Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 26, 2004
Patriotic fourth degree expands
Knights of Columbus fourth degree fosters loyalty
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The Knights of Columbus have established a new fourth degree assembly to foster patriotism on the south side of Edmonton.
The St. Michael's Fourth Degree Assembly, named in honour of St. Michael the Archangel, was granted its charter by the Knights' supreme council in May 2003 and held its charter night in February.
The fourth degree is the highest and most prestigious degree within the Knights of Columbus. Its primary purpose is to foster patriotism by promoting responsible citizenship, love and loyalty to the country, explained Lito Reyes, the assembly's faithful navigator or president.
The St. Michael's Assembly is composed of 46 charter members from three councils -Holy Family Council 4957, Holy Trinity Council 12353 and Nazareno (Filipino) Council 12904.
There are already 10 fourth degree assemblies in the Edmonton area. St. Michael's Assembly was established because there was no fourth degree assembly representing the south side, explained Reyes, a former state deputy of the Alberta Knights and a member of the order since 1986.
Renowned fourth degree members in the Edmonton area include Archbishops Thomas Collins and Joseph MacNeil. To qualify for fourth degree, one must be over 18, a Canadian citizen, a knight for at least 12 months and a third degree member in good standing.
Fourth degree assemblies participate in parades and usually provide honour guards for the pope on his visits to the countries where the Knights exist. St. Michael's members provide honour guards to south side parishes for special Masses and ceremonies.
"We are very strong in providing honour guards for Church activities," Reyes said, noting the assembly has also provided honour guards for the Eucharistic Adoration that the Nazareno Council holds monthly at the chapels of St. Joseph's Auxiliary Hospital or the Misericordia Hospital.
In parades and honour guards, fourth degree members wear special regalia that include a cape, chapeau, sword and tuxedo. The ceremonial sword they wear signifies Christian knighthood and symbolizes defence of Church, country and freedom. The sword is also worn to show reverence for the Eucharist and respect for the clergy.
Fourth degree assemblies also sponsor programs that promote respect, knowledge and protection for the national flag and present free flags to local churches, school and libraries.
"The point is to promote patriotism - love for one's country and community," said Reyes, who readily agreed to wear his fourth degree attire to illustrate this article. "But to me, patriotism is not just about waving the flag but also about behaving as a Canadian citizen, participating in the affairs of the country and getting involved."
In some places, fourth degree assemblies conduct Get Out the Vote awareness campaigns to stress the importance of voting and assist in taking homebound citizens to the polls. They also promote programs that encourage love of country and support the application of Christian principles at all levels of government.
The St. Michael's Assembly recently conducted an essay contest on patriotism at Father Michael Troy Junior High School and received 214 entries from students in Grades 7 to 9, Reyes said.