Our Council was Chartered by the Supreme Council on April 27, 1973. We are formed of Catholic Gentlemen from the 5 Catholic Parishes of Mount Prospect. We are men of faith in God who are dedicated to our church, country, families and our community.
As men of action we participate in various charitable activities encompassing a variety of local, national and international projects. From charitable partnerships with Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission, and Habitat for Humanity, to our own Food for Families, Ultrasound Initiative, Coats for Kids and our annual drive to Support Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, the opportunity to work together with fellow Knights and their families to support our faith community is virtually endless.
All the good works we do are rooted in our four core principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. We are committed to the protection of human life and dedicated to helping Catholic families spiritually grow in their faith and parish community.
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 Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its Sheild of life insurance, annuity and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.
Knights of Columbus History
Late-19th century Connecticut was marked by the growing prevalence of fraternal benefit societies, hostility toward Catholic immigrants and dangerous working conditions in factories that left many families fatherless. Recognizing a vital, practical need in his community, Father Michael J. McGivney, the 29-year-old assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., gathered a group of men at his parish on Oct. 2, 1881. He proposed establishing a lay organization, the goal of which would be to prevent Catholic men from entering secret societies whose membership was antithetical to Church teaching, to unite men of Catholic faith and to provide for the families of deceased members.
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-denial and careful respect for the feelings of others.” Fraternity and patriotism were added to the Knights’ founding principles of charity and unity in 1885 and 1900, respectively.
In today’s world, many Catholic men are looking to fulfill their desire to spend meaningful time with their family, to serve their community and their Church, and to grow in their faith. Joining the Knights of Columbus provides these men and their families with faith resources, volunteer opportunities and activities that accomplish these goals. If you are such a man who is dedicated to making a difference, then membership in the Knights of Columbus is for you. A portfolio Shield of top-quality life insurance, long-term care, and annuity products are exclusively available to members and their families.
Knights of Columbus Emblem
The emblem of the Order dates from the second Supreme Council meeting May 12, 1883, when it was designed by James T. Mullen, who was then Supreme Knight. A quick glance at the emblem indicates a shield mounted upon the Formée Cross.The shield is that associated with a medieval Knight.The Formée Cross is the representation of a traditionally artistic design of the Cross of Christ through which all graces of redemption were procurred for mankind.This then represents the Catholic spirit of the Order. Mounted on the shield are three objects: a fasces standing vertically, and, crossed behind it, an anchor and a dagger or short sword. The fasces from Roman days 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. The red, white and blue in the background of the shield and the foreground of the Cross of Malta are the colors of our country. As such,red is the symbol of stout-hearted courage, of pulsing activity and a full measure of devotion.Blue is the symbol of hope, of calm tranquility under God and of confidence in the protection of our country.White is the symbol of nobility of purpose, of purity of aim and of crucible — tried ideals to be carried out. But there is another symbolism of color in red, white and blue. This is the ecclesiastical symbolism in which red becomesthe reflection of the drips of Christ’s redemptive blood shed upon Calvary, and of the martyr’s blood shed in defense of the faith. Red then is the symbol of Faith, of belief in Christ, in the Redemption and in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. White is the color of the Eucharistic Host, pledge of God’s Eucharistic presence among men, of the infinite love God has for man and the overwhelming affection which the God-man has for each individual.White then is the symbol of Christ-like Charity. Blue is the color of Our Lady’s mantle, in which she wrapped her beloved Son,through Whom came salvation to a sinful world. Blue is then the symbol of Hope.
History of the Village of Mount Prospect
Mount Prospect, Illinois is a northwest suburb of Chicago. With a diverse population of over 54,000, an extensive school system and a strong base of both retail and professional businesses, Mount Prospect is a vibrant community that has much to offer, yet retains a sense of small town charm.
The original inhabitants of the area that today encompasses Mount Prospect were Native Americans. Yankees were the first American settlers to the area and the first to clear the land and establish farms. Yet, the second group, German immigrants, had the most significant impact in terms of population and cultural traditions.
In 1850, the train rolled into town. This led to an increasing specialization in the farming community. Not long after the train station was built, others began building stores and houses downtown and made the Village of Mount Prospect come to life. With all of this development, more people started to move to the area, and with a station downtown, the train now stopped in Mount Prospect.
From this point the Village developed into what we know today. The town became more diverse and the Village center began to develop. In 1917, Mount Prospect reached a population of 300 and was incorporated. From there, the largest growth came during land speculations in the 1920's and then the suburban movements that followed World War II. The baby boom expanded the population and the Village began expanding the services it offered.
