KofC 9997 Membership

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The Knights of Columbus: It's Beginnings & Present St. Thomas More Council #9997 Austin, TX

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Led by the quiet, unassuming curate of St. Mary's Parish in New Haven, Conn., a small group of men established the Knights of Columbus in the church basement early in the spring of 1882. The priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, saw clearly that both Catholics and the Church faced serious problems in the last half of the nineteenth century such as anti-Catholicism and ethnic prejudice; under-employment; lack of social standing and early loss of the breadwinner.

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To resolve those problems Father McGivney conceived the idea of an organization of Catholic men who would band together: To aid one another in times of sickness or death, by means of a simple insurance plan, so that their wives and children would not face abject poverty. To strengthen themselves and each other in the Faith. To strengthen families and family life. To be a strong pillar of support for their priests and bishops. To be of service to Church and community by coming to the aid of those most in need in society.

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Knights to emphasize chivalry's ideals of charity and support for Church and state, and The State of Connecticut officially chartered the Order of the Knights of Columbus on March 29, 1882. They called themselves Knights of Columbus... Columbus as a reminder that Catholics had been the backbone and bulwark of America's growth and greatness from the very beginning.

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An Organization Like No Other Over 1.8 million members strong and growing, in more than 15,000 Councils Men of Faith guided by our belief in God and the Catholic Church, Guided also by our belief in each other, and in ourselves Has embodied the selflessness of man overcoming the problems of the world A man is defined by his actions as a follower of God and a leader A man is more than a man when he bears the title of “KNIGHT”

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An Immovable Foundation Overcome Poverty, Unemployment and even Persecution through our Founding Principles:

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Charity is the First Principle of the Order. Knights are followers of Christ and men of faith. As St. James reminds us, “faith without works is dead.” Therefore, as Knights, we are committed to charity, easing the plight of those less fortunate.

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Unity is the Second Principle of the Knights of Columbus. In unity, there is strength. Existing in an environment that was openly hostile to Catholics, the founders of the Order relied on the strength of unity to remain steadfast in the Faith while claiming their rightful place in society. Today, the Order uses that strength to speak out for religiously-grounded moral values in a culture that has forsaken them.

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Fraternity is the Third Principle of Order. In 19th century America, life insurance was beyond the financial reach of many poor Catholics and social services did not exist. Through the Knights of Columbus, men were able to band together as brothers to help one another in times of distress, sickness and death.

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Patriotism is the Principle of the Fourth Degree. One of the reasons the Order was founded was to emphasize that Catholics are proud citizens of their countries. Today, Fourth Degree Knights in full regalia, the visible arm of the Order, serve to witness to the values of devotion to God and country, the bedrock of patriotism.

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THROUGH WE DON’T ONLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE BECAUSE WE CAN. WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE BECAUSE WE MUST! DEDICATED TO making a difference AND building a future

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In Service to the Church Knights are the “strong right arm” of their local parishes. They help with tasks and special projects that require both the financial and manpower based resources that the Knights can provide. They serve as Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Ushers and even Choir Members as a means of enhancing the liturgy.

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Serving the Community Knights participate in food drives for the homeless sponsor soup kitchens and staff facilities to help those who otherwise go without food. Knights conduct drives to raise money for Citizens with Mental Retardation. Knights sponsor “Blue Masses” to pray to and show support for the local police, fire and emergency services personnel.

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For the Good of the Council Councils hold activities foster fraternal bonds between members, allow for networking opportunities and building leadership skills in members that lead to professional success. Council service programs are designed on a council by council basis to conduct projects that suit both the needs of the community and the interests of their membership.

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For the Family Councils sponsor social functions that are open to members and their families. Councils conduct several events every year ranging from family outings and holiday parties to elaborate barbecues. Councils award Family of the Month and Family of the Year awards to recognize those families that embody all that the Knights stand for.

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For the Youth Councils conduct a wide variety of youth-based programs in local schools to be of service to young people. These programs include the Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest, for children who are artistically-inclined, the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship and Soccer Challenge for those interested in athletics and the catholic Citizenship Essay Contest for young people who enjoy creative writing. Councils can sponsor our Columbian Squires, the official youth organization of the Knights of Columbus which teaches leadership skills to young men age 10 to 18 years old.

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Brother Knights and their families support causes that the Church and Council believe are important to the members and the community. The St. Thomas More Council holds various social functions and charity events that provide financial assistance to various charities throughout the year. The Council also supports local parishes and community organizations by helping them provide services to people in need.

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Ultimately, we promote the Columbian virtues of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism among the community in a family, fun-filled and social atmosphere. Knights and their families are deeply committed to these values and enjoy activities that share these values with others.

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Our main objectives remain to let prospective members and their families that we are committed to our Church and service to our fellowmen and to share that with as many families as possible. However, to continue, we must extend our offer to every eligible Catholic man and his family and let them know that they, too, can assist in the mission of the Knights of Columbus.

