Knights of Columbus
Holy Ghost Council
Palatine, Illinois
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The Knights of Columbus 

The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by a 29-year-old parish priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, in the basement of St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut. Today, it has since become the largest lay organization of the Catholic Church.

The Knights of Columbus has been called "the strong right arm of the church", and has been praised by popes, presidents and other world leaders for support of the church programs of evangelization and Catholic education, civic involvement and aid to those in need. Thanks to the inspired work of Father McGivney -- as well as that of millions of its members -- the Order now stands at its pinnacle of membership, benefits, and service.

Currently, there are over 1.6 million Knights of Columbus, more than ever before in history, in 12,000 counciis in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Panama, the Virgin Islands, Guatamala, Guam, Saipan, and Poland.

As the Knights of Columbus has grown, its benevolence has multiplied. It continues to break all previous records for charitable contributions and volunteer service. In 1998 alone, the Knights donated an all-time high of more than $100 million and 55 million volunteer hours to charitable causes. Earlier this year you saw one example of Knights in action: their annual Tootsie Roll sale to benefit the intellectually disabled.

Faith, fellowship, philantropy. These are the distinguishing marks of the Knights. Their achievements show that they have remained true to their heritage and that they have continued to build on it for future generations. This is Father McGivney's dream, echoing across the century and living today in the hearts of each Knight and all of those they touch.