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St. Mary’s/Maris Stella Council - Our Story

how the hall looked in 1925!

(courtesy of Paul Labozzetta, Council Archivist, and Editor of The Anchor)

The earliest attempts at creating a Knights of Columbus Council in Lynbrook were in November of 1920. On Friday, November 19, 1920, a smoker and meeting were held at the Tally-Ho Fireman's Hall in Valley Stream where all interested parties assembled to endeavor to organize a new council. The prime movers in this endeavor were: Walter V. Gover, P. J. Hoey, Hugh S. Kelly, Daniel Bergen, Max Becker, Charles Barnbolz, James Freel, William E. Schratweiser and William Henderson.

About 125 men, predominantly from Lynbrook and Valley Stream, assembled. District Deputy Daniel J. Fogarty of Glen Cove was present as was District Deputy James A. Hennessey of Astoria and Grand Knights and Past Grand Knights from Jamaica, Hempstead Council, Glen Cove, Far Rockaway (Maris Stella Council), and Freeport (Archbishop Molloy Council). All addressed the meeting and reviewed the accomplishments of the Knights of Columbus since its inception 38 years earlier. Mr. James Gibbons of Valley Stream, who was also interested in the project, addresses the gathering. Mr. James Freel, PGK of Phil. Sheridan Council of Brooklyn, who had changed his residence to Lynbrook, acted as chair for the meeting. A temporary organization was elected: James Freel, President, W. E. Schratweiser, treasurer, Walter V. Gover, Secretary.

On Monday, December 6, 1920, a meeting was held at Simonson's Hall in Lynbrook. The intention was to determine in which town (Lynbrook or Valley Stream) the new council would be located, to choose the new council's name, and to appoint a physician to examine all men desiring to become candidates. Votes were taken on the first two issues and Lynbrook won an overwhelming majority of votes as the location for the new council, while "St. Mary's" was favored as the new council's name by more than half the attendees. Dr. Aaron Higgins of Rockville Centre was appointed as physician and was to begin examination as soon as possible. It was also decided that Simonson's Hall would be used as a temporary headquarters, with meetings held on the first and third Thursday of each month.

By January 20, 1921, the Charter was completed and arrangements were made to exemplify the first, second, and third degrees in Glen Cove on Sunday, February 13, 1921. Between the second and third degree exemplifications, a caterer was to serve a banquet to the dignitaries, candidates, and transfer members of the newly-appointed St. Mary's Council # 2228.

On the appointed day the local prospective members and those already belonging to the order gathered at the Arcade Theatre (on Atlantic Avenue) at 9:30 AM to journey to Glen Cove for the 11:00 AM start of the exemplifications (by suto, in the weather was clear, or by rail, if it was inclement.) As it turned out, an impressive display of 30 autos carrying the members of the Order and the candidates made their way there and were heartily received by the nearly on thousand members of the Order awaiting their arrival.

Starting at 11:30 A.M., at St. Patrick's Church, as planned, the three degrees of the Order were exemplified. The first degree was exemplified by the first degree team from Holy Redeemer Council # 1974 of Freeport, while the second degree team from Penataquit Council # 564 of Bay Shore. A Lynbrook caterer, Mr. William Xeller, served a ". . . tempting banquet . . . " between the second and third degrees. The third degree exemplification, by the Maris Stella Council #378 of Far Rockaway, was performed before the largest gathering that was ever assembled in St. Patrick's Hall!

how our council started

Once instituted, St. Mary's wasted little time in improving its property holdings by buying the Brown property at 78 Hempstead Avenue in April of 1921. It was bought to provide members with the room to accomodate a well appointed club, as well as one which could be used as " . . . a community center which will be of no inconsiderable aid in to lift this South Side section of ours . . ." (New Era, April 27, 1921)

It was designed to provide for the social and athletic welfare of its members, while also attending to their material and mental welfare. To this end, the Council took advantage of the Supreme Council's mission of social uplifting through lecturing and had lecturers of wide fame speak on topics of the day at the Council, while teachers, furnished by Supreme, gave instructions in manual and technical courses.

Knights of Columbus Councils in New York and Brooklyn watched with astonishment the verve and push of a little "country" Council which, while still in babyhood, achieved something many of the large city Councils have taken years to accomplish.

As time passed, St. Mary's experienced a series of peaks and troughs. Our revenues and emmbership declined during the depression and the building was lost to foreclosure. Meetings were again held at Simonson's Hall and at the Earle Avenue Firehouse until we were able to reclaim our property following a surge in membership and a series of fundraising efforts in the late thirties. We have continued to call it home ever since.

