Knights of Columbus is an International Catholic, fraternal service
organization open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical
Catholics in communion with the Holy See. The Order of the Knights of
Columbus was founded in 1882 by Father Michael McGiveney, the assistant
priest at St. Mary's parish in New Haven, Connecticut. His
purposes in establishing the order were:
to help Catholic men remain steadfast in their faith through mutual encouragement;
to promote closer ties of fraternity among those men;
and to set up an elementary system of insurance to support widows and children of the men who might die.
Thus the Order's highly-rated insurance program grew from those early objectives.
Today, the Knights number over 1.8 million men organized in councils in
the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, the Bahamas, the
Dominican Republic, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam and
The International, or Supreme, Headquarters is in New Haven, CT.
Local councils are organized together into state, province or country
councils. Texas has over 650 councils with over 106 of those
councils in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Texas membership
reached over 100,000 in 2013 and is the largest state membership in the
All Knights of Columbus are dedicated to four common ideals of Columbianism. They are strived for by taking four degrees:
First Degree ---- Charity
Second Degree - Unity
Third Degree --- Fraternity
Fourth Degree -- Patriotism
The Knights of Columbus now have many basic programs which aim at specific areas of need: