THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS COUNCIL 7359
The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded by Father Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1882, it was named in honor of the mariner Christopher Columbus. Originally serving as a mutual benefit society to low-income immigrant Catholics, it developed into a fraternal benefit society dedicated to providing charitable services, promoting Catholic education and actively defending Roman Catholicism in various nations.
There are over 1,883,598 members in nearly 15,000 councils, with 302 councils on college campuses. Membership is limited to "practical" Catholic men aged 18 or older. Membership consists of four different degrees, each exemplifying a different principle of the Order. The Order is a member of the International Alliance of Catholic Knights.
The St Pius X Knights of Columbus meet on the First Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm in the Columbus Villa 1920 Richter Street, Kelowna, BC.
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.
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.
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.
Degrees and principles
The Order is dedicated to the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. A First Degree exemplification ceremony, by which a man joins the Order, explicates the virtue of charity. He is then said to be a First Degree Knight of Columbus.
Charity - Our Catholic faith teaches us to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Members of the Knights of Columbus show love for their neighbors by conducting food drives and donating the food to local soup kitchens and food pantries, by volunteering at Special Olympics, and by supporting, both spiritually and materially, mothers who choose life for their babies. Knights recognize that our mission, and our faith in God, compels us to action. There is no better way to experience love and compassion than by helping those in need, a call we answer every day.
Unity – None of us is as good as all of us. Members of the Knights of Columbus all know that – together – we can accomplish far more than any of us could individually. So we stick together…we support one another. That doesn’t mean that we always agree or that there is never a difference of opinion. It does mean that – as a Knight of Columbus – you can count on the support and encouragement of your brother Knights as you work to make life better in your parish and community.
Upon completing the Third Degree exemplification, Fraternity, a gentleman is a full member.
Fraternity – The Venerable Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus, in large part, to provide assistance to the widows and children left behind when the family breadwinner died – often prematurely. The Order’s top-rated insurance program continues to do this today, as do individual Knights, who last year gave more than 10 million hours of their time to assist sick and/or disabled members and their families. In the Knights of Columbus, we watch out for and take care of one another.
After taking their third degree, knights are eligible to receive their fourth degree, the primary purpose of which is to foster the spirit of patriotism and to encourage active Catholic citizenship. Fourth degree members, in addition to being members of their individual councils, are also members of Fourth Degree assemblies which typically comprise members of several councils.
Charity is the foremost principle of the Knights of Columbus. In 2013, the Order gave more than $170.1 million directly to charity and performed over 70.5 million man hours in volunteer service. According to Independent Sector, this service has a value of more than $1.6 billion. The total charitable contributions, from the past decade, ending December 31, 2013 rose to $13.8 Billion. Finally in 2013, Knights of Columbus, on an average per member basis, donated $91.80 and contributed 38 hours of community service.
More than $1.2 million were donated to Habitat for Humanity in 2012, in addition to 1.4 million volunteer hours. Over 42,000 winter coats were distributed in 2012 to children in cold weather areas as well.