What are the Knights of Columbus? [Parishioner Reflection]


Its members carry swords and wear funny hats with feathers. They make delicious doughnuts for us to eat after Mass. There’s a hall in town they meet at.
For some of you, that may be all you really know about the Knights of Columbus. Everyone has heard of the organization, but maybe it’s unclear what its actual purpose is. I’m here to clear that up!

The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded in 1882 by Fr. Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut, it was named in honor of the explorer Christopher Columbus. Originally serving as a mutual benefit society to working-class and immigrant Catholics in the United States, it developed into a fraternal benefit society dedicated to providing charitable services, including war and disaster relief, actively defending Catholicism in various nations, and promoting Catholic education.

The Knights are organized around four principles: charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. In short, its members help those in need, support each other, volunteer their time and are proudly devoted to God and country. Nearly 2 million men in over a dozen countries across the globe are proud to call themselves Knights. Last year alone, these men and their families donated more than $185 million to charity and performed more than 75 million hours of service.

I serve as Warden for the Knights of Columbus Waterford Council #237. As Warden, I’m responsible for setting up before meetings and running the 50/50 raffle. I also attend monthly officers meetings and help out with council events and activities.

A typical meeting involves reciting prayers and singing the opening and closing ode, reading the previous month’s minutes, going over any correspondence we received and dealing with both old and new business. We distribute money to worthy charities, help out local parishes and the community, hold a monthly breakfast (first Sunday of every month for just $8 per person) and rent out the hall for various celebrations. We also have a good time doing it!

Over the past year, among many other activities, we set up for the Memorial Day Mass at St. John’s Cemetery in Troy, cleaned St. Mary’s Church in Waterford, put up and took down Christmas trees at St. Augustine’s Church in Troy and set up the nativity scene for St. Mary’s. We also have a special ceremony that we do at wakes and/or funerals of Brother Knights who have passed away.

If you’re interested in joining either the Cohoes or Waterford Knights of Columbus councils (or the auxiliary women’s group, the Columbiettes), please let me know. We are always looking for new members to continue our good work in God’s name!


~ Dana Marascia