In the early 1960's, the business community in Mount Prospect took a giant leap forward with the construction of Randhurst, the first indoor air-conditioned mall in the upper Midwest. It is now known as Randhurst Village - a vibrant, open-air mixed-use center with national and regional retailers, a state-of-the-art cinema, office space, a 140-room hotel and a variety of restaurants. Another major event in the history of the Village was the development of Kensington Business Center, which has served as the home to several major national and international firms including NTN Bearing, Searle, Braun Manufacturing Cummins-Allison Corp., and ITT Technical Institute.
The big news in the 1990's and 2000's was the downtown redevelopment. Several new buildings continue to be built changing the look and make-up of the downtown area. There are several new condominium buildings as well as space for new shops and restaurants. The Village is also working on making the downtown area look more appealing. Attention is being focused on flowers, plants and trees in an effort to beautify the Village.
Yes, Mount Prospect has certainly changed. Today, we are a combination of many nationalities, award-winning schools, churches, local commerce, shopping and business centers, several park districts, a library, and highly rated Fire and Police Departments. Our Mayor and Trustees guide us into the future with the redevelopment of the downtown area. Our Village employees are dedicated to provided quality services. Despite all of this progress, Mount Prospect is still a Village whose slogan continues to ring true, "Where Friendliness is a Way of Life.”
In 2017, the Village will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Village's incorporation. In 2014, the Centennial Commission was formed to help envision how to celebrate this milestone. Many festivities are in the works, and in true Mount Prospect fashion - things will be done bigger and better than ever before.
The Armor of God - Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. 11 Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. 13 Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. 14 So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,15 and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the]flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones.
Why Columbus Sailed - Columbia Magazine
When the Knights of Columbus was founded, their namesake, Christopher Columbus, was a symbol of the idea that there is no contradiction in being a Catholic and an American. In recent decades, however, Columbus has become a figure of controversy, leaving conflicting opinions about his legacy. Carol Delaney, a cultural anthropologist and long-time professor at Stanford University, had little knowledge or interest in Columbus that is, until she was teaching a course called “Millennial Fever” at Stanford in 1999 and came across a reference to the explorer’s apocalyptic beliefs. Delaney was intrigued and set out to research Columbus at Brown University in the summer of 2003. Two years later, she retired from Stanford to devote herself to research, which launched a remarkable journey in the footsteps of the explorer. Columbia spoke to Delaney about the fruits of her research, published in her book titled Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem (Free Press, 2011).
KNIGHTHOOD AND THE ‘NEW MAN’
by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
CATHOLIC MEN ARE CALLED TO BE FAITHFUL SERVANTS, PROTECTING THEIR FAMILIES AND BUILDING UP THE CHURCH
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following text was abridged from an address delivered Feb. 3 at the “Into the Breach” men’s conference, sponsored by the Diocese of Phoenix, and is reprinted with permission. The Arizona Knights of Columbus provided significant volunteer and financial support for the event.
Let’s be clear about our purpose today. “Into the Breach” is a men’s conference in the most thoroughly binary sense. We’re here to recover what it means to be men, and especially how to live as Christian men of substance and virtue. The theme for my remarks is “memory, sex, and the making of ‘the new man.’” I’ll deal with each of those topics in turn because they connect to each other in some important ways. …
MEMORY AND THE “NEW KNIGHTHOOD”
Memory is a cornerstone of our identity. It’s the storehouse of everything we’ve learned, all of our love, all of our experiences, and all of their meaning. Memory gives the storyline to our lives. It shapes how we understand the world and approach the future. …
Just as memory anchors each person’s individual story, history plays the same role for cultures, nations and communities of faith. History is our shared memory. When we Christians lose a strong grasp of our own history — our own unique story and identity — others will gladly offer us a revised version of all three: a version that suits their own goals and bigotries, and not necessarily the truth. And then some very ugly things can happen. A community dies when its memory fails. So our memory as a Christian people matters. And I want to recall one particular piece of our history as Christian men, because it speaks to us right here, today.
Exactly 900 years ago, in A.D. 1118-19, a small group of men came together in Jerusalem to form a religious community. They were pilgrims. The First Crusade had retaken the city from Muslim rule in 1099. The men, who were all from Europe’s knightly order, had come looking for a life of common prayer and service. They got both, but not in the way they intended.
As warriors, the men had skills. As knights, they came from respected families with important connections. The roads leading to Jerusalem and other holy sites were infested with brigands and Muslim raiders that would rob, rape, murder or abduct many of those making the journey. The Christian rulers of the city needed help in protecting the travelers. The men had taken vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to the Patriarch of Jerusalem. And their first task, under obedience, was to patrol the roads. …
The Holy See approved the rule of their religious community, the Poor Brothers of the Order of the Temple of Solomon — the Knights Templar. The Templars went on to become the most effective Christian fighting force in the Holy Land for nearly 200 years. They had dozens of recruiting and support communities throughout Europe. And they were so successful that they were finally persecuted and suppressed through the jealousy of the French king.
