Knights of Columbus
In September of 1959 Most Reverend John J. Wright, then Bishop of Pittsburgh commissioned the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Knights of Columbus to embark on a program to help children with intellectual disabilities. A special Charities Committee was formed, and a Christmas Seal Program was suggested as a potential funds raiser.
The idea received instant support and blessings from Bishop Wright. In 1960 the Special Charities Committee was changed to The Bishop Wright Project for St. Anthony’s School for Exceptional Children. In 1964, the McGuire Memorial Home was added to the Diocesan facilities for children with intellectual disabilities and became associated with the Bishop’s Project.
The Knights of Columbus Bishop’s Project flourished because of the efforts and enthusiasm of the Knights, and the cooperation and help of the media and the public’s generosity. Although the Seals Program was the initial fundraising activity, each council continued to add other methods of obtaining funds. Now in addition to the Seals Program, local chapters can participate in a penny collection following Sunday masses and a Tootsie Roll Distribution at local shopping centers.
As of 2013, the Knights through their extraordinary efforts have raised almost $5.5 million dollars to support St. Anthony School Programs and the McGuire Memorial Home. When you see the Knights after a Sunday mass or collecting at your favorite store, know that the donations you make are helping children with intellectual disabilities succeed.