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 15,342 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.
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