WHITESTONE — The Knights of Columbus/St. Ambrose Council #1463, College Point, has donated more than $100,000 to two Queens parishes and a diocesan group in the name of evangelization and helping local youth.
A majority of the proceeds came from the sale of the building in which St. Ambrose Council gathered and held its meetings since 1971. Robert Graziano, the financial secretary of St. Ambrose Council and treasurer of the New York State Council of the Knights of Columbus, explained that the building was recently sold due to increased commercial rates and property taxes within the changing College Point neighborhood.
“As a result of the pandemic, we understand there is a great need to help in rebuilding our parishes of faith,” Graziano said at the pulpit during Holy Trinity Church’s evening Mass on April 17. “Evangelization is needed, and we stand ready to assist.”
Michael McCorey, Grand Knight of St. Ambrose Council, presented two $50,000 checks — totaling $100,000 — to Father John Francis and Father Joseph Gibino, pastors of St. Fidelis and Holy Trinity, respectively.
“We admire Father Francis and Father Gibino for being parish leaders. Their job is not easy,” Graziano said, noting that the two priests continue to bring their congregations closer to God despite the financial difficulties that have arisen thus far during the pandemic.
“We want to take the worry a little bit off and make their jobs a little bit easier, so they can concentrate more, wherever they can, on evangelization.”
Graziano added, “It is our intent today with these presentations during this Easter season to inspire everyone to pick up the cross of Christ and to evangelize in our faith.”
Father Francis, who was assigned as St. Fidelis’s new pastor last summer, was shocked to receive the donation. He thanked St. Ambrose Council for its continued support and kindness and for exemplifying the qualities of charity and unity.
Father Gibino was also overwhelmed by the gesture.
“As Father Francis said, thank you so very much to the Knights for all that you do for us over and over again — for the food drives, for the support of the St. Fidelis food pantry, [and] for the needs of the community in so many ways,” Father Gibino said.
“It’s not every day that we get handed this kind of a gift, but I said to Father Francis while listening to Bob [Graziano], ‘Did we die? Is this real?’”
McCorey also presented a $10,000 check to John Notaro, executive director of the Catholic Foundation for Brooklyn and Queens, which financially supports the local Catholic community’s spiritual, educational, and social needs through the procurement and building of endowment funds. This money will be earmarked for the foundation’s youth ministry initiative.
“Unfortunately, we had to sell the building, but at least some good can come of it with the donations to the church and the diocese,” McCorey said. “If we don’t give it back to the community and the church, nobody else will.”