In the Autumn of 1881, Father Michael J. McGivney a 29-year-old assistant pastor at St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut, gathered a group of laymen together in the church's basement and discussed forming a Catholic Service Organization. Four months later, in early February 1882, the Knights were formed. Today, with over 1.7 million members, the society serves churches and communities throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland and many other countries throughout the world.
The name of the organization
"The Knights of Columbus" - was selected to honor Christopher Columbus, the Catholic discoverer of America and the new frontier. The term Knight serves as a constant reminder to all, of the Knightly qualities of spirituality, loyalty and service to the Catholic Church, embodied in the work of the Knights of Columbus.
The Knights first order of business was to form a financial net for Catholic widows and orphans, to care for their needs when their husbands and fathers passed away. It gave a boost to the men of this era, to collectively help one of their own and to hold their heads high and not be ashamed to be called a Catholic at a time when Catholics were ridiculed, mocked, and persecuted.
Today the Knights walk a parallel path with the Church. Often called the "right arm of the Church", we follow the rules and order of faith and provide charitable activities in which the proceeds of our fundraising efforts are turned over to the Church. We swear allegiance to our Supreme Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, and promote family values through our abortion views, sponsor drives to make people aware of the rights of the unborn and other activities to help the disabled and retarded.
Above all, the "Knights" are Catholic Gentlemen. We have sworn an oath of Fraternity and Loyalty to ourselves, the Catholic Church and Jesus Christ. We do not depend on riches to buy advancements or positions in our order. Politics are checked at the door. Our prayers before and after each meeting keep us focused on the original intent of our founder, Father Michael J. McGivney: "The good of the Family always comes first". Our Council's Chaplain, Father Ed Danneker, insures that this rule is followed and therefore keeps our heads and our hearts pointed toward God.
We invite all dedicated Catholic men to join our special group. Just tell any man whom you know is a knight: "I would like to join the Knights of Columbus." Think about it: think about your relationship with your family and God. Then think about joining us, to help others. Many people will walk in and out of your life but the Knights of Columbus will leave lasting footprints on your heart!