Member Training

Knights RecruitingYou may have felt lost when council members talk about recruiting, membership, and council growth.  It sounds like we are just about membership and recruiting new members and that is not entirely correct.

We are about family and helping our church growth through coordinated actions in support of our parish priests.  Our church has experienced rapid growth during the last ten years and it is only beginning.  We are a vibrant church and welcome families every month.  In addition, we are expanding our facilities, ministries, child care, and support of our neighbors and the elderly and home-bound through Meals on Wheels.  We are now working on the acquisition of Aldersgate United Methodist Church to form St. Thomas More Church South Campus.

But, it takes people–men of the parish–to provide the experience, support and services needed.  We also need to renew our officer pool of Third Degree Knights.  We grow our own and that means we need to gain new members.  How can you help?  You can attend Membership Training hosted by Supreme and it is all on-line as a webinar.  Best of all, it is a night time webinar presented at 8 p.m. on August 30th.

Join Fraternal Mission presenters for a training webinar identifying the best ways to recruit new members for our council and get them engaged in charitable activity.

The one-hour webinar will provide a detailed look at the how, what and why of recruiting new members.  We will explore:

  • Recruitment Skills Training
  • Best Practices in running effective Church Recruitment Drives
  • Setting goals and Earning the Star Council Award

Register today.  You will fill out a brief form and then access a link to test your portal and Flash player.  All webinars are recorded and available on demand.

Can you hear your inner voice calling you to service?

90 Years and Still Driven

Jerry 90 birthday

Lorenz Hofmann and Jerry Pilarski at Jerry’s birthday event

For years and years and years, Jerry Pilarski has been at the church front door greeting our parishioners at the 9:15 mass.  He gives special attention to new comers and little children.  We call them “Jerry’s family.”

If you stand off to the side and watch the steady flow of arrivals, be sure to watch the kids.  They will stand in line to shake his hand or just to say “Hello.”  Jerry’s broad smile is sure to get a positive response.  Some will twist and turn like they are saying, “Ahhh, sucks, Jerry…..”

Adults from 20 to 40 may have started their “Good Morning, Jerry” as a little toddler arriving at Gimghoul and our original church. Now, they lead their toddlers and even babies over to Jerry, just to say, “Hello.”  The tradition continues.

One parishioner said, “I so enjoyed Jerry Pilarski’s reaction when I surprised him with the photo of us taken at his 90th Birthday celebration at the Orange Grove 4H Barn on July 22nd. ”  This was Lorenz “Larry” Hofmann.  Larry stopped by Jerry’s 90th Birthday lunch and was joined by many other families and their children to say, “Happy Birthday.”  Two twins were at the birthday event and made sure Jerry knew that they just had to be there to celebrate with him.  They were proud to be there as “Jerry’s girls.”

Larry also reflected on Jerry’s presence as a parish greeter.  He said, “I usually await patiently in line, as Jerry enjoys speaking to many friends.   Jerry is truly a wonderful asset of kindness and gentleness to our church and whoever he meets.  He smiled and nodded, when I said everyone looks forward to celebrating his 95th Birthday.”

When not greeting, Jerry may be found cooking, at a fish fry, pancake breakfast, roasting a pig, or just having fun with everybody and making new friends.

These Men Called Knights, is the title of a booklet on Knights and their many ways of making a difference in their parishes.  Jerry deserves a special place in all our hearts as he is part of our church “fabric,” that represents the many men and women of our church that serve others.

This is just one story of a Knight of Columbus.  We have many more to share and we hope these stories motivate you to step forward and take a leadership role in the Council.  And, why not share the experience of Knighthood by encouraging a fellow Catholic gentleman to join us.  There is much work to do at St. Thomas More Catholic Church.

A Salute to the Keeling Family

We have had to share Gene Keeling for many months this year, while he was off on his several trips to California and beyond.  He was sorely missed, but Lisa Keeling seemed to be everywhere filling in and often led efforts in support of both the Council and the Catholic Daughters.

Now, sadly, the news we feared the most has arrived.  The Keeling Family is pulling up stakes and heading West to San Jose.  We feel like parents watching our young take off, but we are full of pride as we look back over the more than ten years of Keeling Family support of the Knights and our parish.

