The Knights of Columbus Organization

HOW DID THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS COME TO BE?

The Knights of Columbus were founded by Father Michael J. McGivney in 1882. His biography, “The Parish Priest.” tells the story of how he helped an ailing fellow priest (who soon passed) and his similarly suffering parish. Many of the parishioners were too poor to assist in parish finances. In addition, a large number of the parishioners worked in dangerous careers, leaving widows and large families to the church. This also resulted in increased misdemeanors and even gang activity among the parish youth.

Out of a Crisis Comes a Coalition

A discouraged Fr. McGivney prayed for direction. Soon after, he had a vision of a fraternal group with a benefit similar to life insurance. In that day and age, it was illegal for Catholics to bank, buy land or insurance, or attend public school. The good news was found in that it was completely legal for a Catholic fraternal organization to assist members, widows, and orphans with life insurance, connections, jobs, and continued education. Thus, the Knights of Columbus were formed.

WHAT ARE THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS DOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

1954- The Knights of Columbus lobbied Eisenhower to add “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance, and we currently spend approximately $7 million to keep it there annually.

1956- The KCs overturned the Supreme Court decision to abolish parochial schools in Oregon.

1968- Eunice Kennedy Shriver started the Special Olympics and recruited the Knights to drum up support and expand the now nationwide program.

Present day- Pro-life is our biggest international cause with annual donation amounts averaging nearly $185 million dollars.

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?

There is much more information about the international Knights of Columbus brotherhood found at www.KofC.org.

Here is a short video on the legacy of our order.

Video provided by kofc.org/films