On behalf of the Grand Knight, Deputy Grand Knight, Financial Secretary, and other officers of St. Elizabeth Council 8747, we want to take this opportunity for taking what we feel will be one of the most important and adventurous steps of your life, becoming a member of the Knights of Columbus. Welcome to our Council!

This Reference Handbook has been created to assist you the new member in coming to an understanding of who we are, what we do, and more importantly how you can become an active and viable member of the largest Catholic Men's Organization in the world, the Knights of Columbus. When you took your First Degree, you were given the lessons and the requirements of what it would take to advance to full Knighthood in the Knights of Columbus.

In addition to the information offered below, we have provided a copy of Surge with Service in PDF format. Surge with Service is a publication from Supreme that contains a wealth of information about Council activities, structures, and chairmanships. This booklet is sent to all newly Grand Knights upon their taking of office at the beginning of the Columbian Year. We would encourage you to take the opportunity to become familiar with its contents.

St. Elizabeth Council 8747 was created in the mid 1980’s when the founding Council, Milpitas Council 5796 elected to divide itself up. The members who attended St. John’s Church would become the new Milpitas Council 5796 and St. Elizabeth Council 8747 would be made up of members who attended St. Elizabeth Parish. Since its creation, St. Elizabeth Council has continued to grow and flourish.

An Index of this Handbook

The following men have served in the position of Grand Knight of our Council listed from most recent to distant past:

  • Guillermo Uribe 2015 - present

  • Khai T. Phan 2012 - 2015

  • Charles N. Hudson 2010 - 2012

  • Pedro Ybarra 2009 - 2010

  • Skip Yenchik 2007 - 2009

  • Joe Byrne, 2006-2007

  • Timothy J. Crews, 2005-2006

  • Joe Byrne, 2004-2005

  • Ed Blake, 2003-2004

  • Michael Wilhelmi, 2002-2003

  • Ernesto Bautista, 2001-2002

  • Timothy J. Crews , 1999-2001

  • Dennis E. Pachucki, 1998-1999

  • Gregory F. Dessel, 1997-1998

  • Michael J. Donnelly, 1995-1997

  • Donald J. Marshall, 1994-1995

  • Joseph L. Schaefer, 1991-1994

  • Robert Bustamante, 1989-1991

  • Mark Kuykendall, 1988-1989

  • George J. Pucine, Jr., 1986-1988

  • Andrew B. Dyson, Jr., 1985-1986

  • Timothy W. Reilly, 1984-1985: First Grand Knight of St. Elizabeth Council 8747


There are many calendar formats in the world. The one most familiar to us is the Julian Calendar which begins in January and ends in December. After that, for those of us in the business world, we are familiar with the term Fiscal Year. Fiscal Years can be many things to many people. Some governmental organization operate on a Fiscal Year that starts on July 1st and ends on June 30th. Other Fiscal Years begin October 1st and end September 30th.

The Knights of Columbus has what we refer to as a Columbian Year. It runs from July 1st through June 30th. Council and Assembly activities and reports, in addtion to the election of officers, are based on the Columbian Year.


Of importance to you the new members of our Council is to understand the duties and responsibilities of the various offices. One day, you may very well ascend to one or more of these positions and knowledge about them is mandatory.

The grand knight is in charge and responsible for the welfare of the council. He presides over council meetings, acts as an ex-officio member of all committees, appoints a membership and programming director, convenes officers for a monthly meeting, and ensures all necessary reports are submitted to the state and Supreme Council. He should also be aware of the council's financial status and ensure that his signature appears on all checks drawn. The grand knight is a member of the Advisory Board with general supervision of the council's Columbian Squire circle. For more specific duties and responsibilities, refer to the Grand Knight's Handbook (#915).

The chaplain is the spiritual advisor of the council. He is expected to make a report at council meetings on religious matters. The grand knight appoints a priest in accordance with any rules established by the bishop of the diocese to serve as council chaplain. For more specific duties, responsibilities and eligibility, refer to the Chaplain 5 Handbook (#945).

