Trey Hart, General Programs Director
The Knights of Columbus is one of the largest and most active service organizations in the
United States and around the world. Members, and their families, have the opportunity to be
involved in various service programs which can be grouped into six program areas: Church,
Community, Council, Culture of Life, Family and Youth.
Church activities involve a wide variety of programs that benefit and assist the Catholic Church
and its clergy. Councils may raise money for church or Catholic school construction or repair.
Councils also provide financial support to individuals preparing for consecrated religious life,
along with running programs that promote religious vocations. Councils may also sponsor
educational programs on the Catholic faith for members of their parishes, and may sponsor
activities that involve all parishioners, whether or not they are members of the Knights of
Columbus in supporting the Church. Annually, there is a Religious Freedom March in
Fredericksburg that many Knights participate in. All these activities are designed to help build
active and vibrant parish communities, and to faithfully serve our bishops and priests.
Community activities encompass programs that benefit those in need in the towns, cities, and
counties across Virginia. They may include programs sponsored by the Supreme Council, such
as our Food for Families and Coats for Kids programs, or they may involve purely local efforts to
meet local needs. In Virginia, our largest and most important community activities involve
providing both financial and volunteer support for Special Olympics and KOVAR programs that
benefit people with intellectual disabilities. VKCCI is another financial support program which is
important to assisting those in need. Many Knights also volunteer at Habitat for Humanity
construction projects. Disaster relief, clothing drives, and support for hospitalized military
veterans are also common types of Knights of Columbus community involvement. Fourth
Degree Knights often participate in community patriotic events such as parades and holiday
Council activities contribute to ensuring that our efforts are well organized and that volunteers
for our charitable work can always be utilized as the need arises. A Council Committee
publishes a regular newsletter, maintains a council web site, issues news releases to local
media about council activities, and assists the Membership Director in recruiting new members.
Social media tools are also used to update the council and the parish of upcoming activities.
Other activities include organizing special programs for monthly social meetings, as well as
council outings to sporting events, concerts, themed dances, and similar events. All of these
activities help build a fraternal bond among brother Knights and strong social ties among their
Culture of Life activities emphasize the importance of protecting every human life, from
conception to natural death. One of the most important programs in this area is our Ultrasound
Program, in which councils raise funds for the purchase of ultrasound machines for local
pregnancy resource centers. Local funds are matched by the Supreme Council. Thus far, more
than $36 million has been raised nationally and over 500 ultrasound machines placed. As of the
2016 State Annual Meeting, councils have collected over $300,000 which has helped placed 21
machines throughout the Commonwealth. Virginia Knights are also very active in staging the
annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., where they have served for many years as marshals
for the event, and providing transportation to the event at no cost to the participants. Several
councils are also involved with pregnancy resource centers, donating time, material, and
supplies, for those who are looking for support instead of moving toward an abortion.
Family activities are a vital part of the Knights of Columbus agenda and success, as the Order
prides itself on being a family oriented organization. Many of the activities which are partaken
throughout the year include our wives, parents, children, and extended family members. Family
activities are especially important for Knights with young children, because it gives them a way
to be involved with the Knights of Columbus and their children at the same time. Council
picnics, holiday parties, and other family oriented events are essential activities for every
council. Other resources, such as the Supreme Council's Fathers for Good program are
valuable aids to Catholic parenting in a secular world.
Youth activities encompass a wide range of activities to help nurture the Faith and a sense of
service in the youth of parishes. Working with the Church, support and guidance is given to
various values-based scouting and service organizations. The Order sponsors youth sporting
events, including the annual State Free Throw Contest (winter) and Soccer Challenge
(autumn). Councils sponsor events that recognize altar servers for their service to the Church,
and scholastic excellence through intellectual programs such as an essay and poster contests.