What's New at Msgr. Cramers Assembly Knights of Columbus
Msgr. Cramers Assembly is composed of members from many councils within the Diocese of Lake Charles.
To be eligible to become a Fourth Degree member you must be a Third Degree member in good standing, in the Knights of Columbus for one year, and you must be sponsored by a Sir Knight. Exemplifications are usually held only once or twice a year in each district.Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to practical Catholic men in union with the Holy See, who shall not be less than 18 years of age on their last birthday. A practical Catholic is one who lives up to the Commandments of God and the Precepts of the Church. Application blanks are available from any member of the Knights of Columbus. Every knight is happy to propose eligible Catholic men for consideration as members.
Acceptance of the applicant depends upon a vote of the members of the subordinate council in which he is making application.
All priests and religious brothers having duly made application for membership and participated in the ceremonials become honorary life members of the Order and are exempt from payment of dues.
Application for membership must be made through the council in the community nearest the applicant's place of residence. Interested prospects without a permanent domicile, such as men temporarily away from home through duty in the armed forces, may make application through their hometown council or at the nearest council on a military base.
If favorably voted upon, the applicant becomes a member by initiation known as the First Degree. He subsequently is advanced through the Second Degree and the Third Degree.
There are modest initiation fees and dues set by subordinate councils under regulations established by the Supreme Council. The insurance privileges are available to all members who can qualify, which represents an important advantage of membership. For men in every walk of life the name Knights of Columbus engenders the image of a united organization, efficiently going about it tasks of charity, unity, fraternity, patriotism and defense of the priesthood. It is composed of men who are giving unselfishly of their time and talents in service of God and their country.
Membership in the Knights of Columbus provides opportunity for wholesome association with congenial companions who are, first of all, practical Catholic gentlemen. It offers the opportunity for fellowship with those who are of the same belief, who recognize the same duty to God, to family and to neighbor and who stand side by side in defense of those beliefs. Programs are so organized as to appeal to the individual interest of the members. Through many constructive activities of Christian fraternity, members are enabled to render service to their Church, their country and their fellowman. Through membership they develop a consciousness of their ability to lead and to assist.
Organized Columbianism, united behind the individual Knight of Columbus, provides the power of an intelligent, alert body of Catholic men -- a strength which the individual by himself cannot achieve.
Knights of Columbus have a proud heritage. The qualified Catholic man can share in that heritage and build for an even greater future by affiliating himself with this forceful, effective body.
At a National Council meeting in 1899, it was determined that an additional ceremonial degree was needed that would represent patriotism. The initial Fourth Degree Exemplification which was conducted in New York exceeded 1,400 candidates and was held on February 22, 1900.
As a First or Second Degree member, you are a "Member" of The Knights of Columbus. After the Ceremonies of the Third Degree you are a Full Knight in The Knights of Columbus. After the Exemplification of The Fourth Degree you are a Complete Knight in the Knights of Columbus and addressed as Sir Knight. Only Sir Knights are accorded the honor of The Color Corps at their wake or Funeral Mass. The names of deceased Sir Knights are engraved on a Chalice that is presented to a new Priest or Seminarian at the Ceremony of the Chalice during the Assembly's Annual Memorial Mass at which all family members of the deceased are invited to attend.
The first Exemplification in which Louisiana Knights of Columbus participated was held in Nashville Tennessee on May 6, 1906.
The First Exemplification in Louisiana was conducted in New Orleans on October 14, 1906.
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. The Fourth Degree Emblem is the Dove, Globe surmounted on a Cross.
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 Organizational Chart 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. At the present time there are 20 Provinces in the Order, with 14 being in the United States, 4 in Canada, 1 in Mexico, and 1 in the Philippine Islands. The state of Louisiana is within the Bienville Province, which is comprised of the states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. 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. The Vice Supreme Master is responsible to the Supreme Master and the Supreme Board of Directors. The Vice Supreme Master is distinguishable at Fourth Degree functions and turnouts by the light blue Cape and Chapeau which he wears.
Each Province is divided into Districts. Districts are placed under the leadership of a Master. The Master is identified by the gold Cape and Chapeau, and is often accompanied by a District Marshall who wears a green Cape and Chapeau.
Districts are made up of Assemblies similar to Councils in structure and operation. Many are named after patriots, war heroes, etc. There are four Assemblies in the Diocese of Lake Charles. The Msgr. Cramers Assembly covers Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, and Cameron parishes (counties in other states). Assemblies are also located in the city of Sulphur, Jennings, Lake Charles, and DeRidder. Each Assembly is composed of members form many Councils.
The Presiding Officer of the Assembly is called a Faithful Navigator, who wears a white Cape and Chapeau. He is assisted by a Captain and a Pilot, which are similar to the offices of Deputy Grand Knight and Warden on a council level. The fourth Chair Officer is the Admiral, always the immediate Past Faithful Navigator. At a Council level Officers are referred to as Worthy, while at the Assembly level Officers are referred to as Faithful.
The other officers are similar to Council officers and include: The Friar, The Purser, The Scribe, The Comptroller, The Sentinels (Two or three in number), and The Trustees (Three in number).
The Color Corps of each Assembly is trained and drilled by a Color Corps Commander appointed by the Faithful Navigator. The Commander is identified by the purple or violet Cape and Chapeau. At District Level events, the District Marshall, in green, is in charge of the Color Corps and may be assisted by one or more Color Corps Commanders. Other members of the Color Corps wear red Capes and white Chapeaux.
The Fourth Degree had existed in Louisiana hardly more than a half century. As recounted in part I, chapter IX of the Knights of Columbus in Louisiana - 1902 - 1962 book written by Roger Baudier, sr. and Millard F. Everett. The first exemplification was held in New Orleans Oct. 14, 1906, within three years of the national institution of the patriotic degree. But the 26 Sir Knights in New Orleans formed a Local Assembly until July 6, 1914. Changes since the pioneer time had been tremendous--from scarcely more than two dozen members in a local group to two districts in Louisiana with 23 assemblies and more in the offing. The latest developments, however, like the initial exemplification showed the forward-looking spirit of the Sir Knights and gave a bright promise for the future.
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