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Proceedings of Third Annual State Council
Meeting, Held at Omaha, May 14, 1907

Knights of Columbus Hall,
Omaha, Nebr., May 14, 1907.

     State Council of the Knights of Columbus convened in accordance to the action of the last State Convention and notices sent out by State Deputy C. J. Smyth. At 10:30 a. m. the Council was convened by State Deputy C. J. Smyth and was opened in due form.

     State Secretary O'Donnell being absent J. B. Kennedy was elected Secretary pro tem.

     Motion by Schmidt and seconded by Maguire that a committee on credentials be appointed by Chair. The Chair appointed the following committee: J. A. Maguire, Lincoln; C. J. Ryan, McCook; J. A. Pfeiler, Chadron; C. J. Pass, North Platte, and A. F. Suing, Hartington.

     Motion by Simeral, seconded by Straub that a committee of five be appointed on resolutions. The Chair appointed the following committee: E. W. Simeral, Omaha; J. F. Mathews, Grand Island; J. A. Donohoe, O'Neill; J. J. Crowley, Hastings, and Joseph P. Ryan, Creighton.

     Moved by Bro. Ryan of McCook, duly seconded that a committee of three be appointed as an auditing committee. The Chair appointed the following committee: F. R. Hearn, Columbus; W. B. Straub, Lincoln, and J. J. Conoughy, Hastings.

     E. W. Simeral, Grand Knight of Omaha Council, announced that this being the regular meeting night of the Omaha council, it had planned an entertainment for the delegates, at this hall. He extended a hearty welcome to all the delegates to be present, if possible.

     State Treasurer reported that he had a balance on hand of $124.58.

     Motion by E. W. Simeral, duly seconded that we adpourn (sic) until 2:00 p. m. Motion carried.

     State Council of the Knights of Columbus reconvened at 2:00 p. m. Was opened in due form with State Deputy C. J. Smyth in the chair, following state officers being present:

     State Deputy--C. J. Smyth.
     State Secretary--J. F. O'Donnell.
     State Treasurer--J. H. Schmidt.
     State Warden--Mark Burke.
     State Advocate J. H. Sherlock being absent.
     State Chaplain Rev. Thos. Walsh being absent.

     Committee on credentials submitted the following report: We, the Committee appointed on credentials, hereby submit the following report: Upon examination of credentials presented to the committee the councils are represented as follows:


Name of Councils City Delegates
Hartington, No. 1233 Hartington (A. J. Lammers
(A. F. Suing
McCook, No. 1126 McCook (C. J. Ryan
(G. R. Gale
Omaha, No. 652 Omaha (E. W. Simeral
(J. A. O'Hearn
Alliance, No. 975 Alliance (M. E. Reardon
(J. B. Kennedy
Hastings, No. 1123 Hastings (James F. Crowley
(J. J. Conoughy
St. Mary's, No. 1159 Grand Island (John F. Mathews
(John O'Hara
St. Patrick's, No. 1211 North Platte (Charles J. Pass
(George Ell
Fitzgerald, No. 833 Lincoln (W. E. Straub
(John A. Maguire
Chadron, No. 1128 Chadron (Jacob A. Pfeiler
(Howard Barrett
Columbus, No. 938 Columbus (F. R. Hearn
(D. W. Killeen
Charles Carroll, No. 701 O'Neill (J. A. Donohoe
(Arthur F. Mullen
Count Creighton, No. 1238 Creighton (Joseph P. Ryan
(Joseph F. Green

     It is recommended that the regularly accredited delegates from Count Creighton Council of Creighton, and Hartington Council of Hartington be admitted as regular delegates to the Council, provided that the delegates present pledge themselves to remit to the State Treasurer the per capita assessment of the respective Councils as of the present date.

Respectfully submitted,


     Moved and seconded that the report of the Committee on credentials be amended to include State Officers and District Deputies. Motion carried.

     Moved and seconded that the report of the committee on credentials be adopted as amended. Motion carried.

     Those entitled to votes in the convention are the list mentioned above in report of committee on credentials, and the following: C. J. Smyth, State Deputy; J. F. O'Donnell, State Secretary; J. H. Schmidt, State Treasurer; Mark Burke, State Warden; J. H. Sherlock, State Advocate; Rev, Thomas Walsh, Chaplain.

