The Knights of Columbus and the Military

The Knights of Columbus, animated by its core principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism, has a long history of serving the military.

Aerial photo of military members standing in the shape of “K of C”

Armed with the Faith: the Knights of Columbus and the Military

Knights of Columbus have served on the front lines of every war fought by the United States since the Order’s founding in 1882. There is a natural affinity between the virtues of military service and the Knights’ principles, and the Order has never wavered in its support for the armed forces. This legacy is explored in a new 40-minute documentary, Armed with the Faith: The Knights of Columbus and the Military.

Knights of Columbus Active Duty American Military Members pose for a photo


Today, there are 67 active K of C military councils, eight Fourth Degree military assemblies around the world and one overseas military roundtable. Overseas military councils are located in countries where the United States has a long-established military presence, including Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Belgium and Spain. Pictured here are members of the Afghanistan round table and other personnel delivering supplies to local Missionaries of Charity sisters. The round table collected clothes, toys, food, toiletries, backpacks and school supplies for the sisters' work. Similarly, Military councils at home and abroad volunteer their time in support of migrant workers, refugees and the homeless in their local communities.

The Avila family poses for a photo outside their new smart home


In 2014, the Knights began partnering with the Gary Sinise Foundation, providing funding to help complete the construction of computer-equipped custom smart homes for severely wounded heroes.

American Military personnel march in a Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage

Warriors to Lourdes

Since 2013, the Knights of Columbus has partnered with the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, (AMS) to sponsor the annual Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage.

A Catholic chaplain blesses communion for the U.S. Armed Forces

Seminarian Scholarship Program

In 2011, the Order established a new scholarship program to help fund the education of seminarians preparing to become Catholic chaplains in the U.S.

Volunteer Knights help  a veteran Knight exit a medical transport vehicle

VA Service Program

The Order’s Fourth Degree has embraced programs serving our veterans, most notably the Veterans Affairs Voluntary Services program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Today, the Knights of Columbus has more than 1,130 volunteers regularly serving at 130 VA medical centers through this program.

A Knight from Knights of Columbus shakes hands with a veteran in a new wheelchair

Wheelchairs for Vets

Since 2003, the Order has worked closely with the Global Wheelchair Mission, including in the distribution of wheelchairs to veterans in hospitals located in major cities throughout the Order.

Supreme Knight Anderson shakes hands with a member of the United States Armed Forces and gives him a prayer book

Armed with the Faith Prayer Books

The Knights has printed and distributed more than 600,000 durable Catholic prayer books titled Armed with the Faith/Armure de Foi for members of the US and Canadian armed forces.

Canadian Knights playing music to cheer service men in World War II

WWII Hut Program

During World War II, Knights in the Philippines ran a program very similar to the WWI hut program for American servicemen. Canadian Knights operated KC Huts once again for Commonwealth soldiers.

Veterans gather outside Knights of Columbus Employment Center after World War I

Training and Employment Services for Vets

Following the war, the Knights established both a tuition-free education program for veterans and a job bank that placed more than 300,000 veterans with employers throughout the country.

Cover page of “A Guide to Lourdes” Knights of Columbus war activities.

Guide to Lourdes

The Order organized a military pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Lourdes immediately following the end of WWI and published a Guide to Lourdes after repeated requests from American pilgrims.

Docked boat with a banner 'Knights of Columbus War Activities' during world war 1.

WWI War Relief Activities

In addition to establishing the huts, the Knights of Columbus raised more than $14,000,000 (in 1917 dollars) in the United States for war relief.

People are gathered outdoors watching a boxing match

KC Hut Program Expands

The huts served all branches of the military and were places that provided recreation and freely dispensed “personal items” to the members of the A.E.F. The Knights also used the huts to provide entertainment in a manner later emulated by the U.S.O.

Military men pose outside of a building with the sign Everybody Welcome, Everything Free

The KC Hut Program

The military recreation centers expanded in World War I with the KC “hut program.” The motto of these huts was “Everybody welcome. Everything free.” The Knights ― first at home and later abroad ― established huts near the front, at or near military bases and in cities frequented by US soldiers and sailors. An official Knights of Columbus Army Hut was even established in Lourdes itself.