KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
                                                    HISTORY OF COUNCIL 16839
                                                        ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
                                                             JEFFERSON, N. C.
            In March 2017, a small group of parishioners from St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Jefferson, NC who were members of Council # 11966 at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church in Boone, NC along with former members from different councils, desired to have a council at St. Francis of Assisi.
            On 9 May 2017, the Charter and formation of the Round Table of St. Francis of Assisi in Jefferson and St. Frances of Rome in Sparta, NC was formed in Sparta, NC; St. Elizabeth being the parent council.
            As a Round Table group, established the First Saturday Rosary at St. Francis of Assisi and when possible (due to inclement weather) the Eucharistic Adoration. The Round Table met monthly and discussed issues of membership, projects for the Church and the Community, education, training, and fundraisers, among others as well as the establishment of our Council.
            St. Francis of Assisi Council # 16839 was issued its Charter by the Supreme Council on 4 October 2017, feast of St. Francis of Assisi (fraternal year 2017-2018); the new Council was named Knights of Columbus of St. Francis of Assisi, Jefferson, NC under District Director, Worthy Sir Knight, Bob Hall and Field Agent, Worthy Sir Knight, Bill Matthews.
            The first Chaplain was Reverend Father Camilo Cardenas Bonilla, having the support from the Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi, the Reverend Father James Stuhrenberg. The Charter members were:
    Grand Knight -                         Bob Breton.                                                                                                                          Deputy Grand Knight -           Luis De La Cerda                                                                                                                  Financial Secretary -              Rick LaBonte.                                                                                                                        Recorder -                               John Pokorney.                                                                                                                  Treasurer -                              John Esser.                                                                                                                          Warden -                                 Bob Murphy.                                                                                                                       Inner Guard -                         James Bieber.                                                                                                                       Outer Guard                         - Patrick Bieber.   
        Trustee 1 Year -                   Paul Baschon.                                                                                                                        Trustee 2 Years                  - Lenny Andreucci.                                                                                                                    Trustee 3 Years                   - Dr. Bob Grajewski.                                                                                                                 Lecturer -                              Patrick Hession.
            The Installation of Officers and First meeting held as a Council were on Wednesday, 10 October 2017. Installation of Officers was performed by District Deputy, Worthy Sir Knight, Bob Hall. Present were Field Agent, Worthy Sir Knight, Bill Matthews and Past Grand Knight of St. Elizabeth Council, Worthy Sir Knight, Matt Bagley. By-Laws for the new council were unanimously approved.
            The First project as a newly established Council was the donation of the U.S. Flag and the Pontifical Flag for St. Francis of Assisi on the evening of the First meeting.  The “Compass Cross” of the KofC was presented to Reverend, Father, James Stuhrenberg.
            When this council started the meetings were at St. Francis of Assisi in Jefferson and on occasions at St. Frances of Rome in Sparta. Starting with 25 members and within a year grew to 50 members. As membership grew a Round Table was formed at St. Frances of Rome in Sparta.
            During this first year many projects were done and accomplished under the transition from the KofC ”Surge with…” to the “Faith in Action Program.” The following is an attempt to show the activities done by the council from its inception (October 2017 to the end of the Fiscal year, December 2018):
CHURCH (Church and Council):
