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 the 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 serveral members in once 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.
From the moment of our founding in 1882, charity has been first principle of the Knights of Columbus. We are men of faith and men of action.
In 2015, the Knights of Columbus set a new all-time record for the 17th consecutive year. Our charitable donations increased from 2014 by more than $1;5 million to a new total of $175,079,192. In addition, we achieved our highest level of charitable service in 2015, volunteering moe than 73.5 million hours of service. The number of service hours contributed by Knights rose in 2015 by more than a million over the previous year’s total.
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 local charities, the opportunity to work together with fellow Knights and their families is virtually endless.
“We are answering Pope Francis’ call to go to the peripheries,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said. “We can reach half way around the globe to help those in need and we can reach to our neighbor next door. And we do that every day. That makes us witnesses to the faith.”
if you’d like to be a part of an international organization of nearly 2 million Catholic men whose principal work involves helping others in need, we’d like to meet you and invite you to join us.