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Today, about 50 Knights of Columbus were knighted into the 4th Degree–the highest level within the Knights of Columbus. If you know virtually nothing about the Knights of Columbus, but have seen them, you’ve seen the 4th Degree. They’re most known for the colorful regalia worn by their color corps members who serve as the honor guard at special Masses and for any event with the bishop, by request.
Within the Knights of Columbus, there are four degrees which candidates work through before reaching either their third or fourth degrees.
The ceremony attached to the degree is secret to allow the full impact of the ceremony to be felt by aspiring candidates. Honestly, there is not much to these ceremonies, but nevertheless, after going through all four degrees, it is a good thing that I had no expectation of the ceremony as I learned from them their intended lessons.
The first degree is devoted to the most important principle–charity. If someone “joins the Knights”, they are entering into the First Degree. Membership in the first degree allows members to attend virtually all meetings, join in service work and participate in the financial options of the Order. The second degree is devoted to unity and the third degree is fraternity. In Texas, the second and third degrees are taken in a back-to-back ceremony at once. The third degree is, all in all, the terminal degree and is required for attendance at state and national meetings and to be an officer in a council.
Joining the fourth degree is joining an organization in an organization. You’re still a 3rd degree member within your council, pay dues to them and function as before, but you’re now also a member of a fourth degree assembly, pay separate dues to them and have added responsibilities to the fourth degree. The vast majority–over 80%–of Knights never reach the fourth degree, so it is a relatively small fraternity of men.
The Georgetown Assembly hosted the day’s events and did a fine job at that. Congrats to all of the new Sir Knights in Central Texas. Sir Knight Brandon Kraft, signing off.