Knights of Columbus
Admission Degree


The Grand Knight is in charge of this degree which may be conferred during regular meeting. The Conferring Officer is the Instructor, lie is appointed by the Grand Knight from the membership of the Council and may be, but is not required to be, an officer of the Council. He should be a Knight well respected in the community as a Catholic gentleman, and one who can deliver his charge in an inspiring manner. He is dressed in a business suit with a baldric style sash over his coat.
The work of the Admission Committee will have been completed so that the practical Catholicity of each applicant has been fully determined. The Financial Secretary will collect all initiation fees and dues, have the candidates sign the Constitutional Roll, and complete a list of all the candidates before they enter the Council chamber.
The Warden will have the Council chamber in readiness for the exemplification of the degree. The cross should be on the prepared table. The Warden with his two assistants, will lead the candidates into the Council chamber and seat them. Candidates will not be blindfolded. Members will not robe or mask for this degree.
It is recommended that either live music or recorded music be used for the processional and that the hail be decorated in a dignified manner.
Lights are lowered at the entry of the candidates and raised at the conclusion of the ceremonial.
Ceremonial Music
The use of music in conjunction with our Order’s ceremonials is designed to fulfill one purpose only- to set and intensify the mood of solemn and spiritual dignity engendered by the ceremonials themselves.
Whenever possible, it is desirable that a live chorus lead or provide the musical selections but in the absence of such a group recorded music of a high caliber is not only permissible but highly recommended.
Recorded choral music with male voices only, however, is limited in its availability. Therefore, the discreet use of instrumental recorded music may be suitably used.
For the use of a live group we suggest that the Council Chaplain be consulted as to those hymns common to local usage. For example, however, for a stirring processional the chorus might use HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY and as a corresponding recessional, sing PRAISE TO THE LORD or HOLY GOD WE PRAISE THY NAME. For a meditative or spiritual period, a soloist might render either the Schubert or Bach-Gounod AVE MARIA.
As soon as the F.S. is ready, he will send a guard, or member of the council, to the council chamber to advise the O.G. that the candidates are prepared to enter. The W. and two assistants will lead the candidates to the council chamber.
Candidates will not he blindfolded. Members and candidates will not robe or mask for this degree.
Prior to the arrival of the F.S. and the candidates, the Warden will have seen that the Council chamber is in readiness for the exemplification of the degree. The cross should be placed on the table.
It is presumed that the Order of Business including prayer, Ode, the Pledge of Allegiance, or some suitable patriotic display of loyalty, have been completed.
G.K., one Rap: Brothers, we will now proceed to the exemplification of the First or Admission Degree. All persons not having received the honors of membership in the first section will please retire from the chamber. The doors will now be closed and the guards assume their stat ions.
Worthy Warden do you vouch that none except duly qualified brothers are in the Council Chamber?
The Warden and aides report to the salutation table, leaving space between Warden and an aide for the F.S. later on.
The Warden salutes with his aides.
WARDEN: Worthy G.K.: I do so vouch.
G.H.: Worthy F.S.
The G. K. will pause until the F.S. takes his place at the salutation table.
G.H.: How many candidates await the honors of the Admission Degree?
F.S.: Worthy G. K., there are ... candidates seeking admission into our Order and desiring to join the ranks of knighthood as followers of the great Christopher Columbus. They have paid all the lawful dues. They have signed our Constitutional Roll. They now await the conferring upon them of the honor of the Admission Degree.
He salutes the G. K. and turns to the W.
F.S.: Worthy W., I present to you a list of the candidates and the Constitutional Roll signed by them.
The W. retains the list and places the Constitutional Roll on the prepared table and returns to the salutation table. The F.S. salutes the G.K., and retires to his station.
G.K.: Worthy W., you will conduct the candidates from the ante-chamber to the presence of the Instructor of this Council. Let me admonish each Knight here present that, during the conferring of this degree, his conduct should be such as to cause these candidates to be edified by the beauty and dignity of the lessons exemplified to them. After the entry of the candidates no Brother will be allowed to enter or leave this Council chamber during the working of the Degree, unless he has asked and obtained the permission of the G.K. which should be done privately. The G’s shall strictly enforce this command. There will be no smoking during the ceremonial.
