By Iowa Knights of Columbus
Recognizing a vital, practical need in his community, the 29-year-old assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in New Haven, Conn., gathered a group of men at his parish in 1881. He proposed establishing a lay organization, the goals of which would be to prevent Catholic men from entering secret societies whose membership was antithetical to Church teaching, to unite men of Catholic faith, and to provide for the families of deceased members. The organization formed was the Knights of Columbus.
Built on the principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism, Knights continue the mission of their founder, Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney, to be men of faith, family, action, and charitable works. Fr. McGivney knew these were the keys to promote an authentic Catholic way of life among Catholic men and their families.
Knights of Columbus stand shoulder to shoulder with clergy in the work of the Church, whether it be ministering to the homeless, assisting the infirm, educating the young, or keeping the church roof leak-free.
Family friendly, Knights play a significant role in youth development and enrichment through its various programs and scholarships opportunities. The Knights of Columbus is also a fraternal benefit society that provides top-rated life insurance, long-term care insurance and retirement products to its members. And a Knight is never forgotten upon his death. An honor guard stands at visitations and/or funerals, memorial Masses are held annually, and support for his surviving family is only a phone call away.
Action minded, Knights support a culture of life for every man, woman and child. They have launched initiatives like outreach to pregnancy resource centers and the purchase of ultrasound machines to give women the opportunity to choose life. They further that support to the father and family in the critical years after God’s blessed child is born.
Through their principle of patriotism, Knights support current military members and veterans by funding the education of seminarians preparing to become Catholic chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces, purchasing and distributing spiritual support materials, marching with our country’s flag in parades and parish events, assisting each other in the practice of good citizenship, and being active in the Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service in VA medical centers and clinics across Iowa.
Well known for flipping pancakes or frying fish or handing out Tootsie Rolls, Knights conduct these popular activities to increase fraternity but to also raise money for various charitable works from direct donations to longstanding partners like Special Olympics to building a ramp at the home of a person who can not continue to live there without such assistance.
To further the work of the Knights of Columbus for generations to come, Bishop Martin Amos of the Diocese of Davenport is supporting the Iowa Knights of Columbus membership campaign “Bishop’s Blast” building on the Knight’s longstanding solidarity with clergy. Catholic men are invited to learn more about the benefit and opportunity of membership.
“Becoming a Knight of Columbus can transform your life,” shared Bishop Amos, a Knight himself. “As a Knight, you have the opportunity to support your parish, give back to your community, grow in your faith while also protecting and enhancing your family life.”
Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See. For more information on the world’s largest Catholic lay organization and how to join, please visit www.kofc.org and www.iowakofc.org.
By Iowa Knights of Columbus