     The following District Deputies are entitled to a seat but have no vote: J. C. Kennedy from Middle District, J. A. Maguire from Southern District. All were present except J. H. Sherlock, State Advocate.

     A. F. Mullen, delegate in the convention, is entitled to vote as Past Grand Knight of Charles Carroll of Carrollton Council.


     Moved and seconded that we wire congratulations to the State Councils of Massachusetts, Illinois and Arkansas. Motion carried. The Chair wired congratulations.

     State Deputy Smyth submitted the following report:

     Dear Sirs and Brothers: Viewing our order as a whole, both in this and other countries, it presents a most gratifying condition. Councils exist in every state and territory in the Union, as well as in Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario, Canada; Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward's Island, the Phillippines (sic), and the republic of Mexico, and a short time ago application was made by Scotland and England for the extension of the order into those countries. We number now 178,766, an increase of more than 100 per cent since the first council was instituted in this state. The increase during the year has been about 24,000 members.
     The most notable events of last year were the dedication of our new home at New Haven and the generous assistance rendered to our suffering brothers in San Francisco. About $100,000.00 were placed at their disposal, and we are now informed that a goodly sum thereof will be returned to the order at the meeting of the next national council which will take place at Norfolk, Virginia, in August of the present year.
     The ceremonies attending the dedication of the new headquarters at New Haven were impressive. His Eminence, Cardinal Gibbons, attended the opening of the Council, while Yale College, through President Hadley and the faculty, threw open her doors to the delegates, and graciously provided for them and their friends of the order a delightful reception in the great Woolsey hall.
      Your representatives in the National Council presented your request that provision be made for instruction in the unwritten work, and I am pleased to be able to say to you that the Council referred the matter to the Board of Directors, which subsequently approved of your views and directed that provision be made in accordance therewith.
     The addition made to the duties of the "I" was also at the instance of your delegates. We sought to have incorporated in the laws of the order a provision requiring members to present each year to the chaplain of their council evidence of the performance by them of their Easter duty. The committee on law, to which it was referred, reported adversely. For reasons not necessary to mention here, it was thought best not to bring the discussion onto the floor of the council at that time, but if it meets with your approval the matter will be vigorously pressed at the next National Council and I feel certain it will receive favorable consideration.
     The National Council--the supreme' governing body of this order was, speaking generally, composed of very strong men. They came from different walks of life. There was the merchant, the doctor, the lawyer, all men who had won a fair degree of success in the world's affairs, and that, too, without finding it necessary to sacrifice one jot or tittle of the old faith. They were, for the most part, sturdy characters, well fitted to bear properly the distinction conferred upon them by their brothers. To be among them and hear them talk and watch their method of work was an inspiration. The percentage of


men of culture and forceful intellectuality was as large as could be found in any body anywhere. Worthy were they to stand forth as the exemplars of Catholic manhood and citizenship in this nation.
     The progress of the order in this state has been no less satisfactory than in the nation. When we last met there were but five Councils entitled to representation in this body. Today we have twelve, or an increase of over 100 per cent. The new Councils established are located at the following places: Hastings, McCook, Grand Island, North Platte, Chadron, Hartington and Creighton. These Councils, you have observed, are well scattered over the state, so that hereafter it will not be as difficult or expensive to extend the order as it has been heretofore. Each Council becomes a center of activity for the creation of new ones in its neighborhood. To facilitate the further extension of the order, a new district should be created in the western part of the state. The rapid increased (sic) just mentioned shows that the work of the order is appreciated in Nebraska. From every locality in which a Council exists come words of commendation from clergy and laymen alike.
     The standard of membership is being maintained. Upon this too much importance cannot be laid. We want a large membership, but infinitely better a small good one than a large poor one. It is a mistake to suppose we should have every man of our faith in the state. Unless the applicant can bring something to the order which will contribute to the accomplishment of its purpose among our people, better not have him. But if he can, welcome him, confident in the belief that you can return to him not only the equivalent of what he brings, but that multiplied a hundred fold. Many classes carelessly selected are bad. One good class each year is as much as any Council should attempt to handle, in my judgment. If it does that carefully and well, it will have done good work and all that the order should expect from it.
     We should not let it be understood in our communities that any one who may apply will be received into the order. Rather have it go out that it is difficult to get in. Men reject cheap things. That which they can get without sacrifice they do not want. Make them understand that to become a member of the Knights of Columbus is to receive a privilege not conferred upon every one.
     The spirit of the order everywhere is not to undertake any thing in public or in private which it is not prepared to do not only well, but better than anybody else could do the same thing. We must keep this spirit alive. The name of the order should be as dear to us as our own name, and we must never permit it to be connected, either directly or indirectly, with anything questionable. Let us join heartily in the promotion of everything that is good in our respective localities and never cease to work for the elevation of the moral and civic standards of our people.
     It is with great satisfaction that I am able to say to you that the year has been free from any serious friction among the members of the order. A few suggestions of unpleasantness arose, but the excellent spirit of all concerned dissipated them almost before they had a real existence.
     There is too much laxity in admitting persons to initiations. Under the laws of the order, no one without the pass word or written


