On February 22, 1900, the first Fourth Degree exemplification or degree ceremony was held in New York City. The Fourth Degree imparts a lesson on the virtue of patriotism. The primary purpose of this degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism in members and the community at large and encourage active Catholic citizenship. Local units, called assemblies, draw their members from Knights of Columbus councils. The qualifications for membership in the Fourth Degree are: membership in the Knights for at least six months and being a Third Degree Knight. A Fourth Degree Knight may become part of the assembly's color corps. These members are recognized widely by their distinctive attire of tuxedo, feathered hat (chapeau), cape and sword. These members regularly take part in civic events such as parades and wreath-laying ceremonies, and at ecclesial functions at Catholic churches. The various colored capes and chapeau feathers denote different officer positions within the Fourth Degree.
The first Iowa assembly to be instituted was Loras Assembly located in Davenport, Iowa in November 1902. Presently there are a total of 41 assemblies in the Father Padilla Province, Iowa District, under the leadership of District Master Patrick T. O'Keefe of Des Moines, Iowa, who is the executive officer and representative of Supreme Master Dennis J. Stoddard. The Fourth Degree is the highest and most prestigious degree within the Knights of Columbus. It is a group of outstanding Knights who are dedicated to the service of their Church, their country and our Order. These men are unified in the Fourth Degree to support religious, civic and charitable causes. Membership in the Fourth Degree may be made to any Assembly provided the applicant is over eighteen years of age, a practical Catholic in union with the Holy See, and a Third Degree member in good standing in his council.
Assistants to the Master