About Our Council
Come play Bingo!
Knights of Columbus Council 4442 hosts Bingo every Wednesday and Friday night at the VFW Hall in Hudson, NH.
Package available: 6,12,18,24,30,36,42,48. The hall offers free parking, and food and drinks.
Funds received from these Bingo games help support the Council's charitable efforts.
Come on out for an evening of fun and games. Doors open at 4:00 PM and games start at 6:45 PM.
Check out their FACE BOOK page.
14 Melendy Road
Hudson, NH 03051
History of the Council
History of the Council - by PGK Larry Belair
BISHOP PETERSON COUNCIL 4442
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
COUNCIL HISTORY – 1957-2023
The genesis for our Council began in 1956 when a small group of men from St. Joseph’s Parish was looking for ways to increase their support for the church’s activities. Monsignor Cornelius Cahill, St. Joseph’s pastor and not known for his shyness, made clear his preference for a Knights of Columbus Council rather than a Holy Name Society. As discussions continued and the group grew larger, it attracted men who already had ties to the Knights of Columbus through their hometown councils such as Lawrence, Somerville and Boston. For others, it would be their first involvement with the Knights.
After great preparation, this group of 62 men received their charter at a celebration on June 10, 1957. The first Grand Knight of the Council was John P. Holland, who also served the community as a police officer. The Council meetings were first held in the basement of St. Joseph Church from 1957 until 1963, when the meetings moved to St. Julie Hall until 1971. Like many new organizations, the early Council members struggled with their agenda, the perception of cliques and a group identity. Anxious to support their pastor, but committed to preserve their separate identity, some internal issues cut into the ranks of the membership a bit. Surviving their growing pains, the Council began to grow, giving support to the church whenever asked. Helping with the parish Bingo and St. Joseph’s school were high on the list of Council activities. In fact, many prospective members were afforded opportunities to earn their much-needed membership points by painting classrooms at the school and working at Bingo. There were times when some members felt that the Council was too involved in parish activities rather than with the larger fraternal and charitable underpinnings of the Knights of Columbus. While these issues strained the new group’s fibers, they never broke the bond and slowly the Council’s course began to mirror those noble goals of Supreme.
The early meetings and some ceremonial degrees of the Council were held in classrooms at St. Joseph’s school or at St. Julie Hall. Third Degrees were held in the basement area and many of the older recruits remember with fondness their Third Degree there. Financing of Council activities was provided by countless parties, dances, fundraisers, penny socials and turkey shoots. It was big news back then for an event to show a profit of $50, maybe $100.
Many of the early Council activities were successful because of the loyal support of the Ladies Auxiliary. Years of providing help and leadership on many of the Council events and activities made the Auxiliary a vital part of the Council’s success. The Auxiliary’s involvement helped to build many of the bonds that members continue to enjoy today. And if, along the way, we, the men of the Council, neglected to give our ladies proper recognition for their efforts, let this occasion fill that void. Ladies, we deeply appreciate your help.
The Council continued to help the parish with their Bingo but, as time went on, much of that activity was handled by parishioners and school parents. In the early 1990’s a majority of Parish Council members felt that the nature of Bingo was incompatible with the school’s image and the parish Bingo ended. Gaining experience at the parish Bingo, the Council eventually got a license of its own and the Knights took over the games, raising money for charitable and parish activities.
In time, the one parish had grown to two parishes, with Mary Queen of Peace Parish spinning off from St. Joseph Parish in 1966. For a while, there were masses at other locations, including the then-new Council home on Route 111. While many Council members gravitated to the new parish, the Council remained united, adding new members to replace the aging ranks of the founding fathers of the Council.
