Samuel Cardinal Stritch Assembly
#205 Formation and History
beginning of this assembly is very hard to pinpoint. No one
has a clear recollection of when the idea of an assembly in
this area first started.
For a clearer picture, one
should know the rules governing the members of the Fourth
Degree, as set down by the Supreme Council. The number one
rule, a member upon receiving the Honors of the Fourth
Degree must join an assembly. In the Archdiocese of Chicago,
there was only one Assembly, LaSalle General. This meant
that all Fourth degree members in Lake and Cook Counties
were required to belong to LaSalle Assembly. Their meetings
were always held in downtown Chicago, necessitating
considerable travel for members to attend meetings. This,
naturally, caused much resentment by those members who
wanted to become active. It led to many comments about
forming an Assembly in the South Side area.
September 1959, John Barton, Archangel Council, Orland Park,
became involved and enthusiastic about the idea of having an
assembly in the area. He discussed his plan for an Assembly
with many Fourth Degree Members, some of whom wished to join
his crusade. John composed a letter that would be sent to
the Supreme Council and the Master of the Northern District
of Illinois, requesting permission to form an Assembly in
the South Suburban area. He cited difficulties in attending
meetings and becoming active in the LaSalle Assembly, as
well as the potential growth of new members in the area. His
letter met with hearty approval and support by those who
supported his crusade and urged John to send his letter to
the Supreme Council and Master McGillen.
campaign to form an Assembly, John Barton became closely
associated with Bill Weddington, President of Marian Council
Fourth Degree Group. Bill played an important part in the
organization of the Assembly. John Barton’s letter went
unanswered and it was Bill who suggested and carried out a
plan to invite the Master of the Northern District of
Illinois to speak to their Fourth Degree Group. Master
McGillen accepted the speaking engagement and agreed to
answer questions pertaining to the formation of an Assembly.
Bill, wanting to have a large number in attendance when the
Master would speak on December 1, 1959, invited
representatives from the twelve councils in the suburban
area to attend.
A very good attendance was on hand
to greet and listen to Master McGillen talk about the works
of the Fourth Degree. However, after he finished, he was
deluged with questions pertaining to the formation of a new
Assembly. He was very good at answering all of the questions
and explained the rules that were required to form a new
Assembly. To some members these rules were strict, but to
the majority, they were a challenge. A meeting for further
discussion was planned.
On January 7, 1960, a small
group of staunch supporting members met to review the rules
and regulations set by the Master and outline a plan of
action. It was unanimously agreed that an early meeting with
representatives from the twelve councils be held in order to
gain more support and cooperation. A meeting with these
council representatives was scheduled for January 16, 1960
at the Chicago Heights Council Clubhouse.
meeting produced the cooperation and support that was hoped
for and was termed a great success. The councils that were
represented were: Pinta, Blue Island, Lansing, Coronata, Fr.
C.C. Boyle, Garcia Moreno, Marian, Our Lady of Fatima,
Archangel, and Chicago Heights. This group was extremely
interested in forming a new Assembly in the area and was
certain they could obtain the approval of the 60% of their
Fourth Degree Members to meet the requirements. They also
approved John Barton to continue as temporary chairman and
Tom Wilson as temporary secretary. Having a monthly meeting
met with their approval.
The same enthusiastic
support was received from the council representatives at the
February meeting. They all reported progress in getting
members to sign the petitions. A deadline for the return of
the petition was set for the March meeting. Master McGillen
had promised to be present at this meeting.
business at this meeting was the selection of a Bylaws
Committee made up of: Ted Sailor and Ed Henly, Lansing
Council, Bill Waddington, Marian Council, Joe Doheny, Garcia
Moreno Council, and Paul Pina, Pinta Council.
meeting of March 28, 1960, brought the needed signatures of
members desirous of forming a new Assembly. However, a phone
call from the Master stated he would not be present and
stressed that the petitions must contain only the names of
bonafide members of LaSalle Assembly to be considered in the
60% of the required signatures. The April meeting had to be
postponed because the Master was busy with an
Exemplification in Kankakee. He made a firm promise to be
present on June 27, 1960 to receive the petition.
Master Frank McGillen attended the June meeting and was
surprised by the number of signed petitions presented to
him. His remarks,” I accept these petitions as an indication
of your sincerity and will work with you and request the
Supreme Council to permit you to form a new Assembly.” He
also asked if a name had been selected, and if not,
recommended the name of a person dedicated to his role in
the church and to the Knights of Columbus, that of “Cardinal
Stritch.” A spontaneous approval was given by those in
attendance. He also advised selecting a nominating committee
composed of a representative from each council, and with
instructions to report back with their selections at the
Blue Island and Our Lady of Fatima
councils requested to withdraw and the requests were
The August meeting brought good tidings
from the Supreme Council. They approved the formation of a
new Assembly in the South Suburban Cook County, to be named
“Cardinal Stritch Assembly.” Reports of the By-law and
Nominating Committees were made and accepted. The date of
election of officers was set for September 21, 1960, at
Pinta Council, Riverdale.
The long awaited day, the
election of Assembly officers, necessary to complete the
formation of an Assembly in the South Suburban area finally
arrived with a full house in attendance. Again, Master
McGillen was unable to attend, but not to delay the
formation any longer, authorized Bill Condon, Genoa Council,
to proceed with the election of the charter officers for
Cardinal Stritch General Assembly. Those elected were:
Anthony Mroz Charles Oliver
Stanley Kelma Norman Vinsek
William McCarthy Ken Buck
Al Miller Pete Korn
John Barton Tom Wilson
Coronata Council Pinta
Council Fr. C. C. Boyle
Council Marian Council
Lansing Council Pinta
Council Nina Council
Chicago Heights Council
Archangel Council Chicago
Heights Council Garcia
With the same zeal that
inspired the men to form Cardinal Stritch Assembly, the
officers began laying plans for an active Assembly.
