The Order was formed in 1882, in New Haven, Conn, by Father Michael J McGivney and a small group of men of St. Mary’s Parish. The aim was to face the problems of anti-Catholicism and ethnic prejudice; un-employment; lack of social standing and early loss of the breadwinner.
To solve these problems, the KofC was formed to: Aid one another in times of sickness or death, by means of a simple insurance plan. Strengthen each and every one in their Faith. Strengthen families and family life. Be a strong pillar of support for our priests and bishops. Be of service to Church and community by coming to the aid of those most in need in society.
Who are the Knights of Columbus?
To fully appreciate the dynamics of the Knights of Columbus, it is helpful to understand how the Order started. In the late 1800’s the United States was experiencing tremendous population growth-much of it stemming from European immigrants. It was a time of adjustment and sacrifice for these pioneers. Catholic immigrants found themselves to be a despised minority. Discriminated against, they were given the lowest paid, most menial and dangerous jobs. Poverty, disease and accidents took their toll and often resulted in the death of the breadwinner.
Father Michael J. McGivney saw these hardships on a daily basis. Having had the same experience as a child, he knew firsthand of the difficulties faced by these families. Left without pensions or means of support they turned to their parish community for help. Father McGivney responded. In 1882, Father Michael J. McGivney brought the concerned men of his parish to form a new fellowship of care and protection…The Knights of Columbus. Its primary goal: “To render financial aid to its members and the beneficiaries of its members.”
Today, the Knights of Columbus Insurance is recognized as one of the top insurance companies in the world. We currently maintain the highest ratings available by A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s and Insurance Marketing Standards Association (IMSA). Only 4 other companies maintain this combination. As reported by A.M. Best… “The rating of the Knights of Columbus reflects the society’s very strong market presence in the Catholic community, exceptionally strong capitalization, consistently favorable earnings performance, and high-quality balance sheet.” As reported by STANDARDS & POORS…” Knights of Columbus has historically maintained extremely strong capitalization. At year end 2004, CAR (Capitalization Adequacy Ratio) was 1,321%, which is the highest in the industry.
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Politics and Public Service:
- Samuel Alito, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
- John Moran Bailey, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee (1961–1968)
- Leo Bernier, cabinet minister in the Ontario provincial government
- John Boehner, U.S. House Majority Leader of the 109th Congress
- Hale Boggs, former U.S. House Majority Leader
- François-Philippe Brais, Canadian lawyer and politician
- Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida
- Felix Perez Camacho, Governor of Guam
- Hugh Carey, former Governor of New York
- Denis Coderre, Canadian Member of Parliament (Canada)
- Richard J. Daley, longest-serving mayor of Chicago
- Hilario Davide, 20th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
- Laurent Desjardins, cabinet minister in the Manitobaprovincial government
- John Dingell, a United States Representative from Michigan
- Bob Dornan, pro-life advocate and former California congressman
- Martin Patrick Durkin, U.S. Secretary of Labor
- John Engler, former Governor of Michigan
- Raymond Flynn, former U.S. ambassador to the Holy Seeand former Mayor of Boston
- Rep. Phil Gingrey, U.S. Congressman from Georgia (Council 4599, Marietta, GA)
- Bernard Grandmaître, cabinet minister in the Ontarioprovincial government
- Andrew P. Harris, Maryland state senator.
- John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States
- Alan Keyes, political activist, author and former diplomat
- Frank Kyc, former Secretary of the Educational Foundation
- T. John Lesinski, former Lieutenant Governor of Michigan
- Manuel Lujan Jr., U.S. Secretary of the Interior
- Joe Manchin, Governor of West Virginia
- John MacCormack, former Treasurer of the State of New Jersey, Mayor of Woodbridge New Jersey.
- John McCormack, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
- Rob Nicholson, Canadian Member of Parliament, Minister of Justice and Attorney General
- Steven Point, Canadian Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
- Pablo Rodriguez, Canadian Member of Parliament (Canada)
- Mike Rounds, Governor of South Dakota
- Edward R. Roybal, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California
- Gerry St. Germain, Canadian Senator (Canada)
- Rick Santorum, former United States Senator for Pennsylvania
- John G. Schmitz, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Orange County, California
- John Shelley, former mayor of San Francisco, California (1964–1968)
- Sargent Shriver, former U.S. ambassador to France and first director of the Peace Corps
- Al Smith, former governor of New York
- Roger Teillet, Canadian Minister of Veterans Affairs
- John Volpe, U.S. Secretary of Transportation
- Stephen Woodworth, Canadian Member of Parliament
- Malcolm Wilson, former governor of New York
- Father Jose’ Robles Hurtado
- Saint Rafael Guizar Valencia, Archbishop of Jalapa
- (Mexican priest-Knights who were martyred and canonized)
- Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodriguez
- Venerable Servant of God Father Michael Joseph McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus
- Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, bishop of Rochester, TV personality
- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
- Cardinal John Patrick Foley, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications
- Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago
- Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of theCongregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop Emeritus of San Francisco
- Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C.
- Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston
- Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia
- Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Archbishop of Manila
- Cardinal Jaime Sin, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila
- Most Reverend Wilton Daniel Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta
- Most Rev. John Francis Donaghue, Archbishop Emeritus of Atlanta.
- Most Rev. Joseph Fiorenza, Archbishop Emeritus of Galveston-Houston
- Most Rev. Patrick Joseph McGrath, Bishop of San Jose, CA
- Rev. Guy Selvester, priest and heraldic scholar
- Rev. John Anthony Kaiser, MHM, a missionary priest martyred while serving in Kenya.
- Rev. Joseph M. Peak, priest of Atlanta, US Navy chaplain.
- James J. Braddock, former heavyweight boxing champion.
- James Connolly, first Olympic Gold Medal champion in modern times
- Chris Godfrey, former right guard for the New York Giantsand founder of Life Athletes
- Ron Guidry, pitcher who helped lead the New York Yankees to a World Series championship
- Vince Lombardi, former coach of the Green Bay Packers(The Vincent T. Lombardi Council, No. 6552, Knights of Columbus, in Middletown, New Jersey, is named for him.)
- Floyd Patterson, former heavyweight boxing champion.
- Babe Ruth, baseball player for the Boston Braves (as a pitcher), Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
- Frank Castellano, Commander, US Navy, commanding officer of the USS Bainbridge during the Maersk Alabama hijacking.
- Daniel Daly, Gunnery Sergeant, United States Marine Corps, two-time Medal of Honor recipient once described by the commandant of the Marine Corps as “the most outstanding Marine of all time.”
- Paul A. Fisher, American author, journalist and U.S. Army veteran
- Joyce Kilmer, famous journalist and poet
- Jason O’Toole, vocalist, Life’s Blood
- Jerry Orbach, American actor
- Paul D. Scully-Power, NASA astronaut
- Eduardo Verástegui, prominent Mexican actor