The Knights of Columbus Roman playgrounds began in response to a plea from Pope Benedict XV in 1920. Edward Hearn, former Supreme Knight and Director of the Knights of Columbus War Activities office in Paris was in charge of the project.
He was succeeded in 1931 by Count Enrico P. Galeazzi, who held the position until his death in 1986. Count Galeazzi’s grandson presently is in charge of the office.
The Roman Playgrounds record group (1920-present) contains material tracing the development and history of this undertaking. Correspondence, articles, programs, and newspaper clippings are included, such as this 1920 booklet the Knights of Columbus Pilgrimage 1920 by John H. Reddin which recounts the request of the Pope to the Knights to “come to his aid in Rome” and the April 9, 1924 address of Pope Pius XI on the occasion of the dedication of St. Peter’s Oratory, the Knights’ first playground.