There are only two requirements for a man to join the Knights of Columbus: that he be a practical Catholic as understood by the Church, and that he be 18 years of age or older.
While dues-paying membership is only for Catholic men, most council programs are open to the member’s entire family, including social and family activities, scholarships, volunteer service programs and insurance benefits.
Candidates join local units, called “Councils,” most of which are based in one Catholic parish. The candidate takes part in initiation degrees that explain the Knights of Columbus’ four principles: Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism.
He is considered a “Knight” after taking his First Degree, but he is encouraged to advance through the Second and Third Degrees and on to the Fourth Degree, whose members promote the virtue of patriotism by serving in honor guards, color corps and promoting respect for country and the flag.
Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to practical Catholic men in union with the Holy See, who shall not be less than 18 years of age on their last birthday. A practical Catholic in one who lives up to the Commandments of God and the Precepts of the Church. Application blanks are available from any member of the Knights of Columbus. Every Knight is happy to propose eligible Catholic men for consideration as members.
Acceptance of the applicant depends upon a vote of the members of the Council in which he is making application.
All priests and religious brothers having duly made application for membership and participated in the ceremonials become honorary life members of the Order and are exempt from payment of dues.
Application for membership must be made through the Council in the community nearest the applicant’s place of residence. Interested prospects without a permanent domicile, such as men temporarily away from home through duty in the armed forces, may make application through their hometown Council or at the nearest Council on a military base.
If favorably voted upon, the applicant becomes a member by initiation in what is known as the First Degree. He subsequently is advanced through the Second Degree and Third Degree.
There are modest initiation fees and dues set by subordinate Councils under regulations established by the Supreme Council. The insurance privileges are available to all members who can qualify, which represents an important advantage of membership. For men in every walk of life the name of the Knights of Columbus engenders the image of a united organization, efficiently going about its tasks of charity, unity, fraternity, patriotism and defense of the priesthood. It is composed of men who are giving unselfishly of their time and talents in the service of God and their country.
Membership in the Knights of Columbus provides the opportunity for wholesome association with congenial companions who are, first of all, practical gentlemen. It offers the opportunity for fellowship with those who are of the same belief, who recognize the same duty to God, to family and to neighbor and who stand side by side in defense of those beliefs. Programs are so organized as to appeal to the individual interest of the members. Through many constructive activities of Christian fraternity, members are enabled to render service to their Church, their country and their fellow man. Through membership they develop a consciousness of their ability to lead and to assist.