A lot of nonsense — some of it vindictive, some of it ridiculous, much of it just false — has been written about the Templars. If you want facts, read Malcolm Barber’s The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple, or the work of Jonathan Riley-Smith or Thomas Madden. Or read St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s great reflection on the Templars, “In Praise of the New Knighthood.” But pay special attention to that expression: “the new knighthood.”
Knighthood in medieval Europe began as a profession of heavily armed male thugs — men obsessed with vanity, violence and rape. It took the Church and royalty centuries to tame and channel it. The animating ideal at the core of the Templars was to build a new order of new Christian men, skilled at arms, living as brothers, committed to prayer, austerity and chastity, and devoting themselves radically to serving the Church and her people, especially the weak.
The ideal of this “new knighthood” was often ignored or betrayed. Then and now, humans are sinners — all of us. But the astounding thing is how much more often and how much more fruitfully the ideal was embraced, pursued and actually lived by the brothers, rather than abused.
My point is this. C.S. Lewis described Christianity as a “fighting religion.” He meant that living the Gospel involves a very real kind of spiritual warfare; a struggle against the evil in ourselves and in the world around us. Our first weapons should always be generosity, patience, mercy, forgiveness, an eagerness to listen to and understand others, a strong personal witness of faith, and speaking the truth unambiguously with love. …
This is why the ideal of knighthood still has such a strong hold on the hearts and imaginations of men. As men, we’re hardwired by nature and confirmed by the Word of God to do three main things: to provide, to protect and to lead — not for our own sake, not for our own empty vanities and appetites, but in service to others. …
John Chrysostom, the great saint of the early Eastern Church, described every human father as the bishop of his family. All of you fathers are bishops. And every father shapes the soul of the next generation with his love, his self-mastery and his courage — or the lack of them.
So what does that mean? It means the world needs faithful Catholic men, men with a hunger to be saints. The role of a Catholic husband and father — a man who sacrifices his own desires, out of love, to serve the needs of his wife and children — is the living cornerstone of a Christian home. The Church in this country may face a very hard road in the next 20 years, and her sons need to step up and lead by the witness of their daily lives.
SEX AND THE “NEW MAN”
Since most of you are familiar with those two little details called the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, I’ll mention the obvious things just briefly.
Don’t cheat on your wife. Don’t put yourself in a situation where the idea would even occur to you. Don’t mislead and abuse wo
men, and damage your own dignity as a man, by sleeping around before marriage. And if you’re already doing that, or did that, or you’re toying with the idea of doing it sometime in the future, stop it, now, and get to confession. Finally, don’t demean your wife, your daughters, your mother and your sisters by poisoning your imagination with porn. It steals your tim
e and your heart from the people who need them the most — the wife and family you love. Pornography exploits and humiliates women. And it dehumanizes men at the same time. God made us to be better than that. Our families need us to be better than that.
Those are some of the don’ts. The dos are equally obvious. Do love the women in your life with the encouragement, affection, support and reverence they deserve by right. Dobe faithful to your wife in mind and body. Do show courtesy and respect to the women you meet, even when they don’t return it. Chivalry is dead only if we men cooperate in killing it — and given the vulgarity of our current national environment and its leaders, we certainly need some kind of new code of dignity between the sexes.
Finally, those of you who marry, do have more children, and do invest your time and heart in them. America is facing a birth bust, and it’s a sign of our growing national selfishness. Children are the future. They’re the cement of love in the covenant of a husband and wife. They’re the single best antidote to selfishness.
Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and all the other blots on recent male behavior are merely a symptom of an entire culture of unhinged attitudes toward sex. Women are right to be angry when men treat them like objects and act like bullies and pigs. But a real reform of male behavior will never come about through feminist lectures and mass media man-shaming by celebrities and award ceremonies. In a lot of men, that kind of hectoring will merely breed nominal repentance and inner resentment. A man’s actions and words change only when his heart changes for the better. And his heart only changes for the better when he discovers something to believe in that transforms and gives meaning to his life; something that directs all of his reasoning and desires. In other words, when he becomes a new man. …
But we don’t and we can’t create ourselves. And when we try, we destroy the very thing that guarantees our humanity: the reality that none of us is a god, but all of us are sons and daughters of the true and only God.
There’s only one way any of us will ever become a genuinely new man. It’s by giving ourselves totally to God. It’s by putting on the new man in Jesus Christ that Paul describes in Ephesians 4 (22-24) and Colossians 3 (9-17). And the kind of new men we become demands the armor Paul gives us in Ephesians 6 (11-17) — because, like it or not, as Catholic men, we really are engaged in a struggle for the soul of a beautiful but broken world.
