Nice photo from the Pontifical Mass

This is from the Pontifical Mass at Old St. Patrick’s last Saturday.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in My View. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Chris says:

    What on earth is that guy wearing on his head?

  2. He is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus performing the role of an Honor Guard. The hat is called a Chapeau.

  3. Chris: He is one of the Knights of Columbus. You might want check what they are about.

  4. Ann says:

    It would be interesting to hear more about the young architect of this glorious church restoration, William Heyer. He’s also working on the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago.

  5. jarhead462 says:

    If you go to Chris’ link, you will find out why he does not know about the KofC

    Semper Fi!

  6. Ken says:

    Ann — Bill is an outstanding classical architect in Columbus who attends the traditional Latin Mass with his wife and children, and even sings Gregorian chant. Some of his designs are here:

  7. Chris says:

    Over here they are called the Knights of St Columba and don’t go in for purple headgear.

  8. TJM says:

    I believe this individual is a 4th Degree Knight. When I was an altarboy I used to love it when a Knights of Columbus Honor Guard was present at funerals. They
    added a nice touch of dignity and solemnity. Tom

  9. Michael says:

    He seems to be using a censer. Shouldn’t he be kneeling at the same time?

  10. Frank H says:

    Michael, he is holding his ceremonial sword.

  11. David Osterloh says:

    No Michael, he is holding his sword up in salute. I belong to the Knights of St John, and the guard carries real swords not toys

  12. dominic1962 says:

    The colors depend on rank. The basic red cap/white feathered hat are your basic 4th Degree while the other colors stand for various offices the wearers hold or have held. I can’t remember right off what they all mean, but the colors are not just arbitrary.

  13. Chris : Perhaps a bit of respect is due.

  14. Chris says:

    Chris : Perhaps a bit of respect is due.

    Comment by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf — 27 October 2008 @ 10:55 am

    Perhaps a sense of humour is due too? I’m afraid to me it looks like a halloween fright wig in the photo. No lack of respect intended.
    [Right. See ya.]

  15. David Andrew says:

    As a convert I remember that my first experiences with the 4th degree Knights struck me as really odd and anachronistic. Even as recently as several years ago when serving as music director/liturgist I would rankle every time it was suggested that the Knights show up, swords in hand.

    Along with this was a complete misunderstanding, if not contempt, for devotions to St. Michael . . . all that “defend us in battle” faulderall.

    When I was a child, I thought as a child (or rather, when I was a post-VCII progressivist type, I thought as a . . .)

    I now understand and respect both, and yearn for the days when all of the liturgical celebrations of the Church the world-round would reclaim the splendor of the ceremonials that are missing and thus reduce our encounter with the mystery of God to a Sunday morning pep rally.

  16. Jim says:

    Chris is misinfomed. The Knights of St Columba are not the British name for the Knights of Columbus. The clue is in the name. The British group was formed in Scotland in the early 20th century and dedicated to St Columba. We don’t have hats….but you should see the Knights of Malta when they are in full fig!

  17. John Enright says:

    I have met Knights from the KoC all over the US; as soon as we are introduced to each other, there is an instant bond of friendship and brotherhood. I would like to ask Chris whether he’d like to join?

  18. patrick finley says:

    Being a Knight (first degree,…. I am a “baby knight” if you will), and as incredulous as this explanation may seem, the Knights of Columbus are infact named for Christopher Columbus. He is our “patron” along with whoever we patron at the time a council is made, and of course Venerable Fr. McGivney, our founder. My particular council, has patronage to Our Lady of Fatima, for example. The knights are all over the world, and do many things for the community, the most well known is our charitable functions. In the States you might see us during october handing out tootsie rolls for donations to help mentally challenged children. Contrary to what some believe, we are an organiztion deeply rooted in prayer. In fact, our “sword” is in fact prayer.

    that is in fact a chapaeu, That man is a fourth degree Knight, the highest degree in our order. He is likewise part of the color guard. He is properly addressed as “Sir Knight” or “Sire n. ”

    I just get excited when I see the color guard. its so cool to see groups like the Knights of Columbus, malta, etc, knowing what we accomplish for communities and do to enrich the spiritual welfare of men (and women, The Knights of Columbus usually have a women’s auxilliary too.) Also the fact that they exist to escort bishops, and to give the mass due pomp and circumstance. Not to sound sappy, but it gets a guy *points to chest* “right here”.