On March 23, 1953, our Ladies Auxiliary officially received their charter from Supreme. So began the long standing partnership in works of charity between our organizations that we have come to know today.

(the following is courtesy of Past Grand Knight Charlie Rosaschi)

Maris Stella (Star of the Sea) Council #378 was instituted on November 13, 1898, having received its charter on that date from the Supreme Council. In its early years, Maris Stella held its meetings in Nebenzahl's Hall which was considered the Town Hall of Far Rockaway. Meeting rooms were maintained there until 1919, and 1923 meetings were moved to Leppert's Hall on Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway. On Columbus Day in 1921, the cornerstone of the Council's own building was laid by Dr. John G. Coyle, State Deputy of New York, On that memorable occasion the first Grand Knight of the Council, William J. McKenna, acted as Master of Ceremonies. The new building served as the Council's headquarters until 1974 when it was sold to the New York City Police Athletic League. Due to changing conditions and a lack of parking spaces in the area, Maris Stella ultimately moved from Far Rockaway and held its meetings in Inwood, New York.

Due to declining membership, in the early part of 2006 the remaining officers of Maris Stella Council #378 approached St. Mary's Council and inquired as to whether St. Mary's Council would be willing to merge with Maris Stella Council. On June 13, 2006, by joint resolution of Maris Stella Council #378 and St. Mary's Council #2228, it was unanimously voted by both Councils to merge the two councils and thereby preserve the name and tradition of Maris Stella. This merger was ultimately approved by Supreme in 2007 and since that time the council has adopted the name St. Mary's/Maris Stella Council #2228.

Here are the charter members of St. Mary's Council

William J. L. Armstrong Bertrand J. Eustace William Henrichs Chauncey J. Morgan
Andrew Becher David J. Evans Ferdinand Herbenstreet Frank Munch
James Bencivenga Paul F. Fearon F. Herman Hering Michael J. Murphy
Daniel J. Bergen Fred J. Felton P. J. Hoey Gerard Nolan
Charles J. Bernholz Joseph Felton A. Richard Howe William T. Noller
Henry C. Bolton William J. Felton John J. Howland John J. Noonan, Jr.
Paul H. Bolton Edward F. Fitzgerald Frank A. Irish Leo O'Connell
Raymond J. Buckley James J. Flood George E. Keisel Charles J. O'Connor
John V. Burke Thomas W. Flood Edward M. Koebel Edmund J. O'Connor
Thomas M. Byrnes Walter V. Flood Frank H. Kohlbecker John D. O'Donnell
Frank N. Cahill James E. Freel Henry J. Leek Charles R. Offenheier
Frank A. Callaghan Gerard F. Fyme William A. Leek William A. O'Keefe
James C. Canning John F. Gallagher Bernard F. Lenihan Arthur J. Pouch
Harry B. Carpenter James E. Gibbons John Loeffler George W. Raymond
George H. Cassidy Joseph P. Gleason Andrew Lynch Frank R. Reilly
Richard F. Caster Rudolph D. Goldfuss Joseph J. Lynch Harold G. Richardson
Edward A. Catena Walter V. Gover Thomas F. Lynch, Jr. John R. Ritter
John J. Chrade A. C. Groenwold Christohper Maffucci John R. Rodriquez
John H. Clark Philip M. Groenwold John E. Mahoney Raymond Rodriquez
Walter L. Cooper Joseph E. Gunther Thomas F. Mahoney Michael Rohner
Joseph F. Connolly James Halpin Frank Mancini John J. S. Ryan
Edward F. Degnan Daniel F. Hannon Joseph McCabe Louis A. Sarro
James V. Donohue J. J. Harrigan Rev. Peter P. McGovern Joseph P. Schmitt
Thomas B. Dowling William Harrigan William P. Meyer Arthur J. Schratweiser
Albert J. Edwards Michael J. Hart John J. Miles William E. Schratweiser
George C. Elliott Thomas J. Hartan Fred G. Miller Adam J. Schultz
Henry C. Essig Albert V. Henderson Willis H. Monohan Joseph Schultz
Edward Shanahan Patrick J. Shanley Bernard J. Sheridan William J. Smith
Joseph T. Sullivan Walter G. Taylor William J. Thomas Bernard J. Toole
Guiseppe Vitelli Basil G. Watson Herbert J. Williams George D. Walsh
Lester A. Wals Alfred T. Young Thomas J. Young