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Knights Of Columbus

The Vision of Father McGivney


Founded by Father Michael J. McGivney, curate at St. Mary’s parish in New Haven, Connecticut, the Knights of Columbus was chartered on March 29, 1882, in the state of Connecticut.

As the priest explained to a small group of men at a meeting in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in October 1881, his purpose in calling them together was manifold: to help Catholic men remain steadfast in their faith through mutual encouragement, to promote closer ties of fraternity among them, and to set up an elementary system of insurance so that the widows and children of members in the group who might die would not find themselves in dire financial straits.

The founder and first officers of this fledgling organization chose the name of this Catholic group of men the Knights of Columbus. The word “knight” would signify that the membership embodied knightly ideals of spirituality and service to the church, country, and fellow man. They chose “Columbus” as their namesake hoping to ease the anti-Catholic sentiment towards them at the time. Christopher Columbus, the Catholic discoverer of America, was admired by all Americans and would be associated with all those of the same faith that explored and colonized the North American continent.

By the end of 1897, the Order was thoroughly routed in New England, along the upper Atlantic seaboard and into Canada. Within the next 8 years it branched out from Quebec to California and from Florida to Washington.

As of 2020, from such promising beginnings, Father McGivney’s original group has blossomed into a international society of more than 2 million Catholic men plus their families, in nearly 16 thousand councils who have dedicated themselves to the ideals of Columbianism: charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. All told Knights worldwide gave more than $150 million in donations to charitable causes and more than 47 million hours in volunteer church and community service.

Today members of the Order are found in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Guatemala, Guam, Saipan, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and South Korea. They belong to many races and speak many different languages. They are diverse yet they are one. Their diversity spells creativity; their unity spells strength.

Uniontown, PA Council 1275
Uniontown, PA 15401
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