As membership increased, forward thinking members began to push for a permanent Council home. Despite having the use of the newly built St. Joseph parish hall, now called St. Julie Hall, many were anxious for a sense of independence and a feeling of a “home of our own”. Monsignor Cahill supported the idea, helping the Council in the planning and land acquisition stages. Led by Brother Roland Larochelle and others, the Council acquired land on Route 111 and, after several design changes, began building its new home. Large enough for future growth, the 2-level building began to take shape under the watchful eye of Brother Joe Parolise, the Council’s Clerk-of-the-works. After a year of hard work, anxious debates and financing challenges, the new home was dedicated in May of 1971. With great ceremony and celebration, the Bishop Peterson Council 4442, Knights of Columbus, had a beautiful new home of its own. Relying on traditional fundraising activities and on rental income, the new home was the envy of many other Councils and local organizations. But, the new home was a lot of work. Much of the Council’s energy, money and time went into the continued management and operation of the facility. In time, a growing number of members, saddled with the extra work, began to consider alternatives. Membership was stagnant, perhaps shrinking. Members were tiring of the work needed to keep up the Council home.
In the late 1970’s, word came that the former Davis residence at 37 Main Street, directly across from St. Joseph Church, was for sale. Once again, Council visionaries saw promise in the property, as well as an opportunity to rematch the Council’s size and goals with a smaller, more effective Council home. The property was purchased and designs were prepared for alterations and a smaller, but appropriately sized, function hall. The big move to our second home came in 1979 under the guidance of Grand Knight Stan Gorgol. The former Council home on Route 111 was put on the market and sold to the Derry-Salem Elks. The new tenants were a perfect owner for the facility. The Elks, who still own the property, enjoyed a renewed growth in their membership and, as everyone knows, they continue to enjoy success at our former home.
Within ten years, the Council membership was fully recharged. Bingo was an important source of steady Council income and an interest in expanding the Council home began to develop. In 1996, plans were drawn to add a new kitchen. Then the hall would be extended by 10 feet. The entrance would be changed, a coat room added and the cramped quarters of the old residence would be re-designed to add a sitting room, a card room and a bar. Upstairs would be completely renovated and finally, the Council home would be more of a Knights home than a former private residence with a hall attached. Under the generous leadership of Brother Bill Silvestri, ground was broken in 1998. Amid dust and construction debris, the newly renovated Council home began to rise. Today our home is the envy of many councils, a handsome structure in a great location and a source of great pride for our membership.
Around the year 2000, at Brother Dick Robichaud’s urging, the Council added a second night of Bingo, supplementing the successful Bingo night run by Brother Lou Stella. Over the years, Bingo has produced great returns for our Council. In the early days of Council Bingo, Brothers like John Mancuso, Bill Gallagher, Bob Donald, Ralph Miele and so many others, raised money that gave the Council the means to grow, prosper and do many, many works of charity and provide parish support. In time, Bingo finally moved from St. Joseph’s hall to Rockingham Park. Now, as part of a much larger Bingo operation, the early angst of leaving familiar ground has diminished and the exceptional revenues have made a huge difference in the Council’s ability to fund its goals. Without the year-round efforts of the Bingo managers, their families and everyone who has ever worked at Bingo, our great successes would not have been possible.
Similarly, in 2006, Brothers Larry Belair and Lou Stella met with the management of Rockingham Park who were looking to launch a new Texas Hold Em poker operation. Having been regular Bingo tenants for so many years our Council was among the first local charities to be invited to participate at Rockingham. Modest proceeds were earned by the Council in the beginning. Now, after 17 years of charitable poker benefits, the Council’s currently netting about $100,000 each year with only ten nights per year of partnering with the Games Operator. The games are now held at Chasers Poker Room on Veterans Memorial Parkway.
The Council has always fulfilled its serious commitment to charitable works. When money was harder to come by, the Brothers contributed much of their time and talent to helping their parishes and St. Joseph’s School. We fed the seniors on Holy Saturday, raised funds with the Tootsie Roll Drives, built access ramps and provided mobility devices for the handicapped, and we provided workers for the Parish picnics and St. Joseph’s fairs. Today, blessed with exceptional revenues from Bingo and more recently, poker tournaments, our Council now contributes over $200,000 annually to many charities such as the Relay for Life, Easter Seals, the Kidney Fund, the Salem Boys and Girls Club, the Christmas Fund and dozens of other meaningful worthy organizations and individuals. The twinned churches of Saints Mary and Joseph Parish, as well as St. Joseph Regional Catholic School, are primary beneficiaries of the charitable gaming proceeds. While blessed with the treasures of our fund raising, we continue to volunteer our time and our talents
But, with some sense of nostalgic reminiscence, it is a little sad to see the social and fraternal sharing that we enjoyed in the old days of running so many parties and dances and the $50 profits fading somewhat. In many ways we were perhaps closer then. Warm friendships grew from the early struggles that may have made us closer then as we worked together. But, while old friendships continue, today’s Council environment continues to nurture those same kinds of friendships. That’s a very important part of being a Knight.
