WHO ARE THE
KNIGHTS OF ST.COLUMBA ?
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
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
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
amount 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
there would be no objection to such an Order being established.
P. J. O’Callaghan had in the
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
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