Knights of Columbus Meeting Protocols 101
Before the institution of the combined degree of Charity, Unity, and Fraternity, the First Degree ceremonial gave candidates initial instructions on how to conduct oneself as a member in our meetings. These instructions were dropped as part of the ceremony in the combined degree but the practices have not been eliminated.
Until now, candidates have not received those instructions and we are adapting our degree procedures to present them during the signing of the Constitutional Roll, in the antechamber, before the degree. At the discretion of the Grand Knight, they may also be reviewed from time to time during the Good of the Order in our regular meetings. Frequency of those reviews will probably be decided by how well the members adhere to the recommended Protocols.
The main points of the instruction are given here.
- A member must present his Membership card to gain admission to the Council chamber. Once admitted, the member should find a seat and wait for the opening of the meeting.
- The leader of the Council is the Grand Knight, who usually conducts the meeting. The GK uses a gavel to signal actions that the members are to take.
- One rap of the gavel calls the meeting to order and directs all to be seated.
- Two raps of the gavel signal the Officers to rise.
- Three raps of the gavel signal all members to rise.
- Four raps signal all members to kneel in prayer.
- When a member wishes to speak, he should raise his hand. The Grand Knight will recognize him by calling him “Brother ______”. The recognized Brother stands and gives a salute by raising his open right hand above his head and lowering it in a vertical line to his waist. This symbolizes the tree of Christ’s cross. The Grand Knight will return his salute with a horizonal movement of his hand from his left shoulder to his right shoulder. This symbolizes the arm of the cross. The member then has the floor.
- Meetings are conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order with the Grand Knight as the Chair.
- When a dignitary is admitted to the meeting, the Grand Knight will give 3 raps of the gavel directing the Council to rise until the visitor is seated. He will then give one rap to reseat the Council. Dignitaries include Clergy, District Deputies, Chapter and State Officers who are attending in their official capacities, and others as deemed appropriate by the Council Grand Knight.
Protocols and Ceremonies in our order have dropped many of the outmoded elements such as secrecy, robes, and certain emblems. The important point is that the history of the Order, our Principles, and our place within the Catholic Church have been defined, maintained, and strengthened, in the new degree. Our basic traditions are reinforced and the discipline and respect imparted by observing our protocols are preserved. These remain an important part of identifying us an Order in Solidarity with our Church, our families, and our community.
For more detailed information on Protocols in our Order, the Knights of Columbus Protocol Handbook (pub# 1612 11/18) is available on line. The Guidelines for Council Meetings (pub# 10318 11/20) is similarly available.