Assumption Council was founded in 1966 through the efforts of men wanting to serve their church and community. Assumption Council works closely with Our Lady of the Assumption Church in the Archdiocese of Newark and the town of Emerson, providing funds for various projects and events. The first Organizational Meeting was held on November 29, 1965. Approximately 70 men from Assumption Parish were in attendance. Also in attendance was Fr. Caesar Orrico, Pastor of Assumption Church and several State Council Officers including Past State Deputy William J. Boman. At this meeting, the men were informed of the need for a council in Assumption Parish and what the Knights of Columbus could offer to them. More importantly, what the men had to offer to the parish and the community in which they lived to assist them in achieving their respective goals. After the meeting, 39 men transferred their membership and 13 new members were enrolled. Thus was the creation of Our Lady of the Assumption Council.
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Thanks to the efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven and some of his parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature on March 29, 1882, officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. The Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity.
The Knights was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
The history of the Order shows how the foresight of Father Michael J. McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican, brought about what has become the world's foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society. The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity and long-
The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to more than 14,000 councils and 1.8 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam and Saipan.
All the good works we do are informed by our four core principles:
Unity – None of us is as good as all of us. Members of the Knights of Columbus all know that – together – we can accomplish far more than any of us could individually. So we stick together…we support one another. That doesn’t mean that we always agree or that there is never a difference of opinion. It does mean that – as a Knight of Columbus – you can count on the support and encouragement of your brother Knights as you work to make life better in your parish and community.
Fraternity – The Venerable Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus, in large part, to provide assistance to the widows and children left behind when the family breadwinner died – often prematurely. The Order’s top-
Patriotism – Members of the Knights of Columbus, be they Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Filipinos, Poles, or Dominicans, are patriotic citizens. We are proud of our devotion to God and country, and believe in standing up for both. Whether it’s in public or private, the Knights remind the world that Catholics support their nations and are amongst the greatest citizens.
A painting by Italian artist Antonella Cappuccio depicts Venerable Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus. In the background are 19th-
Supreme Council Office
The Knights of Columbus international headquarters is located in New Haven, Connecticut. Led by the Supreme Knight, the chief executive officer of the Knights, the office provides administrative support and leadership for our more than 14,000 local units.
The Supreme Council has more than 75 state council organizations to help guide regional activities that are consistent with the principles of the Order.
Each state council is divided into districts -
Local councils are the basic unit of the Knights. Most are based in parishes, though some have their own council hall within a community. Each local council works to assist with the needs of its community consistent with the principles of the Order.
Every council is assigned a certified insurance agent, who is a Knight, and whose job it is to provide our top-
From the moment of our founding in 1882, charity has been the first principle of the Knights of Columbus. We are men of faith and men of action.
Last year alone, in addition to raising and donating more than $158 million to charitable needs and projects, Knights volunteered more than 70 million hours of their time to charitable causes. We undertake these acts of charity because we see those in need through the eyes of faith. Moreover, in the Knights of Columbus, we approach these acts of charity together. Pope Benedict XVI calls this the “practice of love...as a community.”
Our charitable activities encompass an almost infinite variety of local, national and international projects. From international charitable partnerships with Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission and Habitat for Humanity to our own Food for Families and Coats for Kids projects and other purely local charities, the opportunity to work together with fellow Knights and their families is virtually endless.
If you’d like to be a part of an international organization of 1.8 million Catholic men whose principal work involves helping others in need, we'd like to meet you and invite you to join us.
The Knights’ annual Survey of Fraternal Activity for the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, indicated that, despite a soft economy, total charitable contributions reached $154,651,852 – exceeding the previous year’s total by more than $3.4 million.
The figure includes $29,183,386 donated by the Supreme Council, and $128,901,128 in contributions from state and local councils, assemblies and Squires circles.
Sixty percent of the contributions were for projects at the community level, many involving youth activities. Large donations during the period included $250,000 by Supreme Council and $3,378,000 by state and local councils for Special Olympics as well as $1,593,000 by Supreme Council and $5,950,073 by state and local for the support and promotion of religious vocations.
The survey also indicated that the quantity of volunteer service hours to charitable causes by Knights grew to 70,053,149 – an increase of 797,507 hours compared to 2009. There were more than 418,841 Knights of Columbus blood donations during the year.
Cumulative figures show that during the past decade, the Knights of Columbus has donated $1.406 billion to charity, and provided more than 653 million hours of volunteer service in support of charitable initiatives.
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As a symbol that allegiance to their country did not conflict with allegiance to their faith, the organization’s members took as their patron Christopher Columbus — recognized as a Catholic and celebrated as the discoverer of America. Thanks to Father McGivney’s persistence, the Knights of Columbus elected officers in February 1882 and officially assumed corporate status on March 29.
In addition to the Order’s stated benefits, Catholic men were drawn to the Knights because of its emphasis on serving one’s Church, community and family with virtue. Writing in The Columbiad in 1898, a year before he was elected supreme knight, Edward L. Hearn wrote that a Knight should live according to the virtues of loyalty, charity, courtesy and modesty, as well as “self-
1882: The Knights of Columbus is born on Feb. 6, 1882, when the first members choose Columbus as their patron. Immediately after the Order’s March 29 incorporation, Father McGivney sends the first diocesan-
1886: By the end of his four-
1890: Father McGivney dies Aug. 14, 1890. His funeral Mass is celebrated in Thomaston, Conn., four days later.
1892: The Order passes laws allowing noninsurance or associate members to join.
1892: 6,000 Knights march in the New Haven Columbus Day parade to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the New World.
1895: The Vatican’s first acknowledgment of the Knights comes when Archbishop Francesco Satolli, apostolic delegate to the United States, writes a letter extolling the “merits of this splendid Catholic organization” and giving the Order his apostolic blessing.
1897: On Nov. 25, 1897, Canada’s first council — Montreal Council 284 — is chartered.
Along with the addition of “patriotism” to the Knights’ principles came the first Fourth Degree exemplification, which took place Feb. 22, 1900, in New York City, with 1,100 Knights participating. A similar event took place in Boston in May with another 750 candidates taking the patriotic degree.
By the beginning of the 20th century, the fledgling Order was growing dramatically. Councils had been chartered throughout the United States and Canada, and international expansion continued to Mexico and the Philippines in 1905, along with Cuba and Panama in 1909.
The Knights also turned their attention to college campuses, and in more ways than one. In 1904, more than 10,000 Knights and their families attended ceremonies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in which the Order presented the school with a grant for more than $55,000. The funds, used to establish a K of C chair of American history, began a long history of support for CUA. In addition, students at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana soon organized their own K of C council. Chartered in 1910, Notre Dame Council 1477 was the Order’s first college council, launching a subset of the Knights that today includes councils at 244 schools worldwide.