The St. Joseph, Guardian of Mary Council (StJoeGM) is located at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in White Pigeon, Michigan. The Grand Knight is Jim Auskalnis.
You can contact the Knights by phone at 269-483-7621 for additional information. We hope that the information that you find on these pages satisfies your curiosity about who the Knights are in the small community of White Pigeon. This website is devoted to our local council. More information can be obtained by clicking the Supreme Council link above.
Our Council meetings will be held on the first Wednesday of the every month. Meetings will be at 7:00 pm and will be held in the basement of St. Joseph Catholic Church. We encourage our officers to try and attend our business meetings a half an hour earlier to help set up for the meeting.
About Our Council
St. Joseph, Guardian of Mary Council was founded in 2005 through the main efforts of Damian O’Connor, Bruce Blonde, and Lin McDonald, who were later elected officers by our council members. It is named after St. Joseph Catholic Church, which is a Mission of Holy Angles, Sturgis. We can give credit to John Marshall’s imagination for coming up with our new council name. The St. Joseph, Guardian of Mary Council hopes to work closely with other councils in the surrounding area, attending their events whenever possible and listening closely to the advice that they might give us. We hope that the area councils are as successful as we hope to be in the future. After all we are all brother knights. Our members are active partisipants in our parish.
It was official on October 9th, 2005, just eight months after our council was established, that we were formally presented with our Charter. Some may be wondering what exactly a Charter does for our council. It’s simple, really. A Charter allows our council to have the right to exist. It also gives us the authority to present degrees and perform all functions in accordance with the Charter, Constitution and Laws of the Knights of Columbus. The Charter acts as a certificate that affiliates us with the entire Order. This document is proof that we as a council are officially recognized by the Supreme Council.
Who are the Knights?
The Knights of Columbus is a lay Catholic family fraternal service organization. Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to all practical Catholic men in communion with the Holy See, age eighteen and above. The term practical Catholic implies that a person accepts and abides by the Commandments of God and the precepts and tenets of the Catholic church.
On October 2, 1881, Father Michael J. McGivney, 29-year-old assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut, brought together a group of laymen with whom he discussed his dream for a Catholic fraternal benefit society. It not only would assist widows and orphans of deceased members through its life insurance program, but also would boost members’ sense of pride in their Catholic religion, then frequently challenged in the anti-Catholic climate of 19th-century America. Father McGivney and his associates met several more times over the next several months to continue planning, and the new organization –the Knights of Columbus — was formally launched in early February, 1882. The officers of the new Catholic organization chose the name Knights of Columbus to honor Christopher Columbus, the Catholic discoverer of America. The word knights is also significant. We are ever mindful of the knightly qualities of spirituality and service to church that is embodied in the Knights of Columbus. The Order has evolved into a service organization with a strong family orientation.
By the end of 1897 the Order was thoroughly rooted in New England, along the upper Atlantic seaboard and into Canada. Within the next eight years it branched out from Quebec to California, and from Florida to Washington.
The Knights of Columbus remains headquartered in New Haven, but is now present with nearly 12000 Councils in the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, and several other countries.
One of the primary missions of the Knights of Columbus is to support local charities. The Knights are a familiar sight around town during the annual Tootsie Roll drive, which raises funds for charities that support the retarded and handicapped. We also support other fund raising drives to aid local parishes and charities.
The Knights of Columbus promotes family values by providing numerous activities throughout the year that the entire family can participate in. Additionally, the organization provides an opportunity to ensure that a knight’s family is provided for in the event of his death.
Why Join the Knights?
Here is short list of reasons you may want to join the Knights of Columbus:
- An opportunity to become part of the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization.
- A great way to make a personal contribution to the Church and community through charity and fraternity.
- Active participation in Council activities serves as a “school of leadership” which will enable you to develop qualities that enhance your strengths and abilities.
- A sense of “belonging” in an organization that shares your religious beliefs and brings to together like-minded men joined in a common cause.
- Concerns for your family and your retirement years can be addressed by the Orders optional, low-cost life insurance.
- A sense of pride, knowing that the Knights of Columbus is second to none in support of our Holy Father, our Bishops and Priests, and our fellow man.
Structure of the Order
The Supreme Council meets annually. It consists of the supreme officers, supreme directors, the state deputies of the various jurisdictions, the most recent immediate past state deputies, territorial deputies, past supreme knights and elected delegates from each jurisdiction. There are two categories of elected delegates, associate and insurance, with the number of delegates in each category determined by the number of associate and insurance members in each jurisdiction.
In addition to receiving the reports of the supreme officers, the delegates also set policy for the Order by means of resolutions. They also elect members to the board of directors. Directors are elected for three-year terms and, an annually, they appoint from their own ranks the supreme officers who run the Order on a day-to-day basis. (Note: The supreme chaplain and the supreme warden are elected by the board.) The supreme officers are:
- Supreme Knight (chief executive)
- Supreme Chaplain (a voting member of the board)
- Deputy Supreme Knight
- Supreme Secretary
- Supreme Treasurer
- Supreme Advocate
- Supreme Warden
The day-to-day business of the Order is all conducted from the Supreme Council office in New Haven. All the officers, except the supreme chaplain and the supreme warden, work here on a full-time basis. The office has approximately 700 employees.
The State Council meets annually. It consists of the state officers, the most immediate past state deputy, the grand knight and a past grand knight of each local council. The State Council receives the annual reports of the state officers and sets state council policy by means of a resolutions process. The State Council annually elects the State Council annually elects the State Council officers who are by title:
- State Deputy (chief executive)
- State Chaplain (appointed)
- State Secretary
- State Treasurer
- State Advocate
- State Warden
In addition to these officers, each jurisdiction has a number of directors and committee chairmen who are responsible for various State Council programs and for specific areas such as membership growth.
District deputies are appointed and assigned to be the only representative of the supreme knight and the state deputy to a designated group of local, usually five in number.
The basic unit of the Knights of Columbus is the local council. At monthly meetings council members hear the proposals of various committees, decide which activities, programs and charitable causes the council will pursue and how the council will allocate its funds. They also vote on applications for membership and hear the reports of key council officers and directors. To be a council officer, a Knight must be a Third Degree member of the Order. Council officers are:
- Grand Knight
- Chaplain (the chaplain is appointed and must be a priest)
- Deputy Grand Knight
- Financial Secretary (appointed)
- Lecturer (appointed)
- Inside/Outside Guards
- Trustees (three in number)