Welcome To Fr. Bernard McDevitt Council of The Knights of Columbus!
Thanks to the efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, CT and some of his parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature on March 29, 1882, officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. The Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity.
Here in Waynesville, Council 15085 was founded in June of 2010. Our Council has been committed to actively increasing its membership and enhancing the many programs and events it supports. Keeping Christ in Christmas, Special Olympics, LAMB Drive, Coats For Kids, Room at the Inn, and RSVP (support for Seminarians) are just a few of the countless programs and hours our brother Knights participate in. The support of our programs and events, coupled with our accomplishments, serve as a great source of satisfaction for our Council as we do the work Jesus Christ calls each of us to do.
Our Namesake, Father Bernard McDevitt
Father McDevitt, a native of County Donegal, Ireland, came to Asheville when he was seventeen years old and lived with his uncle, John O’Donnell, who was one of the city’s best loved citizens. Father McDevitt matriculated at Belmont College and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Leo Haid of Belmont Abbey, in 1923. An assistant at Wilmington for a few years, his first pastorate was the mission area having Waynesville as its headquarters. This area was established as a parish in 1927 by the Most Rev. William J. Hafey, Bishop of Raleigh. The area consisted of the eight westernmost counties of North Carolina; Haywood, Transylvania, Jackson, Swain, Macon, Graham, Clay, and Cherokee.
During his annual begging tours up north, Father McDevitt, or Father “Barney” as he is still referred to by his former associates, collected $44,000. In a few years he liquidated the financial obligations of the missionary parish, built a garage, put a beautiful and substantial wall around the property and planted shrubbery that adds greatly to the appearance of the house and grows today as a memorial to the aesthetic soul of the first resident pastor.
Because Father McDevitt was away the greater part of the year, other priests came to say Mass at his chapel. Jesuits from Hot Springs, N.C., assisted for a few months in 1927 and the Rev. Peter N. Denges came the following year. Father Blanc would celebrate his own scheduled Mass at nine o’clock at the Veterans’ Hospital in Oteen and leave immediately after to say Mass for his young friend in Waynesville as soon as he could manage to arrive. This was from 1929 to 1932, as Father McDevitt was transferred to St. Joan of Arc parish in West Asheville in the latter year. Father McDevitt passed to his reward in January 1942 as pastor of the Pinehurst, N.C. Parish after a short siege of pneumonia.