The Color Corps is the most visibly evident component of the Knights of Columbus, and the only members of our order that are eligible to join the Color Corps are Patriotic (i.e. Fourth) Degree members. Membership in the Color Corps. (which includes both Honor Guards and other representatives) is voluntary, and many of our Fourth Degree Sir Knights chose not to join in this program. However, being a member of the color corps is an honor and a privilege, and for those who join this elite group, the sentiment is almost universal that what one gains from such participation is much more than one contributed.
The Honor Guard, first called for in 1886 was officially formed in 1902, for ceremonial purposes. Since that time, the uniforms of the Color Corps have varied, however all have shared the similar theme of mariners. Most noticeable in today’s current uniform is the chapeau worn with ostrich feathers.
In the year 2000, the Fourth degree celebrated its 100th anniversary with approximately 252,000 member Sir Knights!!!
The Color Corps of the Patriotic Degree
Purpose of the Color Corps
When knighthood was in flower, knights carried the sword to defend their God, their Church, their country, and their fellow man according to the code of chivalry. Today, Sir Knights wear regalia and carry the sword to honor Christ and His apostles, especially on religious and civic occasions specified in the Color Corps manual. Hence, the primary purpose of the Fourth Degree is to encourage active Catholic citizenship and foster the spirit of patriotism in members and the community at large.
The Color Corps members exemplify all the principles of our Order:
• Charity – by the gift of their time and energies necessary to practice, perfect and perform the ceremonials and sword drill;
• Unity – by the united efforts of Sir Knights to practice and perfect a coordinated drill for the good of the Church and the Order;
• Fraternity – by expressing an “Esprit de Corps,” sharing a common desire for drill excellence and camaraderie; and
• Patriotism – by performing precision drill as a salute to God and to country and visually exhibiting a love for both.
The public appearance of Fourth Degree Knights as a Color Corps at religious and civic functions is an important activity of each assembly. Their colorful capes and chapeaux add dignity and the pride of Church and country to any event. By these public demonstrations their loyalties bring credit to themselves and to the Knights of Columbus.
What the colors mean
• Supreme Master: Dark Blue Cape and Chapeau
• Vice Supreme Master: Light Blue Cape and Chapeau
• Master of the District: Gold Cape and Chapeau
• Marshall: Green Cape and Chapeau
• Faithful Navigator: White Cape and Chapeau
• Color Corps Commander: Purple Cape and Chapeau
• Color Corps: Red Cape White Chapeau
The Color Guard team are called into service for events throughout the Archdiocese and beyond. This group of Sir Knights, selected for their marching and maneuvering capabilities, is composed of Sir Knights from many of the Assemblies in the District. This elite group has been honored by carrying the Colors for multiple high-profile events . . . both in and around the Archdiocese of Baltimore (the original Holy See in the United States), and beyond.