The W. salutes and retires to the ante-chamber with his aides to lead the candidates to the Council chamber. The Inside Guard will announce the arrival of the Warden and candidates. The lights are lowered and the candidates enter to music or a processional song. The W. halts the candidates, arranged in a semi-circle, in front of the Instructor, who stands at the prepared table. At the end of the music, the W. stepping to the front of the prepared table, salutes and addresses the Instructor.
WARDEN: Worthy Instructor, in the name of Christopher Columbus, I present to you these candidates, who desire to enter on the journey to knighthood, and who now seek the honors of the Admission Degree of our Order.
INSTRUCTOR: Sirs, secrecy is one of the most valuable charms of this society and is, therefore, to be
faithfully guarded. Hence, before you may witness the secret work of this Order, we require of you a first and significant pledge. Repeat it solemnly and slowly, considering it carefully, speaking it clearly and understandingly. Give attention to the full significance of this pledge, for violation of it will bring you dishonor as a man, disgrace as a Knight, and dismissal from our ranks. So that you may fully realize what you are asked to do, I will first recite the pledge to you: “I promise never to reveal, directly or indirectly, any of the ceremonials of this Order that are restricted to the membership, whether they occur in this or any other Council chamber, to anyone not absolutely known to me to be an equally qualified brother in good standing; it being understood, however, that I do not bind myself in any manner that might conflict with my religious or civil duties. This promise I regard as forever binding upon me on my honor as a Catholic gentleman.” You will now repeat the pledge of secrecy after me.
WARDEN: Candidates—Raise your right hands.
The candidates repeat the pledge and lower their hands.
INSTRUCTOR: Worthy sirs, in the presence of these assembled brothers, in the presence of the cross of our Faith and the symbol of this Council.
He points to the cross and the Council banner
Upon your honor answer truthfully the question I am about to ask: “Do you promise obedience in all things lawful and righteous to your superior officers and to the rules, laws and constitution of our Order?”
WARDEN: Candidates answer “I do so promise.
Candidates answer: “I do so promise.”
INSTRUCTOR: “And now, let all in this chamber hear me. Does anyone present know of any valid objection to the admission of any of these candidates? If so, let him at once, privately, make this objection known to me, or hold his peace forever.”
After a pause: “Worthy Sirs, in the days of our fathers when knighthood was the strong pillar of the Church and the State, it was the custom to prepare for its duties, by years of instruction and training, those who would one day bear its obligations. None could be admitted who had not qualified themselves for the burden. Therefore, by training of body, of heart, and of mind, did the Squires of old fit themselves for the honor they sought and the duties they would undertake.
Unlike our fathers, we Knights need not strive in physical combat, but we must contend against our own weakness and indifference in order that we may live our faith so that it will be meaningful to the world in the light of the Second Vatican Council. We must contend against indifference to the sorry plight of so many of our fellow human beings. We must protect the cherished freedoms guaranteed by our civil jurisdictions and we must promote the welfare of all men. In so doing, we share in the mission of our Church and country.
Our duty to you then is to train you for Knighthood—to bring about the transformation of a man of good will. Your presence here indicates your willingness to be formed in the mind of your Church as expressed in the Second Vatican Council, to become apostolic; to observe, judge and act in the spirit of Christ.
This is the mission of the Order to which you have pledged your fidelity. This has been the basic purpose and the guiding principle of the Knights of Columbus. Ever since its founding by Father Michael McGivney in 1882, it has clearly proclaimed its existence as an association of Catholic men, faithful to the Church and dedicated to four cardinal principles—charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. My Brothers, behold the chosen emblem of this degree, the compass of virtue.
He holds out the compass.
Instead of north, south, east and west, its points are these four principles, but our faithful needle always points to charity.
