Frequently Asked Questions
- I don’t have time to join another organization; why should I join the Knights of Columbus?
As a Knight, you can choose the projects in which you wish to be involved within your own community. What is more, the Order is dedicated to family life and the many benefits it offers. From insurance to scholarships to service and social activities and programs, all are open to the whole family.
- What are the requirements?
Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See.
- What is a “practical” Catholic?
A practical Catholic accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church.
- What are Degrees?
Formerly, there had been four degrees within the Knights of Columbus (Admission, Formation, Knighthood, and Patriotic). Each degree ceremony imparted a lesson on the Order’s core virtues of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism. In 2020, this system was simplified. New Knights of Columbus members experience a single degree ceremony that covers Charity, Unity and Fraternity and confers full Knighthood. The only optional degree is the 4th Degree which is still available for men who lead efforts to reach out to veterans and active military and to embody the fact that one can be a faithful Catholic and also be a faithful citizen.
- Do I have to purchase Insurance to become a member?
No; unlike many fraternal organizations one does not become a member by purchasing insurance. In the Knights of Columbus, a man has to be a member before he may avail himself of the insurance benefit. Purchasing insurance is optional, however; the life insurance and long-term care insurance products offered by the Order are not only competitively priced, they are among the most solid and highly rated products available anywhere. Standard & Poor’s and A.M. Best, the leading independent agencies that rate insurance companies, give K of C insurance their highest ratings.
Did you know?
In just the past 5 years alone, Council 10966 and/or members at St. Jane Frances have:
- Donated over $50,000 in past 5 years to St. Jane Frances Parish including:
- $30,000.00 to replace the floor in the parish hall and renovate the kitchen
- $5,000.00 towards the new camera system
- over $4,000 on average in bingo profits per year
- Thousands of dollars donated to St. Jane Frances School
- Sponsored a seminarian’s education with yearly stipends
- Donated $7,000.00 to Bello Machre (lifetime residential care in Glen Burnie for the developmentally disabled)
- Donated $7,000.00 to Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation (respite housing for critically ill children and their families being treated at Johns-Hopkins Children’s Center)
- Donated to pro-life women’s causes including money and new cribs to Mary’s Center, Women’s Care Center, and others
- Donated to Coats for Kids to give free winter coats to Baltimore City youth
- Donated over $5,000.00 to Special Olympics (collecting money while handing out Tootsie Rolls)
- Donated to Little Sisters of the Poor, Apostleship of the Sea, NCEON, Catholic Cemeteries, Toys for Tots, and many others
- Donated $2,000.00 to relocate a Christian family back to their home in Iraq during Town Rebuilding
- Annual scholarships to St. Jane Frances School students
- Sponsored altar server field trips
- Sponsored local Eagle Scout projects
- Volunteered at SJF blood drives
- Ran parish Fish Frys during Lent
- Volunteered cooking for parish events including Christmas Pancake Breakfasts and church picnics
- Laid Wreaths Across America putting Christmas wreaths on the graves in veteran cemeteries
- Organized Keep Christ in Christmas nativity creche project
- Prayed monthly for sick and deceased
- Prayed rosaries at funeral homes for deceased KofC members and family
- Honor guards at the funerals of members and notable Catholics
- Completed pro bono repairs to church property
- Set up the annual outdoor Christmas creche
- Developed and maintained St. Jane’s parish web site pro bono
- Many also serve as ushers, eucharistic ministers, and choir members
Historical facts about the Knights of Columbus:
- The KofC has always stood for racial equality. The first African American Knight joined in 1890s.
- 1920s: Went head to head against the KKK to stop anti-Catholic bigotry and persecution of Catholic churches and schools. A 1921 KKK pamphlet stated, “… the organization most interested in the destruction of the Ku Klux Klan is the Roman Catholic Order of the Knights of Columbus.” The KKK were the first to try to abolish Columbus Day in the 1920s due to their hatred of Catholics.
- During World War I, the Order provided rest and recreational facilities and social services to Allied servicemen of all faiths and races. K of C Huts throughout the United States and Europe provided religious services, supplies and recreation under the motto, “Everybody Welcome, Everything Free.” Everybody meant everybody. Whatever your race or creed, you were welcome at K of C facilities. In fact, the Order was praised by a contemporary African American historian of World War I, because “unlike the other social welfare organizations operating in the war, it never drew the color line.”
- After WWII, the KofC Historical Commission worked to overcome racial prejudice in American society, publishing books on the contributions of African-, Jewish-, and German-Americans.
- Support for employment after Great Depression and World Wars
- Support for military and veterans: In 1944: The Order created a $1 million trust fund for the education of children of members who lost their lives in or as a result of World War II. This evolved into the current scholarship fund for use at Catholic colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.
- 1954: Knights of Columbus spearheaded putting “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance
- 1959: On Nov. 20, 1959, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC was dedicated with a more than 1,000 Knight honor guard. The Knights of Columbus contributed $1 million to construct the 329-foot bell tower.
- Support for Catholic media: the Order funds “uplink” transmissions for major worldwide satellite telecasts from the Vatican with audiences estimated in the billions for Midnight Mass from St. Peter’s Basilica.
- KofC sponsors all World Youth Days started by Pope St. John Paul II
- 2018 Knights of Columbus report charitable work with an unprecedented $185 million in donations and 76 million hours of service provided worldwide (valued at $1.9 billion)
- Disaster relief: KofC gave significant charitable contributions to the people of Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake in 2010, donated 1,000 wheelchairs, and donated $2.5 million for free prosthetic limbs and a minimum of two years of rehab for every Haitian child.
- Our charitable activities encompass an almost infinite variety of local, national and international projects. Our own unique charities include the Christian Refugee Relief Fund, Disaster Relief, Ultrasound Initiative, and Coats for Kids.
- Support for disabilities and housing: we also partner with international charities including Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission and Habitat for Humanity.
- Health initiatives: blood drives and donation of over 1,000 ultrasound machines
- Refugees: supported refugees in Middle East and South America
- Support for Catholic buildings and education
- Support for Catholic liturgy and vocations
- Education initiatives: The Catholic University of America, Scholarships, Correspondence courses for veterans, etc
- There are more than 16,000 local Knights of Columbus councils around the world, including over 300 on college campuses (which are comprised of all students over 18).
- Pope St. John Paul II called the Knights of Columbus “the strong right arm of the Catholic Church.”
- Pope Francis wrote “… the Knights of Columbus continue to bear prophetic witness to God’s dream for a more fraternal, just and equitable world in which all are recognized as neighbors and no one is left behind.”