Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to practical Catholic men in union with
the Holy See, who shall not be less than 18 years of age on their last birthday. A practical
Catholic is one who lives up to the Commandments of God and the precepts of the Church.
Application blanks are available from any member of the Knights of Columbus. Every knight is
happy to propose eligible Catholic men for consideration as members.
Acceptance of the applicant depends upon a vote of the members of the subordinate council
in which he is making application.
All priests and religious brothers having duly made application for membership and participated
in the ceremonials become honorary life members of the Order and are exempt from payment of dues.
Application for membership must be made through the council in the community nearest the applicant's
place of residence. Interested prospects without a permanent domicile, such as men temporarily away
from home through duty in the armed forces, may make application through their hometown council or at
the nearest council on a military base.
If favorably voted upon, the applicant becomes a member by initiation known as the First Degree.
He subsequently is advanced through the Second Degree and the Third Degree.
There are modest initiation fees and dues set by subordinate councils under regulations established
by the Supreme Council. The insurance privileges are available to all members who can qualify, which
represents an important advantage of membership. For men in every walk of life the name Knights of
Columbus engenders the image of a united organization, efficiently going about it tasks of charity,
unity, fraternity, patriotism and defense of the priesthood. It is composed of men who are giving
unselfishly of their time and talents in service of God and their country.
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Membership in the Knights of Columbus provides opportunity for wholesome association with congenial
companions who are, first of all, practical Catholic gentlemen. It offers the opportunity for fellowship
with those who are of the same belief, who recognize the same duty to God, to family and to neighbor and
who stand side by side in defense of those beliefs. Programs are so organized as to appeal to the individual
interest of the members. Through many constructive activities of Christian fraternity, members are enabled
to render service to their Church, their country and their fellowman. Through membership they develop a
consciousness of their ability to lead and to assist.
Organized Columbianism, united behind the individual Knight of Columbus, provides the power of an
intelligent, alert body of Catholic men--a strength which the individual by himself cannot achieve.
The Knights of Columbus has a proud heritage. The qualified Catholic man can share in that heritage
and build an even greater future by affiliating himself with this forceful, effective body.
The Patriotic Degree
Another degree open to members in the Knights of Columbus is the Fourth Degree.
The first exemplification of that degree was held in New York City, on February 22, 1900.
The ritual added patriotism to the three principles of the Order: charity, unity and fraternity.
Any Third Degree member in good standing, one year after the anniversary of his First Degree,
is eligible for membership in the Fourth Degree.
The primary purpose of the Fourth Degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism by promoting
responsible citizenship and a love of and loyalty to the Knights' respective countries through
active membership in local Fourth Degree groups (called "assemblies"). Fourth Degree members
must retain their membership as Third Degree members in their local council to remain in good standing.
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Certain members of the Fourth Degree serve as honor guards at civic and religious
functions as shown above, an activity that has brought worldwide recognition to the Knights of Columbus.
The Fourth Degree Emblem is pictured above. Bearers of this emblem are committed to conduct themselves
honorably as Christian gentlemen in their private and public lives, as well as acting patriotically for the
good of their nations. Likewise, the Fourth Degree sword represents the bearer's reverence for the Eucharist
and the Pope, bishops and hierarchy of the Church, and displays publicly his willingness to protect his Church
Considered under a religious aspect, we have the honor and privilege of wearing on our swords and our lapels
the sacred symbol of the Most Blessed Trinity. This should always remind us to live a good Christian life,
and that we should never bring dishonor on the emblem we have been privileged to wear. By this, others may
see our good works, through which we will glorify our Holy Religion, our Honored Order and our Beloved Country.