The Knights of Columbus purchased for $2.5 million the land on which Yankee Stadium is built. Papal Masses in the United States have taken place at the Yankee Stadium (Pope Paul VI in 1965, JPII in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2005).
Sargent Shriver, a member of the Knights, is pictured with a map of Africa after his appointment as the first director of the Peace Corps in 1961. His wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded Special Olympics, which has drawn support from the Knights since the organization began in 1968.
The Knights of Columbus contributed $1 million toward the construction of the 329-foot bell tower at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. More than 1,000 Knights formed an honor guard for the shrine’s dedication. In 1963, the Order also finances installation of the carillon of 56 bells at the National Shrine.
The Knights of Columbus initiated a campaign in 1951 to lobby for the public adoption of the phrase “under God” in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. The Order’s Board of Directors had amended the pledge’s recitation at Fourth Degree assembly meetings and encouraged congressional representatives to adopt the same language nationwide. On June 14, 1954, Flag Day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a law that adds the words “under God” to the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, completing an effort that Knights began three years earlier.
In the picture, U.S. Rep Louis Rabaut (D-Mich) presents a scroll with the words “under God” to KofC Michigan State Deputy Walter Graveline. At the urging of KofC, Rep. Rabaut presented a resolution to Congress to amend the Pledge of Allegiance with the words “under God”.
1926: Supreme Knight Flaherty, Deputy Supreme Knight Martin H. Carmody and other officers meet with President Calvin Coolidge about the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico. The Order launches a $1 million educational campaign to influence American public opinion on the need for a strong stand against the Mexican government’s attacks on the Church. It takes more than 10 years for the tensions to ease.
When the United States enters World War I, Supreme Knight Flaherty writes President Woodrow Wilson telling him that the Order plans to establish centers to provide for the troops’ “recreational and spiritual comfort.” The Knights’ services, he says, will be offered “regardless of creed.”
Everybody meant everybody. Whatever your race or creed, you were welcome at K of C facilities. In fact, the Order was praised by a contemporary African American historian of World War I, because “unlike the other social welfare organizations operating in the war, it never drew the color line.”
As a result of the Order’s wartime work, which earned high praise from Pope Benedict XV, nearly 400,000 men joined the Knights between 1917 and 1923.
By the summer of 1917, the Order opens service centers, or “K of C Huts,” in training camps and behind the lines of battle. The Knights and independent fund drives raise nearly $30 million to finance the huts.
In this picture dated in 1917, soldiers, officers and camp activity workers at Camp Wheeler in Georgia form the words “K of C.”