Good Knight: A Conversation on the Knights of Columbus

If you live in a community with a strong Catholic presence, you’ve probably seen the Knights of Columbus badge out front of a building or seen some knights at events around town. But have you ever talked to a knight? Do you know who they are or what they do?

Membership in the Knights is only open to Catholic men, but their role in their communities benefit everyone, and there is no one who can’t aspire to the virtues that they promote: strength in faith, and love through service and charity.

The Knights in Communities Today

The Knights of Columbus has a central leadership, and the global organization does have some universal initiatives. These include supporting clergy and seminarians, supporting orphans and those with learning disabilities, and advancing the causes for the sanctity of life and religious freedom, as well as relief in times of disaster or emergency.

With the exception of these causes, what the Knights of Columbus do in their communities depends on the needs of those communities. Where I live in the northern United States, the Knights raise money to supply coats to young children and help the elderly heat their homes. In other areas, this energy goes toward blood drives or distributing clean water.

The Knights of Columbus also makes literature on faith and family widely available in many churches, often for free or a goodwill donation. This initiative in particular also opens a door into the much more personal role that the Knights of Columbus plays in the lives of many members.

In these ways, entire communities in which Knights are active benefit—Catholic or not, Knight or not.

Living Faith

The idea of a men’s group may seem antiquated. Indeed, the function of the Knights has changed little since the organization’s founding—that includes the idea of the ideal Catholic man that the organization promotes. However, as the views of masculinity presented by society have become increasingly toxic, men’s groups are more important than ever.

Where the modern popular culture would tell a man to be offensive, in the Knights he is inspired to be protective. Instead of lustful, he is inspired to be loving. Instead of aggressive, he is inspired to be patient. Members spend time with other men who are strong in their faith and their roles as husbands, fathers, young men, and seniors

In addition to fellow knights, members draw inspiration from male role models in salvation history, particularly St. Joseph and, of course, Jesus. In some councils, members attend mass together with their families, host and attend additional prayer services, and educate and encourage one another regarding private devotion and prayer. 

As a man within the Knights of Columbus, these activities help foster a stronger faith and a gentler, more supportive, healthier masculinity. That helps to make for a gentler, more supportive, healthier community.

What Any Christian Can Learn From the Knights

If you’re a practicing Catholic man, prayerfully consider joining the Knights of Columbus. Most churches that host a Knights council have information on the organization available in the church entryways or in the church bulletin.

If you aren’t eligible to join the Knights of Columbus, there’s still a lot that can be learned from them. In particular, there may be no better example of a group of lay faithful who live lives of prayer and show love through service.

Leave a Comment