Thirty-three men between George Washington and John F. Kennedy served as U.S. president. Until Kennedy, all were white Anglo-Saxon Protestant men. It took 172 years for a Catholic to win the presidency.
Kennedy had been a member of the Knights’ Columbus Bunker Hill Council 62 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, joining on St. Patrick’s Day in 1946. He became a fourth-degree Knight in 1954.
As the Catholic chaplain at John F. Kennedy International Airport ambled through Terminal 4 on a hot summer afternoon, security personnel, airport employees and flight crews shouted a cheery hello or stopped for a quiet word.