The Keeling Family have been critical to parish events.  Be it Parish Pride grilling, Pancake Breakfasts, Oktoberfest, Fish Fry’s, St. Thomas More School Graduation Breakfasts, preparing meals in support of Diocesan events, roasting pork for parish fundraisers, Operation LAMB, or one of the many other parish charitable events, Gene and family were there in a leadership role with sleeves rolled up and no job too hard to take on.

The Council recognizes their efforts and have named Gene Keeling our Knight of the Year and the Keeling Family as our Knights of Columbus Family of the Year.

Yes, we shall miss them, but our memories are many and their contributions to the parish and Council build a seemingly endless list of accomplishments.  We are proud of them and wish them continued success in all that they do in their new parish community.

Jerry’s New Year’s Day Pig Picking – That’s Barbecue!


Everybody chips in to get the job done. Here knights pull pig for charity.

The New Year is fast approaching and brother knight Jerry Pilarski is again hosting his annual New Year’s Day barbecue in the country.  The Pilarski’s have been doing this with family and friends for almost FIFTY years as their way to thank friends and join together for the new year.

If you know Jerry, you are invited.  If you don’t know Jerry, then it is time to learn about a wonderful person in our Knights of Columbus that has made it his personal mission to do something for others ALL THE TIME without expectation of something in return.

The Pig Picking Event is on January 1st. We gather at about 1:30 to 3 p.m. to be ready to serve and eat at 3:30 pm. Everyone is asked to bring a covered dish or dessert to share. Beverages and pulled pig are provided with hush puppies.  We will gather for the blessing and eat at 3:30 p.m.

The barbecue is at the Orange Grove 4H Cattle Barn on Orange Grove Road at Dairyland Rd, just above the firehouse. Take NC 54 or Dairyland Rd from Carrboro to Orange Grove Road, then turn right.

Celebrating with our Parish Religious


Good company and elegant dining to honor our parish religious.

Our annual Religious Appreciation Dinner is on September 16 at the University Club in Durham. This is a wonderful opportunity to show our appreciation to those that give so much to us. It’s also a great social event for the Knights as we include our spouses and socialize with our extended family–The Knights of Columbus.

There is a place for you!

There is a place for you!

We will gather at 6:00 and plan to sit down to dinner at 6:30. The event will be held at the University Club – 3100 Tower Blvd #1700, Durham, NC 27707. Cost is $30 (tax and tip is included) per person and includes a elegant buffet dinner, a separate dessert buffet, iced tea and coffee. There will also be a cash bar.

Please make your reservation now by contacting Gene Keeling.  Click here to Send R.S.V.P.  Gene needs your R.S.V.P. by Friday, Sep 11th.

Lenten Fish Fry Returns

We’re back!  The Knights of Columbus team has put together another outstanding series of Lenten Fish Fries for the St. Thomas More Church Friends and Family Hall.  Everyone is welcome to join in and enjoy a great fried fish dinner.

The dates are February 20, March 13th, and March 27.  Time is 5 pm for doors to open and we keep going until 8 pm or until the fish is gone.  But, don’t worry, we often restock with more fish, as needed, to take care of everyone.  Cost is $8.

For smaller kids we offer split plates for two.  For seniors and light eaters, try our one fillet plate for $7.

There is plenty of free parking and this event is open to everyone.  You’ll see cars pulling off the stalled traffic on US 15-501 and heading up our driveway all night.  The smell of frying fish  draws them in every year and our hospitality to our neighbors brings them back for the second and third fish fry.

We are preparing the food just in time for the crowds to arrive.  That means you will see a gentle wisp of steam coming  from your delivered-to-the-table plate.  Or, if you prefer, we can serve you from our beautiful serving area.  We want your dinner to be ready for you  when you are ready for it.

You get a generous portion!

You get a generous portion!

In a hurry and can’t stay to eat with friends?  We have take out plates standing by and we can fix a plate for one or more.  You are sure to see someone carrying out a stack of five or more clamshell plates as they head to a nearby firehouse, home, or  fun event with friends.

What is on the plate?  We have  two whiting fish fillets, hush puppies, coleslaw, french fries, and beverage.

Please also help us promote this family event. You can share this story on your Facebook page and send a link to your neighbors.

Our fish is a fresh as you can get and provided through Captain John’s Dockside Seafood  and is prepared at St. Thomas More Church Friends and Family Hall by the Knights of Columbus.  You’ll be amazed at how good it is.