proof that he is entitled to it should be admitted. Yet I fear that very often this rule is not observed, especially when an initiation is in progress or about to take place. Members appear on those occasions without either the pass word or a traveling card and are admitted. The financial secretary of their Council is not present, and hence there is no one authorized to give them the right to sit in the Council. In such case, the person should be excluded from the room, but instead, some one will arise and say that he vouches for him and this is usually treated as sufficient authority on which to give him the pass word or permit him to remain. All this is wrong. No one but the financial secretary has a right to give a pass word, except in these cases:

     (a) The Grand Knight at a meeting of his own Council, provided the financial secretary is absent.

     (b) The Grand Knight, State or District Deputies, on written proof from the financial secretary of the Council to which the member belongs.

     These are the only exceptions. The giving of the pass word by any one else but the financial secretary under any other circumstances is a violation of the law and should be discontinued. For a time, the enforcing of the law in this respect may work hardship on some, but if so it will be their own fault, for they may provide themselves in every instance with a traveling card and thus obviate any difficulty along that line. But whether any inconvenience results or not, the officers have no alternative-the law must be observed. The pass word is the only protection we have against our work becoming a matter of common knewledge (sic), and hence it must be guarded. This is the solemn duty of officers and members alike, and should not be neglected.
     The possession of a traveling card is not conclusive evidence that the holder is a member or entitled to the pass word. He may have found it or he may have forged it. Of course a member would not fabricate it, but we are not seeking to protect ourselves against members but against persons who are not--against persons who may desire to learn our secrets for some unworthy purpose. I would strongly recommend, therefore, that this Council pass a rule requiring each subordinate Council to appoint a committee of two or three, whose duty it shall be on initiation days to receive and pass on all traveling cards in the ante chamber, and that no one be permitted to enter the chamber on traveling card without the approval of the committee.
     All Chair officers are directed by the law of the order to commit to memory their ritual. Reading it is forbidden. Most officers obey this, some do not. To read a part, or to halt and stumble in its recitation detracts very much from its effectiveness. I trust that hereafter no official will find it necessary to use his book during the exemplification of a degree. The lines should be not only thoroughly committed, but carefully studied so that their true meaning may be conveyed to the candidate.
     It has been a matter of much pleasure to me to note the earnestness, dignity and intelligence displayed by nearly all the Council officers whom I have seen at work, yet in a few places there is room for improvement. A ragged, slovenly presentation of our ritual work