To put it another way: The “new knighthood” St. Bernard of Clairvaux once praised never really disappears. It’s new and renewed in every generation of faithful Catholic men. And brothers, that means us. It’s a vocation that belongs to us, and nobody else. …
Maleness, brothers, is a matter of biology. It just happens. Manhood must be learned and earned and taught. That’s our task. So my prayer for all of us today is that God will plant the seed of a new knighthood in our hearts — and make us the kind of “new men” our families, our Church, our nation, and our world need.
MOST REV. CHARLES J. CHAPUT, O.F.M. Cap., is archbishop of Philadelphia.
22 RULES OF KNIGHTHOOD
In his Feb. 3 address in Phoenix, Archbishop Chaput summarized the rules of
knighthood written more than 500 years ago by Erasmus of Rotterdam in his book The Manual of a Christian Knight.
1 Deepen and increase your faith.
2 Act on your faith; make it a living witness to others.
3 Analyze and understand your fears; don’t be ruled by them.
4 Make Jesus Christ the only guide and the only goal of your life.
5 Turn away from material things; don’t be owned by them.
6 Train your mind to distinguish the true nature of good and evil.
7 Never let any failure or setback turn you away from God.
8 Face temptation guided by God, not by worry or excuses.
9 Always be ready for attacks from those who fear the Gospel and resent the good.
10 Always be prepared for temptation. And do what you can to avoid it.
11 Be alert to two special dangers: moral cowardice and personal pride.
12 Face your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
13 Treat each battle as if it were your last.
14 A life of virtue has no room for vice; the little vices we tolerate become the most deadly.
15 Every important decision has alternatives; think them through clearly and honestly in the light of what’s right.
16 Never, ever give up or give in on any matter of moral substance.
17 Always have a plan of action. Battles are often won or lost before they begin.
18 Always think through, in advance, the consequences of your choices and actions.
19 Do nothing — in public or private — that the people you love would not hold in esteem.
20 Virtue is its own reward; it needs no applause.
21 Life is demanding and brief; make it count.
22 Admit and repent your wrongs, never lose hope, encourage your brothers, and then begin again.
KNIGHTS, THE SERVANTS OF MERCY
SINCE THE MIDDLE AGES, THE VOCATION OF KNIGHTS HAS BEEN DEFINED BY SACRIFICIAL SERVICE TO GOD AND MAN
The connection between knighthood and mercy may not be obvious to the popular imagination. On one hand, we typically picture the knight as a warrior, a courageous soldier in battle, laying low his enemies. On the other, we tend to associate mercy with acts of gentleness and kindness. But in fact, knighthood has a deep connection with mercy, both in its history and in its core meaning, which remains relevant today even though cultural customs have changed. As we observe what Pope Francis has designated the Jubilee Year of Mercy, it is especially fitting to reflect on this connection, deepening our understanding both of knighthood and of mercy itself. This, in turn, will help us to appreciate what it means to be a Knight today.
IN SERVICE TO THE KING
From its origin, knighthood has always been tied to service; the English word “knight” comes from the German word Knecht, which means “servant.” Of course, a knight was a man who had been elevated to a special position of honor as the devoted servant of his country and king. At a deeper level, however, the knight served an ideal as he strove to conform himself to the perennial values of justice, truth and honor. This entailed, above all, a willingness to sacrifice himself in order to protect the defenseless, the weak, the poor and the innocent.
In contrast to the modern “bourgeois,” the person who looks after his own self-interest most of all, the knight understands himself as serving something higher and more important than his particular self-interest. He is not just an individual, but part of a greater whole. The knight knows that he has a special duty to take care of others. Twentieth-century German poet Reinhold Schneider, who is known for his Catholic and anti-Nazi literature, once wrote, “The knight exists for the sake of everyone: that is his proper position in the world.”
In this position of honor that entails a devoted service to others, it is not hard to see that there is a natural affinity between knighthood and Christianity. The pledge of one’s life in service to one’s king and country can be taken up, in a Christian soul, into the pledge of one’s life in service to the King of kings, to Christ and his Church –and indeed to all people whom Christ came to save. In the Christian knight, the ideal of the warrior, as defender of the weak, joins with the ideal of Jesus Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant (cf. Phil 2:7).
Geoffrey de Charny, author of one of the great works on the meaning of knighthood, the famous Book of Chivalry, was known in the 14th century as the “true and perfect knight.” The king of France accorded Geoffrey the great honor of carrying the Oriflamme, the banner of France, in battle.