  • Continuing with monthly First Saturday Rosary and when possible Eucharistic Adoration. Brother Knights were performing and participating in Ushering, Lector Reading, Faith formation, Parish Council, Financial Operations, Altar Serving, Extraordinary Ministers, Music Ministry and Chorus, Church Maintenance (inside and Outside Grounds Maintenance), Outreach Programs, Youth for Christ, V Encuentro.  Received a $100.00 donation as seed money for our council from the Mt. Airy Council. A Council Banner and Frame was made by Worthy SK Rick LaBonte as well as a Podium for our council and donated a file cabinet to store all of the Rosaries, Jewells and information needed and required to have on hand. Worthy SK District Director Bob Hall donated the Jewells to our Council. All members of the council were enrolled in the Fr. Michael J. McGivney Guild, and future members will automatically be enrolled.  Participated in a Council Breakfast at Winner’s Circle. Participated in the Hispanic Raffle, Handing out Prayer Cards of the Persecuted Christians, Stations of the Cross every Friday during Lent with the Hispanics; attending and supporting Sparta’s St. Patrick’s Day Festivities, attending the Good Friday “Two Shadows in the Dark” at Bethany United Methodist Church. Participated in the Blessing of the Cemetery at St. Francis of Assisi by Bishop Peter Jugis. Hispanics attending Retreats for Youth for Christ, Emmaus, and V Encuentro (17 Retreats per year). Filling Holy Water Bottles and distributing them to parishioners and their families on Good Saturday and Easter Sunday. Taking parish students to a Retreat at Belmont Abbey in preparation for their Confirmation. Mass offered for the International Day of Prayer for the Unborn Child. The Small Garden work and maintenance. Distributing Mother’s and Father’s Day Prayer Cards. Begun the New Pictorial Church Directory and continued until its completion, six weeks later. Participate in the Kiosk Domestic Church Program in both English and Spanish. Established a Council Website. Participated in the LAMB program and raised over $600.00 by handing out Tootsie rolls to Food Lion Shoppers in Jefferson. Participated in Confirmation Celebration. Participated in the Novena for Protection for Life and its conclusion celebrated a Memorial Mass; began the Children’s playground at St. Francis of Assisi and completed in March of 2020. Attended the Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte. Rosary was said for the victims of Hurricane Florence. Held a Pancake Breakfast. Made Worthy SK Butch Rodgers an Honorary Life Member. Recognized the Worthy Ladies for their contribution to and support of the council. Recognized Worthy SK, FS Rick LaBonte as the Outstanding Knight of the Year. Awards presented to the Altar Servers, Music Ministry and Chorus members, Ushers, Lectors, Faith Formation, Parish Council, Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministry members, Financial Operations.  Social BBQ held at Worthy SK Rick LaBonte’s home. Held a Mass in Honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Celebrated our First Anniversary as a council. Celebrated Clergy Appreciation Day, honoring Reverend Father James and Chaplain, Reverend Father Camilo. Cross Compass presented to Chaplain, Reverend Father Camilo. As a Council, attended a Boone Council Monthly meeting. Sales of Christmas Cards were held in Jefferson and Sparta as well as at non-catholic churches in West Jefferson. Christmas Magnets were sold as a Fundraiser. Attended the Men’s Conference in Morrisville, NC. Attended the Mid-Year State Conference in Salisbury, NC. Attended the State Convention in Hickory, NC. Transported the KofC “Travel Gavel” to St. Charles Borromeo in Morganton, NC. Assisted a BK relocate from Boone to Ashe County. Council donated $50.00 to St. Francis of Assisi to celebrate a Mass in Honor of Bishop Emeritus William Curlin. Adopted a Seminarian, Nicholas J. Kramer of St. Barnabas in Arden, NC who was attending St. Joseph College Seminary in Charlotte. Novena for Our Lady of Guadalupe with Rosary and Prayer. Posadas and movies for the children with popcorn, candy, sodas, and ending with a meal. Participated in the Faith in Action Challenge. Prayed for our adopted seminarian. Selling of NC KofC Raffle Tickets and presenting the Advent Candles before Mass. Met with Reverend Fr. John at St. John of the Cross in Wilkesboro to form a Round Table. Held Installations of the First and Second Degrees locally and attended Third and Fourth Degree in Gastonia, Greensboro, and Raleigh. Throughout the year recognized BK birthdays.
Worthy, SK Jim Taylor from the Boone Council had the 18th Annual Crowning of Our Blessed Mother at his house. Participated in the Habitat for Humanity project by providing lunch, and by donating doors and sinks. Helped with the Hispanic Food Fest Program. Participated in the “Christmas in July” in Jefferson by supporting LAMB, raised $170.00. We provided fresh water bottles for the Relay for Life participants and supporters at the Ashe County High School. Worthy Chaplain, Reverend Father Camilo led a tour to the Holy Land.  
 Adopted a Highway and have cleaned it twice yearly. Collaborated with the Parish on a Thanksgiving Dinner for our Church Community. Homebound visitations were started and have continued. Continued with packing Christmas goodie bags and taken to the local jail for Christmas, (Jail Ministry).
  • Distributed Baby Bottles for the Ashe County Pregnancy Center. Began homebound visitations. Walk for Life in support of the Ashe County Pregnancy Center. Held a 50/50 Raffle for the Christian Refugees in the Middle East, raised $250.00.
FAMILY (Family and Youth):
  • Sundae Sunday with Generation eXellent. Hispanics continuing weekly Rosary and Prayer at different parishioner’s homes throughout the year. Parish Family Picnic. Continuing with providing weekly food to the NEST Alliance children (25). Provided 25 Coats for Kids of the NEST Alliance and a local Grammar School as well. Awarded a Family of the Month Awards. Had movies for children (Snoopy and Charlie Brown Christmas). Helped with the Hispanic Yard Sale. Supported the Appalachian Trail Run. A Worthy Lady of the Church, wife of a Worthy SK, helped a BK in need with groceries.
