The Gilroy Knights of Columbus Council #2469 was one of the earlier councils established and was founded on April 22, 1923 (there are now over 16,000 Councils). It has been a key part of the St. Mary Catholic community for over 92 years. Its mission is to provide a means by which Catholic men can support the church, provide financial protection to their families, and engage in works of charity to benefit the less fortunate. Annual activities include socials, a St. Valentine’s Day crab feed, support at the parish festival, volunteer work at the Garlic Festival, a free throw contest, a campaign to support People with Intellectual Disabilities called the “Tootsie Roll Campaign,” and numerous donations to the church, school, local charities and special needs of members. Members of the Knights volunteer throughout the church and the local community.
The first officers of the Gilroy Knights were: Grand Knight Walter G. Fitzgerald, Deputy Grand Knight A.J. Kelley, Chancellor J.H. Hines, Warden W.L. Cullen, Recorder W.G. Hines, Financial Secretary H. Gurries, Inside Guard Beri Rice, Outside Guard Joseph M. Walsh, Lecturer P.L. Noll, Advocate J. Delcommun, and Chaplain Reverend Patrick J. Hennesey. Since that time, there have been 79 Grand Knights with many very recognizable parish names. A complete list of former Grand Knights and current officers can be found on the Council’s website kofc2469.org. Currently, Fathers Brocato, Rubio, and Pineda are all members of the Knights of Columbus, with Father Pineda holding the office of Chaplain. The current mayor of Gilroy, Don Gage, is a long-time supportive member.
Over the past 90-plus years, the Gilroy Knights of Columbus has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the parish, parish groups, and St. Mary School. It maintains two annual scholarships for St. Mary School Graduates and has contributed to a variety of causes over the years. Its most recent contributions have included a $5,000 donation to partially offset the new Youth Minister’s first-year expenses, a $1,000 donation for a fence and other improvements at the Old St. Mary Cemetery for which it has provided weed control and other maintenance over the years, a $750 donation for the Mexico Mission, and a $500 donation to assist with Catholic media as part of the Lighthouse Media Kiosk.
Currently, the Gilroy Knights of Columbus Council has over 100 members and meets on the First Tuesday of each month at Serra Cottage. Each Business meeting begins with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance and ends with a prayer. In addition to normal business, many meetings feature speakers from a variety of City agencies, including the Mayor, the local Public School District, and other organizations. The Council hosts a social for members and their families, guests, and prospective members on the third Tuesday of each month, also at Serra Cottage, where it maintains its supplies. The Council’s annual St. Valentine’s Day crab feed and its youth Free Throw Competition are both held in the Parish Hall. A calendar of events is available on the Council’s website.
The Knights of Columbus has what is referred to as a Columbian Year. It runs from July 1st through June 30th. Council and Assembly activities and reports, in addition to the election of officers, are based on the Columbian Year.