Knights of Columbus
It all started when…
Thanks to the efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven and some of his parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature on March 29, 1882, officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. The Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity.
The Knights was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
The history of the Order shows how the foresight of Father Michael J. McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican, brought about what has become the world's foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society. The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.
The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to more than 15,100 councils and 1.9 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam, Saipan, Lithuania, Ukraine, and South Korea.
The Knights of Columbus Council #7624 are the St. Rita council. We meet the first Thursday of the month from 7-9pm in the Sts. Peter and Paul Meeting Room. The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal organization for men over the age of 18. For more information, contact our Grand Knight, Bill Osborne at 815-540-9178.
What We Do
From the moment of our founding in 1882, charity has been the first principle of the Knights of Columbus. We are men of faith and men of action.
In 2014, we set new records in charitable giving for the 16th consecutive year. Our charitable contributions increased in 2014 by more than $3.4 million over the previous year to a record $173,550,680. In addition, we achieved our highest level of charitable service, volunteering more than 71.5 million hours. The number of service hours contributed by members rose in 2014 by more than a million hours over the 2013 total, with each member donating nearly a full workweek on average.
Our charitable activities encompass an almost infinite variety of local, national and international projects. From international charitable partnerships with Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission and Habitat for Humanity to our own Food for Families and Coats for Kids projects and other purely local charities, the opportunity to work together with fellow Knights and their families is virtually endless.
We undertake these acts of charity because we see those in need through the eyes of faith. Moreover, in the Knights of Columbus, we approach these acts of charity together. Pope Benedict XVI calls this the “practice of love...as a community.”
If you’d like to be a part of an international organization of more than 1.9 million Catholic men whose principal work involves helping others in need, we'd like to meet you and invite you to join us!
All the good works we do are informed by our four core principles:
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.
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.
Patriotism – Members of the Knights of Columbus, be they Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Filipinos, Poles, or Dominicans, are patriotic citizens. We are proud of our devotion to God and country, and believe in standing up for both. Whether it’s in public or private, the Knights remind the world that Catholics support their nations and are amongst the greatest citizens.
Why You Should Become a Knight
In 1882, Father Michael J. McGivney gathered a small group of parishioners in St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn. His purpose was to establish a group of men, united in their faith and to provide for Catholic families in times of need. This was the beginning of the Knights of Columbus.
Guided by the principles of charity, unity, and fraternity members of the Knights of Columbus work to overcome the hardships that people face in their parishes and communities. We are a growing organization - more than 1.9 million members - and for over 130 years have committed to overcome the challenges of the need for food, shelter, warm clothing and financial security, as well as provide aid for widows and orphans in our local communities.
Joining your local council of the Knights of Columbus can change your life. As a Knight, you have the opportunity to strengthen your parish, give back to your community, grow in your faith and gain exclusive access to our portfolio of top-rated insurance products to financially protect your family.
By joining your local council does not mean that you need to sacrifice quality time with your family. By volunteering an hour here or an hour there - with your family - can make an enormous difference in your life and in the lives of others.
If you’re interested in helping those in need in your parish and community, strengthening your parish and your familial relationships, growing in your faith, and gaining exclusive access to top-rated insurance protection for you and your family, then consider joining the Knights of Columbus council associated with your parish.
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. This means that an applicant or member 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.
Benefits of Membership
Columbia Magazine - Free subscription to the Order’s award-winning magazine examining issues of concern to Knights, Catholics and families
Knights of Columbus rosary - Blessed by the supreme chaplain, presented during the Admission Degree to each new member
Daily Mass of Remembrance at St. Mary’s Church - Mass for deceased members and their wives at the birthplace of the Order
Insurance - Access to a portfolio of top-quality life insurance, long-term care and annuity products exclusive for members and their families
Family Fraternal Benefit - For eligible families: a) pays $1,500 for the child who dies before the age of 61 days; b) pays $750 for the child who is stillborn at least 20 weeks after conception; c) offers guaranteed-issue insurance - up to $5,000 - to any child under age 18
Orphan Benefit - $80 monthly allotment for orphans of eligible families; up to $7,000 in college scholarships available Member/Spouse Fraternal Benefit - Accidental death coverage for member and spouse at no cost
Widow Benefits - a) continues to be covered under the Member/Spouse Fraternal Benefit; b) may purchase life insurance, long-term care insurance or annuities up to one year after insured member’s death; c) receives a free lifetime subscription to Columbia; d) eligible with her children for scholarships, student loans, etc.
Scholarships - Scholarship programs for higher education available to members, their spouses and children
Leadership Development - Opportunity to build personal leadership skills, public speaking ability, organizational skills, etc.
Fourth Degree - Eligibility to join the Patriotic Degree
Honorary Life Membership - At age 70 with 25 years of membership
Membership Card - Entitles participation in all Catholic, fraternal and social activities in member’s council and also in over 15,000 councils throughout the world
Activities - participation in a variety of programs and activities conducted by your council
Various prayer and Eucharistic adoration programs
Participating in the Coats for Kids and Food for Families programs
Encouraging vocations to the priesthood and religious life