The following is a list of activities performed during the Fiscal year (January to December 2019).
CHURCH (Church and Council) ACTIVITIES:
  • Continuing with the First Saturday Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration throughout the year. Handed out Prayer Cards for Persecuted Christians. Attended the Mid-Year Conference at Belmont Abbey. Participated in the Faith in Action Challenge throughout the year. Continuing to pray for adopted seminarian. Kiosk was put away until May. Had Stations of the Cross for the Children. On Good Friday, had Stations of the Cross. Retreat for Youth for Christ in Laurel Springs, NC. Continuing with weekly classes throughout the year for the Youth for Christ Program. Received the Fr. McGivney Award for Membership. Participated in the Men’s Conference (Spiritual Reflection) in Charlotte, NC. Continuing with Installations of First, Second, Third and Fourth Degrees throughout the year. Handed out Prayer Cards “Prayer for life.” Attended a Funeral Mass for Patsy Durr. Assisted the Men’s Club with feeding the students from St. Joe’s from Philadelphia, PA. Every Friday during Lent had a Soup and Stations of the Cross at Noon and Stations of the Cross by Hispanics every evening. Provided lawn maintenance during the spring, summer and fall months of the year. Attended the State Convention in Raleigh, NC and received a LAMB Award. Continued with the Council’s Newsletter on the Web, thanks to Worthy SK Rick LaBonte. Had the Installation of new officers in July. In July, met with Worthy FN Dick Angell to discuss the Honor Guard for the 5th Anniversary of our new Church and about the formation of a new assembly in our area.  Cleaned and painted the Churches Rectory at St. Francis of Assisi in Jefferson, NC. The Round Table cleaned the Church in Sparta and continued with the grounds maintenance as well as that of their cemetery. Had Advent preparation with CD’s with Christmas music and Bible messages, thanks to Worthy SK Jim Kuszaj. Participated in the “Essay Contest” for the Confirmation Children at the Church. Held a fundraiser with Keep Christ in Christmas Magnets and Christmas Cards. Approved unanimously for the allocation of funds for Children’s Bibles who are to make their First Communion this year, as well as for the Children’s Posadas for next year. Attended the Funeral Mass and interment for fellow Brother Knight, Jody Blevins. Helped with Christmas decoration for the Church. Worthy BK John Esser did an outstanding job in bringing in new members. Worthy SK Luis De La Cerda oversaw the direction of all activities.
  • Attended the Campus Catholic Ministry at ASU in Boone, NC. Wives were included. Participated in the “Relay for Life” at the Ashe County High School. Solicitated gift certificates from local merchants in West Jefferson, NC to serve as raffle gifts for those who attended the Anniversary of the Church Picnic.  Participated in the support of the Blue Ridge Marathon. Participated in the LAMB Program at the Food Lion in Jefferson, NC.  Participated as a Color Guard for the Mexican Independence Day in Wilkesboro, NC. Began the Adopt a Highway Program by cleaning Luther Road in Jefferson, NC. Continued to support the “Walk for Life” in support of the Ashe Count Pregnancy Center. Held a Thanksgiving Dinner at the Church in Jefferson, NC. Participated in the Samaritan’s Purse sorting and packing activities for third world countries, with the wives, in Boone, NC. Attended the 34th Annual Ashe County Board of Commissioners Volunteer Award Ceremony, awards received. Showed movie “The Passion.” Filled goodie bags with toiletries, Bibles, religious literature, word puzzles and candy and taken to the local jail, (Jail Ministry). Participated in the DSS March for the Protection of Children in Jefferson, NC.
FAMILY (Family and Youth) ACTIVITES:
Family of the Month was presented to Worthy SK Rick and Diane LaBonte for all of their devoted work in and with the Church and community. Handed out Mother’s and Father’s Day Prayer Cards. Meal held on a Saturday after the 4:30 Mass in honor of Mother’s Day and had doughnuts and coffee after the 9:00 am Mass, also in honor of Mother’s Day. Helped an SK Move from Boone to Ashe County. Family of the Month was presented to Worthy SK John and Janet Pokorney. Participated in the Coats for Kids Program.  Held a Christmas Social at Smokey Mountain BBQ and Worthy SK John Pokorney was awarded the Knight of the Year for our Council. Participated in the Posadas for the Children. Continue providing weekly food bags to the NEST Alliance Children throughout the year. Helped a family in need of food, clothing, and work at home. Continuing with weekly home family prayers throughout the year.
LIFE (Culture of Life) ACTIVITIES:
Continuing to support the Ashe County Pregnancy Center by continuing to pray for the Unborn Child. Participated in the March for Life locally.