Earlier this month, the Knights of Columbus board of directors unanimously voted to adopt a new uniform for the Fourth Degree. The decision was made with the good of the entire Order in mind. While we understand that some members may prefer the old regalia, the supreme master and vice supreme masters urge all Fourth Degree members to put the good of the Order before any personal preference.
The board decided to make this move based on the following factors:
The following FAQ should answer many of the questions that have arisen concerning this change.
Q: Will the new uniform allow the use of ceremonial swords?
A: Yes. Ceremonial swords will continue to be part of the Fourth Degree. When swords are used, gloves should also be used. (see picture above).
Q: How will rank be distinguished?
A: Colored patches will be worn on the beret behind the Fourth Degree emblem as follows:
Dark Blue Supreme Master
Light Blue Vice Supreme Masters
Gold District Masters
White Faithful Navigators
Green District Marshals
Purple Color Corp Commanders
Those not holding office (who formerly wore red capes) will wear berets with no patch.
Q: Will there be discounts offered on the new uniform?
A: Yes. The Order will subsidize the new uniform with a 25 percent discount offered to all members who order the new uniform prior to Sept. 30, 2017.
Q: What if a member just purchased the old regalia?
Q: Is the Order making money on the new uniform?
A: No, the uniform is being sold at (or sometimes below) our cost.
Q: Was the new uniform field tested prior to its release?
A: Yes. The new uniform was field tested by Fourth Degree members attending the Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage.
Q: Can the old regalia still be worn?
A: Yes, for a time. While the preference is for the new uniform wherever possible, the old regalia can still be worn until the end of the current fraternal year (June 30, 2018). After that date, only the new uniform should be worn.
Q: Who made this decision?
A: The board of directors made this decision earlier this year after a three year period of testing and discussion. In addition, changing the uniform/regalia was previously discussed with the vice supreme masters at the Supreme Assembly.
Q: Did members have input on this?
A: For years, supreme officers and directors have received comments from members and prospective members that the old regalia was a barrier to membership overall, or to membership in the Fourth Degree.
Q: In what context should this change best be understood?
A: During the convention, the Good of the Order Committee stated: “We commend all of the faithful Sir Knights who have proudly worn the Fourth Degree regalia, bringing much respect to the Order. With the new Fourth Degree uniform, recently approved by the Board of Directors, this honor and respect associated with Sir Knights will remain, and it will open the door more widely for a new generation to join their ranks. In a spirit of unity, let us assist with a smooth transition to this new uniform and encourage it to be worn with great dignity and pride.”
Orders for the new 4th Degree Official Dress Uniform are now being taken online at KnightsGear.
The official dress uniform (Official Navy Blue Blazer, Official Fourth Degree Gray trousers, Official Fourth Degree Necktie, and Official Fourth Degree Black Beret with Fourth Degree metal badge) is purchased as a set. Individual items are not for sale at this time.
The garments of the official dress are tailored in Italy. The fabric used for both blazers and pants is woven in Italy specifically for the Knights of Columbus from a high quality super 130 wool. The blazer buttons are made in Italy. The KofC blazer patches are completely hand embroidered. The tie is Italian silk, but made in the USA. The set (further detailed below), may only be purchased through KnightsGear and will cost $510.
The official dress for the Fourth Degree shall be:
Official Fourth Degree Gray trousers
NOT INCLUDED: Plain White Dress Shirt – Button cuff (no French cuffs – no button down collar shirts)
NOT INCLUDED: Black Socks and Plain Black Shoes, Official Fourth Degree Lapel Pin (#PG-113), Incumbent Medal of Office, Past and Former Miniature Medals above left pocket.
The new uniform is to be worn as you would a business suit.
The beret is worn with the fourth degree pin placed directly over the left eye. The right side of the beret folds down toward and over the right ear.
ORDERS WILL BE SHIPPED AS INVENTORY BECOMES AVAILABLE.
Dear Brother Knight:
This week, more than 2,000 Knights and their families gathered in St. Louis for the 135th Supreme Convention, which was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the last fraternal year, and to chart the course for an even brighter future for the Knights of Columbus.
A Papal Message to the convention conveyed the prayers and good wishes of Pope Francis who praised the Order’s efforts to strengthen family life and provide relief to persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Just days before the convention, the Board of Directors authorized a $2 million effort to save Karamdes, a predominantly Christian town in the Nineveh Plain region of Iraq, which was liberated from ISIS late last year.
