Structure of the Order

If the Knights of Columbus have grown so steadily and strongly since their charter was granted by the State of Connecticut in 1882, much of the credit can go to the firm structural foundation on which the organization was established, and to the caliber of the men attracted to its ranks.

As a fraternal benefit society, the Order operates in accordance with the laws relating to such groups. These regulations require a representative form of government comprised of a supreme governing or legislative body and subordinate branches. Members are elected, initiated and admitted into the society according to the provisions of its constitution, laws and rules.

The society is governed by the Supreme Council, its top legislative body. There are 64 state councils and several territorial jurisdictions encompassing more than 10,000 subordinate councils to which more than 1.5 million members belong.

Groups of councils, ideally four or more in adjacent or nearby localities, are formed into districts under a district deputy.

The Supreme Council is composed of the supreme officers (supreme knight, chaplain, deputy supreme knight, secretary, treasurer, advocate, physician and warden); the supreme directors (a 24-member body elected for three-year terms by the Supreme Council at its annual meeting); the past supreme knights; the state deputy and the last living past state deputy of the various state councils; and such delegates as are duly chosen by the state councils.

Executive authority is vested in the supreme officers, who are elected annually by the supreme directors.

The state councils are made up of the state deputy, who is the representative of the supreme knight in each state, and other state officers, the last living past state deputy, the grand knight and a past grand knight from each subordinate council.

Charters establishing subordinate councils are granted upon completion of 30 members or applicants for membership. The presiding officer is the grand knight. Titles of the other officers on both the state and local levels are similar to those on the supreme level, with some additions. In all there are 17 council officers, of whom 12 are elected to their positions annually. Five others are appointed by the grand knight, including a program director and a membership director. These men in turn appoint and supervise various committees charged with council projects and membership recruitment and retention. A new knight is encouraged to become active in his council by making himself available for membership in one or more of these committees. The council's financial secretary is appointed directly by the supreme knight.

It is the responsibility of the program director and his church, community, council, family and youth directors to provide balanced, attractive and effective activities for the members. There is no doubt that participation in council projects and the experience gained in leadership positions stand a man in good stead throughout his life.