4th Degree Membership

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 1st Degree*
  • Must have attained the level of 3rd Degree
  • 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:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 following additions:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Gloves : Plain white gloves
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Jewels: The same rules apply as above for wearing jewels of office, present or past.
    7. 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 Color Corps.
  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:
    1. Common sense and flexibility must prevail.
    2. The exact Color Corps protocol in specific ceremonies cannot be foreseen because of the differing procedures in local dioceses and parishes.
    3. 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.
    4. No additional drill movements or embellishments are desired or authorized.
    5. 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 independents.

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 answering.

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.