I’m heading to St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic parish in Yardley, Pennsylvania tonight to join the Knights of Columbus. The Knights of Columbus are the world’s oldest Catholic fraternal service organization. The Knights are driven by local councils, basically chapters, and have an enormous collective impact. I’ll be joining through the Fr. McCafferty Council #11013.

After joining the Sons of the American Revolution two years ago I’ve felt like the Knights represents a natural companion commitment as the other side of the same coin. Rod Dreher’s recent insight also comes to mind here: “It is one thing for the church to be separate from the state, but a meaningfully different thing for religion to be separate from life.”

I’m excited to be joining, and am sure I’ll write more about membership in the months and years to come. In the mean time for context, here are the Knight’s four principles:

Charity – Our Catholic faith teaches us to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Members of the Knights of Columbus show love for their neighbors by conducting food drives and donating the food to local soup kitchens and food pantries, by volunteering at Special Olympics, and by supporting, both spiritually and materially, mothers who choose life for their babies. Knights recognize that our mission, and our faith in God, compels us to action. There is no better way to experience love and compassion than by helping those in need, a call we answer every day.

Unity – None of us is as good as all of us. Members of the Knights of Columbus all know that – together – we can accomplish far more than any of us could individually. So we stick together…we support one another. That doesn’t mean that we always agree or that there is never a difference of opinion. It does mean that – as a Knight of Columbus – you can count on the support and encouragement of your brother Knights as you work to make life better in your parish and community.

Fraternity – The Venerable Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus, in large part, to provide assistance to the widows and children left behind when the family breadwinner died – often prematurely. The Order’s top-rated insurance program continues to do this today, as do individual Knights, who last year gave more than 10 million hours of their time to assist sick and/or disabled members and their families. In the Knights of Columbus, we watch out for and take care of one another.

Patriotism – Members of the Knights of Columbus, be they Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Filipinos, Poles, or Dominicans, are patriotic citizens. We are proud of our devotion to God and country, and believe in standing up for both. Whether it’s in public or private, the Knights remind the world that Catholics support their nations and are amongst the greatest citizens.