Regarding the Christmas Seals for the Bishop's Project:
"In September 1959 in the year of Our Lord, our newly appointed Bishop, the Most Reverend John J. Wright, commissioned the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Knights of Columbus to embark on a program to help mentally retarded children, especially the children at the St. Anthony's School for Exceptional Children.
A Special Charities committee was formed with Chapter President, William B. Jones, as chairman. A Christmas Seals program was suggested as a potential funds raiser and received the instant support and blessings of the Bishop of Pittsburgh. Under John Vegh's leadership, the success of this endeavor was most encouraging.
The Bishop wanted the Knights of Columbus Special Charities Committee to include all Knights of Columbus in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The next year, the Beaver Valley Councils and the unaffiliated Councils in Butler, Lawrence, Washington and Greene Counties were included...
During 1960 in the year of Our Lord, the title, "Special Charities Committee" was changed to "The Bishop Wright Project for St. Anthony's School for Exceptional Children." In 1964, the McGuire Memorial Hospital was added to the Diocesan facilities for mentally handicapped children and became from now on associated with the Bishop's Project....
In 1970, the Most Reverend Bishop Vincent M. Leonard replaced Bishop John J. Wright as Ordinary of the Pittsburgh Diocese. Bishop Vincent M. Leonard elected to continue the Project. Recognizing the certainty of the succession of Bishops, the Project's name was changed to "Bishop of Pittsburgh Diocesan Project of the Knights of Columbus." Pittsburgh's succeeding Bishops, Anthony Bevilacqua, Donald W. Wuerl and David A. Zubik, enthusiastically elected to continue the Knights of Columbus Project.
The Knights of Columbus Bishop's Project flourished because of the efforts and enthusiasm of the Knights, the cooperation and help of the press, the radio and television media, and the public's generosity. The Seals Program was the initial fund-raising endeavor. From the very beginning, each Council pursued other methods of obtaining funds. Frank Buczkowski, the 1980-81 Project Chairman, started the church penny collection following Sunday Masses. At the same time, Pius XII Council #4925 distributed Tootsie Rolls at shopping centers to encourage donations. By 1984, so many Councils were distributing Tootsie Rolls that Patrick Boccardi was selected to coordinate these Tootsie Roll drives. The proceeds from these activities are combined in our financial report as Council Activities.
We are chartered as a non-profit corporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to "contribute to and assist in the support of the Program of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, for physically and mentally handicapped children." Operated by the Knights of Columbus in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, under the supervision of the Advisory Board which approves committees, programs and expenditures, our continued future success is dependent upon the continual active involvement and support of every District Deputy, Grand Knight and Gentleman Knight in the area."
Earl J. Price
Historian, Knights of Columbus