Information about the Order and Province

The Order of the Knights of St Columba is a fraternal federation of Catholic men dedicated to the
work of the Lay Apostolate, and to the fundamental virtues of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Brotherly
Love. Their loyalty to the Holy Father the Hierarchies and the Clergy has never been in question.

During and after the First World War a Catholic organisation called the Knights of St. Andrew started
in Glasgow, However because of its similarity to the Masonic Order, it did not please some of its members,
who felt that it had no prospect of ever becoming a national organisation.

On 14th May, 1919, two of those dissatisfied approached a Mr. Patrick Joseph O’Callaghan, a
well known Glasgow Catholic, asking him to join the Society. He agreed to do so providing he be allowed
to change the name to the Knights of St Columba. He suggested this title because of the tremendous
of welfare work carried out by the American Knights of Columbus.

After an interview with Mgr. John Ritchie, Vicar General of the Glasgow Archdiocese, he was told
that there would be no objection to such an Order being established. P. J. O’Callaghan had in the
meantime joined the Knights of St. Andrew, and after a stormy meeting, resigned and called on all in
agreement to do the same. He and about thirty others immediately went to the Central Halls in Bath St,
Glasgow for a meeting, over which he presided. After a lengthy discussion, a resolution was carried
unanimously and the form that the constitutions and rules would take was discussed. The Chairman
was instructed to interview Mgr Ritchie and to report back to a meeting the following Sunday, October
12th, 1919. This was to be the first meeting ever held of the Knights of St Columba, and subsequently,
P. J. O’Callaghan was the first Supreme Knight.

Still based on its fundamental virtues, the Order today extends throughout England, Scotland, Wales
and the Channel Islands, and through the International Alliance of Catholic Knights (IACK) it is affiliated
to similar Orders in such countries as Australia, New Zealand, Eire, South Africa, USA, the Gambia in
West Africa, Austria and more recently The Knights of St. Thomas Moore, Belgium. These and others
have increased the members of IACK who are now active in over twenty-six countries around the world.

The Orders governing body is the Supreme Council, meeting annually; executive authority is vested in
the Board of Directors who currently comprise the Supreme Knight, four Supreme Officers and
four other Directors, all of whom are elected by Supreme Council for a limited period.

The basic unit of the Order is the Charter Council, Councils are grouped in Provinces, and

where practicable correspond with Diocesan boundaries with each Province having its own Provincial
Officers and Provincial Council.

Province 30 was created in 1954 when the much larger Province 11 was split into three thus creating
Westminster Central - Province 11, Westminster Northern - Province 29 and Westminster West, Province 30.

In 2023 the three Provinces (11 -29 and 30) were merged again to form a new Westminster  Province 41.

So what do the Knights do? Locally, what we do depends largely on the number of members in the
Council, most Councils will have members who are Eucharistic Ministers, Reader, Catechists and School
Governors and many other rolls in the Church.

Councils run their own projects to support the local community and those; less fortunate than ourselves,
some of the projects may run for one or two years or may even be continuous. They will also join in with
projects run by the Province or Nationally.

The social scene is an important part of our existence many Councils run social evenings, some just for the
social aspect such as Dinner Dance’s, Cheese and Wine evenings, while others may organise fund raisers
such as a Race Night, Dances etc. all largely depending on the manpower available.