This page is dedicated to the topic of the new Official Dress and Regalia standards announced by Supreme in the Summer of 2017. Near the bottom of this page, you will find a list of messages from the District Master.
Our Worthy District Master, Jack Murray, would like you to consider the following thoughtful email he received from a Brother Sir Knight regarding this subject:
I have received so many messages blasting the new 4th Degree Uniform, and even threatening resignation, therefore I must send out an additional message.
The Supreme Council from time to time has made several changes to the regalia worn by the Fourth Degree, and several changes to policy, procedure, and emblems. As with any organization, change is a normal aspect of the times in which we live. As stated in the Officer’s Installation, past achievements must be weighed, and new ideas conceived and evaluated… these ideas for practical purposes, but furthermore to guarantee a brighter, stronger, and positively progressive future.
We cannot, and we should not ever sail in one continuous straight line for we will never end up where we need to be. I urge all of you to stop, reflect, and research some of the changes that have been made over the years, and how they have impacted us for the better today. These decisions come from wisdom, they come from an international understanding of where our order is and where it needs to be in order to continue to progress and flourish.
How can we proclaim to stand in unity for the good, when we can’t even stand together for something such as this? No, I don’t completely agree with everything… But I stand ready to accept and guide everyone through this change and together we will be better for it in the end.
Brothers, do not collapse the fibers of Unity… But rather hold them tighter to overcome this new era for our Patriotic Degree. We are Patriots for the Church, Patriots for our Country, and Patriots for our Orders good name. A uniform change should not impact our Charitable outreach.. it should have no impact at all on much of anything at all. We will change with the times like the Church of old, and ultimately will be better and stronger for it.
Have faith and stand together, and we will distribute more information as it becomes available to us. Until then, we shall maintain with business as usual and continue as we have.
A Concerned Brother Sir Knight
Messages From our District Master
The following is a reprint from an article from the Supreme website. The original can be found here.
Earlier this month, the Knights of Columbus board of directors unanimously voted to adopt a new uniform for the Fourth Degree. The decision was made with the good of the entire Order in mind. While we understand that some members may prefer the old regalia, the supreme master and vice supreme masters urge all Fourth Degree members to put the good of the Order before any personal preference.
The board decided to make this move based on the following factors:
- the aging of our Fourth Degree membership
- the slow growth of the Fourth Degree (fewer than 20 percent of Knights are Fourth Degree members, and only a fraction of that number even serve as honor guards)
- consistent reports that the old regalia presented a barrier to Fourth Degree membership, especially among younger men
The following FAQ should answer many of the questions that have arisen concerning this change.
Q: Will the new uniform allow the use of ceremonial swords?
A: Yes. Ceremonial swords will continue to be part of the Fourth Degree. When swords are used, gloves should also be used. (see picture above).
Q: How will rank be distinguished?
A: Colored patches will be worn on the beret behind the Fourth Degree emblem as follows:
- Dark Blue Supreme Master
- Light Blue Vice Supreme Masters
- Gold District Masters
- White Faithful Navigators
- Green District Marshals
- Purple Color Corp Commanders
Those not holding office (who formerly wore red capes) will wear berets with no patch.
Q: Where can I buy the new unifom?
Q: Will there be discounts offered on the new uniform?
A: Yes. The Order will subsidize the new uniform with a 25 percent discount offered to all members who order the new uniform prior to Sept. 30, 2017.
Q: What if a member just purchased the old regalia?
A: Any member who purchased the old regalia after May 1, 2017, can submit their receipt along with their member number to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information will then be sent to that member on how to receive a $200 credit toward the new uniform.
Q: Is the Order making money on the new uniform?
A: No, the uniform is being sold at (or sometimes below) our cost.
Q: Was the new uniform field tested prior to its release?
A: Yes. The new uniform was field tested by Fourth Degree members attending the Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage.
Q: Can the old regalia still be worn?
A: Yes, for a time. While the preference is for the new uniform wherever possible, the old regalia can still be worn until the end of the current fraternal year (June 30, 2018). After that date, only the new uniform should be worn.
Q: Who made this decision?
