The Knights of Columbus is a worldwide, Catholic, fraternal service organization. Founded in 1882 by a young priest, the Venerable Fr. Michael McGivney, the Knights contribute their time and energy worldwide, dedicated to service to the Church and local communities, along with actively promoting and defending our faith in family and life issues, vocations, and through Catholic education. The Knights are guided by four core principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism. The Church’s leadership has recognized the Knights as being good for the Church, good for Catholic men, and good for families.
The Knights of Columbus was founded by a young Catholic priest, Fr. Michael J. McGivney, who held the first meeting in the basement of St. Mary’s Church, in New Haven, Connecticut, on Oct 2, 1881. Fr. McGivney and the first members were bound together by the ideal of Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of the Americas, the one whose hand brought Christianity to the New World. Their efforts came to fruition with the incorporation of the Knights of Columbus as an Order, on March 29, 1882.
Now, the Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to more than 12,000 councils and 1.6 million members worldwide in countries including United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Guatemala, Guam and Saipan.
As the Order has grown, its benevolence has increased. The Order continues to break all of its previous records for charitable contributions and volunteer service. In the past decade, the Knights have raised and donated nearly $1 billion to numerous charitable causes and volunteered nearly 400 million hours of service. Last year alone, the Knights donated more than $125 million and more than 60 million volunteer hours to charitable causes.