Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 14, 2000
Knights' patriotic arm marks 100th anniversary
By WCR Staff
Parishes across Alberta will mark the 100th anniversary of the fourth degree of the Knights of Columbus on Feb. 20.
Alberta's bishops have declared that day Fourth Degree Sunday to celebrate the contribution of fourth degree knights.
The Knights will mark the occasion by providing honour guards for some parish Masses and performing the liturgical ministries at those Masses.
The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 in New Haven, Conn., to help Catholic men foster the virtues of charity, unity and fraternity. However, from the beginnings of the order, there was interest in developing a fourth degree to promote the virtue of patriotism.
Finally, on Feb. 22, 1900, the fourth degree was launched to foster the spirit of patriotism by promoting responsible citizenship, and the love of and loyalty to one's country.
Fourth degree knights are best known to the public for their honour guards at Church and civic functions where they wear capes, plumed hats and symbolic swords.
Bill Tymensen of Lethbridge, master of the fourth degree for Alberta and the Northwest Territories, told the WCR the Sir Knights, as they are known, are present at ceremonies for Citizens' Day and Remembrance Day.
They also support vocations and present chalices and Mass kits to widows of deceased members to give to a priest of their choice in memory of their husband, Tymensen said.
The fourth degree came to Alberta in 1927 when assemblies were established in Edmonton and Calgary, he said.
There are now 20 assemblies in the jurisdiction with 1,647 members. Another assembly will be added May 6 in Airdrie.
That compares with about 13,000 members of the third degree Knights of Columbus who belong to 150 councils.
Tymensen said that across the order, about 15 per cent of knights go on to join the fourth degree. Joining the fourth degree carries an added cost for those who buy the full regalia of formal dress.