Patterson Knights of Columbus Council 1710 celebrates
The Knights of Columbus first came to Patterson 100 years ago, and Frank Guarisco has been involved with the organization for more than half that time having grown up across the street from the Knights of Columbus Council 1710 Hall.
The Knights of Columbus Council 1710 was founded in Patterson in 1913 with installation ceremonies held on Nov. 23 of that year, according to information from Guarisco.
The Centennial Banquet was held Saturday at the Knights of Columbus Council 1710 Hall in Patterson. Those in attendance included public officials along with state Knights of Columbus leaders.
Guarisco, 77, of Patterson, is a trustee, recorder, past grand knight, and has held many other positions with the Patterson Knights of Columbus. He has been a member since 1954 and is one of the longest members. B.L. Como, 94, is the oldest member and was recognized as such Saturday. The council has 186 members.
The Knights of Columbus are a worldwide organization originally chartered by the Connecticut state legislature in 1882 as a fraternal benefit society. The Order was founded on principles of charity, unity and fraternity, according to the Knights of Columbus Louisiana website.
Guarisco got involved when he turned 18 years old, and the Knights of Columbus hall was across the street from his home located in the back of his mother’s grocery store. The building is now Guarisco’s office. “The first thing they did, believe it or not, was they made me the recorder,” Guarisco said, a position he now has again.
At the time the council was formed in Patterson, Morgan City, Jeanerette and Franklin already had organized councils, according to information on file with Knights of Columbus Council 1710.
Grand Knight Chris Wheeler, 41, who is in his fourth year as grand knight, said it is an honor and a privilege to follow all the past leaders of the council and to be grand knight on the 100-year anniversary.
“It’s the support group that you have around you that makes the council run effectively for as long as our council has run,” Wheeler said. “Mr. Frank (Guarisco) has been a big instrument in my development through being grand knight.” Wheeler said Guarisco is the “backbone” of the council.
“Charity is the forefront of our organization, and you really see it in our council,” Wheeler said. The council helps with school fundraisers and Boy Scouts of America fundraisers, Guarisco said.
Guarisco said he “fell in love with the organization at a young age.” He started raising and lowering the flag at Knights of Columbus Council 1710 Hall every morning and evening at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m
Former pastors of St. Joseph Catholic Church and chaplains of Knights of Columbus Council 1710 also attended Saturday’s banquet.
The Knights of Columbus are referred to as a “strong right arm of the Catholic church,” Guarisco said. “We’re Catholics, and we believe in the church and believe in our organization so consequently we’re going to do what the church needs us to do,” Guarisco said.
All the chaplains of the Patterson Knights of Columbus have been pastors at St. Joseph Catholic Church. The church was founded in 1848.
Though everyone in the area knows about the Patterson Knights of Columbus, the organization is not getting many young members involved, Guarisco said. “Us old guys are getting worn out. We can’t do the physical stuff that’s required a lot of times,” Guarisco said.
However, the council has initiated three “young people” in the last four months, Guarisco said.