A: The board of directors made this decision earlier this year after a three year period of testing and discussion. In addition, changing the uniform/regalia was previously discussed with the vice supreme masters at the Supreme Assembly.
Q: Did members have input on this?
A: For years, supreme officers and directors have received comments from members and prospective members that the old regalia was a barrier to membership overall, or to membership in the Fourth Degree.
Q: In what context should this change best be understood?
A: During the convention, the Good of the Order Committee stated: “We commend all of the faithful Sir Knights who have proudly worn the Fourth Degree regalia, bringing much respect to the Order. With the new Fourth Degree uniform, recently approved by the Board of Directors, this honor and respect associated with Sir Knights will remain, and it will open the door more widely for a new generation to join their ranks. In a spirit of unity, let us assist with a smooth transition to this new uniform and encourage it to be worn with great dignity and pride.”
From Robert J. Anderson, Vice Supreme Master:
Worthy State Deputies and District Masters,
As we all know there has been much chatter about the changes to the new uniform and much of it has been misguided information and assumptions. So I wanted you all to have the following information that was provided to the VSMs at the Supreme Assembly Meeting held this afternoon. These changes are effective immediately but common sense should be used in implementing in your district.
The following is how the official text in Article XI Sections 38, 39 and 40 of the Patriotic Degree will read:
Section 38 Official Dress and Regalia
The official dress fro the fourth degree shall be:
- Navy Blue Blazer with Fourth Degree Emblem Blazer Crest
- Knights of Columbus Emblem of the order (PG113 only)
- Official Fourth Degree Gray Trousers
- Official Fourth Degree Necktie
- Official Fourth Degree Beret with Fourth Degree metal badge
- Plain white shirt-Button cuff (no French cuffs-no button down collar shirts)
- Black socks and Plain Black shoes
- Official Fourth Degree Lapel Pin (#PG113)
- Incumbent Medal of Office
- Past and Former Miniature Medals above left pocket
Section 39 Dress for Exemplification
- For a candidate: black or dark (blue or grey) business suit with black socks with black shoes, white dress shirt and tie, and candidate identification.
- For a candidate serving in the armed forces of his country, fulltime police and firefighters: Class A or dress uniform.
- For honor guard: official dress as set forth in Section 38.
Section 40 Color Corps Regalia
- The official regalia when serving in a Color Corps (Honor Guard or Color Guard) is the same as the official dress of a member (refer to Section 38) or a black tie, plain white tuxedo shirt, black cummerbund, black socks, plain black shoes, black tuxedo and social baldric worn under the coat, from right shoulder to left hip, with the following additions:(continue with current Section 40 I-vii.
As you can see the changes do not include doing away with the sword at this time but it will be reviewed at a later date.
The decisions made by the Supreme Board of Directors was not made lightly but with the best interest of the order in mind. As we review the breakdown of the Patriotic Degree it show that 70% of its membership is made up of men 70 years of age or older so if we cannot attract men in the age groups of 20 to 40 years of age the Patriotic Degree with not be able to sustain itself so some changes need to be made to attract younger men.
I hope to get additional information in the next few days from Supreme and will pass along as I receive it. But for now the info I provided should help to ease the concerns of some of our members.
Lastly if you get any calls from a news agency about your comments about the new uniform please refer them to Andrew Walter at Supreme. His number is 203-824-5412.
Robert J. Anderson, PSD
Vice Supreme Master
Worthy Faithful Navigators and Brother Sir Knights,
I had sent all of you an e-mail message as soon as I was made aware of the change to the 4th Degree Regalia. I also stated that I would let you know of any further details / guidelines when I received them. There was the general feeling at the Supreme Convention that there would be discontent, etc. when this change was released on Tuesday. Much to all of our surprise the VSM’s wore their new uniforms to Mass each day (Tues, Wed & Thurs) to showcase them to all. Just FYI, effective 9/1/17, I must wear the uniform, just as will the other DM’s and VSM’s across the Order.
By advising you as soon as I could as to the change, etc., I was hoping that we could work together until I received the guidelines for use, etc. However, what I did not expect was the unnecessary negative comments from some of you, the Faithful Navigators, that I had asked to work with me until I could relay further information. There are Brother Sir Knight’s e-mailing the Supreme Office directly voicing their discontent, yes from NC!
