Oct. 2, 1881, a small 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
Michael J. McGivney, these men formed a fraternal society
that would one day become the world’s largest Catholic
family fraternal service organization.
McGivney dedicated his life to the spiritual and physical
welfare of others, creating the Knights of Columbus to
provide insurance for the protection of widows and orphans,
and the spiritual benefit of its members and families.
Today, a growing number of schools, medical centers and
social service agencies named for him associate their work
with his charisma, and the Knights of Columbus insures the
lives of more than 1.2 million men, women and children.
charitable works, Father McGivney wanted each Knight's heart
and mind attuned to greater love of God and his Son, both
within the Church and within the family. That is his
Knights, Father McGivney sought to form young Catholic men
into good spouses and fathers. He has become known as
Apostle to the Young and Defender of Christian Family Life.
He saw strong families as the foundation of his parish, of
the Church and of society at large. He was convinced that
the Catholic layman had a unique role in influencing society
and promoting the values found in what Pope John Paul II has
since named the Culture of Life and Civilization of Love.
Father McGivney did not use the vocabulary of the 21st
century, but he espoused the same Gospel values that
Catholics affirm today.
Increasingly, Church leaders realize that part of Father
McGivney's spiritual genius is that nearly a century before
the Second Vatican Council addressed the important role of
the laity in the Church, Father McGivney built a way for
laymen to make a substantial and enduring contribution to
their parishes, communities and physical and spiritual
security of their families. And he saw that by doing so one
parish and community at a time, Catholic families could help
build a better world. He was a man
ahead of his time.
Click here to view a chronological history of the
Knights of Columbus and their faith in action.
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
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Columbus Star of the Sea Council #371 Bayonne NJ ∙