Geoffrey is also the first reliably attested person to have custody of the Shroud of Turin, an ancient piece of fabric that bears the as-yet-unexplained imprint of a scourged and crucified man, which has been venerated as the burial cloth of Christ himself. We might say that this knight carried the emblem of his king and country with one hand and the image of the central Christian mystery with the other, proudly displaying both the temporal and Christian ideals. He represents a responsibility for the world and a devotion to Christ, a servant of both ideals together.
THE GIFT OF MERCY
The institution of knighthood flourished during the Middle Ages, when various Christian chivalric orders formed. These were orders of knights, many of whom took vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, like monks. But unlike monks, they lived those vows through direct service to people in the world, carrying out what came to be called the “works of mercy.”
Beginning in the 12th century, the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also called the Knights Hospitaller, established and staffed hospitals, devoting themselves to healing the sick and wounded, and providing food, drink, clothing and shelter for the poor. They protected travelers, ensuring safe passage for those making pilgrimages to and from the Holy Land, accompanying them and even building bridges to make the journey possible.
The Order of Our Lady of Mercy, also known as the Mercedarians, was founded in 13th-century Spain to ransom Christians held captive by nonbelievers. The Mercedarians not only raised money to ransom captives, as one of the corporal works of mercy proscribes, but also enjoined its members to offer themselves as collateral in order to obtain the release of prisoners. They, like other knights, thus sought to live the Christian ideal in very concrete and practical terms.
The English word “mercy” comes originally from the Latin merces, meaning “reward.” In Christian usage, the Roman word came to mean spiritual reward for answering injustice with kindness. Of course, the “reward” for an unmerited gift can only be itself an unmerited gift. The works of mercy are not investments made for the purpose of reaping a payoff in the afterworld;instead, they are gifts that reflect the gift of redemption that we ourselves have received.
Mercy is ultimately the expression of a love that is poured out beyond measure: not “tit for tat,” but grace unbidden. The Greek word for mercy, eleos, comes from the word for flowing oil;the image evokes the blood and water poured out from Christ’s side –that is, God’s superabundant love that answers our sinfulness with redemption.
Knighthood and mercy go together because they are both expressions of sacrificial generosity. The knight is someone given a special honor, lifted up beyond his natural status, and he lives that honor by lifting up those around him. The external forms of medieval chivalry may no longer be part of our culture, but knighthood was never first about such forms. Rather, it was above all a spirit of service, an impetus to alleviate suffering and provide for those in need.
The spirit of knightly service continues to exist in our own day. When Father Michael J. McGivney brought together a group of young men in 1882, they called themselves “Knights” because they wished to be rooted in this ongoing tradition.
To bind these men to each other, Father McGivney appealed to their faith and idealism, their desire for community that would be founded on more than individual self-interest. He asked them to look out for each other in fraternity and, in unity with their brothers, to care for those in the broader society. And he showed them that their commitment to the Church and their love for their country went hand in hand.
The foundations of the Order show a key element of knighthood: devotion to the service of others out of gratitude for the grace of charity one has received himself. In this, there is the convergence of responsibility in the world and devotion to the Christian mystery of merciful love. When Christ sent his apostles into the world to teach and heal, he told them, “Freely you have received;now freely give” (Mt 10:8). This is the essence of mercy, and it is the essence of the vocation of the knight.
In his second encyclical, dedicated to the theme of mercy, St. John Paul II wrote, “Modern man often anxiously wonders about the solution to the terrible tensions which have built up in the world and which entangle humanity. And if at times he lacks the courage to utter the word ‘mercy,’ or if in his conscience empty of religious content he does not find the equivalent, so much greater is the need for the Church to utter his word, not only in her own name but also in the name of all the men and women of our time” (Dives in Misericordia, 15).
On behalf of the men and women of our time and on behalf of the Church, knights are called to be living words of mercy –active expressions of God’s love. To quote Reinhold Schneider once again, “If the world is torn by divisions, if the peoples are thrown into the confusion of mutual hostility, how is the world to be healed, how are the peoples to be reconciled, if not through such a new body of knights, which is nothing other than carrying out the will of Jesus Christ, here and now, in this time?”
We who call ourselves Knights have been entrusted with a great responsibility to heal the divisions of our own time and to make manifest the Father’s gift of mercy by faithfully bearing witness to Christ.
D.C. SCHINDLER is associate professor of metaphysics and anthropology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is a member of Potomac Council 433.
The Emblem of the 4th Degree
The triad emblem of the Fourth Degree features the dove, the cross and the globe. The dove, classic symbol of the Holy Spirit and peace, is shown hovering over the orb of the Earth (globe). Both are mounted on a variation of the Crusader's cross, which was found on the tunics and capes of the Crusading knights who battled to regain the Holy Land from the pagans.
