Thanks to the efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven and some of his parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature on March 29, 1882, officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. The Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity.
The Knights 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.
The history of the Order shows how the foresight of Father Michael J. McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican, brought about what has become the world’s foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society. The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.
The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to more than 13,000 councils and 1.7 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Guatemala, Guam and Saipan.
In 2007 the Knights of Columbus celebrated 125 years as an Organization founded by Father Michael J. McGivney to strengthen the faith of Catholic Men and to provide financial security for their families. During the time of the immigration, Catholic men were being persecuted because of their religion. They were given dangerous jobs. And, often these jobs led to the death of many of these fine men. This left the wife and children with little or nothing to live on and often the only money they had was when the hat was passed during the funeral.
Father McGivney saw the injustice going on and asked a group of men from his Parish to meet in the basement of St Mary’s Parish and from that and subsequent meetings the Knights of Columbus Insurance was formed. Although this program is an important part of the Knights, it’s not its sole important aspect.
Since you may feel overwhelmed by commitments already, think about being a 24 hour a day Knight. So maybe time doesn’t allow you to come to meetings or social events, or to help during the various events that we do to raise money for the charities we support. Know that your council is in good hands and those that can help are doing so. And, if the time should come that you can come to a meeting, know that you won’t be asked to do anything you don’t have time for.
Our local council at Holy Family Parish was established in 2003 and currently has 40 members.