A Catholic Family Fraternal Benefits Society
Father Michael J. McGivney
Venerable Servant of God
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, the esteemed assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, along with some of his devout parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature officially granted a charter to the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society on March 29, 1882. Even today, the Order remains steadfast in upholding its foundational principles of charity, unity, and fraternity, which reflect its commitment to Catholic beliefs.
It is worth noting that Father McGivney’s remarkable contributions have not gone unnoticed by the Vatican. At present, his cause for Sainthood is under investigation, and he has been honored with the title of Venerable Servant of God for his exceptional dedication to both the Catholic faith and the fraternal ideals he embodied. Father McGivney’s legacy continues to inspire and resonate within the Knights of Columbus and the wider Catholic community.
The Life and Legacy of Father McGivney
We invite you to learn more about the life and legacy of Father Michael McGivney in this short two-minute video.
The Knights of Columbus, founded through the foresight of Father Michael J. McGivney, is a beacon of Catholic beliefs and charity donations. Its inception was rooted in a profound mission: to offer financial aid to members and their families, embodying the core tenets of the Catholicism beliefs.
This esteemed fraternity is dedicated to mutual aid and assistance, providing unwavering support to sick, disabled, and needy members and their families. It goes beyond mere financial assistance, promoting social and intellectual fellowship among its members and their loved ones. Through a diverse array of initiatives encompassing education, charitable endeavors, religious activities, social welfare, war relief, and public assistance, the Knights of Columbus upholds its commitment to Catholic principles while generously donating to charitable causes.
Father Michael J. McGivney’s remarkable vision, now under consideration for sainthood by the Vatican, laid the foundation for what has become the world’s foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society. This Order has significantly impacted countless families, offering economic security and stability through innovative programs like life insurance, annuities, and long-term care. Furthermore, the Knights of Columbus extends its charitable reach globally, dedicating time and energy to service in communities around the world
The growth of the Knights of Columbus is a testament to its enduring mission. From its humble beginnings, it has flourished into a vast organization, boasting more than 15,100 councils and a membership exceeding 1.9 million individuals. This remarkable expansion spans countries, including 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. In each of these regions, the Knights of Columbus remains unwavering in its dedication to Catholic beliefs, charity donations, and the betterment of communities worldwide.
Council #3774 - Father Saylor
The Knights of Columbus, a fraternity deeply rooted in Catholic beliefs and founded by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, embodies four core principles: Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. These principles are the cornerstone of our mission and the essence of our faith.
Our Catholic faith instructs us to “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” and as Knights of Columbus, we live this commandment daily. Through charitable actions, we express our love for our neighbors. We conduct food drives, donating the collected provisions to local soup kitchens and food pantries. We volunteer at Special Olympics events and offer both spiritual and material support to mothers who choose life for their babies. This call to action is grounded in our faith in God, compelling us to extend love and compassion to those in need.
We understand that the strength of the collective surpasses that of the individual. As Knights, we unite, supporting each other to achieve greater accomplishments than we could alone. While disagreements may arise, our unity remains unwavering. As Knights of Columbus, you can always rely on the support and encouragement of your fellow Knights as you work to enhance the lives of those in your parish and community.
Father McGivney established the Knights of Columbus with the noble purpose of providing assistance to widows and children left behind when the family’s breadwinner passed away prematurely. Today, our top-rated insurance program continues this tradition, and individual Knights collectively gave more than 10 million hours of their time last year to assist sick and disabled members and their families. Within the Knights of Columbus, we look out for one another and ensure that every member is cared for.
Knights of Columbus members, whether they hail from America, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, the Philippines, Poland, or the Dominican Republic, share a deep sense of patriotism. We proudly demonstrate our devotion to God and country, standing up for both in public and private spheres. The Knights serve as a reminder to the world that Catholics are loyal citizens who contribute to the greatness of their nations.
The 4th Degree
For those who follow the teachings of Jesus, there comes a moment when our duty transcends our own lives, extending to how we lead our families and serve our fellow man. This fundamental principle lies at the heart of the Knights of Columbus, an organization founded by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, rooted in Catholic beliefs and dedicated to charity donations and the betterment of our world.
The Patriotic Degree, an esteemed facet of the Knights of Columbus, takes this commitment one step further, elevating the title of “Sir Knights” to an esteemed honor.
Knights of the Patriotic Degree are resolute in their dedication to the personal development and ongoing honor of their brother Knights. They stand as unwavering pillars, always ready to provide leadership, guidance, and encouragement to their fellow Knights.
Knights of the Patriotic Degree are steadfast in their commitment to what is just and honorable. They strive to maintain the presence of God in the civic arena, actively contributing to the life of the Church, and defending laws that uphold the sanctity of life and genuine religious liberty
Within the Patriotic Degree, the Color Corps stands as an elective division, serving as a visible reminder of the Knights’ dedicated service to the community. This visible display reflects their commitment to the legacy of knighthood established by Father McGivney.
A Shield for Life
Our insurance program offers several different products for members in all stages of life including life insurance, retirement annuities, long-term care insurance, and disability income insurance.
The Knights of Columbus insurance story begins in the winter of 1882 in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn. It was there that our Venerable founder, Father Michael J. McGivney, gathered the men of his parish together to create a solution to a recurring problem.
It was a cold reality that had confronted Father McGivney all too often — not only in the lives of his parishioners — but in his own. As a seminarian, he was forced to leave school and return home to aid his family when his father died unexpectedly.
Many Catholics — most of whom were immigrants — were working and living in unfavorable conditions. And many, tragically, were dying young, leaving behind widows and orphans with insufficient financial resources.
Though this story of financial ruin for Catholic families was common, Father McGivney was convinced that there was a way to change the ending. He knew that if the Catholic men in his parish came together in mutual aid, widows and orphans could receive the support they needed.
He also knew that if Catholic men banded together, united by charity and unity, they could strengthen their faith, their families, and their communities.
So, he established the Knights of Columbus, and with it, a “pass-the-hat” insurance system to protect the Catholic families in his parish. Over time, that system has evolved, and today we stay true to our founding mission through our multi-billion dollar, top-rated insurance program. Members in the United States and Canada have exclusive access to our insurance program and products, including life insurance, retirement annuities, long-term care insurance, and disability income insurance.
Our insurance program has more than $100 billion of in-force policies and over $21 billion in assets. Year after year the Knights insurance program outperforms the competition.
For 40 consecutive years, the Knights of Columbus have earned the highest possible rating for financial strength, currently: A++ (Superior) from the A.M. Best rating agency.
The Knights of Columbus has been recognized as a 2016 World’s Most Ethical Company® by the Ethisphere® Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.