Spiritually, the sacred symbols on the emblem typify the union of the Three Divine Persons in one Godhead, the most Blessed Trinity.
The Globe – God the Father, Creator of the Universe.
The Cross – God the Son, Redeemer of Mankind.
The Dove – God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of Humanity.
The colors of the symbols are:
A Blue Globe with the land of the Western Hemisphere in white.
A Red Cross with gold borders and gold knobs at the end of the points forming the ends of the arms of the cross, also known as the Isabella cross.
A White Dove
Red, White and Blue are the colors of the flag of the country in which the Knights originated. They are used to stress patriotism, the basic principle of the Fourth Degree.
Council to Assembly Officer Titles
|Worthy Grand Knight||Faithful Navigator|
|Worthy Chaplain||Faithful Friar|
|Worthy Deputy Grand Knight||Faithful Captain|
|Worthy Chancellor||Faithful Admiral|
|Worthy Recorder||Faithful Scribe|
|Worthy Financial Secretary||Faithful Comptroller|
|Worthy Treasurer||Faithful Purser|
|Worthy Warden||Faithful Pilot|
|Worthy Inside Guard||Faithful Inner Sentinel|
|Worthy Outside Guard||Faithful Outer Sentinel|
|Worthy Trustee 3rd Year||Faithful Trustee 3rd Yea|
|Worthy Trustee 2nd Year||Faithful Trustee 2nd Year|
|Worthy Trustee 1st Year||Faithful Trustee 1st Year|
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AND FAKE HISTORY
ONCE THE TARGET OF ANTI-CATHOLIC SENTIMENT, COLUMBUS IS OFTEN SLANDERED BY THOSE WHO MISREPRESENT HIS LEGACY
Driven in large part by political correctness and partisan academics and activists, it has become fashionable in recent years to criticize Christopher Columbus and the holiday named in his honor. A closer look, however, reveals the famed explorer to be a man of faith and courage, not a monster.
Many of Columbus’ modern critics rely on a warped and politicized reading of history, and it is not the first time the explorer has endured such attacks. When a resurgence of anti-Catholic bigotry erupted in early 20th-century America, Columbus was a favorite target then as well.
Despite animus among some groups today, the majority of Americans view the explorer positively and with pride. In a K of C-Marist poll from December 2016, 62 percent of Americans expressed a favorable opinion of the explorer and 55 percent said they were in favor of Columbus Day, the holiday named for him. By contrast, fewer than 3 in 10 view Columbus unfavorably and only 37 percent oppose the holiday named for him.
Nonetheless, there have been political efforts to strip Columbus of honor, and the question of whether to continue to recognize Columbus Day is under review in many places. Some states and municipalities have removed the explorer’s name from the holiday or eliminated the observance entirely.
A COURAGEOUS JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY
Unfair attacks on Columbus, past and present, should not be allowed to obscure the truth about the man, his voyage and his motives. Born in Genoa, Italy, Columbus was a deeply Catholic explorer who was willing to go against the grain. He believed he could reach the shores of Asia by sailing a mere 3,000 miles west across the Atlantic. Such a passage would establish faster and easier trade routes than were possible through overland travel or by sailing south and east around Africa.
Scholars of his day calculated the distance to the Orient across the Atlantic at well over 7,000 miles, out of practical range for ships of the day. Those who were skeptical of the admiral’s proposal did not hold that the earth was flat, as popular myth has suggested, but rather that it was much larger than Columbus believed. Despite his miscalculation, after 10 weeks Columbus did indeed find land — not the outskirts of the Orient, as he went to his grave believing, but an entirely new continent.
Later, as a nation began to coalesce out of the American colonies, its leaders recognized the admiral’s legacy. “Columbia” served as an informal name for what would become the United States of America. The eventual designation of the nation’s capital reflects the esteem the founders had for the Genoese explorer.
Beginning in the 1840s, waves of European immigrants swelled the ranks of Catholics in the United States, and along with that came an increasingly anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant backlash from the Protestant majority. Catholics were subject to discrimination, slander, ridicule, anti-Catholic propaganda and sometimes mob violence.
It was within this hostile climate that Father Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882. He and the founding Knights chose as the Order’s patron Christopher Columbus — one of the few Catholics considered a hero of American history. Father McGivney believed the explorer represented both Catholicism and patriotism at the very root of America’s heritage, thereby symbolizing that faithful Catholics also can be solid American citizens.
A decade later, as the Order celebrated its patron on the 400th anniversary of his discovery, President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed a national Columbus holiday. He called for “expressions of gratitude to Divine Providence for the devout faith of the discoverer, and for the Divine care and guidance which has directed our history and so abundantly blessed our people.”
