What is a degree?
For lack of a better definition, a "Degree" can loosely be
interpreted as "being introduced to a new principle". Being of a lower degree in the Knights
does not really affect what you can be involved in or what
activities you can contribute to. However, all officers and 4th
Degree applicants have to have already obtained their 3rd
In a degree ceremony you are introduced to one of four
principles that the Knights of Columbus holds in high regard. In
your first degree, you learn of the principle of "charity". In
your second degree, You learn of the principle of "unity". In your
third degree, you learn the principle of "fraternity". Finally, in
your fourth degree, you learn about the principle of "patriotism".
It's these four principles that we base all of our actions. To
move forward, you must learn of each in detail.
First Degree Ceremony - Charity
first degree ceremony is for prospective Knights that wish to
enter the order. You must be over 18, Male, and a Catholic in
good standing. An application needs to be filled out and
submitted to a fellow Knight who will read it in at a business
meeting. Once approved, the prospective Knight is sponsored and
invited to attend the first degree ceremony.
Second and Third Degree Ceremonies - Unity & Fraternity
The second and third degree ceremony does not have any
requirements or applications to fill out. (Your council dues
cover the cost of the ceremony). The ceremonies are also
typically done together, so a Knight will have jumped from a 1st
degree to 3rd degree Knight by the end of the process. Since the
ceremony is held usually at another
council, Knights of our council usually carpool together in
support of one another.
Fourth Degree Ceremonies - Patriotism
The 4th degree ceremony is a big moment for a Knight and his
family. The prospective 4th degree candidate will be in a
ceremony most for most of the day while his wife attends
functions specially arranged for her. This day is for both the
Knight and his spouse which includes activities for both. A
black tie celebration for the Knight and his spouse is held that
The 4th degree exemplification happens twice a year.
To apply for the 4th degree exemplification you have to have
attained your 3rd degree and been a knight for at least 6
months. A application has to be filled out and degree fees have
to be submitted. The ceremony and celebration after is a black
Certain members of the
Fourth Degree serve as honor guards at civic and
religious functions, an activity that has brought
worldwide recognition to the Knights of Columbus. You
may recognize 4th degree Honor Guard members as they
wear a tux, colorful capes, chapeaux (feathered hats),
white gloves, and a sword.