It’s not common to get a phone call from someone who wants to give you $10,000, yet four local priests were recipients of that good fortune. Last week, representatives from St. Rocco’s, St. Patrick’s, St. Hyacinth’s and St. Boniface Martyr churches attended an official check presentation by the Knights of Columbus James Norton Council 1828, where they were each handed a large check to be used for capital improvement projects. The event was held at the Knights of Columbus hall on Sea Cliff Avenue, where elected officials offered words of gratitude for both the churches and the Knights.
Michael Mandarino, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said they decided to give this large donation of $40,000 over the summer, after realizing they could do something bigger than usual.
“We had money accumulated through the years. We regularly give about $15,000 to $20,000 to local organizations, but this year we had extra and decided to do something nice for the parishes,” said Mandarino. “One of the stipulations was it had to be for capital improvements—we wanted it to stay in house.”
The day he called the pastors to let them know about the donations, he said he learned that St. Hyacinth needed a new roof.
“Pastor Marian Bicz said he was getting estimates of $10,000 and he was over the moon,” said Mandarino. “Everything we earn here we give away. That’s what we thrive on and what keeps us going.”
“The Knights are always so incredibly generous,” said Father Daniel Nash of St. Rocco’s parish. “They’ve given something every year, but not something of this magnitude. It’s nice that they’re doing this for all of the parishes. They’re setting an example of working together and supporting each other.”
While they do not yet have any specific plans for the money, he said, “There’s a list of things that need to be done.”
Father Gabriel Rach of St. Patrick’s Church added, “We don’t want this to go to pay a bill, we want it be an investment in the future of the parish.”
Father Kevin Dillon of St. Boniface Martyr in Sea Cliff, on the other hand, has several ideas in mind for the money.
“We need a new parking lot and the concrete of the steps to the rectory eroded so that the railing was actually coming up out of the concrete and the step was chipped—it’s a liability,” said Dillon. “We can certainly put the money to good use.”
Currently, he said St. Boniface is renovating the parish center. They are expecting three nuns from Nigeria to come and live in the convent in November and need to get it ready, as it hasn’t been used that way before. In addition to the parking lot, he said the school needs a fire alarm, which costs $48,000 to replace.
“It was very generous of the Knights to think about us,” said Dillon. “The people’s money is being put to good use.”
Congressman Tom Suozzi presented a framed proclamation to the Knights of Columbus, thanking them for their generosity.
“This is a wonderful thing your doing for our community,” said Suozzi.
“Living in Glen Cove, we’re very blessed. We have incredible churches and incredible groups like the Knights of Columbus,” said Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton. “Thank you for giving such a good example of what our community is.”
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