During the Midyear Meeting of the State Council, I gave a thorough explanation of the crisis affecting our Church and how it affects our organization, and that it is OUR DUTY to help fix the crisis of our Church. I also shared some ways we as an Order must change our ways to remain relevant in today’s society, just like our founder ensured the Order was relevant for the men of his day.
As a husband and a father of young kids still in the home, one of the last things I want to do is spend time away from my family. When I joined our Order, I took to heart the words written on the top of the Form 100. It states that the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic, Family, Fraternal, Service Organization. While many of the great work that we do fits into these categories, our ceremonials in its present form do not.
As you are aware, the demands on people’s time is more and more in our busy society. The average man wants to make good use of his time. Over the past year, nearly 1 out of every 6 brother Knights who joined our Order here in Iowa advanced to learn what we mean by the virtues of Unity and Fraternity. Thus 5 out of 6 brothers never fully know and understand what we mean by being Knights of Charity, Unity, and Fraternity.
In this spirit, I am pleased to inform you that the Supreme Knight, with approval of the Board of Directors, has changed the delivery of our exemplification ceremonies.
Our new exemplification is designed to introduce them into our take on the principles of Charity, Unity, and Fraternity. The new exemplification has combined the current separate Admissions (1st), Formation (2nd) and Knighthood (3rd) ceremonies into a single exemplification of Charity, Unity, and Fraternity. It is designed to be performed live with a team of 2-6 brothers who can either memorize the parts or deliver it with passion from the script. Wives and families are welcome to witness this exemplification that ideally is conducted within a church with the priest or deacon present.
This new exemplification will be delivered by those who will become his new brothers in Christ. Our principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity will still be edified, while doing a better job of providing an understanding of the history and circumstances that resulted in the founding of our organization. This new exemplification goes back to the original, short ceremonies that the founding members conceived. Our new brothers and their families will understand firsthand the organization that their husbands, fathers, brothers, sons and friends are joining, the principles and values they are committing to, and why it matters.
The Iowa State Council is welcoming this change with open arms. We will still allow the classic ceremonies to be used provided there is interest.
I want to thank you in advance for your openness and willingness to embrace this change. The Iowa Knight of Columbus knows this will be an asset to our growth as we Rise Up and Share God’s Joy!
State Deputy/ CEO
Frequently asked questions
Q. When can we begin using the new exemplification?
A. Councils in the state of Iowa may begin using the new script now.
Q. Where can we conduct the new Exemplification?
A. The ceremony was designed to be performed in a church setting with a large audience. If a Church facility is not available, it may be conducted in a dignified and solemn manner as best determined by the Grand Knight and council officers in cooperation with the District Deputy.
Q. What do we do with the old paraphernalia that was needed to conduct the old ceremonies?
A. Depending on the item, some can be incorporated into your setup for the new. Other items can be donated to a local school's drama department. Some items might be best suited for a display case or in your council archives.
Q. Do I still need to send my degree dates to the state?
A. ABSOLUTELY! Sending your dates to allows us to promote your exemplification on our website and to ensure your field agent has it on his calendar to attend.
Q. What should people wear?
A. This is not a casual event. However, no candidate or guest should be scrutinized or turned away due to their attire.
CANDIDATES: Let them know that they can wear a suit and tie, but a collared dress shirt with dress pants is also appropriate.
PRESENTERS: The preferred attire is suit and tie with ceremonial baldric. At the very minimum shirt, blazer, and slacks with ceremonial baldric.
COUNCIL OFFICERS: The preferred attire is suit and tie with Medal of Office. Matching, branded Knights of Columbus Council shirts would also be appropriate.
Q. Should First and Second Degree members participate?
A. No matter the deliver method (live or video), encourage First and Second Degree members to participate in the Exemplification of Charity, Unity and Fraternity. These members should also be invested with a Rosary and lapel pin, even though they received them at their First Degree ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony, they are Third Degree Members. However, if you have a large class entering the Order and a large crowd of Brother Knights present, those who are already First Degree could stay in the crowd, take the pledge, and at the conclusion of the ceremony, they are Third Degree Members. The key is that your Financial Secretary has a roster of all attendees so he can update Membership Management.
Q. What about the online video? Can we use it?
A. The official exemplification video has not been released yet. The video shown at the Mid-Year Meeting this past December was meant to raise awareness of the new ceremony and solicit comments. It was not intended for showing to candidates and the public. As an interim measure, however, Councils may show the video on a limited basis to candidates who cannot attend a scheduled ceremony. In such cases, the Grand Knight and two other members should preside over the ceremony, dressed in dark suits with ceremonial baldrics. The location should be formally setup with all ceremonial materials on hand.
Q. What will be the role of the Carolingian Crucifix and the Membership Medallion from the prior ceremonials?
A. The Carolingian Crucifix and the Membership Medallion are not part of the ceremony but could be appropriate gifts from the council. Distribution cannot be done during the ceremony, as no ceremonial elements may be added or removed. Existing supplies should be used in a meaningful way.
Q. Why does the Exemplification not begin with the Pledge of Allegiance?
A. The new exemplification was designed to be performed in a church setting with a large audience. Not all dioceses support the national and Vatican flags in the sanctuary area of the church. In addition, not all countries where the KofC is operational has a Pledge of Allegiance like the United States of America. Thus, this component was eliminated to provide uniformity.