The deputy grand knight is second in command. He assists the grand knight with council affairs and fulfills all duties assigned to him by the grand knight. Should the grand knight be absent from a council meeting, the deputy grand knight will preside. He is chairman of the council's retention committee and also a member of the Advisory Board charged with overseeing the council's sponsored Columbian Squires circle.

The chancellor has a variety of responsibilities. Primarily, he assists the grand knight and the deputy grand knight in the execution of their duties and oversees the council in both their absences. He is charged with strengthening the members' interests in council activities. The chancellor is chairman of the admission committee and a member of the Columbian Squires circle ceremonial team.

The recorder is similar to a court reporter or a secretary. He is responsible for maintaining a true record of all actions of the council and its correspondence. A Recorder's Minute Book (#1403) is available from the Knights of Columbus Supply Department for keeping a record of council meetings.

The financial secretary is appointed by the supreme knight, upon recommendation of the council. His main area of responsibilities is maintaining all financial and membership records. He collects and receives all moneys from all sources, including annual dues from council members. He also handles supply orders for the council officers and members, filing the Report of Officer (#185), and submitting all membership transactions to the Supreme Council. For more specific duties and responsibilities, refer to the Financial Secretary Handbook (#1410).

The treasurer is responsible for the safe­ keeping and maintaining records of all council funds and accounts. He is responsible for depositing money into the council's accounts and provides a certificate of such monies to the grand knight. He is also responsible for payment of all expenses.

The lecturer is appointed by the grand knight to provide both educational and entertaining programs to the council. He is responsible for the 'Good of the Order' portion of council meetings. In order to provide members with informative and educational programs, he must be knowledgeable and aware of all council programming.

The advocate is the legal representative of the council and serves as the council's attorney at trials and investigations of any interest to the council.  While he does not need to be a member of the legal profession, he should be familiar with the council by-laws, the Order's Charter, Constitution and Laws (#30), Methods of Conducting a Council Meeting (#1937), and Robert's Rules of Order.

The warden is the 'watchdog' for council property and degree paraphernalia, except the property of the financial secretary, treasurer and recorder. He is also responsible for setting up the council chambers for meetings and ceremonial work. During ceremonial exemplifications, he will appoint and supervise guards.

The guards have similar responsibilities, but distinct differences.The outside guard tends to the outer door admitting visitors and members to the inner door. Once at the inner door, the inside guard checks to make sure that their membership cards are current.

The board of trustees consists of three members elected by the council and the grand knight, who serves as chairman of the board. They oversee the work of the financial secretary and treasurer, and with the deputy grand knight serve on the council's retention committee. During council elections, only the three-year trustee is voted on, with the others moving on to become two- and one-year trustees, respectively.


There are four degrees in the Knights of Columbus

Council Level

First Degree – Charity
Second Degree – Unity
Third Degree – Fraternity
Assembly Level

Fourth Degree – Patriotism

Because of the oaths taken at each of these degrees, details of the ceremonials will not be divulged nor discussed here. That you know that each degree has associated with it a given theme will suffice for now.

At the Council level, First, Second, Third, and Fourth degree members meet. In order to hold an elected office, a member must have attained Third Degree status.

The Fourth Degree is separate from the first three degrees. Members of the Fourth Degree go through a separate exemplification ceremony that emphasizes patriotism and the role it will play in the carrying our of the degree. The Fourth Degree has a separate dues structure from the Council. The Fourth Degree’s meeting is held in Assemblies.

For a member to be both a member of the Council and Assembly, the member must keep their dues current in both organizations. Failure to keep your dues current in both organizations will result in your being dropped.

Within the structures of a Council and an Assembly, there are similar but different officer duties. We present the following comparison for your edification:



Worthy Grand Knight

Faithful Navigator

Worthy Chaplain

Faithful Friar

Worth Deputy Grand Knight

Faithful Captain

Worthy Warden

Faithful Pilot

Worthy Recorder

Faithful Scribe

Worthy Financial Secretary

Faithful Comptroller

Worthy Treasurer

Faithful Purser

Worthy Inside Guard

Faithful Inner Sentinel

Worthy Outside Guard

Faithful Outer Sentinel

Worthy Trustees (3)

Faithful Trustees (3)

There are no equivalent offices in the Fourth Degree for Advocate, Chancellor, or Lecturer.


