything from clothing to televisions. This Black Friday, for the third consecutive year, some members Knights of Columbus Council 14360, along with Brother Knights from Norwalk Council 46, New Canaan Council 2287, Westport Assumption Council 3688, and K of C Bishop Fenwick 4th Assembly 100 joined forces to supply coats to those on a limited income.

Brothers handed out coats for children in need at St. Joseph Church in South Norwalk as part of the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids initiative. The coats were purchased by the three K of C Councils with money generated from the council’s respective fundraising activities.

The Knights of Columbus launched the coats initiative (designed to keep kids warm in harsh winter climates) in 2009. With many families with young children struggling in tough economic times, there was a clear need to provide warm winter coats to children in their communities. And so, the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids program was born.

Since the program’s inception, the Knights of Columbus in the United States and Canada has given away more than 370,000 coats to children in need. Approximately 2,000 local Knights of Columbus councils have participated in their communities around the world. “This is the third year that local Knights councils collaborated to give away coats.  This year we gave over 140 coats. It is an honor to help children keep warm this winter,” said Council 14360 member and CT State Knights of Columbus District Deputy George Ribellino.

Lastly, while some of the Brother Knights were handing out coats, the council split up to help Pastor Msgr. Walter Orlowski and the parish family of St. Matthew for the annual post-Thanksgiving church cleaning and the assembling of the creche for Advent and Christmas.  Led by Grand Knight Scott Criscuolo, the Knights helped clean the altar, vacuum and dust the church, clean windows and bathrooms and assembled the creche.  “It’s a great event to get together with Knights and parishioners to clean our beautiful church and get ready for the season of Advent,” said Council 14360 Grand Knight Scott Criscuolo.

The goals of the Knights of Columbus Council at Saint Matthew Church in Norwalk are to perform acts of charity. Providing those in need with a range of support from financial to tactical help in dealing with a wide variety of challenges. Council members work together to foster the founding principles of our order; Charity, Unity, Fraternity & Patriotism. Our goal as a council is to continue to identify specific needs in our community and muster support and help to alleviate these challenges and hardships to the best of our abilities and resources.

Thanks to Anna Marie Mastrolillo for contributing some of the photos posted above!

For additional photos of this year’s Coats for Kids distribution (taken by The Hour’s Erik Trautmann), please click on the link below:

http://www.thehour.com/news/article/In-Photos-Knights-of-Columbus-annual-winter-12381833.php#photo-14600226

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K of C Council 14360 Celebrates 10 Years of Service with gala dinner

After ten memorable, fulfilling years of service to St. Matthew Church in Norwalk as well as other deserving causes in the Fairfield County area, it was time for the members of Knights of Columbus Council 14360 to pause for a short while and celebrate with their friends and families.

On Saturday, October 21, 2017 at The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s in Darien, Council 14360 did just that at a special 10th Anniversary gala dinner.  Members of Council 14360 were joined by spouses, children, clergy, Knights from other councils, neighbors, and friends. In addition, numerous organizations and individuals who have benefited from the efforts of Council 14360 were present.

It was a night to remember as everyone enjoyed a delicious meal, music, and a slide show of wonderful memories from the past ten years. The Knights of Columbus Supreme Council and the City of Norwalk both issued special commendations to Council 14360, saluting them for their ten years of service. Past Grand Knights Mike Colaluca (the Gala chairman) and George Ribellino, Jr. were honored for their contributions, along with the council’s current Grand Knight, Scott Criscuolo, Deputy Grand Knight, Anthony Armentano, and others.

“The exciting thing is that we are really just getting started,” commented Grand Knight Criscuolo as he addressed attendees. “While it has been wonderful to look back on the past ten years and all that we have accomplished, I am looking forward even more to what we can accomplish in the next ten years.” Criscuolo added that he looked forward to seeing everyone at the 20th Anniversary gala in another ten years.

 

 

Knights of Council 14360 Help Malta House with painting project

Good Counsel Malta House, a Norwalk organization that helps pregnant and parenting mothers, recently had a familiar work crew stop by to help spruce up the home!

Volunteers from St. Matthew’s Church Knights of Columbus Council No. 14360 painted the office and the dining room area on Saturday, October 28, 2017.    The council has been assisting Malta House since 2009 with various painting and remodeling projects and financial assistance.