As charity is the greatest of the virtues, so it is the basic principle of our Order. If a man does not have charity as the fundamental motivation of his relationship with his fellow men, he will never be at home in the Knights of Columbus.
Unity is the second principle of this fraternity. We are united, as the Scripture tells us, in one Lord, one Faith, one baptism. Here, in the Knights of Columbus, we are also one in heart and one in purpose, as we dedicate ourselves to God and Country and to the service of our fellow men.
Fraternity is the third principle of the Knights of Columbus, and it turns our attention directly to the brotherhood itself, and to the obligations we voluntarily assume to give special thought and care to the needs of those who are bound together with us in this great association of Catholic men.
The fourth principle of Columbianism is Patriotism. Love of God and love of neighbor are both complemented and reflected in a man’s love of his country. This virtue has been verified in the lives and sacrifices of countless Knights and is indeed one of the great boasts of this Order.
These are the principles on which your own lives as Knights must be rooted and through which your lives as Christian gentlemen will be fulfilled.
These principles are the foundation stones on which the Knights of Columbus was established. They still provide the objectives and the challenge for its existence. The very charter of our Order demands our dedication to promoting works of education, charity, religion, social welfare and assistance to the poor and the disadvantaged. For this reason, also, as a positive manifestation of charity in fraternity, many programs of insurance were inaugurated to provide aid and security to the brotherhood and to their families and dependents.
All this is the story of this Catholic association of men of good will to which you are now welcomed with great expectation and with fraternal joy.
My Brothers, if you are to fit yourself for further advancement, listen to the words of the G.K.
G.K.: If you are to assume the responsibilities of a Knight in the modern world you must understand the laws and rules of our Order and its aims and accomplishments You must know what the Church is and what it expects of you as a layman. You must understand what it means in practice to be a Christian. We, therefore, charge you to study carefully the documents which will be presented to you at the conclusion of this part of the ceremonial. In so doing, you will be preparing yourself for the formation program which is required of all members who aspire to the fullness of Knighthood.
Remember that the obligations you have taken to reveal none of the doings of this degree, except to all equally qualified member in good standing, have also been taken by those who have received the higher degrees of the Order. Therefore, lest you cause a member unwittingly to disclose what he has promised to keep secret, when introduced to a Knight of Columbus, always say, “I have received only the Admission Degree. You will thus properly keep the pledge of secrecy you have taken, and will not cause a fellow member to violate his pledge.
It is my duty to inform you that you are not entitled to use or wear the emblem of the Order prior to your reception into the Knighthood Degree. All members upon attaining the Knighthood Degree should wear the emblem of the Order. Since your admission to the council depends upon your possession of a paid-up Traveling Card, the Financial Secretary will also present to you your Traveling Card.
F.S.: As the F.S. of this council it is my duty to instruct you how to gain admission to your council chamber and how to act therein. Upon obtaining the attention of the guard by knocking you will show him your current Traveling Card which you will receive at the end of this degree and he will permit you to enter. Once in the council chamber you will go directly to a seat and take an active part in the meeting. When rising to speak you will do so in your place. Address the Grand Knight as Worthy Grand Knight, Having gained attention, salute him, making this sign representing the tree of the cross. He will respond with this sign representing the arm of the cross.
The F.S. will demonstrate the signs.
One rap of the gavel is the signal for the council to come to order or be seated. Two raps, for the officers to rise. Three raps, for the council to rise. Four raps, for all to kneel in prayer.
As the raps are announced the G.K. will demonstrate the gavel.
G.K.: I congratulate you, Worthy Brothers, upon your successful completion of this first step in your journey. May you, by your study, words and actions, show that you are worthy of advancement to further honors. To you, officers and members of the Council, I now present these new members, duly and regularly advanced to this degree, and solicit for them your continued and kindly consideration.
All in chamber except new members rise and join in a hearty applause for them. Lights shall be turned up and candidates introduced to the officers and members of the Council. The Financial Secretary will now present each new member his Traveling Card, laws and rules of the Order and a special pamphlet.