Our Story: On Oct. 2, 1881, a group of men met in the basement of St. Mary’s Church on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, Conn. Called together by their 29-year-old parish priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, these men formed a fraternal society that would one day become the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service organization.
They sought strength in solidarity, and security through unity of purpose and devotion to a holy cause: they vowed to be defenders of their country, their families and their faith.
These men were bound together by the ideal of Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of the Americas, the one whose hand brought Christianity to the New World. Their efforts came to fruition with the incorporation of the Knights of Columbus on March 29, 1882.
They were Knights of Columbus.
All the good works we do are informed by our four core principles:
Charity - Our Catholic faith teaches us to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Members of the Knights of Columbus show love for their neighbors by conducting food drives and donating the food to local soup kitchens and food pantries, by volunteering at Special Olympics, and by supporting, both spiritually and materially, mothers who choose life for their babies. Knights recognize that our mission, and our faith in God, compels us to action. There is no better way to experience love and compassion than by helping those in need, a call we answer every day.
Unity – None of us is as good as all of us. Members of the Knights of Columbus all know that – together – we can accomplish far more than any of us could individually. So we stick together…we support one another. That doesn’t mean that we always agree or that there is never a difference of opinion. It does mean that – as a Knight of Columbus – you can count on the support and encouragement of your brother Knights as you work to make life better in your parish and community.
Fraternity – The Venerable Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus, in large part, to provide assistance to the widows and children left behind when the family breadwinner died – often prematurely. The Order’s top-rated insurance program continues to do this today, as do individual Knights, who last year gave more than 10 million hours of their time to assist sick and/or disabled members and their families. In the Knights of Columbus, we watch out for and take care of one another.
Patriotism – Members of the Knights of Columbus, be they Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Filipinos, Poles, or Dominicans, are patriotic citizens. We are proud of our devotion to God and country, and believe in standing up for both. Whether it’s in public or private, the Knights remind the world that Catholics support their nations and are amongst the greatest citizens.
Benefits of Joining:
COLUMBIA MAGAZINE – Free subscription to the Order’s monthly magazine examining issues of concern to Knights, Catholics and families.
KNIGHTS of COLUMBUS ROSARY – Blessed by the supreme chaplain, presented during the First Degree exemplification to each new member.
DAILY MASS OF REMEMBRANCE AT ST. MARY’S CHURCH – Mass for deceased members and their wives, and deceased members of the Squires program, at birthplace of the Order.
INSURANCE – Portfolio of top-quality life insurance, long-term care, and annuity products exclusively for members and their families.
FAMILY FRATERNAL BENEFIT – For eligible families: a) Pays $1,500 for the child who dies before the age of 61 days; b) Pays $750 for the child who is stillborn at least 20 weeks after conception; c) Offers guaranteed-issue insurance up to $5,000 to any child under age 18.
ORPHAN BENEFIT – $80 monthly allotment for orphans of eligible families; up to $7,000 in college scholarships available.
MEMBER/SPOUSE FRATERNAL BENEFIT – Accidental death coverage for member and spouse at no cost.
WIDOW BENEFITS – a) Continues to be covered under the Member/Spouse Fraternal Benefit; b) May purchase life insurance, long-term care insurance, or annuities up to one year after insured member’s death; c) Receives a free lifetime subscription to Columbia; d) Eligible with her children for scholarships, student loans, etc.
SCHOLARSHIPS – Scholarship programs for higher education available to members, their spouses and children.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT – Opportunity to build personal leadership skills, public speaking ability, organization skills, etc.
MEMBERSHIP CARD – Entitles participation in all Catholic, fraternal and social activities in nearly 13,000 councils throughout the world.
FOURTH DEGREE – Eligibility to join the “Patriotic Degree.”
HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIP at Age 70 with 25 years of membership.
ACTIVITIES – FAMILY/YOUTH/RELIGIOUS/SOCIAL/ATHLETIC – Participation in a variety of programs and activities conducted by local councils.