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Pittsburgh Chapter
   •   Founded 1908    •    Pittsburgh PA    •   


The Knights of Columbus Bishop's Project for Exceptional Children

Adapted by Tom McGinnis from the History and Organization of the Project by Earl J. Price.

In September 1960, the newly appointed Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Most Revered John J. Wright, commissioned the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Knights of Columbus to embark on a program to help children with mental retardation, especially the children of the St. Anthony's School for Exceptional Children. The following year, at the further urging of Bishop Wright, participation in the program was extended to all Knights of Columbus in the diocese, including Knights from the Beaver Valley Councils and the unaffiliated councils in Butler, Lawrence, Washington and Greene counties.

In 1964 the McGuire Memorial Hospital was added to the diocesan facilities for children with mental handicaps and became from then on associated with the Bishop's Project.

In 1970 the Most Reverend Vincent M. Leonard succeeded Bishop Wright as Ordinary of the Pittsburgh Diocese and elected to continue the Project, as did those bishops who have, in turn, succeeded him, the Most Reverend Anthony J. Bevilacqua and the Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl.

The Project is 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." The Project is operated by the Knights of Columbus in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, under the supervision of an Advisory Board which approves committees, programs, and expenditures.

Helping people with developmental disabilities is a primary charitable service and fundraising project for Knights order-wide. In April 2003, the Bishop's Project was among several such efforts highlighted in an article of Columbia magazine, the Knights of Columbus monthly. 

External Links

The St. Anthony School Program serves students with mental handicaps from all over the Pittsburgh area. Each child is given an individualized educational program specific to his or her abilities, and opportunities to learn social skills. In overseeing the education of these children with mild to moderate autism and mental retardation, the St. Anthony Inclusive Education Program welcomes them into typical elementary and high school communities while the specialized care they need is also provided. More recently some older students have gone into a vocational program at Duquesne University where they are further honing their social, vocational and community based skills in preparation for as independent a life as possible as functioning members of society. For information follow the link above or call Gary D. Lasinski at 412-882-1333.

McGuire Memorial Home is "the house built on hope" to more than 90 of God's "special" children and adults with profound physical and mental disabilities. The Felician Sisters who operate this facility in New Brighton PA have taken this pledge, "We commit ourselves to providing a compassionate, healing environment, contributing to human dignity and growth, where the mentally and physically challenged may experience the gift of life through our eyes, through our ears, through our hands and our heart and with nurturing love." McGuire offers a full range of medical, educational, and theraputic services, as well as an adult education program. For information follow the link above or call Sister Thaddeus at 724-843-3400.

Many thanks to Tom McGinnis for the use of this page

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