Aimed at meeting the needs of young Catholic men, The Knights of Columbus is piloting a new type of online membership in Massachusetts. Pilot photo/courtesy Knights of Columbus
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BRAINTREE -- Those interested in joining the Knights of Columbus may now be able to join the fraternal organization digitally, thanks to the launch of a new online membership program.
Designed with younger generations and those on-the-go in mind, the program allows eligible Catholic men to join the Knights online. The program is currently available in select U.S. states and Canadian provinces, including Massachusetts, with full availability across the U.S. and Canada planned for July.
The idea behind the online program is to allow men to easily join the Knights of Columbus through a streamlined process, explained Matthew St. John, organization's director of Online Membership.
"The goal for us is to get these men in the door as a first step and then transition to council-based membership when the time is right for them," he said in a March 5 telephone interview.
Those who join online, sometimes referred to as "eMembers," are considered full members of the Knights of Columbus who have not yet taken a First Degree or been admitted to a local council.
"We view this as a first step toward life-long and, ideally, council-based membership," said St. John, adding that online membership is "not a for-everybody step and it's not a forever step."
For men who choose to join the Knights online, what they receive as an eMember is "functionally the same, plus more," said St. John.
The experience for both local council members and eMembers includes a subscription to the organization's monthly "Columbia" magazine, a membership card, access to fraternal benefits and insurance program, opportunities to get involved in local charitable programs, and faith formation.
Online members also have access to the newly launched online membership portal, which offers content "that will help you to lead with faith, protect your family, serve others, and defend your values," said St. John.
Additionally, at any point, online members may transition to local council membership, allowing them to move through the degree system.
Signing up online takes a matter of minutes, St. John said, requiring the filling out of a few forms as well as the yearly online membership dues of $30. More information may be found at www.kofc.org/joinus.