By Dave Fisher
JACKSON – When the Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882, three principles united its members: charity, unity and fraternity. At that time people feared that members of the Catholic faith owed their entire allegiance to the church and could not be trusted as citizens of their country. Patriotism was added to the Order’s principles in the year 1900, based on the idea that Knights are loyal to both God and country.
Members, who hold a 3rd degree and are in good standing in their Council, and wish to live out patriotism together can join “the Fourth Degree.” Members of this degree have the special honor of holding the title “Sir Knight,” participating in color and honor guards and organizing programs that promote Catholic citizenship. They also become part of a Fourth Degree Assembly in their area.
For approximately the past 10 years, the Sir Knights of Saint Richard Council #15131 have belonged to the Bishop R.O. Gerow Assembly #554. This Assembly consists of five Councils from the general area.
Through constant and creative recruiting, #15131 experienced above average growth while maintaining a strong officer corps and the support of Father John Bohn. The Council leaders are always looking beyond the current year in their strategic planning so as to ensure manpower and financing of parish and program needs
It was this history of success, consistency and routinely advancing members to the 4th degree that, in late July 2020, the Faithful State Master, SK Jerry Schmuck, and his Marshal, SK Craig Harrell, offered the Sir Knights of #15131 the opportunity to form their own Assembly. The Sir Knight membership overwhelming accepted the opportunity.
The State Master requested SK David Fisher, Past Faithful Navigator of #554, to run the project and act as Faithful Navigator for the “new Assembly.” One of the initial requirements is to obtain the pastor’s approval. Father John Bohn agreed as long as it did not interfere with the workings of #15131. He was then asked to suggest a name for the new Assembly. He came up with Mr. John Edward Tracy. Tracy, along with Msgr. Farrell started the Special Kids Program at St. Richard Jackson 41 years ago, and then along with Msgr. Chatham, Tracy was also instrumental in securing permission and financing from Bishop Gerow to build the present-day St. Richard Church.