“It looks awesome…thank you so much. Everything looks so fresh and so clean..smiles…you guys are the best,” commented Claudia Nixon, Director of Case Management, Good Counsel Malta House.

Good Counsel Malta House provides a nurturing home environment, support services and independent living skills to pregnant and parenting mothers of all faiths and their children.

“Working with Malta House is a strong Catholic bond that continues to strengthen every day. Those that are there are working to get their lives back on track and when they see that their temporary home continues to be refreshed, they are refreshed,” explains Grand Knight Scott Criscuolo.

“It is an honor and joy for our council to help such a great organization that helps women and children in need,” added George Ribellino, a past Grand Knight and project chairman.

In the past the council has donated funds for new mattresses, remodeled the nursery, laid tile and painted bedrooms, the common room and the kitchen.

The council schedules two painting/remodeling projects each year.  “We try to help Good Counsel Malta House save money that can be used to help with the programs for the mothers and children,” said Ribellino.

The nonprofit began in 1995, when Michael O’Rourke learned there was no room for many homeless pregnant women and their newborns.

The young families often found themselves on the street or living in sub-standard conditions.  Recently, Malta House formed a collaboration with Good Counsel which runs maternity homes in the tri-state area and beyond.  “Linked with Good Counsel’s network and resources, we’ll be able to provide even greater access to health services, education, job skills and more for expectant and parenting mothers,” Petrone said. “Good Counsel also has the ability to provide care for women with substance abuse and mental health disorders, ensuring that no woman who seeks our help will ever have to be turned away. This capability is a win-win for Connecticut and our home in support of human dignity and family stability.”  For more info go to goodcounselhomes.org.

 

Knights of Council 14360 Take Part in Special Mass at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington

“What are you looking for? What is it that you see?” the Bishop said to begin his homily, noting that it was a question that Jesus asked his disciples.

“It is a question that roots each of our lives and one we bring to this sacred space,” the Bishop said, reassuring worshippers that the Blessed Mother opens a path to the Lord.

On Saturday, September 23, 2017, Bishop Frank Caggiano echoed those words in his homily to a packed house of more than 4000 pilgrims from the Diocese of Bridgeport, New York City, China and the Philippines at the Basilica at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC.  The Mass was held in tribute to the Rosary Walk dedicated to 100th Anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to three shepherd children by Bishop Caggiano’s private foundation and other donations.

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More than 1500 pilgrims boarded buses in the early morning from all over Fairfield County with an additional 500 who drove down on their own.  Three Knights of Columbus members from Knights of Columbus Council 14360 and Bishop Fenwick 4th Degree Assembly 100 in Norwalk represented the Knights of Columbus in the Mass and procession.  The three Knights, Faithful Navigator George Ribellino, Color Corps Commander, Scott Criscuolo and Faithful Pilot Anthony Armentano travelled on a bus which left St. Matthew Parish (Norwalk) that morning at 7:00.

“Being a Knight is an honor by itself; having the opportunity of representing my council and assembly in such a storied setting was a humbling and joyful experience,” said Armentano.

On the ride down on the bus from St. Matthew, Parochial Vicar Father Tomi Thomas led 2 rosaries praying not only for the intentions of those on the bus, but for all those making the pilgrimage.  They even has some fun by playing trivia about Our Lady of Fatima.

The Knights led the procession for the Mass and were part of the procession to the Rosary Walk and dedication outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  The Mass also included Knights of Malta, Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and 60 members of the Diocesan Youth Choir.

“It was such a humbling experience to be a part of the spiritual day and to see the youth of our Diocese bring such spirit to the day was so inspiring,” said Ribellino.  “I want to thank Bishop Frank and the Diocesan staff for making this day possible and to the wonderful ushers, clergy and staff at the Basilica for their hospitality.”

The Mass and procession was broadcast live on EWTN and covered by Catholic TV of Boston and NET-TV in Brooklyn, NY.

Criscuolo who led the Knights Honor Guard went on to say, “Not only do I think we represented our council, parish and city well but I’d like to think Catholics around the world watching on TV felt that we added a little reverence to an already spiritual experience.”