During my annual report, I announced the “Knights of Columbus Campaign to Save 1 Million Children.” Through our Ultrasound Initiative, we have already provided 829 ultrasound machines and this new campaign aims to reach the goal of 1,000 machines as quickly as possible, so that by 2019 — the 10th anniversary of the initiative — we will have saved an estimated total of 1 million lives.
The Order reached new heights in its charitable works, donating more than $177 million and 75 million hours to charitable causes. Our industry-leading program of insurance “by brother Knights, for brother Knights” continues to provide the finest protection to our families, issuing a new record of more than $8.54 billion of new life insurance last year. We also celebrated the achievements of our fraternal leaders and insurance field force, and presented the Order’s highest honor, the Gaudium et Spes Award, to a courageous Maryknoll priest, Father Gerard Hammond Gerard Hammond, who has travelled to North Korea more than 50 times to provide humanitarian aid.
The convention was also the occasion for a historic announcement: the introduction of the new uniform of the Fourth Degree. After careful consideration, the Board of Directors took this action motivated by the best interests of the Order as whole and of the Fourth Degree in particular. The new uniform is part of a comprehensive and necessary effort to keep our Order relevant and attractive to men, particularly younger men.
In light of this significant change, I thought it would be helpful to address some of the questions that have been asked about the new uniform.
We have been testing the new uniform over the past year with key groups of Knights, including those brother Knights who participate in our annual Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage. The feedback we received from these groups has been very positive.
During the convention, the Good of the Order Committee spoke in words I wish to make my own:
“We commend all of the faithful Sir Knights who have proudly worn the Fourth Degree regalia, bringing much respect to the Order. With the new Fourth Degree uniform, recently approved by the Board of Directors, this honor and respect associated with Sir Knights will remain, and it will open the door more widely for a new generation to join their ranks. In a spirit of unity, let us assist with a smooth transition to this new uniform and encourage it to be worn with great dignity and pride.”
Carl A. Anderson
Archbishop Michael J. Curley Assembly No. 383 of the Knights of Columbus Patriotic Degree has raised $10,083.49 for the Archdiocese of the Military Services, USA’s (AMS), Military Chaplain’s Scholarship Fund. The Assembly, comprised of Knights from nine Councils in Eastern Montgomery and Northern Prince George’s counties, raised the money through its “Pass the Helmet” Campaign, which started on October 9, 2016, and concluded on June 4, 2017.
Faced with a critical shortage of priests serving the Catholic men and women of the United States military, AMS and the Knights of Columbus established the Military Chaplain’s Scholarship Fund in an effort to increase the number of Catholic military chaplains. The Knights of Columbus committed to raising $1.4 million for the Fund by June 30, 2017. The funds will be used to provide scholarships through AMS’ “Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program,” which funds 50 percent of the cost of a seminarian’s five-year education, or about $12,500 per year, for seminarians who commit to serving as military chaplains following their ordinations and three years of service at a parish.
“This was just a truly amazing effort, from the Sir Knights and Ladies who gave more than 125 hours of their time to make this campaign possible to the incredible generosity of those who donated,” said Sir Knight Jimmy Williams, Faithful Navigator of Curley Assembly. “When we started out, we had no idea this campaign would be so successful. We just wanted to support our seminarians and Catholic men and women in uniform and knew whatever amount of money we raised would make a difference. The end result blew us all away.”
Throughout the campaign, the Assembly coordinated collections after Masses at five of the parishes it supports. To promote the collections, the Assembly ran bulletin announcements and made announcements about the collection during Mass. A feeder Council contributed to the effort through a collection during one of its meetings and the seniors club at another feeder Council also contributed.
“The Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus, known as the Patriotic Degree, strives to perform activities that exemplify the virtue of Patriotism. Curley Assembly has done just that through their ‘Pass the Helmet’ Campaign,” said Sir Knight Micheal Thumm, Master of the Archdiocese of Washington District of the Patriotic Degree. “It is my opinion that through their actions in this campaign, they have also demonstrated the other virtues of a complete Knight of Columbus: Charity, United and Fraternity. It is a fantastic deed that the Sir Knights of this Assembly have accomplished!”
According to information received from Sir Knight Dennis Stoddard, Supreme Master of the Patriotic Degree, as of February 2017, AMS had just 210 active duty priests serving. It is estimated 800 are needed to fully serve all Catholics in the United States armed forces. As of June 2017, seven priests have been ordained through the AMS program, with another 35 seminarians enrolled. While there is still a long way to go to adequately serve all Catholics in the military, the funds raised for the Military Chaplain’s Scholarship Fund are making a difference.