The Knights of Columbus at The Catholic University of America, Council 9542, was recently featured in the Knight’s Columbia Magazine in a story on men’s spirituality. Grand Knight of the council, Dan Hackenjos, a junior elementary education major from Orange, Conn., said in the story, “One of my goals in leadership of the council is to focus more on the spiritual aspect. Too often we only pitch the service and fraternal aspects of the Knights. I thought, ‘Let’s do all three.’”
The benefits of that focus on spirituality for CUA Knights can be seen in their list of former members on the path to religious vocations. Currently there are 10 young men studying for the priesthood for four religious orders and five dioceses.
“Our members are leaders on campus and become leaders for life in both the Church and the world,” says Rev. Frank Donio, S.A.C., council chaplain. Father Frank was a sophomore at Catholic University when the CUA Knights council was founded. “My closest friends from college are CUA Knights,” he says.
The University council was established on April 13, 1987, as the second college council in Washington, D.C. It has recently been recognized as a 2015-2016 Star Council by the Supreme Council.
Even before there was a Knights council on campus, the Knights of Columbus has had a close relationship with the University. In 1904, the organization funded a chair of American history. Ten years later, the Knights donated $500,000 to the University, to be used for graduate fellowships. The organization has also established scholarships for students attending Catholic University.
In 1954, the Columbus University — a school founded shortly after the first World War for returning veterans — merged with Catholic University.
In 2008, a renovated building that was formerly known as Keane Hall reopened and was renamed McGivney Hall, in honor of the founder of the Knights. The hall was renovated thanks to an $8 million donation from the Knights of Columbus. In the lobby of the building, is a 10-foot-tall enlargement of the 1904 document announcing their gift to fund the chair of American history. Twice a month, about 20 members of the Knights of Columbus gather in this building, named for their founder, for their business meetings.
The council will celebrate their 30th anniversary on April 2, with a 4 p.m. Mass celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, University chancellor, in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and a dinner with current and past knights in Heritage Hall, Father O’Connell Hall, on campus.