Fourth Degree Uniform

Home/Announcements/Fourth Degree Uniform

Fourth Degree Uniform

Answers to frequently asked questions about the new Fourth Degree uniform

8/14/2017

New Fourth Degree Uniform

Earlier this month, the Knights of Columbus board of directors unanimously voted to adopt a new uniform for the Fourth Degree. The decision was made with the good of the entire Order in mind. While we understand that some members may prefer the old regalia, the supreme master and vice supreme masters urge all Fourth Degree members to put the good of the Order before any personal preference.

The board decided to make this move based on the following factors:

  • the aging of our Fourth Degree membership
  • the slow growth of the Fourth Degree (fewer than 20 percent of Knights are Fourth Degree members, and only a fraction of that number even serve as honor guards)
  • consistent reports that the old regalia presented a barrier to Fourth Degree membership, especially among younger men

The following FAQ should answer many of the questions that have arisen concerning this change.

Q: Will the new uniform allow the use of ceremonial swords?

A: Yes. Ceremonial swords will continue to be part of the Fourth Degree. When swords are used, gloves should also be used. (see picture above).

Q: How will rank be distinguished?

A: Colored patches will be worn on the beret behind the Fourth Degree emblem as follows:

  • Dark Blue Supreme Master
  • Light Blue Vice Supreme Masters
  • Gold District Masters
  • White Faithful Navigators
  • Green District Marshals
  • Purple Color Corp Commanders

Those not holding office (who formerly wore red capes) will wear berets with no patch.

Q: Will there be discounts offered on the new uniform?

A: Yes. The Order will subsidize the new uniform with a 25 percent discount offered to all members who order the new uniform prior to Sept. 30, 2017.

Q: What if a member just purchased the old regalia?

A: Any member who purchased the old regalia after May 1, 2017, can submit their receipt along with their member number to regaliacredit@kofc.org. Information will then be sent to that member on how to receive a $200 credit toward the new uniform.

Q: Is the Order making money on the new uniform?

A: No, the uniform is being sold at (or sometimes below) our cost.

Q: Was the new uniform field tested prior to its release?

A: Yes. The new uniform was field tested by Fourth Degree members attending the Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage.

Q: Can the old regalia still be worn?

A: Yes, for a time. While the preference is for the new uniform wherever possible, the old regalia can still be worn until the end of the current fraternal year (June 30, 2018). After that date, only the new uniform should be worn.

Q: Who made this decision?

A: The board of directors made this decision earlier this year after a three year period of testing and discussion. In addition, changing the uniform/regalia was previously discussed with the vice supreme masters at the Supreme Assembly.

Q: Did members have input on this?

A: For years, supreme officers and directors have received comments from members and prospective members that the old regalia was a barrier to membership overall, or to membership in the Fourth Degree.

Q: In what context should this change best be understood?

A: During the convention, the Good of the Order Committee stated: “We commend all of the faithful Sir Knights who have proudly worn the Fourth Degree regalia, bringing much respect to the Order. With the new Fourth Degree uniform, recently approved by the Board of Directors, this honor and respect associated with Sir Knights will remain, and it will open the door more widely for a new generation to join their ranks. In a spirit of unity, let us assist with a smooth transition to this new uniform and encourage it to be worn with great dignity and pride.”

Dear Brother Knight:

This week, more than 2,000 Knights and their families gathered in St. Louis for the 135th Supreme Convention, which was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the last fraternal year, and to chart the course for an even brighter future for the Knights of Columbus.

A Papal Message to the convention conveyed the prayers and good wishes of Pope Francis who praised the Order’s efforts to strengthen family life and provide relief to persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Just days before the convention, the Board of Directors authorized a $2 million effort to save Karamdes, a predominantly Christian town in the Nineveh Plain region of Iraq, which was liberated from ISIS late last year.

During my annual report, I announced the “Knights of Columbus Campaign to Save 1 Million Children.” Through our Ultrasound Initiative, we have already provided 829 ultrasound machines and this new campaign aims to reach the goal of 1,000 machines as quickly as possible, so that by 2019 — the 10th anniversary of the initiative — we will have saved an estimated total of 1 million lives.

The Order reached new heights in its charitable works, donating more than $177 million and 75 million hours to charitable causes. Our industry-leading program of insurance “by brother Knights, for brother Knights” continues to provide the finest protection to our families, issuing a new record of more than $8.54 billion of new life insurance last year. We also celebrated the achievements of our fraternal leaders and insurance field force, and presented the Order’s highest honor, the Gaudium et Spes Award, to a courageous Maryknoll priest, Father Gerard Hammond, who has travelled to North Korea more than 50 times to provide humanitarian aid.

The convention was also the occasion for a historic announcement: the introduction of the new uniform of the Fourth Degree. After careful consideration, the Board of Directors took this action motivated by the best interests of the Order as whole and of the Fourth Degree in particular. The new uniform is part of a comprehensive and necessary effort to keep our Order relevant and attractive to men, particularly younger men.

In light of this significant change, I thought it would be helpful to address some of the questions that have been asked about the new uniform.

  1. The cape and chapeau, while popular among some Fourth Degree members, have become dated and are increasingly cited as a reason that eligible Catholic men, especially young men, do not join the Knights of Columbus.
  2. Today there are nearly 2 million members of the Order, but only 358,000 of them are Fourth Degree Knights — less than 20 percent. The old regalia was one reason often given by brother Knights for why they did not want to advance to the Fourth Degree.
  3. We understand that some Fourth Degree members are fond of the old regalia. The cape and chapeau regalia will still be allowed, for a time, in those assemblies and districts that wish to use it, though the preference is for the new uniform.
  4. Ceremonial swords will continue to be part of the Fourth Degree.
  5. The new uniform is designed to be much more versatile than the older regalia and can be worn at a much wider range of functions.
  6. Our choice of uniform, while important, has always been ancillary to the work we do carrying out the principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism, and this should always be the case.

We have been testing the new uniform over the past year with key groups of Knights, including those brother Knights who participate in our annual Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage. The feedback we received from these groups has been very positive.

During the convention, the Good of the Order Committee spoke in words I wish to make my own:

“We commend all of the faithful Sir Knights who have proudly worn the Fourth Degree regalia, bringing much respect to the Order. With the new Fourth Degree uniform, recently approved by the Board of Directors, this honor and respect associated with Sir Knights will remain, and it will open the door more widely for a new generation to join their ranks. In a spirit of unity, let us assist with a smooth transition to this new uniform and encourage it to be worn with great dignity and pride.”

Fraternally,

Carl A. Anderson
Supreme Knight


Knights of Columbus 
1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510  
203-752-4000
2017-08-15T10:58:03+00:00 August 9th, 2017|Announcements|0 Comments

About the Author:

Leave A Comment