Objectives of the Knights of Columbus
Rev. Fr. Michael J. McGivney, a twenty-nine year old Catholic Priest of St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A. was deeply concerned with the plight of his parishioners who suffered discrimination because of their ancestry or religion. Appalled by the poverty and misery which befell most families when the breadwinners die, Rev. Fr. McGivney gathered a handful of Catholic laymen in the basement of his Church on October 2, 1881 to discuss how to best resolve the problems that beset his flock.
The response was enthusiastic. On March 29, 1882, the Knights of Columbus was incorporated and obtained legal status in the State of Connecticut, U.S.A. Its Charter specifies the following purposes:
a) of rendering pecuniary aid to its members, their families and beneficiaries of members and their families;
b) of rendering mutual aid and assistance to its sick, disabled and needy members and their families;
c) of promoting social and intellectual intercourse among its members and their families; and
d) of promoting and conducting educational, charitable, religious social welfare, war relief and welfare, and public relief work.
Thus, the Order is considered a Catholic, Family, Fraternal, and Service Organization.
The name "Knights of Columbus" was adopted simply because the organizers strongly felt that the organization should relate to Christopher Columbus, the Catholic explorer of the new world, to underscore their pride in America's Catholic heritage. The name of "Columbus" evokes the aura of Catholicity and affirmed the discovery of America as a Catholic event and the term "Knights" was adopted to signify the embodiment of knightly ideals of spirituality and service to Church, country and fellowmen.