Colorado became the first state to establish Columbus Day in 1907, and others soon followed. In 1934, with strong urging and support by the Knights, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress made Columbus Day a federal holiday, mandating its first annual observance on Oct. 12, 1937.
ATTACKS OLD AND NEW
As the 1992 quincentenary of Columbus’ arrival in the New World approached, vocal opposition to Columbus was heard from partisan and revisionist historians and activists who were often critical of Western civilization as a whole. That year, the city of Berkeley, Calif., changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, and several other municipalities have made similar moves, often explicitly as a means of dishonoring Columbus.
In response to one such initiative in Baltimore, Eugene F. Rivers III, founder and president of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies, published an op-ed article Dec. 2, 2016. “To celebrate one cultural group does not require that we denigrate another,” he wrote. “Rather than renaming Columbus Day, why not add another holiday, Indigenous Peoples Day, to Baltimore’s calendar in honor of Native Americans?” The 20th century ended with criticism of Columbus and Columbus Day in certain quarters, just as the early 20th century had seen similar opposition.
When the Ku Klux Klan was revived in 1915 and targeted Catholics, Jews and minority groups whom they considered a threat to the nation’s “Native, White, Protestant” identity, one of their targets was Columbus. The Klan opposed the observance of Columbus Day, trying to suppress celebrations of the holiday at the state level. Klan members published articles calling Columbus Day a “papal fraud” and even burned a cross at a Knights of Columbus observance in Pennsylvania.
Today, one can still hear echoes of anti-Catholic prejudice in the modern attacks. For some, Columbus’ sponsorship by Spain and introduction of Christianity and Western culture to the lands he discovered make him immediately suspect. The new wave of anti-Columbus attacks go so far as to say that Columbus intended nothing good.
“These criticisms primarily charge Columbus with perpetrating acts of genocide, slavery, ‘ecocide,’ and oppression,” explained Robert Royal, president of the Faith and Reason Institute and author of 1492 and All That: Political Manipulations of History (1992).
Nonetheless, a closer examination of the record reveals a different picture.
“The dominant picture holds him responsible for everything that went wrong in the New World,” wrote Carol Delaney, a former professor at Stanford and Brown universities, in her book Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem (2011). In her opinion, “we must consider his world and how the cultural and religious beliefs of his time colored the way he thought and acted.”
In a 2012 Columbia interview, Delaney further explained that Columbus found the native peoples to be “very intelligent” and his relations with them “tended to be benign.” He gave strict instructions to the settlers to “treat the native people with respect,” though some of his men rebelled and disobeyed his orders, particularly during his long absences, Delaney added.
Columbus’ voyage made the Old and New Worlds aware of each other for the first time, eventually leading to the founding of new countries in the Western Hemisphere. Diseases inadvertently carried to the New World by the Europeans caused the greatest number of casualties by far, killing some 90 percent of native populations according to some estimates. “There were terrible diseases that got communicated to the natives,” Delaney said, “but he can’t be blamed for that.”
A RENEWED DEFENSE
According to Royal, arguments against Columbus by modern critics often constitute a “new, contemporary form of the ‘Black Legend’” — anti-Spanish propaganda dating back to the 16th-century that stereotypes Spanish explorers as uniquely cruel and abusive.
The writings of Bartolomé de las Casas — a 16th-century Spanish Dominican priest, historian and missionary — exposing the abuse of the native peoples are often cited in an effort to impugn Columbus. But while de las Casas lamented the suffering of indigenous people, he also admired and respected Columbus for his “sweetness and benignity” of character, his deep faith and his accomplishments.
“He was the first to open the doors to the ocean sea, where he entered the remote lands and kingdoms which until then had not known our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his blessed name,” de las Casas wrote in his History of the Indies. While cognizant that Columbus was human and made mistakes, de las Casas never doubted the explorer’s good intentions, writing: “Truly, I would not dare blame the admiral’s intentions, for I knew him well and I know his intentions are good.” According to Delaney, Columbus “fervently believed it was the duty of every Christian to try to save the souls of non- Christians,” and it was this passion that “led him on a great adventure, an encounter such as the world has never seen.”
Not surprisingly, popes since the late 19th century have praised Columbus’ mission of evangelization. Pope John Paul II, while celebrating Mass at a Columbus monument in the Dominican Republic near the 1992 quincentenary, said the cross shaped memorial “means to symbolize the cross of Christ planted in this land in 1492.”
In a speech to the young people of Genoa in May, Pope Francis talked about how a disciple of Christ needs the “virtue of a navigator,” and he pointed to the example of Columbus who faced “a great challenge” and showed “courage,” a trait he indicated was essential to becoming a “good missionary.”
