Our Beginnings : A Sanctuary
The Knight of Columbus,founded by Father Michael J. McGivney, was chartered by the State of Connecticut in March of 1882 as one of the first Fraternal Benefit Societies, in America. After his Ordination into the Priesthood, by James Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, Maryland, Father McGivney began his pastoral work at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in New Haven Connecticut. Almost immediately he recognized the need in society to provide a financial safety net for the poor and needy immigrant families of late 19th century New England. He sadly discovered that his parish families, most of whom lived in unsanitary conditions and performed hazardous jobs for poor pay were often forced apart upon the death of a breadwinner. Father McGivney saw that in order for the Catholic family unit to remain together, during these times of distress, an alternative was necessary. Since life insurance was made unavailable to immigrant families, even to those few who could afford to pay for it, Father McGivney formed Council #1 of the Knights of Columbus at St. Mary’s, in New Haven. Those first thirty men, upon the death of a brother Knight, each contributed One Dollar to the family of the fallen member thus giving the family a chance to stay together and survive.
From those humble beginnings, the Knights of Columbus has grown to include over 1.6 million Catholic men and their families, in almost 12,000 councils worldwide. In 2001 the members of the KofC donated over $116 million dollars to charitable causes and over 52 million man-hours of community service to their neighbors.
The Knights of Columbus continues to grow and thrive all while publically supporting our clergy and confidently proclaiming all of the beliefs that make our Catholic Faith so dear.
“Have your Family join Our Family”