Ontario State Council
Knights of Columbus
On Oct. 2, 1881, a group of men met in the basement of St. Mary’s Church on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, Connecticut. Called together by their 29-year-old parish priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, these men formed a fraternal society that would one day become the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service organization.
They sought strength in solidarity, and security through unity of purpose and devotion to a holy cause: they vowed to be defenders of their country, their families and their faith.
These men were bound together by the ideal of Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of the Americas, the one whose hand brought Christianity to the New World. Their efforts came to fruition with the incorporation of the Knights of Columbus on March 29, 1882.
They were Knights of Columbus.
The Order has been called "the strong right arm of the Church," and has been praised by popes, presidents and other world leaders, for support of the Church, programs of evangelization and Catholic education, civic involvement and aid to those in need.
Father McGivney’s founding vision for the Order also included a life insurance program to provide for the widows and orphans of deceased members. The Order’s insurance program has expanded substantially to serve more effectively the Knights’ growing membership.
Year after year, the Knights of Columbus has earned the highest possible quality ratings for financial soundness from A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The Order provides the highest quality insurance, annuity and long-term care products to its members, along with many other fraternal benefits.
The Supreme Council is the governing body of the Knights of Columbus and is responsible for the development of the organization as a whole. Supreme Council duties include establishing the Order in new regions and setting up regional authorities, defining and advancing its values and goals, undertaking organization-wide initiatives, promoting awareness of the Knights’ mission worldwide, and protecting the families of members through its extensive insurance program. Members working in local, or subordinate councils, however, carry on the majority of the Knights’ beneficial work.
The Knights of
Columbus in Ontario can trace their roots back to January 28, 1900, when a
class of fifty nine candidates were initiated in Ottawa Ontario, and formed
Council 485. While at that time a United States based organization, the
growth in Ontario over the next ten years occurred primarily in towns where
the railway passed through, with commercial salesmen or transient printers
bringing the news of the Order to these towns. In 1903, Kingston, Cornwall
and Peterborough added Councils, and in 1904 a State Council was formed in
Ontario with M. J. Gorman of Ottawa being elected as the first State Deputy
of our Province. By 1910, there were twenty-four Councils and over 3,500
members of the Order in Ontario.The next decade saw continued growth of
membership in the Knights, both in Councils and membership, and especially
after the war ended in 1918. However, in what was a sign of things to come,
there was a laxity of Councils filling in reports and answering letters, and
also members dues began to fall behind, with some members paying on a credit
instead of cash basis. While this growth in members continued into the early
twenties, the advent of outside attractions such as motion pictures, radio,
sporting enterprises and service clubs brought challenges to the work of the
Knights of Columbus in Ontario. Newer members joined but were not getting
involved at the Council officer level, and by 1924 the membership growth
started to turn toward losses.
How to join
Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to practicing Catholic men in union with the Holy See, who are at least 18 years old. A practicing Catholic is one who lives up to the Commandments of God and the precepts of the Church. Application are available from any member of the Knights of Columbus.
As a member of the Knights of Columbus you and your family enjoy many benefits, including 12 free issues annually of the Columbia magazine, the world's largest Catholic family magazine, eligibility to join the Knights of Columbus top-ranked life insurance program, and many more family and personal benefits.
Why Join the Knights of Columbus?
Imagine being part of an organization that fills your heart and your mind with the joy of giving to others and the feeling that comes with making a difference. Knights are Catholic men, 18 years of age and older, who are committed to making their community a better place, while supporting their Church. Being a Knight is more than camaraderie; it is being involved with your community; it is supporting your local Catholic Church, while enhancing your own faith; it is about protecting and enhancing your family life. Come see just what we are all about and take the first steps to enhance your personal life.
By their deeds shall you know them... We are a group of Catholic men
that get together:
The emblem of the Order dates from the second Supreme Council meeting on May 12, 1883, when James T. Mullen, who was then supreme knight, designed it.
The emblem indicates a shield mounted upon the Formée cross (having the arms narrow at the center and expanding toward the ends). The shield is that associated with a medieval knight. The Formée cross is the representation of a traditional artistic design of the cross of Christ through which all graces of redemption were procured for mankind. This then represents the Catholic spirit of the Order.
Mounted on the shield are three objects: a fasces (a bundle of rods bound together about an ax with the blade projecting) standing vertically and, crossed behind it, an anchor and a dagger or short sword. The fasces from Roman days, carried before magistrates as an emblem of authority, is symbolic of authority which must exist in any tightly-bonded and efficiently operating organization. The anchor is the mariner's symbol for Columbus, patron of the Order, while the short sword or dagger was the weapon of the Knight when engaged upon an errand of mercy. Thus, the shield expresses Catholic Knighthood in organized merciful action, and with the letters, K of C, it proclaims this specific form of activity.
Fourth Degree Emblem
The triad emblem of the Fourth Degree features the dove, the cross and the globe. The dove, classic symbol of the Holy Spirit and peace, is shown hovering over the orb of the Earth (globe). Both are mounted on a variation of the Crusader's cross, which was found on the tunics and capes of the Crusading knights who battled to regain the Holy Land from the pagans.
Spiritually, the sacred symbols on the emblem typify the union of the Three Divine Persons in one Godhead, the most Blessed Trinity.
The colours of the symbols are:
Red, white and blue are the colours of the flag of the country in which the Knights originated. They are used to stress patriotism, the basic principle of the Fourth Degree.
March 29, 1882
The Life and Legacy of
Fr. Michael J. McGivney
In service to one.... In service to all.
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