On October 2, 1881 in the basement of St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut, Father Michael J. Mcgivney and a group of men formed a fraternal society that would one day become the worlds largest Catholic family fraternal organization. They vowed to defend their country, their families, and their faith. They were bound together by the ideal of Christopher Columbus who crought Christianity to the New World. Their efforts became true witht he inception of the Knights of Columbus on March 29, 1882.
The Order has been called “the strong right arm of the Church” and has been praised by popes, presidents, and other world leaders for support of the Church, programs of evangelization and Catholic education, civic involvement, and aid to those in need. Father Michael J. McGivney’s cause for sainthood is also being investigated by the Vatican.
The Knights of Columbus was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled, and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief, and public relief works. Father McGivney’s founding vision for the Order also included a life insurance program to provide for the widows and orphans of deceased members. The Order’s insurance program has expanded substantially to serve more effectively the Knights’ growing membership. The Order has also helped families obtain economic security and stability through its annuity and long-term care programs, along with many other fraternal benefits. In addition, it has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities. Year after year, the Knights of Columbus has earned the highest possible quality ratings for financial soundness from A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s.
The Supreme Council is the governing body of the Knights of Columbus and is responsible for the development of the organization as a whole. Supreme Council duties include establishing the Order in new regions and setting up regional authorities, defining and advancing its values and goals, undertaking organization-wide initiatives, promoting awareness of the Knights’ mission worldwide, and protecting the families of members through its extensive insurance program. Members working in local, or subordinate, councils, however, carry on the majority of the Knights’ beneficial work.
The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to more than 14,000 councils and 1.8 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam, and Saipan.