The Father O’Neill Council of the Knights of Columbus is a fraternal organization of Catholic men dedicated to the Church. We will expend our energies toward preserving the sanctity of life and making a difference in the community via service and charity. In pursuit of these objectives we promote family, develop friendships, enjoy fraternalism and grow in faith.
DEACON JOHN GRAMLING'S CLOSING MEETING PRAYER
Bicycles are donated by various organizations, businesses and individuals. Council members refurbish the bicycles and donate them to charitable organizations. The program has been operational for over ten years and has provided over 2000 bicycles to the needy.
Bicycle Repair Schedule
Saturday Mornings 9:30 am to 1:00 pm
Tuesday from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm
Partial List of Recipients
Apostleship of the Sea, Beans & Bread, Christ Lutheran Family Shelter, Christopher's Place, Family Crisis Center, Franciscan Center, House of Mercy, Life Line, Most Precious Blood Parish, My Sister's Place, Our Daily Bread Employment Center, St Anthony of Padua Church, St Bernardine Church, St Edward's Church, St Gregory the Great Parish, St Joseph Adopt a Family, St Mary's of Pylesville, St Michael's Church, St Thomas Aquinas Church, St Veronica's Parish, St. Jeromes Head Start, Stella Maris International Seafarer's Center, Transfiguration Church, Villa Maria School
Bob Woolley - (443) 564-0838
Carl Lenhoff - (410) 666-2852
FRANCISCIAN CENTER VOLUNTEER DAY
Beginning in 2014 the Father O’Neill 4011 Knights of Columbus council began its support of the Franciscan Center of Baltimore. The Knights volunteer their time assisting the center with its bi-monthly food drive. During the event we unload, package, and distribute food to local families.
The Franciscan Center of Baltimore has a 45-year history of serving the financially disenfranchised, the sick and those most in need. The mission of the Franciscan Center is to provide emergency assistance and supportive outreach to persons who are economically disadvantaged in an effort to assist them in realizing their self-worth and dignity as people of God. For the next volunteer day see the Event Calendar.
The Father O'Neill Council is the outgrowth of a visionary State Deputy who saw the need for a Council to service the rapidly expanding Towson-Lutherville area, of an enthusiastic District Deputy and the zeal of a small group who laid the groundwork. The fervor and persistence of these men generated the interest of new initiates, reinstates and transferees to form the Charter group of forty-four. After a lively debate, the name "Father O’Neill", a revered, deceased, former Pastor of the Immaculate Conception Church in Towson, was selected over "Loyola" by a margin of one vote.
The number 4011 was assigned on April 11, 1955, a First Degree administered on April 28th and on May 5, 1955, the Council was officially chartered by the Supreme Council.
During this early period, the inestimable help of the Cardinal Gibbons and Notre Dame Councils is recognized with deep appreciation.
Quoting Emerson, "There is properly no history only biography". This is a truism as the years pass in review. Our history is the story of unselfish and devoted individuals too numerous to mention, not only due to space limitations, but lest some be overlooked, including the unsung who have contributed so much time and talent.
The Council was first quartered in the Towson American Legion Hall until moving to the Towson Elk's Home in March of 1957. Here were enjoyed, not only excellent facilities, but a most pleasant relationship with our fellow fraternal organization.
In June of 1964, we relocated in the Garden Room of the then Towson Plaza. Meanwhile, realizing the need for our own base, a Building Committee was formed toward that end. In the fall of 1957, the Committee initiated the Century Club with the objective of having each of the then approximately two hundred members contribute one hundred dollars each over a period of four years. Passbooks were issued as a further incentive. The plaque in the Council's Century Lounge bears testimony to our success.
In January of 1958, a Corporate Charter was received and the O'Neill Club of Towson was officially in business. A property search committee, after viewing several sites, came up with a plot of approximately ten acres on the north side of Seminary Avenue at I-83. A portion of the parcel was re-sold and upon the remaining 3.9 acres, our present home was constructed. Ground was broken on October 17, 1974 and on May 4, 1975, the building was dedicated with the blessing of the Auxiliary Bishop, T. Austin Murphy. The building stands as a monument, not only to the dedication, sweat and prayers of the original architects, but equally to the Brothers, who through the years have maintained and improved the complex.
