About Us

The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Roman Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded in the United States in 1882, it is named in honor of Christopher Columbus and dedicated to the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. There are more than 1.7 million members in 14,000 councils, with nearly 200 councils on college campuses. Membership is limited to "practical Catholic" men aged 18 or older.

Councils have been chartered in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, the Philippines, Guam, Saipan, and most recently in Poland. The Knights' official junior organization, the Columbian Squires, has over 5,000 Circles. All the Order's ceremonials and business meetings are restricted to members thoughall other events are open to the public.A promise not to reveal any details of the ceremonials except to an equally qualified Knight is required to ensure their impact and meaning for new members; an additional clause subordinates the promise to that Knight's civil and religious duties.

In the 2006 fraternal year the Order gave US$143.8 million directly to charity (1.1 Billion in charitable contributions in the last 10 years) and performed over 68 million man hours of voluntary service. For their support for the Church and local communities, as well as for their philanthropic efforts, the Order is often referred to as the "strong right arm of the Church". The Order's insurance program has more than $60 billion of life insurance policies in force and holds the highest insurance ratings given by A. M. Best, Standard & Poor's, and the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association.

Organization...

The Supreme Council is the governing body of the Order and is composed of elected representatives from each jurisdiction. The Supreme Council acts in similar manner to shareholders at an annual meeting and each year elects seven members to the Supreme Board of Directors for three year terms. The twenty-one member board then chooses from its own membership the senior operating officials of the Order, including the Supreme Knight.

State Councils in each of the 50 United States, each province in Canada, and other jurisdictions carved out of member countries are led by State Deputies and other officers elected at state conventions. Territorial Deputies are appointed by the Supreme Knight and lead areas not yet incorporated into State Councils.

District Deputies are appointed by the State Deputy and oversee several local councils, each of which is led by a Grand Knight. Other elected council officers include the Deputy Grand Knight, Chancellor, Warden, Recorder, Treasurer, Advocate, Guards and Trustees. A Chaplain is appointed by the Grand Knight and a Financial Secretary by the Supreme Knight. Council officers are properly addressed by using the title "worthy" (e.g. Worthy Grand Knight). Councils are numbered in the order in which they chartered into the Order and are named by the local membership. San Salvador Council #1 was named for the first island Columbus landed on in the New World.

The title "Knight" is purely fraternal and is not the equivalent to a sovereign accolade. Therefore Knights of Columbus do not rank with Chevaliers and Commanders of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the Order of Malta, the Order of St. Gregory the Great, or members of any other historic military or chivalric orders.

Degress and Principles...

The Order is dedicated to the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism. A First Degree exemplification ceremony, by which a man joins the Order, explicates the virtue of charity. He is then said to be a First Degree Knight of Columbus and after participating the subsequent degrees, each of which focuses on another virtue, rises to that status. Upon reaching the Third Degree a gentleman is considered a full member. Priests do not participate directly in Degree exemplifications as laymen do, but rather take the degree by observation.

Fourth Degree...

The Fourth Degree is the highest degree of the order. Members of this degree are addressed as "Sir Knight". The primary purpose of the Fourth Degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism and to encourage active Catholic citizenship. Fewer than 18% of Knights join the Fourth Degree, which is optional. A Knight is eligible to join the Fourth Degree after one year from the date of his First Degree, providing he has completed the 2nd and 3rd degrees beforehand.

Assemblies are distinct from councils and are led by a separate set of elected officers. The Supreme Board of Directors appoints a Supreme Master, and twenty Vice Supreme Masters to govern the Fourth Degree. Each Vice Supreme Master oversees a Province which is then broken up into Districts. The Supreme Master appoints District Masters to supervise several assemblies.

Each assembly is led by a Navigator. Other elected assembly officers include the Captain, Admiral, Pilot, Scribe, Purser, Comptroller, Sentinels and Trustees. A Friar and Color Corps Commander are appointed by the Navigator. Assembly officers are properly addressed by using the title "faithful" (e.g. Faithful Navigator). Assemblies are numbered in the order in which they chartered into the Order and are named by the local membership.

Only Fourth Degree Knights may optionally purchase the full regalia and join the Assembly’s Color Corps. The Color Corps is the most visible arm of the Knights as they are often seen in parades and other local events wearing their colorful regalia. Official dress for the Color Corps is a black tuxedo, baldric, white gloves, cape and naval chapeau. White tuxedos may also be used on certain occasions. Baldrics are worn from the right shoulder to left hip and are color specific by nation. In the United States, baldrics are red, white and blue. Service baldrics include a scabbard for a sword and are worn over the coat while social baldrics are worn under the coat. The colors on a Fourth Degree Knight's cape, and chapeau, denote the office he holds within the Degree. Faithful Navigators and Past Faithful Navigators are permitted to carry a white handled silver sword. Masters and Vice Supreme Masters, as well as Former Masters and Former Vice Supreme Masters, are also denoted by their gold swords

Did you Know?

Many famous Catholic men from all over the world are Knights of Columbus. In the United States several of the most notable include former President John F. Kennedy, Samuel Alito, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and Jeb Bush, the former Governor of Florida and brother of President George W. Bush. Sergeant Major Daniel Daly, a two-time Medal of Honor recipient, once described by the commandant of the Marine Corps as "the most outstanding Marine of all time" was also a Knight of Columbus.

Many notable clerics are also Knights, including William Joseph Levada, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the Archbishop of Boston and Cardinal Jaime Sin, the former Archbishop of Manila. In the world of sports, Vince Lombardi, the famed former coach of the Green Bay Packers, Lou Albano Wrestler, James Connolly, the first Olympic Gold Medal champion in modern times, and baseball star Babe Ruth were Knights. Former heavyweight boxing champion, Floyd Patterson, was also a Knight.

On October 15, 2006, Bishop Rafael Guizar Valencia (1878–1938) was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome, thereby becoming the first Knights of Columbus bishop declared a saint. Already in 2000, six other Knights were declared saints by Pope John Paul II.

St. Boniface Council 14439, 2017, 2018