The Byzantine Romanesque basilica, which opened in 1959 after decades of construction, is a massive testimony to the faith of the American Catholic Church. It is largest Church in the U.S. and one of ten largest in the world.

More than one million people a year make pilgrimages to the site, which shares the campus of Catholic University of America.  The ushers at all Masses volunteer their time and are all members of Knights of Columbus Councils from Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland.

Bishop Caggiano said that those who go on pilgrimage are also “carrying others in their hearts,” a family member or friend who is struggling spiritually.

He said that those who live entirely by the secular values of materialism and relativism often end up empty and lost with nothing to sustain them.

“We bring them to Our Lady so they can ask the questions,” he said, praying that they find love and peace in the answer that, “Christ is the desire of every human heart. “

When the Mass concluded the entire congregation formed a procession to the new Rosary Walk and Garden near the side entrance of the Basilica while reciting the Rosary.

Contributions from the Diocese of Bridgeport Fairfield County Catholic

Chili for Charity: Third Annual Council Chili Cook-Off at Saugatuck Sweets Benefits Al’s Angels

The battle for the best chili was on, but the champion prevailed once again.

The competition was intense from many other fine cooks, but the two-time Chili for Charity “Chili Cook-Off” champion came through again.

On a beautiful sunny Fall day, the  Knights of Columbus St. Matthew Council 14360 held their Third Annual Chili Cook Off fundraiser at Saugatuck Sweets in Fairfield on Sunday, October 1, 2017.

Six Knights from the council and two guests cooked eight chili entries, ranging from super-spicy to scrumptiously sweet. Defending Champion and Past Grand Knight George Ribellino was crowned Chili Champion once again, much to the dismay of current Grand Knight Scott Criscuolo.

“It is a dark day in the chili competition world. I really need to double my praying efforts to make sure this calamity never happens again,” said Criscuolo. “All joking aside, it’s always a great day when we can be out in the community, being a brotherhood with our Knights, and being able to raise money for a wonderful organization like Al’s Angels, who’s always striving to make a difference.”

“Once again, for the third year in a row, our Brother Knights hit it out of the park with some amazing chili offerings! We had some new participants bringing the heat to our veteran chili chefs. As always special thanks to Al DiGuido for his space and assistance. This year our council was able to donate $316 to Al’s Angels from the 95 judges at this event,” said Chili for Charity Chairman Erric Moretti.

The Chili for Charity concept was started by then-new Knight Moretti back in the summer of 2015. Moretti thought it would be a nice fraternal experience for the council while helping the community. He calls it a “fun raiser.”

The mission of Al’s Angels is to provide holiday meals and gifts to children battling cancer, rare blood diseases and severe financial hardship. This year Al’s Angels plans to provide holiday dinners for 1,000 families affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“I knew the competition was going to be tough this year since I have the target on my back. I appreciate the support of all the judges and I love the trash talk among the Brother Knights, which is all is fun. The best part is we get to raise money for a great organization in Al’s Angels,” said Ribellino.

“My family and I had a great time at the Knights Chile Cook-off. The contestants all created dishes that were not only delicious to eat, but appropriately named such as ‘Fire in the Hole, ‘Third Degree,’ ‘As Seen on TV,’ and ‘Meat Lovers.’ They were all so good it was difficult to say whose was the best! We look forward to next year,” said St. Matthew parishioner and judge Ernie DesRochers.

Knights of Council 14360 honored to be a part of annual Diocesan Blue Mass

At the noon Mass on September 10, 2017, it was an honor for Brothers of Council 14360 to be the host council for the Annual Diocesan Blue Mass, held at St. Matthew Church in Norwalk. The Blue Mass honored fire, police, and other first responders from the area.
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Bishop Frank J. Caggiano was the main celebrant, along with diocesan priests who serve as police and fire chaplains in Fairfield County. Fr. Charles Allen, special assistant to the president of Fairfield University, served as chairman of the event.

Law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical service personnel of all faiths in Fairfield County, along with members of the general public, were present at the Mass.

“It is always a privilege and honor to recognize our uniformed personnel who put their lives on the line every day to safeguard the community. The Blue Mass commemorates their courage and dedication,” said Fr. Allen.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano presided over the service and spoke eloquently of the contributions of those being honored.

