John Ruffo is a past grand knight and a general agent serving members and their families in eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. He attended the first combined, public exemplification held at St. Mary’s Church, the Order’s birthplace, in New Haven, Conn.
January 1, 2020, marked a momentous day in the history of the Knights of Columbus, one I am proud to have been there to witness with my family at my side.
Article originally published in Knightline, a monthly resource for K of C leaders and members. To access Knightline archives, click here. That day, my wife, Joanna, myself and two of our daughters were present at Knight of Columbus’ new Degree Exemplification Ceremony held for the very first time in our Order’s history.
To set the stage, we were all here in the basement of St. Mary’s Church where Father McGivney held the very first K of C meeting March 29, 1882. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson was in attendance, and he spoke proudly of the growth of our organization and how it would flourish in the future with this new structure. It is all part of a continued focus of building the domestic church; by having family there, the new ceremony strengthens the pledge a man makes to the Knights of Columbus and to God.
Though my wife and children have known the Knights for almost 12 years, this new exemplification brought new interest and questions, especially from my children. My family is no different from any other; welcoming families to witness the ceremony will encourage inclusiveness among the Knights and their families. It will also allow families to see the spiritual, fraternal and financial reasons behind why our founder, Father Michael J. McGivney, started this wonderful organization 138 years ago.
I look forward to seeing our membership grow, putting more men and their families in a position to help our Order and our Church. In any organization, growth is vital for succession and the Knights are no different. We need more men to join our ranks and do the work that still needs to be done for our Church and our communities.
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