If you have a VERY LARGE GROUP, let us know a week before and maybe we can accommodate your special needs.  Contact us

Don’t forget to share this information with our non-Catholic friends.  Everyone likes a fish fry!   We welcome the opportunity to open our doors to the community and to share with others our social events.  You may spark a renewal of faith and start a friend on a path that leads them back to their church, maybe our church.


Lots and Lots of Fish

Where were you last Friday?  It was a Lenten Friday and we do hope that you were enjoying a fish dinner with your family and friends.

At St. Thomas More Church, the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Daughters were preparing and serving whiting fish for the parish.  The customers came in to dine with us and some came in to pick up a take-out dinner for their family.

If you missed it, you missed a delicious dinner.  Remember that there is just one more dinner before Easter.   Fish Fry Mar 2014 (3)


Fish Fries Build Church

1-Knights Picnic 2006 (21)A number of years ago, when our council was just starting, our knights looked for ways to help build our church community.  Most of our families were fairly new to Chapel Hill. Some knights had been with our church since the beginning on Gimghoul Street and others were here for school, a new job, or to be with family.

We all remembered church events from our former parishes where were carnivals, barbecues, fish fries, spaghetti dinners, pancake breakfasts, ice cream socials, St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfests and more.  These parish events build church.  They get families and children together.

Our mission was to find our niche.  The church already held pancake breakfasts (hosted by the Men’s Club).  What were we to do?

That is how we started our first fish fry.  It was a financial disaster (we spent more then we made).  We did not make money, but we were successful in starting something that was bigger than us.  We believed that we were not doing things to make money.  We were working to build a strong fraternal men’s group and make a difference in the community.  This was our ministry.

We learned that we could have fun, demonstrate teamwork and family values, and show our parish men that there was something for them to do. Something for them to be part of that not only strengthen their families, but built a stronger parish.  We could make a difference and have fun at the same time.

Today, our Lenten Fish Fries attract large crowds and families.  We event get community walk-ins from nearby protestant churches.  After all, who doesn’t like fish on Fridays during Lent.  Our neighbors and community get to see a full parking lot on 15-501.  You can be sure that they see our brightly lit building, church, and parking lot full of cars and say, “Wow!  What’s that?”  Maybe we might attract a fellow Catholic who is looking for a church to go home to, especially at Easter.

Experience of a lifetimeYes, our council fish fries help build church.  You and your family are doing it one brick, one fish, one plate of barbecue, one smile, one hello, and one warm, loving handshake at a time.  The Knights of Columbus, An Experience of a Lifetime.

If you are a Catholic gentlemen, 18 or older, we invite you to join us.

Special Knight Basketball – December 8

Free Throw Competition Set for Feb 11thSpecial Olympics at St. Thomas More School – December 8th, 4 to 6 pm. in the St. Thomas More School Gymnasium

St Thomas More School and the Knights of Columbus host the Special Olympians Basketball Team. The program includes exhibition games by Special Olympians and the St. Thomas More Boys and Girls JV and Varsity teams.  Free Throw contest for elementary and middle school students in attendance.  Raffle and prizes.

Special Olympics BasketballDonation requested – $2 for individuals – $5 for families.  Proceeds will be donated through the Knights of Columbus Operation LAMB campaign to local agencies who serve those with intellectual disabilities.     Direct inquires to John Aluise, 919-967-3882

Download flyer: Special Knight Game

September Ends With Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest in Chapel Hill is on Friday, September 27, 2013. You won’t find it anywhere in our town but right here at St. Thomas More Catholic Church.

01-OktoberfestOktoberfest is a 16-day celebration in Germany that starts in late September.  Our postwar GI’s and early German immigrant families brought the celebration to America.  In Germany, millions of people attend.  You can avoid the crowds and join us for our Chapel Hill event with the Little German Band playing and dancing.  There is food, beer, wine, dancing and live entertainment.

Cost is $25 per adult and includes brats, chicken, sauerkraut, potato salad, pretzel roll, cake and three adult beverages.  If you are under 21 or a child, it is just $15 for a lifelong memory of fund and German music.

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It’s a kid friendly event as Oktoberfest is a family celebration and festival.

Parish celebrations, festivals, and other community events have brought church members and their community together for many years.  It is a time to be thankful for the many blessings we have received and for us to share our faith with our community.

Download Oktoberfest Poster