St. Elizabeth Council 8747 is affiliated with the San Jose Chapter. The Chapter consists of a group of Councils in the immediate vicinity within Diocese of San Jose. We are involved in a multitude of activities and we would like to share some of them with you now so that you can have an idea as to what is available to you now so that you can actively participate and become a viable member of the Council and the Knights of Columbus.


For the Council, Officer's meetings are held on the first Monday of the Month, members on the second Monday of the Month.

The Council's Quarterly Family Pot Luck Socials and Awards Night are held on the 3rd Monday of September, December, March, and June.

For the Assembly, the Officers' meeting is held on the second Monday of the month while the members meet on the third Monday of the month


Back in 2004, one of the members of our Council got an idea that he would like to create a website so that information about the Council and the Knights of Columbus could be made available for all to view. As a result of this effort, http://www.kofc8747.org was created.

As the web site has grown and matured, so has the number of viewers who have stopped by to view its contents, download its articles, and be directed by its links to Catholic related topics. For a Council who is in a Division III level, our web site has over 70,000 visitors a year and the number is increasing each year.

We urge you to consult this web site for news and information relating to both the Council and the Assembly. In addition to being able to read or download our monthly newsletters and calendars, the web site holds a wealth of information as to the activities of both the Council and Assembly in addition to links to Supreme's and the state of California's KofC website.


These are just some of the activities that our Council does. We invite your suggestions as to activities that will help us as an organization to achieve our mission of service to the membership, our families, and the community at large.

Columbian Foundation Supporting PWID (People With Intellectual Disabilities)

One of the major yearly fund raisers we conduct is done in accordance with the San Jose Chapter, raising funds for our local high school’s program that assists in educating those children with intellectual disabilities. This fund raising drive is held in the September/October time frame and requires that each member of the Council be prepared to give some time to its success.

Our efforts in this endeavor come home to us in a most personal way when these very same students from Milpitas High School put on a social for us and thank us by reading some very personal letters. For those of us who have participated in the PWID Program, this can be a very heart rendering event.


Usually scheduled in the February/March timeframe, the Basketball Free Throw Contest is a Knights of Columbus, nation wide, event that is open to all boys and girls from the ages of 10 years through 15 years of age. Participants can advance from local to chapter to regional and even national competitions. There is no cost to the participants.


Our Council also hosts the dinner meeting of the St. Joseph Chapter. The Chapter is made up of Councils in Santa Clara County. The attendees at these meetings are usually a council’s Grand Knight, Deputy Grand Knight, and one other member.


Our Council, under the chairmanship of Brother Dick Jones, conducts 3 blood drives in cooperation with the Stanford Blood Center . Sign ups are taken 4 weeks prior to the scheduled event from both Council members and parishioners of St. Elizabeth.



Three times a year, our Council conducts food drives to assist the needy of our immediate area. These food drives are held at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. In the past, these events were chaired by Brother Joe Byrne . Assistance from the members of the council is requested in order to sort and bag the donated food items.




During the month of November, our Council participates in the Keep Christ in Christmas program of being one of the only organizations in Santa Clara County where you can purchase Christmas cards that express the REAL reason for the season. Members are asked to participate during those periods between the Masses to assist in the selling of the cards. Currently, our cards are available in English and Spanish.



The Wheelchair Foundation was not founded by the Knights of Columbus but it is an organization with whom the Knights of Columbus have partnered up with to raise funds for the purchase of wheelchairs for the many multiple hundreds of thousands of less fortunate people through the world who have been ravaged by disease and pestilence because of inadequate or complete lack of medical care.

Funds raised by the Knights of Columbus are matched so that your individual or group gift gets double the purchasing power to buy wheelchairs. More information can be found on our website.