Producing a set of workable bylaws acceptable to the
membership and the Supreme Council became a challenge to
their committee. After many months, they were finally
accepted and a charter was authorized, but was not received
until January 1964. Presentation was made on February 5,
1964 by Vice Supreme Master Frank McGillen and the Master of
the Northern District of Illinois, Ron Taillon.
Programs became next on the priority list. It was believed
that an active Assembly must have programs that appealed to
every member, and should be of a character to bring praise
to the Assembly. The first program to tackle was a formal
installation of charter officers.
In those days
installation ceremonies were limited to members only, but
the officers wanted to have a dinner and dance to celebrate
this great occasion. The committee again came up with a
solution. The installation at Garcia Moreno Council, Harvey,
and the dinner and dance following at Pinta Council,
Riverdale, on Sunday, November 20, 1960. The installation
ceremony was performed by the very efficient team from
Bishop McNamara Assembly, Kankakee, directed by DD Clem
Installation of the 1962 officers was also
held at Garcia Moreno Council, with dinner and dance
following at Pinta Council. They were fortunate in having
the same team installing the officers. In the following
years, the installation ceremony was moved to various
council chambers with Master Ron Taillon presiding. Later
when the public was allowed to witness the installation
ceremony, it was permitted to be held during the celebration
of the Mass.
Dinner dances were always an enjoyable
get-together for members and their wives. The first was held
at Olympia Fields Country Club in November 1961. It became
an annual event in 1962 when it was moved to Cherry Hills
Country Club in Flossmoor and continued to be held there
until about 1972. After that year, it was held at various
locations on the south side.
In 1963, a donation to
a religious organization was started and has continued over
the years. The first recipient was Msgr. Howard, Rector of
Quigley South Preparatory School.
Assembly has always been blessed with active Faithful
Friars. Our thanks to those who gave of their time, Msgr. W.
Corcoran, Pastor, St. Agnes, Chicago Heights; Rev. Thomas
O’Connell, Pastor, St. George, Tinley Park; Rev. R. L.
Hills, Pastor, Infant Jesus of Prague, Flossmoor; Rev. T.
Walenga, Pastor, Assumption BVM, Chicago; Rev. A. Gorney,
Pastor, St. George, Tinley Park; and Rev. John Seary, OSA,
Popular and well attended by their members,
was the annual re-obligation ceremony held in January each
year and was under the direction of the Master or his
Entertainment for the members wives
was always a special event for Cardinal Stritch Assembly.
The first Ladies Night was held on April 26, 1962 at St.
Andrew’s Parish Hall, Calumet City. John Manuszak and his
committee from Coronata Council put together an interesting
and enjoyable program, featuring the Madrigal Singers from
Thornridge High School; The Magic Barrel presented by
Standard Oil Company, refreshments and drawing for door
prizes for the women. It was truly a most enjoyable
Memorial Day would always see the members
in their full regalia at Assumption Cemetery, Glenwood,
taking part in the outdoor mass as an honor guard for the
priest. Some Cardinal Stritch members have served in the
honor guard at the cemetery since it was dedicated. In later
years, as mass was permitted to be celebrated in all of the
Catholic Cemeteries, members have served not only at
Assumption, but also at Holy Cross, Calvary, and St.
Honor guards have always been willing to
assist at religious services when the Cardinal or Bishop was
present. They consider this a singular honor. They also
assist at first masses, anniversaries of priests or
parishes, at wakes for clergy or members, or at civic
parades when they are non-political.
In 1963 a
request was received to furnish an Honor Guard for the
ground-breaking ceremonies for the Mother of Sorrows
Novitiate, and twenty-five members responded.
year, Sir Knights are asked to march in the Columbus and St.
Patrick’s Day Parades in Chicago. Because of the number that
attended, George Petro was asked to make arrangements for a
bus to transport members to the 1964 St. Patrick’s Parade.
He did an outstanding job. He obtained a green and white bus
The solid foundation laid by those who were
instrumental in forming the Assembly has continued through
the past ten Faithful Navigators and Assembly officers.
Throughout these twenty years, Cardinal Stritch Assembly has
seen a steady growth in its membership.
not permit listing of all members who have been active in
the Assembly since 1960. However, one name comes to mind,
Charles Malufka, Coronata Council. He was a representative
of his council during the formation, served as a trustee for
three years and in other capacities and was elected Faithful
Comptroller in 1968. Yes, Charlie has earned the esteem of
all the Sir Knights and the thanks and congratulations of
all the officers he served under.
forty years, the officers and members of Cardinal Stritch
Assembly have been a source of help to their councils and
the parishes they serve in the South Suburban Cook County
We are grateful and thank the Almighty God for
giving us those dedicated members who stood the tremendous
challenge and worked diligently for the formation of the
Assembly. Also. We ask your prayers for the continued
guidance of our Assembly to achieve better and more “good
works” for God, Our Church, Our Country and Our Fellow Man.
Obtained from the files of PFN Joseph Doheny and
presented to the Cardinal Stritch Assembly in March of 1997
by PGK Dave Wolken of Marian Council #3761.
Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon him.