The Catholic University of America

 History of our Order

The Knights of Columbus Council at Catholic University celebrated their 30th Anniversary of being founded on April 13, 2017. Worthy Chaplain and Charter Member Fr. Frank Donio, S.A.C. gave a keynote address on the Council's history to those gathered at the jubilee celebration on April 2, 2017.

You may read Father's speech HERE.

           The Knights of Columbus were founded in the midst of a society hostile to the Catholicism, including its values of charity and service.  Father Michael J. McGivney, a parish priest from New Haven, CT conceived of a way to rescue the men of his parish from the miasma of New England in 1881.  He gathered a few of these men in the basement of St. Mary’s church in order to discuss his plan for a fraternal society, which would eventually become the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service organization.

            Since those early days in the organization, the Knights have been inspired by the principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism.  The Order grew as a group of Catholic laymen committed to the values of an idealized Christopher Columbus, discoverer of America who brought Christianity to the New World.  This commitment manifested itself in charitable works, donations, evangelization programs, as well as the Order’s Insurance program. Created by Fr. McGivney for the purpose of protecting the widows   and orphans of deceased Brother Knights, the program has consistently received high rankings from national organizations such as A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s.  The Order quickly flourished throughout the country.
 
            Today, the Knights of Columbus continue to offer an escape from an increasingly secular society, where a commitment to faith-inspired service is considered strange.  The organization has been called, “the strong right arm of the Church,” which is just one example of praise from various Church and world leaders.  Collectively, the Knights have contributed over $175.1 million and 73.5 million hours of service over the past year alone.  Since Supreme Knight Carl Anderson took up the leadership of the Order in 2000, the Knights of Columbus has donated more than 653 million hours of service and $1.4 billion to charity.
 
            The Catholic University of America has had a close relationship with the Knights of Columbus since early in its history.  In 1904, the Knights funded a chair of American History.  In 1914, the Knights donated $500,000 to the University, to be used to fellowships for graduate study.  The Columbus University was founded in Washington, D.C. shortly after the first World War as an opportunity for returning veterans to receive an education on a part-time schedule.  In 1954, this merged with The Catholic University of America.  The Knights have also established the Pro Dea and Pro Patria scholarships for students attending The Catholic University of America.  In addition, the appropiately named McGivney Hall underwent a recent renovation thanks to a donation from the Knights.  Also, the Knights' (bell) Tower of the nearby Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was built thanks to a donation from the Knights of Columbus.  Throughout campus, there are signs of the Knights' continual commitment to the national university of the Catholic Church.
 
            The University’s own council was established on April 13, 1987 as the second college council in D.C.  Council #9542 has been frequently recognized by Supreme and State Councils for its activities, recently being hailed as the 2013-2014 "Outstanding College Council". We have been, and continue to be, an active part of student life at CUA. 
 
(From KofC.org, Knights of Columbus Museum)