The final step to
full Knighthood in the Knights of Columbus is to join what has been
referred to many times as the visible arm of the order. Nowhere within
the Knights of Columbus structures, organizations, assemblies,
councils, chapters, activities, events, etc. does there exist a more
visible extension of who we are than to see the members of the Color
Corps in full regalia.
The information that follows below is to
provide those 3rd Degree members with background information so as to
make an informative decision.
The requirements that a 3rd Degree member
must have prior to seeking admission to the 4th Degree is as follows:
Must be a member in good standing
meaning that dues, current and past, are paid up in full
If a 3rd Degree Knight falls into
arrears with respects to his dues to the Council, he cannot be
admitted to the 4th Degree
Likewise, if after attaining the level
of 4th Degree, is a Knight falls into arrears with his Council dues,
he will be suspended from the 4th Degree
The 3rd Degree (Councils) and the 4th
Degree (Assemblies) each have separate dues that have to both be
maintained and current
Must have been a member in the Knights
of Columbus for one (1) year from the time the candidate took his
Must have attained the level of 3rd
Must have filled out and submitted a
Form 4 along with payment of dues and fees that cover the expenses
of the Exemplification
*The Supreme Master has in the past three
years issued a waiver to reduce this one (1) year period down to six
(6) months. Nonetheless it is a good idea to obtain what the current
status is from the Assembly you wish to join.
The ceremony that a 3rd Degree Knight
goes through to attain membership in the 4th Degree is referred to as
the Exemplification of the 4th Degree. This is one event in which you
definitely want to bring your wife or significant other and plan to
make a weekend of it starting with Friday evening's social event
welcoming the candidates, their wives, and families.
In order to participate in the
Exemplification, a Knight must be in the proper "uniform" of the 4th
Degree. There are exceptions for members of the clergy and men on
active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States.
1. Regalia/Uniform :
"Regalia" is the term used to define the official dress for members of
the Fourth Degree. The current issues of the Laws and Rules Governing
the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus and the Color Corps Drill
Manual clearly describe the official dress. It should be noted that
the "black tie" should be a black bow tie and the "plain white tuxedo
shirt" should be a plain collared white tuxedo shirt. In cases where a
black vest is worn, the baldric will be worn outside the vest.
Accessories worn with the official dress include:
a. Pins : The plain,
unadorned fourth Degree pin (of the style approved by the Supreme
Council for new members) may be worn on the left lapel of the jacket.
The only other pin authorized to be worn is a small pin of a size
comparable to the Fourth Degree pin depicting the wearer's national
flag. The flag pin will be worn above the pin of the Order.
b. Jewels of Office:
Jewels of office may be worn with regalia by Knights currently holding
those offices in either the Third or Fourth Degree. When the jewel of
office is worn, the baldric must also be worn.
c. Baldric : A social
baldric with the appropriate national colors must be worn by all
Fourth Degree Knights when in regalia. This baldric will be worn under
the coat (and over the vest, if worn). The only exception to this rule
is for Supreme Officers and Directors, who are not required to wear a
baldric when in regalia. The wearing of a Third or Fourth Degree jewel
of office does not excuse the requirement for wearing baldric.
d. Miniature Jewels :
Past and Former miniatures provided by the Supreme Office Supply
Department and those awarded in Papal Orders are the only ones
authorized. No other miniature jewels, medals, devices or awards may
be worn with Fourth Degree regalia.
2 Color Corps Regalia/Uniform
: Members of the Color Corps must strive for the ultimate in uniform
appearance. As an example, if a pin is worn, all members in that Color
Corp wear the pin; if some are missing pins then none should wear a
pin. Uniformity in appearance is paramount.
The official dress for those serving in
the Color Corps is the same as the official dress for members with the
a. Chapeau: A black Navy
type chapeaux with a plume of appropriate color for the office held
and an emblem of the Order on the right side. The emblem may be cloth
or metal depending on the supplier.
b. Cape : A black cape
with liner of appropriate color for the office held with a Fourth
Degree patch on the left shoulder. The patch will not have a black
background and no other devices or patches will be worn with the cape.
c. Gloves : Plain white
d. Service Baldric : A
service baldric with the appropriate national colors must be worn by
all Fourth Degree Knights when in Color Corps regalia. This baldric
will be worn over the coat and under the cape. The sword is suspended
from this baldric. When a sword is not permitted for any reason, the
service baldric shall be worn nevertheless.
e. Sword: A silver sword
is the standard sword for Color Corps members. Vice Supreme Masters,
Masters and former such officers only shall be permitted to bear the
gold sword. The sword shall not be embellished with painting,
enameling or other decorations other than as originally issued.
f. Jewels: The same
rules apply as above for wearing jewels of office, present or past.
g. Personal Grooming and
Appearance: Good standards of grooming must be observed at
all times. Eccentricities in hair styling or in facial hair grooming
are not acceptable. No earrings will be worn by members of the
3. Drill: The standard
drill procedures to be used by the Fourth Degree Color Corps are
definitively spelled out in the Knights of Columbus Color Corps Drill
Manual and the audio visual edition of The Visible Arm of the Order.
These documents are the basic guide to which all Assembly Color Corps
will adhere. Some additional rules concerning drill include:
a. Common sense and flexibility must
b. The exact Color Corps protocol in
specific ceremonies cannot be foreseen because of the differing
procedures in local dioceses and parishes.
c. Without exception, the policies of the
Ordinary of the diocese and/or the pastor of the parish shall prevail
and shall be carried out totally.
d. No additional drill movements or
embellishments are desired or authorized.
e. Changes to the drill procedures will
be promulgated when approved. Until then, the manual and the film are
the basic guide."
At the Exemplication, the candidates will
receive their social baldric and 4th Degree lapel pin of the order.
The following paragraphs printed below in enlarged bold type is to be
read, understood, and memorized by all candidates seeking admission to
the 4th Degree.
At the Exemplification, there will be
vendors present who will have an array of things to sell. Some of the
vendors could consist of Fearon, Lynch and Kelly, and perhaps some
Some of the merchandise offered by these
vendors is NOT authorized to be worn either on your tuxedo (4th Degree
Uniform) or on your regalia should you decide to join the Color Corps.
Furthermore, these vendors do not speak for nor are they
representatives or agents of the Knights of Columbus. Before your buy
anything from these vendors, consult with your Faithful Comptroller,
Sponsor, or Faithful Navigator first for guidance and advice.
If you wish to become a member of the
Color Corps, order your regalia through your Color Corps Commander or
Faithful Comptroller. They will know what is required, what is legal,
and what is useless junk.
Our reason for emphasis of the above is
we have had too many instances in the past where vendors have deceived
newly exemplified members into buying things that are they are not
required to have.
A couple of months prior to the actual
Exemplification, candidates will be mailed an information packet that
will have information and forms that need to be filled out and
submitted, along with appropriate payment for dinner or activities. If
you have any questions, again, contact the Faithful Comptroller of the
Assembly you are seeking to join, the Faithful Navigator, or your
sponsor. No question is considered stupid, trivial, or unworthy of
It is better to be over-communicated to
and informed than taking a guess at what you think might need to be
done only to find out some important steps were omitted.