As it did a century ago, the Order is defending Columbus today. When Colorado lawmakers weighed a bill to repeal Columbus Day as a state holiday earlier this year, the Knights of Columbus helped lead the opposition. Recalling the Klan’s earlier efforts to oppose Columbus Day, the K of C noted that the measure was not a progressive step but rather “regressive as it takes us back to what the Klan outlined in the 1920s in order to promote ethnic and religious resentment.”
The Knights of Columbus has defended its patron from unfair attacks, urging that he continue to receive official recognition as a man of faith and bravery. Columbus represents the kind of heroic courage and religious faith that inspired the establishment of the United States. Although he surely holds special meaning for Catholics and for Italian Americans, Columbus is a figure all citizens of the New World can celebrate.
For this reason, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in his annual report this year, “We will continue to defend the truth about Columbus and Columbus Day.”
GERALD KORSON writes from Fort Wayne, Ind.
10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE FOUNDER OF THE K OF C
FATHER MICHAEL J. MCGIVNEY IS A TIMELESS WITNESS TO THE FAITH By Andrew Butler 3/28/2019
Maybe you’re an old pro and already knew that Father Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Conn. in 1882. Maybe you already knew that he envisioned a Catholic order that would help Catholic men to remain steadfast in faith while providing insurance for their families.
But you probably didn’t know these facts:
1. Not only Catholics, but even Protestants were inspired by Father McGivney’s witness of faith.
Alida Harwood, the daughter of a prominent Episcopal minister in New Haven, frequented Mass at St. Mary’s Church where Father McGivney served. When Alida contracted malaria at the age of 25 and lay on her death bed, it was Father McGivney that she asked to see.
2. He was a heck of a baseball player.
We know that in one game with his seminary team he scored three runs, contributing to a big victory with a score of 23-6. He paved the way for a long history of baseball players who would join the Knights, including these MLB legends.
3. More forward-thinking than Yale? Father McGivney pushed the boundaries as a theater director.
At a time when, according to Parish Priest, nearby Yale University was limiting theater to only male actors, Father McGivney welcomed women to perform when he directed his parish’s St. Patrick’s Day play in 1880.
4. He helped young people take charge of their lives and create a better future.
Father McGivney saw that many young men were neglecting their religion and turning to alcohol abuse. In response, he founded St. Joseph’s Total Abstinence and Literary Society, a group that helped young men stay strong in the faith and become active in their communities. They organized and participated in sports and theatrical productions. McGivney offered members a meeting space with books, magazines, newspapers and a piano. No doubt, Father McGivney’s experience with this group prepared him when he later founded the Knights of Columbus.
5. His vision for the role of the laity was very unusual for the time.
Seventy-seven years ahead of the Second Vatican Council, the idea that a Catholic organization could be led by laymen was quite extraordinary. Yet that was Father McGivney’s vision for the Knights of Columbus.
6. He ministered to inmates.
Father McGivney was responsible for ministering to inmates in the city jail. One inmate was 21-year-old Chip Smith, who — while drunk — shot and killed a police officer. Smith was convicted for first-degree murder and sentenced to be hanged.
Father McGivney visited him daily, and, on the day of Smith’s execution, the priest was filled with sorrow. Just before he died, Smith comforted him: "Father, your saintly ministrations have enabled me to meet death without a tremor. Do not fear for me, I must not break down now."
7. He was only 38 years old when he died.
And that’s actually not surprising — life expectancy was short for priests in Connecticut in the 19th century, when the Catholic population was growing, disease was common and the priests were overworked.
8. He’s on the path to sainthood.
His cause for canonization is open, and he was given the title “Venerable Servant of God” by the Holy See in 2008. You can help promote devotion to this Servant of God — click here to join the Father McGivney Guild.
9. His belongings were burned when he died.
When Father McGivney died of tuberculosis, his personal items were burned to prevent the spreading of the disease. Only a small number of his writings and belongings survived.
10. He is known to intercede especially in four areas (from Columbia magazine):
•Employment and finances. Just as parishioners looked to Father McGivney for help when “No Irish need apply” was often included in job postings, so today many receive help when they are laid off or seeking a better job.
•Substance abuse. In Father McGivney’s day, alcoholism afflicted the immigrant population, and many now find relief from drug or alcohol abuse after praying to him.
•Family reconciliation. Father McGivney helped immigrant families struggling to stay together and to make ends meet. Today, Father McGivney continues to respond to the prayers of families.
•Return to the faith. Father McGivney founded the Order to keep men from joining anti-Catholic societies. Today, many Catholics receive favors when calling upon him to help their fallen-away children return to Mass.
The Knights of Columbus is the largest Catholic lay organization in the world with more than 1.9 million members.
With online membership, joining the Knights is easier than ever. Click here to join the Knights today.
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