For most men who follow Jesus, there comes a time when duty extends beyond our own lives, beyond how we lead our families, and into how we serve our fellow man. That’s what the Knights of Columbus is all about. The Patriotic Degree allows knights to take this one step further. “Sir Knight” is more than a title. It’s an honor.
What is Fourth Degree?
On February 22, 1900, the first exemplification of the Fourth Degree was held in the New York City. To the three principles of our Order: Charity, Unity and Fraternity, the final lesson that was added is the virtue of patriotism. The focus of the Fourth Degree is on this principle, an abiding love for and devotion to one's country. The primary purpose of the Fourth Degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism by promoting responsible citizenship and a love of and loyalty to the Knights' respective countries through membership in local Fourth Degree groups called Assemblies.
Certain members of the Fourth Degree serve as Color Guards and Honor Guards at civic and religious functions, an honorable activity which has brought worldwide recognition to the Knights of Columbus and local Assembly organizations. Honor Guards have mastered the "Manual of the Sword". The Master wears a Gold Cape and Chapeau while his District Marshal wears a green cape and chapeau. The Navigator of an Assembly wears a White Cape and Chapeau while his Color Corps Commander wears a Purple Cape and Chapeau. Finally, all other members of the Color Corps wear a Red Cape and White Chapeau.
As members of the Color Corps, we are the visible part of the Order. When the public sees us in parades, they see the visible arm of the "Knights of Columbus". When we attend wakes and/or funerals of our deceased brothers, all see the visible "Knights of Columbus". In the many parishes in which we serve, our fellow Catholics see the "Knights of Columbus".