The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest fraternal Catholic service organization. Its members are dedicated to the principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.

The K of C was founded in 1882 by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney and took its name from the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus. Father McGivney’s original goal was to form an organization that would serve as a mutual benefit society for Catholics in his parish. His primary goal was to provide food and money to widows and orphans when the father of the house died.

The Knights and their acts of charity expanded each decade, and there are now more than 1.8 million members in 14,000 councils. Membership is limited to Catholic men who are 18 or older.

All of the Order’s ceremonial and business meetings are restricted to members, though all other events are open to the public. A promise not to disclose any details of the ceremonies, except to an equally qualified Knight, is required to ensure their impact and meaning for new members. An additional clause subordinates the promise to that Knight’s civil and religious duties.

In the 2008 fraternal year the Order gave $144,911,781 directly to charity and has contributed approximately $1.1 billion in charitable contributions during the past decade. The Knights have performed more than 68,695,768 man hours of voluntary service in that time and collected more than 393,000 pints of blood.

At St. James, the Knights of Columbus has more than 100 members and is very active in sponsoring fundraising events to support charitable works.

Once a month, the Knights offer breakfasts after Sunday morning Masses. They also host dinners on St. Patrick’s Day and Columbus Day.

The proceeds go to charities associated with the Catholic Church, including the pro-life movement and Special Olympics. The Knights’ newest project is to provide wheelchairs for people who can’t afford them.

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