John Licari, Jr. , Grand Knight
Pavia Council No. 48 is associated with St. Mary Church, Bethel, CT. Founded in 1888, the council has a long distinguished history of
service to the parish and the community. Pavia Council has won numerous awards for service
and achievement from both the state and national Knights of Columbus organizations.
Interested in joining our ranks? Let us know!
On the evening of November 14, 1888 Father Patrick OConnell, Pastor of St. Mary Church in Bethel, met in the church basement with a group of 24 young men to interest them in a fraternal society called the Knights of Columbus. In light of the K of Cs growing reputation Father OConnell had little trouble convincing the Bethel gathering to establish a local Council. Hatters, manual laborers, farmers, clerks and shopkeepers, nearly all in their 20s and 30s these men would become charter member of Pavia Council. William P. English became the first Grand Knight.
Several years earlier in 1882, also in the basement of another St. Mary Church in New Haven, Father Michael J. McGivney laid the groundwork for a mutual benefit society for Catholic men. In an era without Social Security, organizations providing insurance of immigrant families in times of sickness and death were an economic necessity. The bitter anti-Catholicism of the late 19th century had generated a strong bond of religious and social unity within Catholic ethnic groups, so why not establish a local fraternal insurance society for Catholics the young priest reasoned. Today the cause for the sainthood of Father McGivney is before the Church.
This history is an excerpt from A One Hundred Year History of Pavia Council No. 48, prepared for THE CENTENNIAL YEAR by Isabella C. Taylor November 1988.
This 38-page document, drawn from the minutes of council meetings, not only tells a fascinating story of the Knights but also of life in Bethel. It is available at the Bethel Public Library Reference Department in the vertical file.
This page last updated on Friday, August 16, 2013