Knights Brotherhood Helps Those in Need
The Knights of da Gama Order is a South African brotherhood of Catholic men who are proactively engaged in spiritual, social and charitable works. There are about 1500 knights across the country.
Adult men who are practising Catholics with an interest in helping those in need, serving their parish, growing in their faith and giving something back to the community are invited by the Knights of da Gama to join them in their ministry.
The Knights of da Gama Order (KdG) is a South African brotherhood of Catholic men whose aim is to encourage its members to contribute to the spread of the kingdom of Christ on earth by becoming stronger Christians.
With the support of their families, they are proactively engaged in an ongoing programme of spiritual, social and charitable works.
The order is a national organisation but also part of an international network.
When joining the Knights of da Gama, one also becomes a member of the International Alliance of Catholic Knights which has fraternal orders of knights across Africa, America, the British Isles, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
All these orders have the common aim of assisting the Church and its members to live as better Christians throughout the increasingly connected digital world.
Rob van der Walt, supreme knight of the KdG, said that “becoming a knight can change your life”.
“Before anyone commits, they should know that becoming a knight means more than simply growing friendships with like-minded Catholic men that you can count on in good times and bad,” he said.
“Presently, there are around 1500 members who are organised into around 40 local groups, known as councils, across South Africa, and in these local councils you may participate actively in a wide variety of activities,” Mr Van der Walt said.
- Spiritual activities within the brotherhood, which include rosaries, home Masses, corporate Masses, retreats, prayer campaigns and training to improve knowledge of the faith;
- Participating with wives and family in a wide variety of social and sporting activities that range from caravanning and camping to golf, hiking, and braais at members’ homes;
- Working closely with parish priests, such as by serving as a minister of the Eucharist, a reader, a collector or usher, or being active as a parish pastoral council member;
- Assisting many charities, locally and throughout South Africa, by raising funds and offering one’s time and talents, or generally providing support for the needy, for example by supporting homes for women in distress or getting involved in the various care-of-the- aged projects that have been developed to assist older people to retire gracefully in an environment of proper care;
- Receiving support if one is out of work, or helping fellow brothers and their families find employment;
- Becoming a member of the family death benefits scheme that provides immediate cash to widows in the event of a member’s death, and gaining access to a range of insurance products at competitive rates through Knights Insurance Brokers, the main insurers to the Catholic Church;
- Attending, or helping to present, public-speaking courses given by knights to members of the order as well as to high school students, equipping them to present themselves well in their future careers and on social occasions;
- Taking part in actions and campaigns of a regional and national nature in addition to the local projects a KdG council may initiate;
- Assisting bishops at both diocesan and national levels, for example, with papal visits to South Africa, the Right to Live anti-abortion campaign, and other projects where help is needed;
- Driving the “Put Christ Back Into Christmas” campaign which has succeeded in making available reasonably priced Christmas cards with a real Christmas picture and message, erecting Nativity scenes in public places with banners and posters to remind everyone of the true spiritual meaning of Christmas;
- Participating in the Toys for Happiness campaign that has brought joy at Christmas and at other times to less fortunate children.
The KdG “is not just a fraternity in name”, Mr van der Walt said. “It’s a brotherhood of Catholic men who each play a part in improving the world around them, one community at a time.
“They stand together in faith, and are dedicated to upholding the principles they cherish while lending their support and strength to parish, home, and fellow knight.”
The knights’ movement globally has received papal support.
For example, Pope John Paul II, on receiving the International Alliance of Catholic Knights in a private audience, said: “I thought it was necessary to express my gratitude for all the work you are doing for the Church, to thank you for your prayers, for your loyalty to the bishops and for following the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ…especially for your fidelity to the Church.
“I would like you to know of the great confidence which is placed in you and all knights throughout the world. May God bless you and all your families.”
To join the Knights of da Gama, visit www.knightsofdagama.wildapricot.org/join and complete the form. A knight in your area will contact you for a one-on-one chat about what’s involved in being invited to join the KdG in your community.
This is the first in an occasional series on lay organisations in the Southern African Church.