Report by Paula Antolini
August 14, 2017 1:15PM EDT
Photo: Knights of Columbus “old” regalia is shown at left (Relay For Life event 2016), and new uniform is shown on right, with beret.
Knights of Columbus Have Different Views About Extreme Change in Regalia Design
August 14, 2017
Earlier this month, the Knights of Columbus board of directors unanimously voted to adopt a new uniform for the Fourth Degree. The decision was made with the good of the entire Order in mind.
While the hierarchy of the Knights of Columbus understands that some members may prefer the old regalia, the supreme master and vice supreme masters urged all Fourth Degree members to put the good of the Order before any personal preference.
However, there has been much discussion on social media about the two different uniforms, some do not like the new regalia and prefer the “old” uniform. Some of the reasons given are tradition, they prefer the regal look of the old uniform, they don’t like the new regalia design, and/or that the old uniform was $500 and now they have to also buy the new uniform at additional cost.
Francesco Antonio Anselmo Mastracchio, a Fourth Degree Knight at Knights of Columbus, and a Bethel resident, has recently organized a petition and emailed it out for other members to sign.
The new uniform is a dark suit with a beret, with different ranks indicted by color patches on the beret as follows:
- Dark Blue Supreme Master
- Light Blue Vice Supreme Masters
- Gold District Masters
- White Faithful Navigators
- Green District Marshals
- Purple Color Corp Commanders
The “old”regalia was a tuxedo with a cape and feathered hat. Both uniforms will include the sword.
The board decided to make this move based on the following factors:
- the aging of our Fourth Degree membership
- the slow growth of the Fourth Degree (fewer than 20 percent of Knights are Fourth Degree members, and only a fraction of that number even serve as honor guards)
- consistent reports that the old regalia presented a barrier to Fourth Degree membership, especially among younger men
A Knights of Columbus website provides answers to many questions on this issue.
About the Knights of Columbus
Thanks to the efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven and some of his parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature on March 29, 1882, officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. The Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity.
The Knights was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
The history of the Order shows how the foresight of Father Michael J. McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican, brought about what has become the world’s foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society. The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.
The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to 15,342 councils and 1.9 million members 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.
Our charitable activities encompass an almost infinite variety of local, national and international projects. From international charitable partnerships with Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission and Habitat for Humanity to our own Food for Families and Coats for Kids projects and other local charities, the opportunity to work together with fellow Knights and their families is virtually endless. In 2016, the Knights of Columbus set a new all-time record for the 18th consecutive year. Our charitable donations increased from $175 million in 2015 to a new total of $177,500,673 in 2016. In addition, we achieved our highest level of charitable service in 2016, volunteering more than 75 million hours of service.