The Knights of Columbus … Did you know that the Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Roman
Catholic fraternal service organization? It was founded by a priest, Father Michael McGivney in
New Haven, Connecticut in 1882. It was named in honor of the mariner, Christopher Columbus.
Father McGivney was a young priest serving in Saint Mary’s Parish in New Haven where he
recognized a great need: widows who were struggling to survive and provide for their children
following the death of their husbands. Taking pity on these women and vulnerable children, Father
McGivney began a mutual benefit society, dedicated to providing charitable services, promoting
Catholic education, and Catholic public policies, and actively defending the Roman Catholic faith in
various countries throughout the world. The Order’s guiding principles or values are: charity, unity,
fraternity, and patriotism. Entrance or initiation into each one of the Order’s 4 “degrees” is done in
a special ceremony known to members only. The Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus are recognized
by their traditional attire: tuxedo, sash, sword, and plumed hat. Often, 4th Degree Knights
accompany the bishops at ceremonies throughout the Diocese or inside the Cathedral in Providence.
The organization grew from a few dozen members to being the largest Catholic organization with
1,918,122 members today in nearly 15,000 local councils, with 302 councils on college or university
campuses. Membership is open to practicing Catholic men aged 18 or older. Membership consists of
4 degrees, each exemplifying a different principle or value of the Order. Councils are chartered by
the Order’s headquarters located in New Haven, Connecticut in the USA, Canada, the Philippines,
Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Panama, the Bahamas, Cuba, Guatemala, South Korea,
Ukraine, Lithuania, and on US military bases throughout the world.
During his pontificate, Saint Pope John Paul II referred to the Knights of Columbus as a “strong
right arm of the Church.” In 2015, the Order gave over 175 million US dollars to charity and
performed over 73.5 million man-hours of volunteer service in various apostolates. Over 143,000
pints of blood were donated by the Knights in 2010.
The Knights support the work of the Church by assisting local priests in their ministry in parishes
and other Catholic institutions. Knights are known for their support of pro-life activities; vocations
to the priesthood and the religious life, as well as their defense of Catholic morals, values, and dogma.
In our Parish, we have a local council of the Knights: Saint Eugene Council. Our Knights are involved
in many initiatives in and around our Parish and assist our Parish priest and different activities. They
sponsor dinners and different fund raisers throughout the year as well as providing support to our
diocesan seminarians studying for the priesthood. We salute our Knights of Columbus and we thank
them for their faith, commitment to the Church and our Parish, and for being a vital part of our
Parish family. God bless you!
Have a good week and God bless, Fr. Varghese