During the early part of 1974, a small group of parishioners approached Father Louis Reuss, the pastor of St. John Nepomucene, and requested permission to start a Knights of Columbus Council in the parish. The request was granted, and the Council was named “SUNRISE” by its new Chaplain. The name was chosen to signify that, although it might struggle at times, the sun would never set on the Council. Sunrise Council was instituted on June 24, 1974 with Rocco Abatemarco, a teacher, elected to serve as its first Grand Knight. The fledgling Council met in the basement of the “Pink House”; a parish facility on Church Street. It didn't take long for the Council to distinguish itself. The Sunrise Squires Circle #2453 was invested in January 1975, and the Chief Counselor Thomas F. Broderick, Jr., supervised the Circle. Later that year, the Council formed a mixed bowling league. They met on Friday nights, and the members and their spouses enjoyed this activity at the Oakdale Lanes for the better part of the next 15 years. The following year saw the formation of the Columbiette Auxiliary, with PGK Joseph Nolan serving as the coordinator at their first meeting on July 22, 1976. Council membership continued to grow and was very active. It resulted in the Council winning back-to-back Star Council Awards in 1976 and 1977, under the leadership of Grand Knight Richard Wanser. The Council sought to find a permanent home in December of 1977 by moving into the former Bohemia Post Office building on Church Street, just west of Smithtown Ave. Hopes ran high that the Council could rent the facility with intent to buy, but multiple legal problems crushed the dream. The resultant disappointment caused a prolonged period of apathy on the part of much of the Council membership. The Kovarik Post of the American Legion on Hubal Street became the new home of the Council in September of 1978. Over the course of the next decade, the Council “slowed down” despite the efforts of a succession of Grand Knights who tried very hard to keep the Council a viable one. It was during this period that the Columbiettes were instrumental in keeping the Council alive, by their example of service in Columbianism. The council seemed to get “re-energized” when it left the American Legion Hall at the end of the 1980’s. After meeting in the Bohemia Recreation Center for a while, the Council under the leadership of Grand Knight Thomas F. Dawiczkowski, rented a facility on Montauk Highway in Oakdale. It was there that the Council experienced a “renaissance”, as the Council sought to reach its full potential. Membership increased to a new plateau; Council programs expanded as once again the Council garnered multiple Star Council Awards. In 1995, with the blessing of its new pastor, Father James Wood, the Council returned “home” to the new church at St. John's. Today the Council membership, supported by seasoned Past Grand Knights continually strives to live up to its’ adopted vision statement: “Our Council and Parish as One”.


The Life of Father Louis Leo Reuss