S.C. Knights raise an all-time high for charities last year

TAYLORS — Fears of donor fatigue after the demands of Hurricane Katrina were not realized in Knights of Columbus charity drives last year.

The organization’s 58 councils in South Carolina raised more than $43,000 during its annual charity drive, and sent money and a truckload of supplies to storm-ravaged coastal Mississippi in the fall, according to state treasurer Joseph F. Gubeli.

It was the most money ever raised by the South Carolina Knights’ main fund-raising effort, according to a press release.

“Most of it will go to the bishop of Charleston, some to people in a hurting situation. All of it goes to charities,” Gubeli said. He is a member of St. Theresa Church in Summerville.

Drive chairman Robert W. Ficco of St. Ann Church in Rock Hill announced the new record at the annual Knights charity banquet Feb. 4.

“I got chills when I heard about the numbers,” Ficco said. “I thought that we might not do as well as in years past because of the demands of Katrina, but these guys came through like troopers.”

The Knights will present a check to Bishop Robert J. Baker at the state convention set for May 6 in North Charleston. The head of the state Knights of Columbus, Ray Hock of Prince of Peace Church in Taylors, said that the bishop has full discretion in how he spends the money.

“The bishop gets his just rewards for his special projects,” Hock said.

Hock said that the Feb. 3-4 weekend consisted of business meetings and the evening banquet held at the Prince of Peace School gymnasium. The Knights of Columbus also presented its Silver Rose Award to St. Francis Xavier High School in Sumter. The award goes to the Catholic high school in the state that has the greatest percentage of students at the annual Stand Up for Life March held in Columbia. The award was presented to Dianne E. Trapini, headmistress.

Trapini said that St. Francis Xavier is an independent Catholic school, embraced by the diocese, and serves a diverse student population. The school will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year.

“The pro-life message is woven throughout the curriculum,” she said.

Fifty-seven percent of the school turned out for the march and rally held at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia on Jan. 21.