A Knights of Columbus council can work wonders; in fact, with its many programs, it can help change the community, town, city or neighborhood in which you live.
For most men who follow Jesus, there comes a time when duty extends beyond our own lives, beyond how we lead our families, and into how we serve our fellow man. That's what the Knights of Columbus is all about. The Patriotic Degree allows knights to take this one step further. "Sir Knight" is more than a title. It's an honor.
When knighthood was in flower, knights carried the sword to defend their God, their Church, their country and their fellow man according to the code of chivalry. Today, Sir Knights wear regalia and carry the sword to honor Christ and His apostles, especially on religious and civic occasions specified in their manual. Hence, the primary purpose of the Fourth Degree is to encourage active Catholic citizenship and foster the spirit of patriotism in members and the community at large.
The formation of Knights of Columbus was on March 29, 1882 by the founder Michael J. McGivney.
The Motto is In service to One, In service to All.
Later the emblem of the Order dates from the second Supreme Council meeting on May 12, 1883, when James T. Mullen, who was then Supreme Knight designed it.
The emblem indicates a shield mounted upon the Formée cross (having the arms narrow at the center and expanding toward the ends). The shield is that associated with a medieval knight. The Formée cross is the representation of a traditional artistic design of the cross of Christ through which all graces of redemption were procured for mankind. This then represents the Catholic spirit of the Order.
Mounted on the shield are three objects: a fasces (a bundle of rods bound together about an axe with the blade projecting) standing vertically and, crossed behind it, an anchor and a dagger or short sword.
The fasces from Roman days, carried before magistrates as an emblem of authority, is symbolic of authority which must exist in any tightly-bonded and efficiently operating organization.
The anchor is the mariner’s symbol for Columbus, patron of the Order, while the short sword or dagger was the weapon of the Knight when engaged upon an errand of mercy, thus, the shield expresses Catholic Knighthood in organized merciful action, and with the letters, K of C, it proclaims this specific form of activity.
Each ‘degree’ of the Knights of Columbus is associated with a particular virtue, the fourth being “Patriotism”. Consequently, the 4th Degree is often known as ‘The Patriotic Degree’.It was established in New York on 22 February, 1900. The requirements for joining the 4th are that a brother Knight must have been a third degree member in good standing for at least one year, be an exemplary Catholic, and be of sound citizenship of his country.
The Fourth Degree is frequently regarded as an honorary title with its regalia of tuxedos, capes, chapeau and swords but should rather be thought of in terms of service to church and country, and the goals of the Fourth Degree may be summarized as the promotion of the ideals of Catholicism and Patriotism side by side.
There has been a recent change in regalia which doesn’t permit the usage of the tuxedos, capes and chapeau any more past July 1, 2019. The new uniform looks rather different as the Sir Knight is wearing in this picture. It is not mandatory for a 4th Degree Knight to purchase the uniform, but it is honorable to wear one in ceremonies.
In more detail, these goals may be stated as:
Therefore, it is not unusual to find Fourth Degree Knights participating visibly in church events, such as Eucharistic processions, and others, and in the community, standing up for the unborn and the elderly at Pro-Life events.
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