is intolerable. It is intended to be presented in a stately and polished manner, and he who does not understand this has failed to catch the true spirit of the ritual. Degree officers should give the work all the thought necessary to foresee the difficulties which may arise therein so that they may be ready to meet and master them when they occur.
     Council officers should familiarize themselves with the laws defining the duties of their respective stations. This is done by them as a general thing. There are, however, some exceptions. A case in point: A candidate was elected in his own Council, but as there would be no initiation there for about a year, he desired to take the work at another place. He was furnished a certificate by one of the officers and told that he could be initiated at a certain place on a given date if he applied. He traveled about 100 miles to the place designated. Upon arriving there he was informed that his certificate was invalid. A few moment's study of the laws by the officers who issued the certificate would have prevented this.
     The Grand Knights have been very successful in avoiding and allaying difficulties in their respective Councils. It is not an easy thing at all times to enforce the law and yet keep away from the breakers. Every effort, however, should be made to do so. Trials should be avoided, if possible. Take the gentler, kinder course always, but never compromise the law. If a brother trips do not jump upon him, but first go to him and try to help him to recover himself. As brothers, you have a right to do so and it is your duty, as well. A kind word earnestly spoken has a wonderful potency. Finally, and as a dernier resort, if he refuses to comply with the law, try him, but not until then. All must remember, however, that the Knights of Columbus mean what they say and say what they mean. Their rules must not be trifled with.
     The state organization should be placed on a more business-like basis. Proper books should be provided for the Secretary and Treasurer, and an account opened and kept by these officers with each Council. The Secretary should know the number of members in each Council, divided into insurance and associate, and whenever a class is initiated the financial Secretary of the Council should furnish the State Secretary with the number of insurance and associate members received therein. Besides, the State Secretary should have the name of the Grand Knight and Financial Secretary of each Council. Then when information is called for along those lines he can give it without delay. Stationery should be supplied to the State Deputy and State Secretary for use in official communications.
     I would suggest that the toast "Impressions of the Day" be omitted hereafter at initiatory banquets. It is difficult to handle it without harm. Of course if all but members were excluded from the room there would be no objection to the toast, but that is not always practicable. Even where the order to exclude is made there is no assurance that some uninvited ear may not be near to a partially closed door or window.
     District Deputies Arthur F. Mullen, John A. Maguire and J. A. C. Kennedy are entitled to the gratitude of the order for their many sacrifices of time and effort in its service. Much have they had to do which is entirely unknown to the members generally, and all this work was done cheerfuly (sic) and well. The State Deputy personally


thanks them for their hearty co-operation in all matters appertaining to their duties. I cannot mention individually the members of their respective teams which assisted the District Deputies in their work of exemplifying the degrees, but they have all earned the sincere thanks of the order.
     Brother, let it be our ambition to do whatever is entrusted to us according to the true spirit and best ideals of our knigthly (sic) order. Today, the standards are in your hands. A short time, and they will be in the hands of others. While it is your duty to guard them, hold them high and unsullied. Those who shall follow will take example from your conduct, and thus will he preserved and perpetuated this great order of ours. May the scope of its uplifting, purifying influence continue to broaden in Nebraska until it embraces every Catholic worthy of its membership. What a mighty service that would be to true manhood, true religion and better citizenship. It is a consummation towards which we all must labor.

State Deputy.

     J. A. C. Kennedy of the middle district submitted the following report:

Omaha, Nebr., May 10th, 1907.

C. J. Smyth, Esq.,
State Deputy, Knights of Columbus,
Omaha, Nebr.

Dear Sir and Brother:
     The following report for the middle district of Nebraska is respectfully submitted:


North Platte, Nebraska.
Instituted April 14th, 1907:
Associate Members
Insurance Members
St. Mary's Council, No. 1159,
Grand Island, Nebraska.
Instituted November 11, 1906:
Associate Members, Charter Class
Associate Members, Instituted April 7th, 1907
Transferred from other Council
Transferred to Insurance Membership.
Insurance Members, Charter Class
Insurance Members Initiated April 7th, 1907
Transferred from Associate Membership.

Columbus Council, No. 938
Columbus, Nebraska:
Associate Members May 1st, 1906


Associate Members Initiated November 18th, 1906
Transferred to other Councils
Insurance Members May 1st, 1906
Insurance Members Initiated November 18th, 1906
Transferred to other Council
Omaha Council, No. 652,
Omaha, Nebraska:
Associate Members May 1st, 1906 ..
Associate Members Initiated November 25th, 1906
Transferred from other Councils
Transferred from Insurance Class
Transferred to other Councils
Transferred to Insurance Membership
Insurance Members May 1st, 1906
Insurance Members Initiated November 25th, 1906
'Transferred from Associate
Transferred from other Councils
Transferred to Associate
Total Associate Membership.
Total Insurance Membership.
'Total Membership, May 1st, 1907.
Net increase in membership past year, 279.

     Each of the four councils are enjoying splendid and harmonious progress. The membership is annually increasing more than 33 per cent and the chief concern in at least two Councils is in choosing well from the large field of available candidates.
     The institution of a Council at North Platte was particularly happy as the local pastor lacked the sustaining and encouraging influence afforded by a progressive and united body of Catholic laymen such as a Knights of Columbus Council creates. We hope, and are


