PITTSTON — The Pittston Knights of Columbus changed its name to the John F. Kennedy Knights of Columbus in 1965 and unveiled an oil painting of the former president during a special ceremony.
Now, 50 years later, the knights will hold an anniversary banquet to celebrate the name change. The event is set for Sunday, Oct. 11 at the Woodlands Inn in Wilkes-Barre.
Julio Capriani, a 4th Degree Knight and president of the Knights Home Association, said the ceremony will feature a re-dedication of the Kennedy painting.
“The painting was done 50 years ago at Windsor Art Studios in Scranton,” said Capriani. “Fifty years later, the art studio is still in business so we hired them to clean the painting. It’s just been hanging at the Knights’ home for 50 years with cigarette smoke and being dusty. Not that it wasn’t cared for, it was just hanging there so we felt it was appropriate to have it cleaned.”
Anniversary day will begin at 1 p.m. with a Mass at the Oblates of St. Joseph Seminary in Laflin led by Fr. Joseph Sibilano. Everyone will gather at the Woodlands Inn at 4 p.m. for cocktails and hors d’oeuvre with the dinner and banquet beginning at 5 p.m.
“One of the focal points of this ceremony is going to be the re-dedication and unveil the painting to our council,” said Capriani. “We want to attract members who were present at that first ceremony and we want to appreciate what they did 50 years ago.”
Capriani said only two members who were at the first ceremony are currently planning to attend but he’s hoping more come.
The John F. Kennedy Knights of Columbus has served the Greater Pittston area for 117 years, dating back to the 1800s. It is a charitable, fraternal organization that exists to give back to the community.
“Unity, charity, fraternity and patriotism are our four principals,” said Capriani. “We’re involved with the Care and Concern Clinic, Meals on Wheels and sometimes with entertainment we ask that things be brought to our club such as food products for a soup kitchen.”
Capriani said the reason for the name change was because Kennedy was the country’s first Catholic president.
After petitioning to the Knights of Columbus Supreme Court in New Haven, Connecticut, the Knights were granted approval of the name change.
Although Capriani is not sure of the exact date the name was changed, he said it is easier to hold the re-dedication ceremony around Columbus Day, as the Knights of Columbus are named after him.
“It’s going to be a great event and we’re really looking forward to it,” said Capriani.