What is the Knights of Columbus?
The Knights of Columbus is a catholic, family, fraternal, and service organization.
- Catholic – this is the common denominator for all members. Catholicism serves as the foundation for continued growth and performance.
- Family – the very basis of society around which all programs and activities revolve.
- Fraternal – banded together for the purpose of providing for the spiritual and material welfare of our membership.
- Service – our involvement with and commitment to Church, community, council, family, and youth.
What are the qualifications to become a member of Knights of Columbus?
1. He must be at least 18 years old.
2. He must be a Practicing Catholic.
What is a Practicing Catholic?
Practicing Catholic is a person who follows the Ten Commandments and observes the Precepts of the Church in union with the Holy See.
HISTORY OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
A. Founding of the Knights of Columbus
The Knights of Columbus was founded by a young priest of St. Mary’s Parish in New Haven, Connecticut, by the name of Father Michael J. McGivney. He noticed the sad plight of his parishioners due to religious belief, ethnic prejudice and lack of social standing. He was appalled to find the miseries that befell a family when the bread winner dies. He gathered seven men at the basement of Saint Mary’s Church on Oct. 2,1881 to try to resolve the problems and they arrived at a solution of having a mutual benefit society for men with insurance program. On March 29, 1882, the Order was formally incorporated in New Haven, Connecticut. The first Grand Knight is James T. Mullen.
The name Knights of Columbus was adopted by the organizers simply because they felt that the organization should relate to Christopher Columbus the Catholic explorer of the new world. This is to underscore their pride in America’s Catholic heritage, as Columbus evokes the aura of Catholicity. The term Knight was adapted to signify knightly ideals of charity,spirituality and service to Church, country and fellowmen.
B. Life and Role of Father Michael J. McGivney
Father Michael J. McGivney was born on August 12, 1852 at Waterbury, Connecticut, by Irish parents Patrick McGivney and Mary Lynch. He is the eldest of 13 children, with 4 siblings dying during infancy. After primary school, he worked in a spoon factory at age 13. He first entered St. Hyacinthe’s Seminary in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec in 1868. He continued his studies at St. Mary Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland, but left in 1873, when his father died. Together with two of his sisters, they supported their family. Under the sponsorship of several Bishops, he later returned to the seminary and was ordained as a priest December 22, 1877. He celebrated his first Mass on December 25, 1877 at St. Mary’s Church where he founded the Knights of Columbus.
Being a clergyman, Father McGivney deferred to lay leadership of the organization and instead served as the Supreme Secretary for less than two years. He, thereafter, accepted the office of Supreme Chaplain, a position he held until his death on August 14, 1890 at the age of 38. From the State of Connecticut the Knight of Columbus expanded to Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts until it covered most states in the U.S.A by 1896.
C. Growth in the Philippines
On April 23, 1905 a group of US army and navy men who were stationed in Manila requested from and was granted by the Supreme Council to put up a council in the Philippines. This first council was Council 1000 in Intramuros, Manila, which membership started with 29 American servicemen. In two years time, the Council was exclusively for American members. On the third year and thereafter few qualified Filipinos were admitted to the order, that by 1920, Council 1000 comprises predominantly of Filipinos. From 1905 to 1918 the Council Grand Knights were all Americans, until CY 1918-19, when Atty. Gabriel LaO, was elected the first Filipino Grand Knight. By 1918, a short lived Council 1900 of San Pablo, Laguna was chartered.
THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS:
1. To support the Church.
2. To build fraternal bonds through social, religious, educational, and athletic activities.
3. To provide comfort and assistance to the sick, disabled, and needy members and their families.
4. To reach out to meet community needs through programs of charity and service.
5. To provide for the financial security of the members and their families through our fraternal insurance program.
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
1. Charity – an act of giving for the love of God and love of fellowmen.
2. Unity – oneness in faith and action to gain strength in the pursuit of charity, as well as the programs, goals, and purposes of the Order.
3. Fraternity – A special bond among its members in a level which is more than friends,
a brother to a brother and a knight to a knight, a catholic gentleman to a catholic gentleman.
4. Patriotism – zealous love and support of own country
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF A MEMBER OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS
1. To pay his annual dues faithfully. Note that a lapse of 1 quarter (3 months) is subject to suspension of membership.
2. To support the service program activities of the council by sharing time, talent, & treasure. Find out which committee he will fit in.
3. Attend council fraternal mass, fellowship, and monthly regular business meetings. Always remember the monthly meeting schedule to eliminate need for notice.
4. Wear specified uniform during ceremonials of the council. The Knights of Columbus official uniform is a white barong Tagalog with the K of C emblem on the left chest. Black pants, black socks, and black shoes. The council will announce what to wear at other events.
5. Maintain status of being a practicing Catholic at all times. Attend to Spiritual Formation programs specified by the State. Be a Catholic gentleman anywhere you may be. The members’ personality and behavior reflects that of the order.
The main reason for the founding of the Knights of Columbus by Fr. Michael J. McGivney was to be able to come to the aid of Catholic families suffering from the loss of the breadwinner. Death always come unannounced and the future of widows and orphans left behind without financial security is dreadful. So, as Knights, we must assure ourselves that should we depart from this world prematurely or even in old age, we are prepared to leave our family with means to live in ease.
As a family oriented organization, the K of C has always espoused family protection, in terms of insurance, so that life will go on after a loss of a parent or a loved one.
In the USA the Knights Insurance system has grown into a $60B industry and is consistently rated among the top companies there. However, because of legal and technical impediments it couldn’t be extended to the Philippines.
To answer to the insurance needs of Filipino Knights, the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc. was incorporated and registered in August 1,1958 and became operative September 9,1958 with the following purposes:
1. To render mutual aid and assistance to members and beneficiaries of members for losses and damages arising from injuries and/or losses of lives and/or properties;
2. To render mutual aid and assistance to sick, disabled, and needy members and/or immediate members of their families (wives and children);
3. To engage in relief works and to provide for the economic, social, religious and educational requirements and needs of the members; and
4. In general, to do such acts and things and to undertake such activities not otherwise prohibited by law which are calculated to help the members and necessary for accomplishment of the purposes for which the corporation has been formed and organized.
As a Mutual Benefit Association it has the following distinctions: a) it is tax exempt; b) it has an exclusive market:; and c) all its members are co-owners of the company.
In virtue of its tax exemption privilege, KC Fraternal is able to offer the lowest cost of insurance. It is non-stock and membership is exclusive to the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines in good standing including immediate members of their families (wives, parents and children).
On its first of operation (1958) insurance certificates in force was only 1,033 with a total face value of P2,431,000. After 50 years (2008) it has grown to more than 80,000 members with P8.17Billion in Total Protection. Total resources as of Dec. 31,2007 reached P2.37 Billion 91% of it invested in safe portfolio.
1. Owned by the insured members. It is run by brother knights for the exclusive benefit of Knights and their families.
2. KC Fraternal provides a fraternal kind of service. “For Brother Knights by Brother Knights.”
3. Offers one of the lowest life insurance rates in the industry. KC fraternal rates are among the most affordable. Substantial yearly dividends further yearly contributions.
4. KC Fraternal gives financial support to the order for use in maintaining, strengthening, and expanding the order.
5. Participates in the Order’s social amelioration program. Subsidizes the Order’s Foundation in the scholarship program for seminarians and priests, livelihood, calamity assistance and other charitable projects.
6. Extra fast settlements.
7. Exclusive for member Knights and their immediate families.
Extracted and edited from KOFC Philippines website
SK CARLOS B. MANALASTAS
Extracted and edited from KOFC Philippines website
SK CARLOS B. MANALASTAS