There are guidelines coming, when I do not know, however I would expect soon. There is an effective date for the complete changeover, that I have not been made aware of as yet. I can add nothing further as to the use of regalia, tuxedo’s, etc. for the future.
I requested information re: wearing tuxedo’s for the upcoming 4th Degree Exemplification in Asheville and was advised a dark suit would be acceptable, no blazers and slacks of different colors. so if you have a candidate(s) for the Exemplification in Asheville, you can advise them of this update as to the dress code change. I will make sure the change is posted on the State Website.
I arrived home from the Supreme Convention late yesterday evening to find all services: telephone, internet and TV down. It was repaired late this evening only because there was a serviceman in the area, otherwise I would have had to wait until Wed AM for repair, meaning I would not be able to communicate until then.
I realize you are probably also getting hammered with many questions, so please continue to relay the above information until further guidance is received. Yes, this is a big hit for all of us, my DM Regalia is just a year old in September. I would also ask that you try to remain positive as this change goes forward and I will relate the Supreme Knight’s comment, “This change is here to stay”.
I appreciate all your efforts and look forward to meeting with you at your various Assembly Meetings in the near future.
Jack Murray, PSD
NC District Master
(The following is an excerpt from an email from our Supreme Knight where he deals with the topic of the new uniforms.)
The convention was also the occasion for a historic announcement: the introduction of the new uniform of the Fourth Degree. After careful consideration, the Board of Directors took this action motivated by the best interests of the Order as whole and of the Fourth Degree in particular. The new uniform is part of a comprehensive and necessary effort to keep our Order relevant and attractive to men, particularly younger men.
In light of this significant change, I thought it would be helpful to address some of the questions that have been asked about the new uniform.
- The cape and chapeau, while popular among some Fourth Degree members, have become dated and are increasingly cited as a reason that eligible Catholic men, especially young men, do not join the Knights of Columbus.
- Today there are nearly 2 million members of the Order, but only 358,000 of them are Fourth Degree Knights — less than 20 percent. The old regalia was one reason often given by brother Knights for why they did not want to advance to the Fourth Degree.
- We understand that some Fourth Degree members are fond of the old regalia. The cape and chapeau regalia will still be allowed, for a time, in those assemblies and districts that wish to use it, though the preference is for the new uniform.
- Ceremonial swords will continue to be part of the Fourth Degree.
- The new uniform is designed to be much more versatile than the older regalia and can be worn at a much wider range of functions.
- Our choice of uniform, while important, has always been ancillary to the work we do carrying out the principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism, and this should always be the case.
We have been testing the new uniform over the past year with key groups of Knights, including those brother Knights who participate in our annual Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage. The feedback we received from these groups has been very positive.
During the convention, the Good of the Order Committee spoke in words I wish to make my own:
“We commend all of the faithful Sir Knights who have proudly worn the Fourth Degree regalia, bringing much respect to the Order. With the new Fourth Degree uniform, recently approved by the Board of Directors, this honor and respect associated with Sir Knights will remain, and it will open the door more widely for a new generation to join their ranks. In a spirit of unity, let us assist with a smooth transition to this new uniform and encourage it to be worn with great dignity and pride.”
Carl A. Anderson
Worthy Faithful Navigators and Brothers,
I have been receiving many inquiries re: the new Regalia as announced on Tuesday 8/2/17 by the Supreme Knight. Yes, it is happening, however please advise all your Brother SK’s in your respective Assemblies, there is no further information to distribute at this time. The only info. I have received is that yes, the order was effective immediately, however there are no further time lines, other than for District Masters and Vice Supreme Masters – must wear as of 9/1/17. I am in St. Louis at the Supreme Convention and spoke with the Supreme Master this morning. He advised there will be guidelines forthcoming as well as a proposed Webinair Session. When all that is to occur, I have no further information to relay.
Please tell all our Brothers not to rush out and try to purchase the new Regalia, as they cannot – will not be released until all guidelines and information has been issued by the Supreme Master.
I will continue to relay information as I receive it.
Jack Murray, PSD
NC District Master