The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic Fraternal service organization. Founded in the United States in 1882, it is named in honor of Christopher Columbus and describes itself as being dedicated to the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. There are more than 1.7 million members in 14,000 councils, with nearly 200 councils on college campuses. Membership is limited to “practical Catholic” men aged 18 or older.
Councils have been chartered in the United States, and in many countries of the world. The Knights’ official junior organization is the Columbian Squires. All the Order’s ceremonials and business meetings are restricted to members though all other events are open to the public. A promise not to reveal any details of the ceremonials except to an equally qualified Knight is required to ensure their impact and meaning for new members; an additional clause subordinates the promise to that Knight’s civil and religious duties.
In the 2007 fraternal year, the Order gave $144,911,781 directly to charity (1.1 Billion in charitable contributions in the last 10 years) and performed over 68,695,768 man hours of voluntary service. For their support for the Church and local communities, as well as for their philanthropic efforts, the Order is often referred to as the “strong right arm of the Church”. The Order’s insurance program has more than $60 billion of life insurance policies in force and holds the highest insurance ratings given by A M Best, Standard & Poors and the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association.
The Houlton Council of the Knights of Columbus was organized and received its charter on April 25, 1917. Over the years the Council has supported the Church in many ways and has promoted family values, supported seminarians, the Church in general throughout its history. It has also been a supporter of Special Olympics.
In 1982 the Houlton Council was considered the most active in the country. It was during this time that it received the Star Council Award and also received the prestigious International Council Activity Award at the national convention held in Columbus, Ohio. The Houlton Council was Maine’s first to receive this award.
In the Spring of 1987, members in this council organized the Fourth Degree Assembly and received its charter from the Maine State Master on April 5 of that year. Our Color Guard continues to be active in our Church Ceremonies and community celebrations.
The Knights also serve our priests in many and various ways. For instance, members have served at the altar for all funerals at St. Mary’s since 1982.
For more information:
Call Grand Knight Paul Klein, Financial Secretary Andrew Ciszewski, or Fr. Kent at 532-2871.
Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month in the Parish Center.