The Knights of Columbus are Catholic gentlemen committed to the exemplification of charity, unity, fraternity, patriotism, and defense of the priesthood. If you are a practical Catholic man living in or near southern Chesapeake and are interested in learning more or joining the Knights, we’d love to hear from you.
Our Council History
Jesus, Mary & Joseph Council 11984 was chartered on May 25, 1997 at the military chapel located at Naval Security Group Activity Northwest as the First council on a Naval Installation in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Unfortunately, our Charter Chaplain, Fr. Edward L. Richardson passed away in April 2008. Immediately after death, a Resolution was written, read and approved to request a name change to Fr. Edward L. Richardson, SMA Council in memory of this beloved Priest.
A formal request was submitted to the Virgina State Deputy in November 2010 to relocate the council meeting site to St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church effective January 1, 2011.
The Council continues to serve the military Catholic community at Holy Family Chapel, NSA Northwest and the Catholic community of St. Stephen Martyr.
Our Charter Chaplain and Council namesake - Fr. Edward L. Richardson, SMA
Fr. Edward Richardson was born February 6, 1919 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of three children born to Edward Lawrence Richardson and Laura Devers Richardson. Fr. Richardson had his early education in Philadelphia schools. He earned a BA degree in 1943 from St. Mary’s College in Penndell, Pennsylvania and subsequently did advanced studies at Villanova University, Catholic University and Notre Dame University where, in 1964, be earned his MA degree ¡n philosophy. He also obtained a Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He entered SMA’s Queen of Angels seminary in 1941 and was ordained to the priesthood on February 9, 1950. Following his ordination, he was assigned by SMA to Immaculate Conception High School in Augusta, Georgia. As a teacher there, Fr. Richardson also coached the varsity basketball and baseball teams.
When the Korean War broke out, Fr. Richardson was sent to Navy Chaplain’s school in 1952 and served with the 9th Marine Regiment in Japan. A long career in the military (Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) followed during which Fr. Richardson rose to the rank of captain and received more than 20 medals and ribbons, including the Bronze Star, Combat Action Ribbon, Meritorious Service Medal, and Navy Commendation Medal. He also served as chaplain for the military locations in the United States. At the time of his retirement from the Navy in 1981, he was Chief of Chaplains. Fr. Richardson listed “the conversion of 642 adults to the Catholic faith” as the most significant accomplishment of his military service. He often referred to his mother, who traveled with him in his military service as his “personal hero.”
Long associated with the Knights of Columbus, Fr. Richardson joined the Order in 1939 in West Philadelphia and rose to the Fourth Degree. He was appointed K of C State Chaplain in Virginia in 1985 and, a resident of that state, was reappointed regularly to that post in subsequent years.
In addition to his military chaplaincies, Fr. Richardson has served as chaplain for numerous other groups and has been recognized for his many humanitarian gestures. In 1990, he became the first Catholic priest to receive the National Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. In 1997, the city of Augusta, Georgia recognized him for his service in the early 1950’s at Immaculate Conception School. Many of his former students returned to honor him.
In February 2000, Fr. Richardson celebrated his 50th anniversary as an SMA priest. For his entire life, this beloved priest, who continues to serve in chaplaincies and in other capacities, has lived his motto, “Build bridges with all people, never fences.”
After a long illness he passed away Sentara General Hospital (VA), on Saturday, April 26th, 2008.