Who We Are
Who are the Knights?
The Knights of Columbus is a lay Catholic family fraternal service organization. Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to all practical Catholic men, age eighteen and above. The term practical Catholic implies that a person embraces the precepts and tenets of the Catholic church.
On October 2, 1881, Father Michael J. McGivney, 29-year-old assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut, brought together a group of laymen with whom he discussed his dream for a Catholic fraternal benefit society. It not only would assist widows and orphans of deceased members through its life insurance program, but also would boost members’ sense of pride in their Catholic religion, then frequently challenged in the anti-Catholic climate of 19th-century America. Father McGivney and his associates met several more times over the next several months to continue planning, and the new organization –the Knights of Columbus — was formally launched in early February, 1882.
The officers of the new Catholic organization chose the name Knights of Columbus to honor Christopher Columbus, the Catholic discoverer of America. The word knights is also significant. We are ever mindful of the knightly qualities of spirituality and service to church that is embodied in the Knights of Columbus. The Order has evolved into a service organization with a strong family orientation.
By the end of 1897 the Order was thoroughly rooted in New England, along the upper Atlantic seaboard and into Canada. Within the next eight years it branched out from Quebec to California, and from Florida to Washington.
The Knights of Columbus remains headquartered in New Haven, but is now present with nearly 12000 Councils in the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, and several other countries.
Come and Join Us!
Interested in finding out how to become a Knight?