What is the Knights of Columbus?

Fr. Michael J. McGivney, protector of the poor and defender of the widow and orphan, founded the Knights of Columbus during the latter part of the19th century. As a statement that the Catholic faith and loyalty to one’s country are in harmony, the organization took as its patron Christopher Columbus. 

The Knights of Columbus is a Connecticut corporation, which received its corporate charter from the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut in 1882, the year of its founding.  It has no parent company and no stock.   As a fraternal benefit society, the Knights of Columbus offers life insurance and other benefits to its members and their families residing in the United States and Canada. 


The Knights of Columbus is also the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, with more than 1.9 million members in countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, the Bahamas, and South Korea. The Knights of Columbus operates through and maintains an active system of local and state councils that conduct extensive charitable and volunteer programs.


The governing authority of the Knights of Columbus is the Supreme Council, which maintains its headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut.  There are subordinate state or territorial councils in every jurisdiction where the Knights of Columbus is established, as well as local councils, most of which are associated with a Catholic parish.  The state, territorial, and local councils are unincorporated associations holding charters from the Supreme Council and are subject to dissolution or merger according to the Laws of the Knights of Columbus.


Membership Benefits

As a member of the Knights of Columbus, you and your family enjoy many benefits, including:  12 free issues annually  of the Columbia magazine, the world’s largest Catholic family magazine, eligibility to join the Knights of Columbus top-ranked life insurance program, and many more family and personal benefits.


How to Join

Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to practicing Catholic men in union with the Holy See, who are at least 18 years old.  A practicing Catholic is one who lives up to the Commandments of God and the precepts of the Church.  Application forms are available from any member of the Knights of Columbus.

4th Degree

Any Third Degree member in good standing, one year after the anniversary of his First Degree, is eligible for membership in the Fourth Degree.  The primary purpose of the Fourth Degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism by promoting responsible citizenship and a love of and loyalty to the Knights’ respective countries through active membership in local Fourth Degree groups (called “assemblies”).  Certain members of the Fourth Degree serv as honor guards at civic and religious functions, an activity that has brought worldwide recognition to the Knights of Columbus.

Ladies Auxiliary

The Ladies Auxiliary’s main function is to SUPPORT the men and the council.  They do this primarily by providing help at events, cooking for events, and providing monetary help.  They also generally do help with setting up and beautifying the hall for events.


Under the guidance of Christian Brother Barnabas McDonald (1865-1929), the first Columbian Squires circle was instituted in 1925.  Membership in the Squires is for Catholic boys between the ages of 12 and 17.  Squires’ activities are many, varying from spiritual to active service for the Church and community.  Each circle elects officer members from their own rank, teaching skills of leadership and responsibility.