confident that St. Patrick's Council will be for Catholicism in North Platte the sustaining influence and inspiration that our Councils have proven to be in other localities entered.
     There are of course opportunities for improvements in certain directions. While the officers, state and local, in the Degree work labor tirelessly and at all times with the highest standards in mind, neither of these statements can be made with the same justification on behalf of the rank and file. In the first instance the great and delicate work of the third Degree is frequently jeopardized and invariably minimized by the knowledge some of the candidates have of what the work is to be. A single instance may be given.
     Many other instances of like character could be related where candidates have manifested prior knowledge of the work. Necessarily, this information has been communicated by a member. Whether this is done through flagrant carelessness or deliberate action is immaterial both in the results and in the character of the offense. It is a matter which seems to be growing worse and for its suppression, must be met with different or more rigorous methods than heretofore. The regretable fact that when these leaks have been traced to their ultimate source members of the clergy have been found to be the most frequent offenders, should not deter the necessary action.
     The invariable large attendance at the third degree, upon careful analysis, will be found to afford thought for serious consideration rather than satisfaction. We all know many faces are seen at Third Degree that are never seen at a Council meeting; and more than 50 per cent of those attending do not attend two Council meetings a year. If, therefore, it takes a Third Degree to bring out 50 per cent of our membership, it will not be long before half of our membership cannot be reached at all. This is necessarily so because those who attend Third Degrees only, attend for entertainment only, and any form of entertainment, in time, will lose its charm. Furthermore as our Order grows older our Third Degrees must be more infrequent unless we conclude to enter that fatal status where every one is welcome just as he is a Catholic.
      In short, a Knight of Columbus who is interested only to the extent of attending Third Degrees is a Knight of Columbus in name only. If we have among us a considerable number of members of this character something is lacking in the Order or in the character of a considerable proportion of the members received. It is, of course, these members who are really lacking; but the Order was lacking when it received them. This brings us squarely to the weak point-it is our lax attention to the character of members received.
     A man who joins the Knights of Columbus for his own material benefit, or entertainment, misconceives the spirit and purpose of the Order. And when the Order takes in such a man it is hazarding its standards because when sufficient of this type have become members, the Order will cease to do affirmative good for others, and will devote its entire energy to the selfish needs of its own members, with the inevitable result that it will enter into a permanent decline. History, has proven that organizations of the character of the Knights of Columbus cannot live when they cease to do affirmative good works.
     Therefore, if the splendid progress of our Order is to be lasting


the character of the membership must be maintained on a high and unselfish standard. This can be done by receiving those only who join with the intention of thereby assisting others as well as themselves. When candidates are invited to become one of us, they should be impressed with the idea that to be a Knight of Columbus sacrifices may be necessary, the desire to assist in general good works should obtain, and the thought of self should not be first.

Respectfully submitted,
District Deputy.

     J. A. Maguire of the Southern District submitted the following report:

Report on the Southern Nebraska District by District Deputy John A. Maguire

Hon. C. J. Smyth,
State Deputy of Knights of Columbus,
Omaha, Nebraska.

Dear Sir and Brother:
     I hereby submit the following report of conditions and growth of the Order comprising the Southern District of Nebraska:
     The District has three Councils--Fitzgerald, No. 833, at Lincoln; Hastings, No. 1123, at Hastings, and McCook, No. 2126, at McCook.
     The total membership is 496, distributed as follows: 264 at Lincoln, 112 at Hastings and 110 at McCook.
     One year ago there was one Council, located at Lincoln, having a membership of 217. About 325 of these members are located in the three Council cities, while the balance are scattered through more than fifty parishes.
     Fitzgerald Council was instituted February 7, 1904, and altogether has had five classes. Hastings was instituted May 13, 1906, and has had two classes, and McCook instituted July 1, 1906, with two classes.
     In the past year Fitzgerald Council has had one class, Hastings two and McCook two.
     In all Councils the initiation fee is $10.00 and has been since their institution. The Councils meet regularly twice a month in halls leased for meeting purposes only. Fitzgerald Council has a complete set of robes which cost about $350; Hastings has only a partial set valued at about $100, and McCook a complete set valued at about $400.
     From reports submitted by the Councils, and from my own investigation, I find all Councils free from debt, and with no outstanding obligations, and as a whole they are in a creditable financial condition. The Council reports no doubt have been submitted to you in other forms, and I will not incumber this record with such financial data.
     Council officers generally give the necessary time and effort to their particular duties, and self-sacrificing devotion to duty is noticeable in many instances in an effort to place Councils on advance ground.
     Less of experiment and more efficiency is shown in the exemplification of degree work. Degree officers and necessary assistants are

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