Overview of the 4th Degree
The Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus was built on the principle of Patriotism — love for and devotion to one’s country. The most visible aspect is the Color Corps. At a National Council meeting in 1899, it was determined that an additional ceremonial degree was needed that would represent patriotism. The initial Exemplification, as the initiation ceremony is called, was held on February 22, 1900. It was scheduled to be in the Astor Hotel; however, when the class reached in excess of 1,100 candidates, it was moved to the Lenox Lyceum, a temporary wooden structure.
Members were originally part of local councils, but in 1910 a restructuring of the order separated them and called the groups Assemblies. In 1997 with a view toward the formation or more assemblies, the Supreme Council determined that there should be no more than eight member councils per assembly.
The Chain of Command is similar to that of the lower degrees, but with different titles. At the Supreme level, the top man is the Supreme Master. Administratively, the Fourth Degree is divided into areas called Provinces. A Vice Supreme Master is appointed by the Supreme Board of Directors for each of the Fourth Degree Provinces in the Order. The Vice Supreme Master is the head of all Fourth Degree matters within the Province and exercises general supervision over all Masters and Assemblies located in the Province. Each Province is divided into Districts. Districts are placed under the leadership of a Master. Districts are made up of Assemblies similar to Councils in structure and operation. Many are named after patriots, war heroes, etc.
To be eligible to become a Fourth Degree member you must be a Third Degree member in good standing, in the Knights of Columbus and you must be sponsored by a Sir Knight. Exemplifications are twice a year in each district.
Joining the Fourth Degree is a perfect ending on the road to knighthood, a chance to stand up and be seen as a person of faith and dedication to the church and to your country.
If you are interested in becoming a Fourth Degree Knight, see your council representative for an application and full details.