French councils bring together dozens men in the Catholic dioceses of Rouen, Paris, Blois, Lyon, Fréjus-Toulon, Marseille, Versailles and Nanterre.
A Knights of Columbus parish council is not intended to be an additional program unit that further complicates the parish organizational chart.
In a cross-cutting and complementary way, the council unites parishioners (whether active members or not) who wish to share the experience of brotherhood. In this way, the council contributes to parish unity by providing a unique space for parishioners to gather and to pray, bringing them together with their varying degrees of commitment and sometimes, spiritual “sensitivity.”
Establishing a council
“Council” is the name of the Knights of Columbus group that meets within a parish.
A council is established with a group of approximately ten men after obtaining approval from the bishop of the diocese and the parish priest.
Where possible, Knights are supported by a parish priest, called the council chaplain.
Even before the council is officially established, the men work on projects together with the parish priests in a spirit of harmony.
Members name their council after a local or national Christian figure they admire.
Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to any Catholic man 18 years of age or older who accepts the teachings of the Catholic Church and simply wishes to become a better Catholic.
Candidates are admitted to the council on the recommendation of a sponsoring member, with the chaplain's approval.
Candidates are officially admitted to the Order of the Knights of Columbus during an initiation ceremony, which takes place in the presence of candidates, Order members, and any priest who wishes to attend.
Based on spiritual teaching, this gathering is the initial point of welcome for every Knight.
Knights of Columbus councils meet briefly each month to discuss progress on projects.
Monthly meetings follow a prepared agenda and last no more than an hour.
Following the discussions, there is time for fellowship and relaxation interspersed with moments of prayer.
Motivated by a commitment to missionary discipleship, Knights independently develop and support projects entrusted to them by the parish, in the spirit of charity and fraternity.
Since its establishment in France, Knights of Columbus has been involved in various activities designed to share the gospel of Christ.
In particular, the Order has been associated with Congrès Mission (Mission Conference) since its inception. This annual event in Paris is a gathering of the various leaders, movements and communities involved in the New Evangelization effort.
Working with the Diocese of the French Armed Forces, Knights of Columbus produced a handbook for military personnel, which has been distributed to nearly 5,000 French soldiers through the network of army vicars.
It has also helped distribute the pastoral letter addressed to Catholic men entitled Into the Breach. This booklet has been distributed to nearly 3,000 people in France.
In addition, Knights of Columbus in France provided the impetus for the production of the Dame de Coeur sound and lights show in November 2017 working with Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, the Notre-Dame Foundation and numerous institutional partners.
Council presence in France
The first Knights of Columbus councils in France were established in 2016 in the dioceses of Paris, Lyon, Rouen, and Toulon.
Additional plans came to fruition in 2017 in the dioceses of Nanterre, Blois, Marseilles and Versailles. Outreach efforts have been extensive and plans to establish new councils are underway.
We aim to strengthen existing councils by continuing to attract new members from different age groups and backgrounds, in order to build deeply-rooted, lasting fraternities.