    Do check us out chris. Alot of people dont know all the things we do, because groups like Columbus and Malta, dont exactly go out of their way to telegraph it. We do, simply because that is our way of following Him.

  19. Chris says:

    Guys, I’m a Brit, we don’t have Knights of Columbus over here. We do however have papal knights of various kinds and, of course, the current grand knight of the knights of Malta is an Englishman.

  20. C.L. says:

    Seems very Masonic to me. And pointing a sword at the tabernacle during the consecration – even when it’s a pretend knight doing the pointing – strikes me as faintly blasphemous. If Pope St Peter was told to put his sword away by Christ Himself, I don’t know why these clowns get to wave them around during Holy Mass.
    [Wow. G’bye!]

  21. Volpius says:

    I don’t have a problem with the hat, in fact I love it, but I do question why he is wearing it during the elevation?

    Seems a bit disrespectful, though I appreciate he is showing respect with the sword salute, he would do better if he removed the hat upon entering a church as is the traditional thing to do even for knights. Just as it is is also traditional to remove your hat in the presence of the sovereign, when sitting indoors or when speaking with ladies.

    Please understand this is not meant as an attack in anyway, I am sure the KOC are very fine fellows with the best of intentions I am just offering it for consideration.

  22. John Enright says:


    We’re not clowns. We are Catholic men who actually practice our faith by actions and examples. If you have a problem with it, get a life.

  23. Volpius says:

    Another thing has came to me, it would I think be better if he saluted in the proper manner with the sword rather than pointing it in the manner he does. To see the correct way to salute with a sword see this link:

  24. ALL: Since a few people decided to be nasty about the KofC’s, whom I suspect do a great deal more for the church and society than the people making the comments, I decided to block their IP address… at least for a while.

    Perhaps they will take the time to learn about the KofC’s after the fact.

  25. Volpius, the Knights of Columbus have thier own manual of arms. I wouldn’t criticize them unless you’ve had a chance to look at it.

  26. David Andrew says:

    I suspect the perception that the sword in the pic is at an odd angle may be an optical illusion from the angle the pic was taken.

    For my part, the current parish I serve has a really wonderful bunch of men in the K of C, and their annual memorial Mass is coming up. I’m looking forward to it.

  27. J.D. Rasnick says:

    The pre Vatican II posture at the elevation is to present the hilt of the sword to the priest at the elevation. ( I think, maybe an older Knight can clarify this)

  28. David Andrew says:

    BTW, our friends over at NLM have some really wonderful pics posted, together with a brief explanation of the meaning and purpose of the sand on the floor in an X-shape with the Latin and Greek alphabets inscribed in them by the Bishop.

  29. If Chris and C.L. are still with us, let me recommend for their additional edification the CATHOLIC BATTLEFIELD CHAPLAINS 2009 Liturgical Calendar from Angelus Press. The picture for each month is a (mostly WWII) battlefield chaplain scene.

    The one for October 2009 shows the elevation of the chalice at a solemn high Mass in the open on an island somewhere in the pacific. The shot is taken from the epistle side of the altar. On the gospel side we see a color guard standing at attention (facing liturgical south), some with rifles parade arms, others saluting. Lined up in front of the altar — where the torchbearers ordinarily would be — is a squad of riflemen, rifles pointed to the liturgically eastern sky above the altar. Evidently they have just fired a 12-gun salute. Because, instead the usual incense hanging in air, we see a puff of smoke from each rifle muzzle still visible.

    Wow! Talk about honoring the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ, whose Sovereign Kinship we just celebrated yesterday.

  30. James De Silva says:

    “At the moment of the elevation of the host … the guards presented arms,…”

  31. Jeff says:

    The protocol for the sword can vary from place to place and diocese can issue regulation that Knights are to follow. The Knights acknowledge this a encourage their members to conform to local policy.

    In the Archdiocese where I lived, the Archbishop issued specific regulations for 4th Degree Knights. Swords were to remain sheathed inside the church as it is considered inappropriate for a weapon to to be wielded in a place of worship. If the Knight chose to receiving Communion in the hand, their gloves would have to be removed. For the Eucharistic Prayer, the Knights would kneel and the chapeau would be removed.

  32. Volpius says:

    “The pre Vatican II posture at the elevation is to present the hilt of the sword to the priest at the elevation. ( I think, maybe an older Knight can clarify this)”

    That would make much more sense, especially if done kneeling.

Comments are closed.