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Knights of Columbus

A Roman Catholic fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus, named in honor of Christopher Columbus, is open to membership to Catholic men age 18 and over. It was founded by a Catholic priest, Father Michael J. McGivney[?] in New Haven, Connecticut on February 2, 1882 and incorporated under the laws of Connecticut on March 29, 1882 but it is not in direct control of the Roman Catholic Church, but supports it enthusiastically. The priciples of the order are Charity, Fraternity, Unity, and Patriotism. The vast majority of the membership live in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Philippines.

Originally institued to give support to all brother Knights, at a time when Catholics were regularly excluded from the unions and men's organizations that provided social support services, the Knights of Columbus today is a multi-million dollar non-profit charitable organization. Knights may be seen distributing Tootsie Rolls brand candies to raise funds to fight mental illness, volunteering for the Special Olympics and other charitable organizations, erecting pro-life billboards and "Keep Christ in Christmas" signs, conducting blood drives and raising funds for disaster victims, or parading at patriotic events with their bright capes, feathered chapeaux, and ceremonial swords. The Knights of Columbus also provide annual funding for the satellite uplink of Pope John Paul II's worldwide Christmas address. In many countries that cannot afford satellite downlink, the Knights often pay for this as well.

Knights are encouraged to purchase K of C life insurance[?] policies, but they are not required to do so. The "CEO" is also Supreme Knight and leader of the fraternal organization (currently Carl A. Anderson[?]).

Hierarchy descending from the Supreme Knight include State or Provincial Deputies leading each geographical state, District Deputies overseeing several Councils and a Grand Knight heading each local Council in a specific geographic area. Councils are numbered in the order in which they chartered into the organization and are named by the local membership.

Local Leadership

The State Deputy for the State of Florida from July 1, 1993 until June 30, 1995 was Robert J. Anderson. He led the State to an award of second place for two years in the "Circle of Honor". He also served as Master of the Fourth Degree of the DeSoto Providence in the Florida district from September 1, 1996 until August 31, 2000. Showing outstanding leadership and achieving the goals setup by the Supreme Council.

A similar organisation exists in Ireland, known as the Knights of Columbanus[?] after the Irish saint Columbanus, also known as Columba or St. Columkille.

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