Knights of Columbus Masconomo Council 1232 of Manchester-by-the-Sea has been awarded the distinction of Star Council, the international organization’s top honor for local councils.
The Star Council award recognizes overall achievement and excellence in the areas of church and community service programs and a vital, thriving membership, joined to a strong Knights of Columbus insurance benefits program. Masconomo Council was cited for sponsoring effective Catholic faith formation programs and volunteering its members’ time through service-oriented activities benefiting families locally, nationally and internationally, particularly those suffering persecution in the Middle East.
This Star Council honor was presented by the organization’s Supreme Council, based in New Haven, Connecticut. Masconomo Council 1232 is among just five per cent of the 280 local Knights of Columbus councils in Massachusetts that were honored for their comprehensive program planning, participation and charitable giving.
Council 1232 Grand Knight Bill Busta thanked Knights’ leadership “for making this the third time in five years that the Manchester-by-the-Sea council has been so honored by the Supreme Council, the Knights of Columbus governing body. It did so on the recommendation of the Massachusetts State Council. That action reflected its evaluation of a Masconomo council thriving to support its Church, its priests and parishes, as well as its Cape Ann communities and our country at large.”
Grand Knight Busta noted, “For more than 112 years the Manchester-by-the-Sea - Essex brother Knights of Masconomo Council 1232 have exemplified the highest ideals of charity, fraternity, unity and patriotism. Its current membership is the acknowledged key to the Star Council honor. Equally important are the contributions of this group’s past leaders who inspired a perpetual, solid commitment to service. That cadre of leaders includes recent Past Grand Knights Jeff Mastendino, Tom Finn, Arthur Sheehan, Richard Sullivan and Roger DiNapoli. We are in their debt.”
In the current fraternal year 2019-2020, Masconomo Council 1232 is engaged in a variety of activities including soliciting funds for and distributing scholarship awards for local students receiving the Father Jack Gentleman Memorial Scholarships. It has organized coat drives, sock drives and food drives to benefit those in need in this extraordinary COVID-19 pandemic year. In October it extended hands for the iconic Tootsie Roll can drive benefiting special needs individuals. It has aligned its membership to fundraise and advocate for Christians at risk in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. A garden shed was built by Knights in Manchester-by-the-Sea to support Christians in need of humane aid in refugee camps in Syria and Iraq. Cape Ann’s Open Door Food Pantry lauded Council 1232 for its ongoing food drive to benefit neighbors who need a helping hand. And first and foremost, members of Masconomo Council 1232 assist local parishes in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Essex, Gloucester, Marblehead and Beverly as Eucharistic ministers, lectors, ushers, and hospital visitors. They also support faith formation programs and nurturing vocations and seminarians’ training.
To be eligible to qualify for the Star Council Award, a council must qualify for the national Father McGivney, Founder’s, and Columbian awards. “That is a very high bar to meet,” said Grand Knight Bill Busta.
Busta noted, “Our members include veterans, heads of families, students, retirees, businessmen and professionals from every walk of life. They are proud to be part of an organization dedicated to service and charity. They are proud to follow the lead of its founder Father Michael McGivney, a young priest committed to service for those in need, a young priest committed to holiness. Next month that young priest will be beatified—the penultimate step toward sainthood. Few men belong to organizations founded by those who are on the road to be sainthood. We are proud to have that distinction.”