As the school year comes to an end, our Council makes an effort to honor those youth of our parish who have heeded the call to ministry and have actively participated as Altar Servers at the Masses. We make sure we recognize all of the Masses including the Vietnamese and Spanish languages Masses. The recognition is to let our young people know that we appreciate their efforts and hopefully encourage others to listen to the silent but continuous call that God makes to all of us to partake in service to our community.





In addition to being one of the largest fraternal organizations in the world, the Knights of Columbus is also a family organization. One of the activities that we conduct at the end of every calendar quarter is the Quarterly Family Potluck Dinners. At these events, we make it an effort to recognize those individual Knights and Families through the awards of Knight of the Month and Family of the Month.


St. Elizabeth Council holds the Charter for Boy Scout Troop 110. We support the Boy Scouts in their effort to promote leadership, and an environment in which young boys can mature into productive citizens. Some of the members of St. Elizabeth Council have attained the highest honor in the Boy Scout program, that of the position of Eagle Scout.

While Troop 110 meets at a different location, we provide them the kitchen, equipment, and rooms from which to hold fund raising pancake breakfasts.


At the annual Teen Spaghetti Feed, our Council provides a check to the St. Elizabeth Teen Group to assist them in the costs associated with their annual retreat. The Spaghetti Feed is a great family oriented program that gives the teens the opportunity to put their best organizational foot forward as well as serve up a delicious spaghetti dinner along with a raffle of donated prizes. The proceeds that the Teens raise at their Spaghetti Feed goes to defray costs associated with their annual retreat.


The St. Joseph Chapter Crab Feed is held once a year for a very specific purpose Yes, everyone who attends gets their fill of fresh Dungeness crab but the end goal of this Chapter wide fund raiser is to provide funds for the Bishop’s CCD Fund which are presented to our Bishop at the, you guessed it, Bishop’s CCD Dinner. We provide the DJ for the Crab Feed.


Under the chairmanship of Brother and SK Skip Yenchik , both the Council and Assembly participate in getting team members together who in turn raise funds for cancer research. This event is held once a year at the Milpitas Sports Complex and involves participants to walk around a track for a period of time. There are other very inspiring ceremonies that recognize those who have survived cancer as well as for those whom cancer has claimed.


The Knights of Columbus are in the forefront for promoting vocations. Our Council along with all of the other Councils of the San Jose Chapter and Assemblies financial support to assist seminarians in their quest for the priesthood.

On our web site, we have dedicated a page that specifically addresses vocations by pointing out some of the many paths one can follow when replying to their call to enter the religious life.


There is an old expression that we save the best for last. This was evidenced by Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana. There, he turned water into wine. As we recall the words of scripture, after performing this miracle, he instructed the servants to take some of the wine and present it to the chief wine Stewart. Upon tasting it, he went to the groom and said, “Most of the time, the good wine is served first. After people have had their fill, the lesser vintage is served. You saved the better vintage for last.”

Of all of the efforts, movements, talent, and treasure that the Knights of Columbus can muster, none has more importance than to defeat the horrors and the consequences of the misnamed and misdirected “Pro-Choice” movement.

One of the items that take place at all of the Council meetings is a event called, The Good of The Order. During this part of the meeting, a collection is taken up for various charities that our Council contributes money to. One of these charities is the Juan Diego Society which assists girls who have become pregnant and who have elected to carry their fetuses to terms and not have them aborted.

The Knights of Columbus considers the issue of life so sacred and important that the position of Pro-Life Chairman is a part of our Council. This chairman keeps track of activities where the forces of abortion are trying to achieve their goals and reports on it so members can reply.

So, what about you. If you have made this far in the Handbook for new members, you have a pretty wide array of choices to make as far as being an active participant in our Council, the St. Joseph Chapter, and the Knights of Columbus at large. Remember that you must go to the event, no events are going to come to you or wait for you to make up your mind.

An involved Knight is a person who receives many blessings. Don't sit on the sidelines idle, become involved. You will be glad you did.

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