The activities of the Council have generally fallen under the purview of the old "Six Point Program" as recommended by the Supreme Council with innovations, additions and modifications to suit parochial and specific needs.
Our lives have been enriched by the spiritual activities of the Council. The Chaplain is a vital part of each administration. At least a decade of the rosary is recited at each meeting. We participated in the "Knight at Mass" in which at least one member attended Mass every day of the year. The fifth Sunday is a special day for family union at Mass followed by a meal. No. 4011 was instrumental in the formation of the Newman Club at Towson State and has sponsored seminarians at St. Mary's Seminary. Rosaries have been collected and sent to the missions. We became interested in the Pro-Life movement in 1976 and continue to be actively involved.
We have sponsored the "Keep Christ in Christmas" billboards. The Annual Memorial Mass for deceased members is always an edifying and well-attended ceremony. The duty of charity is regarded as a solemn obligation. The Council fulfilled a pledge of $3,000.00 in sponsoring the Blood Bank when St. Joseph's Hospital was relocated in Towson. Other beneficiaries have been the Deaf Mute Program and the Franciscan Center and through the Tootsie Roll Drives, generous contributions have been made to Down's Syndrome, the special education program at Immaculate Heart, Ridge School and the Gallagher Center.
Christmas baskets are provided for the needy and eyeglasses are provided for distribution. Many other services, in a small way, provide help for the less fortunate, the aged and even among ourselves.
Youth has always been one of our prime concerns. We have conducted poster and essay competitions. We have sponsored athletic teams, participants in the Punt and Pass and Free-Throw contests. We were instrumental in the reactivation of Boy Scout Troop No. 750 at the Immaculate. In 1963, we formed a Squires Circle, which gradually failed due to lack of interest. However, a movement is again afoot to rejuvenate the Circle under the existing Charter.
Naturally, we have not overlooked the social side. Rave notices are always emitted after our Bull Roasts, Crab Feasts, St. Patrick's and Valentine's Dances, the Oktoberfest and the Christmas Party. For several years, we participated in the Towson 4th of July Parade with floats and foot soldiers. Our hospitality room at the State Convention is a must for most conventioneers. Since 1963, our golfers get together monthly when weather permits for nineteen holes.
We are justly proud of our Council monthly publication. Begun in 1955, as the "4011 Bulletin" became the "O'Neill-O-Gram" and finally, the "4011 News" in October of 1968. Currently, it is presented in a very professional format.
Our First Degree Team has always been highly regarded throughout the State and provides an unforgettable welcome to the new members.
The success of these programs is borne out by the numerous Star Council Awards. Father O'Neill Council has always wholeheartedly supported the Supreme and State Councils, the District and the Baltimore Chapter. Two of our members have become State Officers, one has served on the Executive Committee under two State Deputies, six have served as District Deputies and numerous as District Wardens, Chairmen and members of State Committees.
No compendium of the Council would be complete without recognition of our adjunct, the "K” Ladies. Their contributions to the Council are a memorable story in itself. Certainly, because of them, we are better Knights and our Council is a better Council. To them, our heartfelt thanks and God bless. One of the ladies served as State Ladies Activities Co-Chairlady for two First Ladies.
And so the beat goes on. As with all human endeavors, the Council has had a modicum of success, and some failures too. With variations of old successful projects and Council volunteers working at the Preakness to earn needed funds we have been able to continue as a viable entity. The labors of the O'Neill Club have taken care of the physical needs of our home. This endeavor has been aided and abetted most graciously by anonymous donors without whom our major improvements would have been impossible. The on-going help of the "K" Ladies greatly contributed to the successful completion of these improvements.
With an eye on the future, members of the Council made a clinical study over a three year period as to where we have been, where we are now and where we would like to be in the future and most importantly, the steps that must be taken in order to reach our goals. After a thorough and elaborate presentation to the Council on Oct. 16,1996, the membership voted unanimously for adoption of the study. The "Su Num Bonum" is summed up in our Mission Statement now appearing on the masthead of our "4011 News" as follows:
THE FATHER O'NEILL COUNCIL OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS IS A FRATERNAL ORGANIZATION OF CATHOLIC MEN DEDICATED TO THE CHURCH. WE WILL EXPEND OUR ENERGIES TOWARD PRESERVING THE SANCTITY OF LIFE AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE COMMUNITY VIA SERVICE AND CHARITY. IN PURSUIT OF THESE OBJECTIVES WE PROMOTE FAMILY, DEVELOP FRIENDSHIPS, ENJOY FRATERNALISM AND GROW IN FAITH.
The actions of every member of Fr. O'Neill Council will determine the degree of success for the future. We are proud of our past and look forward to the next Millennium with great anticipation for greater accomplishments.
Father James G. O’Neill was born in Baltimore on November 5, 1888. He received his early education at St. Gregory’s School and St. Charles’ College. He entered St. Mary’s Seminary in 1910 to study for the priesthood and was ordained priest by Cardinal James Gibbons on May 25, 1916. He was immediately assigned to the parish of the Immaculate Conception in Towson to work as a curate under the pastor, Rev. Philip Sheridan. Little did he know at that time that this would be his last posting. He would serve his entire priestly career at the Immaculate. In the early years of his assignment, he was an untiring worker. His calm and gentle manner endeared him to everyone far and wide. The enormous debt the parish suffered under began to take its toll on Father Sheridan and in 1934 he requested and received sick leave. He left Immaculate and never returned. Fr. O’Neill was appointed administrator at that time. He immediately began to work at reducing the parish debt. To this end, he appointed a “Church Debt Society”. In his request to the Archbishop, he said “….our debt is enormous and the interest consequently paralyzing. We cannot go forward with any pace until the load is lightened…..” The debt at that time stood at $151,000. The parish consisted in 1934 of 1500 Catholics, 234 pupils in the grade school and 88 pupils in the high school.
On June 9th, 1936, Father O’Neill was appointed pastor of the Immaculate by Archbishop Curley. During the next 8 years, he worked at reducing the debt until in 1944, he was able to announce to his parishioners (who by then numbered about 2,000) that due to their generosity, the parish was free of all debt.
He did not neglect the other facets of parish work during this time. He was continually improving the plant, promoting youth activities, assisting Towson Catholic in their stage presentations, even to helping build the sets. (He was a gifted carpenter). He built the parking lot, playground facilities for the school children, and because transportation was a severe problem in a then rural setting, prevailed upon the State and secured their approval to have the Catholic school children ride the free public school buses.
In all of this effort, he remained a man of dignity and simplicity that endeared him to everyone he met. He was respected and trusted by everyone. Although faced with the stress of reducing the heavy debt, he never once openly begged for money from the pulpit. Perhaps an anonymous letter from a parishioner gives us the best insight: “……the bulletins distributed on Sundays have as their keynote a tone of appreciation from the Pastor. During the past few years, the same keynote has been mainly responsible for the great development and growth of our Church. Because of the spirit in which they are approached. our people give willingly of the money and energy. Demands are unheard of. More mention is made after the money is collected and mention is in the form of thanks. What a joy to attend where financial matters are pushed to the background as much as possible. Our Church has something different, something that might be called an atmosphere of dignity and simplicity. Sermons are devoid of sensational affects and ‘rantings’. There is a foundation of sincerity and intelligence. Good taste as well as good will is employed…….”
Father O’Neill next turned his efforts to building a new modern high school. He was never to see that dream realized. For several years he suffered from diabetes and a heart condition. His condition became so grave that he was not permitted to celebrate Mass for a number of years prior to his death. In the high school fund bulletin, the Campaign-o-Graph, he noted “ ..During the past year, I have been of little use to the parish, but I do not consider myself entirely defeated. I still have visions…...”
Father O’Neill died on October 14th, 1947 after more than thirty years of devoted and faithful service to the parish of the Immaculate Conception. He was 59 years old.