Investing in younger members is the hallmark of any organization with a future. The Council recognized this many years ago when it formed a Circle of Squires and appropriately named it after Brother Michael DiMauro. The Circle was very active for a while but, in time, it slipped into inactivity until Brothers John Gagnon, and later, Curt Goulet, breathed new life into the Circle in 2001. Alas, after several years, the revived effort soon went the way of the original Circle. It was a concern the Circle might be competing with teen programs at the parish and the school.
Our membership drives, under the continuing leadership of Membership Chairman and PGK Bill Bamford recruited unprecedented new members. Many of those were younger men, who have already served our Council so faithfully. They are the leadership of our Council for the future – a future that promises to build on the great accomplishments of the past. It is their time and, we, the older Brothers are pleased to pass the torch that burns so brightly in our community. To his credit, Membership Chairman Norm Comeau currently leads the way for our Council to constantly welcome new and younger members.
And no Council survives and succeeds without support from the pastors and priests of its parishes. Over the years, we have been blessed with strong and active support from our priests, many who have served faithfully as our Council Chaplains. Their investment in our Council’s faith has meant so much to our Catholic men organization. To all of the priests who have given us their help and their blessings, a warm and deserved -THANK YOU.
In researching this history, I was so tremendously impressed with how much many of you Council members have given – whether in the preparation of our new and renovated homes, in fundraising, in running all those parties and events or in serving on the boards and committees. If I tried to name you all, surely, I’d forget some and embarrass others. And, we would still be here for breakfast in the morning. On behalf of everyone who was ever a member of the Bishop Peterson Council and to their wives and families who gave our members so much support – THANK YOU!
It is important to remember that the Knights of Columbus is really not about a new home or financial success or charitable gaming operations. It is about unity, fraternity and charity. It is about serving people in need; about being there for each other and for others. It is about helping our parishes as they struggle to meet the challenges that threaten to change the church forever. We are blessed - blessed to have had so many wonderful men pass through our doors, wherever those doors have been. Men who have given so much of their time, their energy, their resources and their talent. We have been blessed with many exceptional Grand Knights and Council officers. Our Corporation Boards of Directors have steered us through the sometimes challenging waters of property ownership. Everyone of you who are members of this incredible organization should be proud of your involvement, whenever given, whatever offered. In every action, you have contributed to the success of what is, unquestionably, one of the finest Councils to ever rise to the promises of Father McGiveney. You are the men they call Knights. Continue your pride; continue your honor and continue your support of Bishop Peterson Council 4442. That is the very least we can do for the hundreds of Brothers, now departed, who shaped this tremendous legacy for us.
PGK Larry Belair, JULY 20, 2023
A Tribute to Monsignor C. F. Cahill A banquet held on February 9, 1980
Fr. Cahill was honored as being a prime mover for the creation of a Knights Council, in Salem, in 1956. The official charter of Council 4442 was issued by Supreme and signed by the founding members on June 10, 1957. Fr. Cahill was the council's first chaplain. .See the PDF file for the program of the banquet.
Council Awards and Certificates - Our History
A PDF file of all the awards given to Council 4442 over the years. A few of the awards are on display in the photo gallery.
Political Activity Policy - Non-Partisan Politics
What is the difference between "allowed" political activity by the Knights and "partisan politics," which is not permitted in the Knights? Click on the PDF article.
Bishop Libasci, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, and Supreme Chaplain Archbishop Lori have been urging us to become more involved in political issues like respect for life and religious freedom. They have encouraged us to send mail or call our elected officials at both the state and federal level. But at our degree, we were told to not engage in “partisan politics” within our council. Is there an issue here?
The following two pages in the PDF file below were issued by our NH State Council to help everyone understand how to engage our elected officials without violating our policy against partisan politics.
Please take a few minutes to read it. You will find it’s very straightforward with no legalese.