In the basement of St. Mary's Parish in New Haven, Conn., a small group of men established the Knights of Columbus, in early spring of 1882. The priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, saw clearly that both Catholics and the Church faced serious problems in the last half of the nineteenth century such as anti-Catholicism and ethnic prejudice; under-employment; lack of social standing and early loss of the breadwinner.
To resolve those problems Father McGiveny conveived the idea of an organization of Catholic men who would band togther:
*To aid one another in times of sickness or death, by means of a simple insurance plan, so that their wives and children would not face abject poverty.
*To strengthen themselves and each other in faith.
*To strengthen families and family life.
*To be a strong pilar of support for their priests and bishops.
*To be of service to Church and community by coming to the aid of those most in need in society.
They called themselves Knights of Columbus - Knights to emphasize chivalry's ideas of charity and support for Church and State, and Columbus as a reminder that Catholics had been the backbone and bulwark of America's growth and greatness from the very beginning.
The State of Connecticut offically chartered the Order on March 29th, 1882. It's founder, Father McGivney, and those first Knights dreamed of the day when there would be a council in every parish. Now there is more than 1.9 million members in 15,100 local councils in 17 countries throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam, Saipan, Lithuania, Ukraine, and South Korea... There is 47,000 here in the State of Florida alone.