Once a candidate completes the First Degree ceremony on the lesson of charity, he is considered a Knight of Columbus and can participate in all council activities. First Degree members are encouraged to attain the Second and Third Degrees, which teach the lessons of unity and fraternity. Upon taking the Third Degree, a member receives full honors of Knighthood and is "Knighted."
Privileges of Third Degree membership include the ability to serve as a local council officer, and admission to state and Supreme Council business meetings. First and Second Degree members can attend the state and Supreme Council meetings, but they are not allowed in the business sessions.
Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to practical Catholic men in union with the Holy See, who shall not be less than 18 years of age on their last birthday. A practical Catholic is one who lives up to the Commandments of God and the Precepts of the Church.
The first degree is the first step towards becoming a full member of the Knights of Columbus. Our council will soon offer the First Degree at our Naperville location. At this level you may participate, but are limited on the level you may participate in meetings. Full participation in meetings is not allowed until completion of the Third Degree.
At this point you can participate as a Knight in our events and fundraising, but full-benefits are not received until completion of the Third Degree.
Second and Third Degrees
The Second and Third Degrees are usually offered together and can be done on the same day with the First Degree. The Second and Third Degrees are often combined with other chapters of the area and held regionally. Because of this and the time required it is not as often available as often. For this reason you may become a First Degree Knight which will soon be offered in Naperville.
Upon completion of the Third Degree you may fully participate in meetings of the council and all benefits including the insurance and financial benefits available through the Knights of Columbus.
On February 22, 1900, the first Fourth Degree exemplification or degree ceremony was held in New York City. The Fourth Degree imparts a lesson on the virtue of patriotism. The primary purpose of this degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism in members and the community at large and encourage active Catholic citizenship. Today there are some 300,000 Fourth Degree Knights out of the total 1.6 million member Knights of Columbus.
Local units, called assemblies, draw their members from Knights of Columbus councils. The qualifications for membership in the Fourth Degree are: membership in the Knights for at least one year and being a Third Degree Knight.
A Fourth Degree Knight may become part of the assembly's color corps. These members are recognized widely by their distinctive attire of tuxedo, feathered hat (chapeau), cape and sword. These members regularly take part in civic events such as parades and wreath-laying ceremonies, and at ecclesial functions at Catholic churches. The various colored capes and chapeau feathers denote different officer positions within the Fourth Degree.