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St. Vincent de Paul National Evangelization Team Catholic Campus Ministry Association Arteaga Mission, Lifeline, and Safe Place Missionary Catechists of Divine Providence & Marist Missionary Sisters Diocese of Juticalpa, Honduras Apostles of the New Evangelization Austin Metropolitan Ministries Mexican American Cultural Center Maryknoll Sisters & Dominican Academy Incarnate Word Academy SHARE Foundation and Faith Home South of the Rio Bravo Medical Mission & Church Food Pantry Poor Clare Sisters and Kids to Kids

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Monthly Member Meetings Sponsor of Boy Scouts Annual K of C Basketball Free Throw Contest Monthly Rosary & Annual Marian Mass Annual St. Thomas More Fun Fest Family Socials Diocesan and Parish Functions Diocese of Austin Seminarian Support

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Seminarian Support, Diocese of Austin Respect Life Gabriel Project Project Rachel Hill Country Community Ministries

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The United States Canada The Philippines Puerto Rico Mexico Dominican Republic Guam Guatemala Panama Cuba The Virgin Islands The Bahamas Saipan Poland

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Knights in the Philippines providing a nutrition program for poor children Knights in Mexico bring food and water by boat to flood victims

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A Knight in a Military Council supplying disabled American veterans with wheelchairs on Veterans Day The Knights of Columbus has 52 military councils in places as far-flung as Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy and even the North Pole. We have roundtables in Iraq and Afghanistan, enthusiastically supported by Councils in the United States.

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College Knights at World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia Scholarship Programs For example, the Matthews and Swift Scholarship Program was established in 1944 to provide college education to children of Knights who were killed or totally disabled while serving in the military in time of war. Support of Boys Scouts through various Councils Support of the Special Olympics from the start

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We will never waiver in the cause to ensure legal protection for every human being, from conception to natural death 2008 March for Life in Washington DC

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Vocations are the life blood of the Church We strongly encourage vocations to the religious life We financially support these vocations The Knights of Columbus is the Strong Right Arm of the Church There are many examples of our support of our priests and bishops This is the Year of The Priest

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The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Washington, DC The Knights of Columbus built the Bell Tower and crafted the mosaic in the Incarnation Dome

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The Knights of Columbus funded the renovation of the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

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If you want to improve your community If you want to support the Church and grow in your faith; If you have a interest in the welfare of young people; If you believe in preserving family values; If you have concerns about financially protecting your loved ones; If you are a practical Catholic man at least 18 years of age;  Contact your local Knights of Columbus Council for further information.

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Our council invites you to share in the pride and joy experienced by our members and their families. The acts of Love, Faith and Charity you perform as a Knight ultimately benefit you, your family and the people whose lives you touch.

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Venerable Michael McGivney’s founding vision for the Order included a life insurance program to provide for the widows and orphans of deceased members. The Order’s insurance program has expanded substantially to serve more effectively the Knights’ growing membership.

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Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus to encourage the Catholic faith among its members and to setup a system of insurance to provide financial support for the families of incapacitated or deceased members. This purpose continues today through the activities the Knights promote and the optional insurance products that are available through local councils.

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Being a member of the Knights of Columbus is an opportunity to be part of the largest Catholic lay organization in the world. Being an insured member means you’ve taken full advantage of the benefits of membership. Avail yourself and your family of our full line of life insurance, retirement and long-term care products and you’ll help chart a course to safe waters in your financial future.

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In addition to our strong, secure products, there are Family Fraternal Benefits that can help our members facing unique needs. Many of these benefits are unique to the Knights of Columbus and our members. Some of these benefits include: Guaranteed life insurance benefits for uninsurable children Death benefits available for stillborn or miscarried children Orphan benefits Member/Spouse Accidental Death Benefit

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Since our founding in 1882, the primary mission of the Knights of Columbus has been to protect families from the financial ruin caused by the death of the breadwinner. In the beginning, Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney and his fellow Knights “passed the hat” to benefit widows and orphans. From that humble start, the Order has grown to include top-rated life insurance, long-term care insurance and retirement products.  With more than $75 billion of insurance in force and a full-time field force of more than 1,400 serving our members and their families, we are proudly fulfilling Fr. McGivney’s vision.

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We are Strong The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal benefit society that is strong, secure and stable. Members can be confident that we’ll be here when you need us. We’ve been successfully protecting families since 1882, and our outlook remains bright. Don’t just take our word for it.

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Standard & Poor’s has given us their highest rating (AAA, Extremely Strong) for 18 consecutive years. A.M. Best has bestowed on us their highest rating (A++, Superior) for 35 consecutive years. The Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA) has given us their certification for our ethical business and marketing practices.

Standard & Poor’s RatingAAA (Extremely Strong) : 

Standard & Poor’s RatingAAA (Extremely Strong) Standard & Poor's said that its rating of the financial strength of the Knights of Columbus is “based on its extremely strong capital, very strong competitive position because of its unique strategic advantage in the Catholic market, historically strong profitability, and extremely strong liquidity.” S&P called Knights of Columbus operating performance “very strong, reflecting an asset portfolio that consists primarily of high-quality, investment-grade bonds.” S&P also said that the Knights of Columbus “is achieving its primary objective of providing members and their families with high-quality, low-cost insurance products.”

A. M. Best RatingA++ (Superior) : 

A. M. Best RatingA++ (Superior) AM. Best said that “The ratings of the Order reflect its strong fraternal and insurance presence within the Catholic communities in the United States and Canada, its superior risk-adjusted capitalization as measured by Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio and the Order's consistently positive operating results.” A.M. Best also declared that the Knights of Columbus “has a strong affinity with its large membership base through its charitable programs and competitive portfolio of life insurance and annuity products.”

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In 2009, the Knights of Columbus gave more than $151 million to Catholic and other charitable causes. In these uncertain times, find comfort in an organization that leads the way in doing good for others while doing good for our own.

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We are Secure Since 1882, we have been committed to protecting the financial futures of our Knights and their families. We do this by paying claims and dividends to our insured members. In 2008, we paid well over $392 million in death claims and other benefits, and more than $369 million in dividends to our policyholders. Even more impressive is the fact that, from 2000 to 2009, the Knights of Columbus paid $3.191 billion in dividends to insured members.

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Kevin Brinkman Grand Knight

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