By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer

“Faith and charity in action” is the best way to describe what the Knights of Columbus have been committed to since their inception more than 130 years ago. As the organization prepares for its annual conference this week, a look at their influence around the globe reveals that they are the Catholic Church’s modern-day knights in shining armor.

The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by Father Michael Joseph McGivney, whose sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican. Originally established as a mutual benefit society for working-class and immigrant Catholics in the United States, the Knights has grown into the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization with nearly 2 million members. But the impressive character of the group extends far beyond its size and longevity.

Pope John Paul II once referred to the order as the “strong right arm of the Church” for their support of the Churchas well as their charitable work.

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