The Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus is committed to the preservation of the Church, the Order, and the many nations where Knights serve. It should be a natural progression for First, Second and Third degree Knights to aspire to join the Fourth Degree. Membership in the Fourth Degree allows a Knight to display pride in his country, while continuing to serve his community and Church.
Bl. Michael McGivney
Bl. Stanley Rother
Our Assembly's Patron
Much of the information included here comes from an article in Columbia magazine by William J. Connell. For the full article and many others that examine the history, character, and legacy of Christopher Columbus, please visit the Columbia magazine portal on the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council website.
For the namesake of a Catholic fraternal order, Christopher Columbus may appear an unusual choice. Neither canonized, nor clergy, Columbus seems and unlikely candidate. In fact, he seems a strangely secular choice to the casual observer. However, it was exactly what Columbus represented in the secular society of the 1880's that made him so appealing. As an intrepid seafarer who "discovered" the New World, Columbus held a revered place in history for all Americans. At the same time, Columbus was an Italian commissioned by Spain, whose voyages brought the Catholic faith to the Americas. In an age where anti-Catholicism was rampant, and the waves of Catholic immigrants from Italy, Ireland, and Germany were marginalized in American society because of their faith and heritage, Columbus was a hero both sides could share. The choice of Columbus as the namesake of our Order was strong statement on the inclusiveness of the American dream: Like Columbus, one could be both authentically Catholic and undeniably American.
Today, the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus exemplifies that concept of inclusiveness. Sir Knights of the Fourth Degree are expected to be leaders in their community, defenders of their faith, and patriotic Americans. Our works support the growth of our faith in our Parishes and the growth of civic virtue in our communities. While some may try to change the narrative on Columbus, as Catholic-Americans, and as patriotic members of the Fourth Degree, we will never forget that he was and is a symbol of the acceptance of our faith community in the New World.
The Legacy of Blessed Fr. Michael McGivney
On October 31, 2020, Fr. Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus was beatified at a special Mass in Hartford, CT. In the Catholic faith, beatification is a significant step in the canonization process and the declaration of Sainthood. This news was received with great joy by all American Catholics -- especially the Knights of Columbus. To join the Guild for Bl. Father McGivney's sainthood, click here.
Ministering to Catholic Irish immigrants in the late 1800's, Father Michael McGivney recognized a grim truth: If the man of a household died, it was more or less a death sentence for his wife and children. Father McGivney set out to create fraternal benefits organization for Catholic men. This had the dual benefits of providing a fraternal association for Catholic men, so they would not be tempted to join secret societies antithetical to Catholic belief, and also to create a program of common welfare for the protection of their families.
Father McGivney was described by a contemporary priest as follows:
"Genial, approachable, of kindly disposition, cheerful under reverses, profoundly sympathetic with those upon whom had fallen the heavy hand of affliction, a man of strict probity and sterling integrity in his business transactions. He was charitable to a fault ... The poor found in him a good Samaritan, and were the frequent recipients of his bounty. … There are few clergymen in my recollection who enjoyed in a greater degree than he the respect of his colleagues and the reverence of the people. … His energy was restless, ever seeking new outlets. And to this disposition are we indebted for the existence of the Knights of Columbus."
From the founding of the Knights of Columbus for the men of his own Parish in 1882, to a world-wide organization of over two million members, the vision of Father McGivney continues to grow. Pope Benedict XVI credited him as being one of the contributing causes for the growth of Catholicism in America. In 2015, the intercession of Father McGivney cured an unborn child with fetal hydrops resulted in a miracle confirmed by Pope Francis in 2020. The men who carry out his legacy, the men of the Knights of Columbus, pray with confidence that he will one day be named St. Michael McGivney.
+ Blessed Father Michael McGivney, pray for us +
Our Assembly Patron
On September 23, 2017, Father Stanley Rother was beatified as the first US-born martyr for the Catholic faith. Father Rother served the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and was martyred during his missionary work in Guatemala. He is an inspiration for all Catholics, lay and clergy alike. To join Bl. Father Rother's guild for sainthood, click here.
It is the tradition of the Knights of Columbus that each Council and guild select a patron to honor through their works. Each Knights of Columbus Council that supports Assembly #3101 has a patron -- from local heroes like Father Bandini, to timeless Saints like Raphael the Archangel. The patron of Assembly #3101 is Blessed Fr. Stanley Rother.
Father Stanley Rother was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City in 1963. He served as an Associate Pastor in the Archdiocese for five years before beginning missionary work in Guatemala. It was in Guatemala in 1981 that armed men broke into Father Rother's living quarters and executed him. He remains a beloved figure and symbol of the Catholic faith to the people of the area of Santiago Atitlan where his heart remains enshrined to this day as a relic. His martyrdom was confirmed by the Vatican, and he is the first US-born martyr for the Catholic faith.
It is fitting that our Assembly, who shares its border with the home state of Bl. Father Rother, should bear his name. May God spare us from the test, but give us the grace to comport ourselves like Bl. Father Rother should it come.
+ Blessed Father Stanley Rother, pray for us +