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Knights of Columbus council at St. Polycarp maintains ‘Squires’ group for young boys ‘to learn the way of the Knights’

(Courtesy St. Polycarp Knights of Columbus) Courtesy photo Father Jim Hreha, pastor of St. Polycarp Parish in Smyrna, celebrated Mass for members of the Squire Circle 5248 at their June lock-in.

The Knights of Columbus have a history of service to the church and community, leadership and prayer, and one of the ways they keep that going from one generation to the next is through the Squires, which introduces boys to the organization and its values. The Brother Vincent Council at St. Polycarp Parish in Smyrna is keeping that tradition alive in Delaware.

The St. Polycarp Squire Circle 5248 has been around for 15 years, and Rich DeZao has been among its leadership the entire time. It is open to boys ages 10-18.

“The idea is for the young boys to learn the ways of the Knights,” said DeZao, also the new state deputy. “We are the last and only circle in Delaware.”

The Squires were founded in 1925, but since 2015 the Supreme Council has discouraged the establishment of new circles. That year, then-Supreme Knight Carl Anderson directed councils to work more closely with parishes in a number of areas, including youth ministry.

Currently, there are about 12 boys in the Squires at St. Polycarp. A minimum of 10 is required to remain an active circle, and this is the lone remaining unit in Delaware. DeZao would like to see the membership grow with boys from around the state.

The Squires hold monthly meetings except in July, and they have positions similar to the Knights of Columbus, such as chief squire, treasurer, recorder, etc. There is a ceremony for those who join, similar to the Knights.

“They learn the background of the Knights, Christopher Columbus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the U.S. flag,” DeZao said. In addition, they perform tasks around St. Polycarp Church.

According to the Squires, their activities include sporting and social events; service projects; spiritual events; and membership drives.

Of the current members, some are sons or grandsons of Knights of Columbus. Others have no prior connection. DeZao said the majority of those who join are signed up for religious-education classes at the parish, and the parents are asked when they register their sons if they want to be contacted about the Squires. There is no cost to the boys, he added.

The biggest event for the Squires is the end-of-year lock-in at St. Polycarp. They arrive on a Friday night and remain at the church for 24 hours until the end of the Saturday night vigil Mass. They say the rosary five times during that period for various causes.

“Our pastor, Father Jim (Hreha), will come in and speak to them for a while. Our deacon will speak to them,” DeZao said.

They also engage in team-building activities, and they ask parishioners for support. Over the years, the Squires have always had the support of the pastors, DeZao said.

“They are very proud of it,” he said. “They make most, if not all, meetings, so they can talk to the boys.”

The Squires meet on the fourth Wednesday of each month at St. Polycarp from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Families who are interested in the St. Polycarp Squire Circle should contact DeZao at rdezao@yahoo.com.