“When there is an emergency, you don’t ask if someone is a Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative, English speaker or not – you serve them because they are brothers and sisters in need. You remind us what makes us a great nation, and that what unites us in Christ is greater than what could divide us because of personal differences,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano.

The Blue Mass, sponsored by Knights of Columbus and benefactors, recognized the following First Responders for their courage and services to the community: Officer Maryhelen McCarthy from the Patrol Division of Newtown Police Department; Weston Volunteer Fire Department EMT Mark Blake; Norwalk Fire Department Truck Co. 2 Firefighter George Baez; Norwalk, CT Police Department Officer Anthony DePanfilis,  Officer Matthew Nyquist and Officer Jose Silva.

A reception was held immediately following the Mass in St. Matthew’s Masterpool Great Room.

The Knights of Council 14360 look forward to assisting with this very special event again in the future. God Bless our first responders who keep us safe each and every day.

Solemn Ceremony at Notre Dame Health & Rehabilitation Center Marks 9/11 Anniversary

In a solemn outdoor ceremony held on Saturday morning, September 9th on the beautiful grounds of Notre Dame Health & Rehabilitation Center in Norwalk, members of Knights of Columbus Bishop Fenwick 4th Degree Assembly (including members of Council 14360-Norwalk) were joined by their families as well as residents and staff of Notre Dame at a special Mass in remembrance of those who lost their lives sixteen years ago on September 11, 2001.

“It is nice to take time to honor those we lost on that day,” said George Ribellino, Faithful Navigator of Assembly 100. “This is the 3rd year of having the Memorial Mass and picnic with the residents of Notre Dame and we are so appreciative of the hospitality of Sister Lucie and the staff of Notre Dame,”  Ribellino went on to say.

On a bright sunny morning, residents and patients Notre Dame, along with staff, volunteers, a Knights Color Guard formed a procession across the Notre Dame grounds to the flag pole for the blessing of a brand new American Flag donated by Assembly 100.

Father Reggie Norman, Pastor of Our Lady of Fatima parish (Wilton) and Chaplain of Knights of Columbus Assembly 100, was the celebrant of the Mass.  Special American flags bearing the names of 9/11 victims were part of the ceremony as well.

Father Reggie in his homily about the 9-11 Anniversary said, “9/11 is a day to remember: remember who we are and what we are about. It was not a time of selfishness but a time of togetherness. Let us return to the time where we work and pray for each other.

The Mass was coordinated by Notre Dame’s Sister Lucie Monast, SSTV, with assistance from Assembly 100 and members of Catholic Daughters, Court St. Matthew #2640. Following the Mass, a special picnic was held for all attendees in which the Knights helped serve

“It was truly a special and memorable morning for all”, said Sister Lucie Monast

Notre Dame Health and Rehabilitation Center is a 60-bed residence, including 6 private rooms, and located on five landscaped acres in Norwalk, CT, is operated under the loving sponsorship of The Sisters of Saint Thomas of Villanova. Their goal is to optimize the quality of life for the chronically ill and convalescent elderly.  Notre Dame has been awarded 5 stars, the highest ranking from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It has been named by US News & World Report as one of the Best Nursing Homes in CT.   For more information go to ndhrehab.org.

Knights of Columbus Bishop Fenwick Assembly 100 was chartered in Norwalk, CT since 1914.  The Fourth Degree is the outgrowth and culmination of the desire of the Members to manifest their love for country and pride in their Catholic American heritage. In 1882, the Reverend Michael J. McGivney had founded the Knights of Columbus to provide mutual aid and assistance to its members and their families. At that time the Order had only three Degrees exemplifying the principles of Charity, Unity and Fraternity. In compliance with the wishes of the body as a whole, the national board of directors met in August 1899 and approved the addition of a Fourth Degree to the work of the Knights of Columbus. The new ritual was adopted on the 9th of December and went into effect in 1900 with its primary purpose to foster the spirit of patriotism through the demonstration of one’s love for its country and by responsible citizenship. It is the highest Degree in the Knights of Columbus, giving a greater knowledge and appreciation for our Catholic heritage.  For more information, go to Assembly100.org.