The Knights of Columbus Essay Contest

All Catholic students in public, private, parochial and home schools grades 8,9,10,11 and 12, are invited to participate in the 2015-16 Knights of Columbus Essay Contest. Students are encouraged to write a 500 to 750 word essay on the theme of:


"The Importance of Religious Freedom".

Official Rules

Theme and Topic

  • The theme of the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest is: "The Importance of Religious Freedom."


  • Essays must reflect the assigned theme and topic, and be submitted by the published deadline, October 15, 2016.

  • Essays must be the student's original work.

  • Essays must be typed on 8 1/2” X 11” paper, one sided, double spaced, with one-inch margins.

  • Essays must be between 500 and 750 words long.

  • The student's name should appear only on the official Knights of Columbus Essay Contest entry form which should be stapled to the essay.

  • All entries become the property of the Knights of Columbus and will not be returned.



  • Judges will be selected by the Santo Rosario Knights of Columbus council. Council, assembly members, clergy, civic officials and/or members of the community may serve as judges.

  • Essays will be judged on a 100-point scoring system:

    • 35 points: Content — How thoroughly is the topic examined?

    • 30 points: Grammar — How well is the essay written with respect to sentence structure and paragraph construction?

    • 35 points: Style — Does the essay show creativity, imagination and development of the topic in a logical and compelling style?




"A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World"
By Carl Anderson (2008)
A Civilization of Love offers a bold blueprint for the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Church in the 21st Century. Supreme Knight Anderson uses his experiences as a former White House official, lawyer, educator and leader of the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization to show how Church teaching can inform and influence society for the better.

"Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life"
By Charles J. Chaput (2008)
Archbishop Chaput is an impassioned and forceful spokesman on many of today’s most challenging issues from abortion to immigration. In Render Unto Caesar he offers compelling arguments for why Catholics should become more engaged in political life than they currently are.

"Catholics, Politics, and Public Policy: Beyond Left and Right"
By Clarke E. Cochran and David Carroll Cochran (2003)
The Cochrans address many important social issues that should be considered before voting, including; health care, welfare reform, education and more.

"With Jesus Every Day: How Believing Transforms Living"
By Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn (2007)
How can Christians meet the challenge of living a faith-filled, joyful life in today’s world? That’s just one of the questions Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn answers in his book.

"10 things Pope Benedict XVI Wants You to Know"
By John L. Allen, Jr. (2007)
Veteran Vatican observer John L. Allen Jr. draws from the writings and speeches of the pope to share with readers in a concise way what he believes are the touchstones of Pope Benedict’s pontificate.

Books are available through the Supreme Knight's Book Club Web site:


Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical (2005), Deus Caritas Est, explores the subject of Christian love. For example, Pope Benedict writes "… A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply."

The Faithful Citizenship Web site has links to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statement on the 2008 election, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States, and media resources that are relevant to the election.

The United States Conference for Catholic Bishops’ Publishing Catalogue offers printed resources for sale.

A link to the article “Participation in Civic Life is Moral Responsibility for Catholics,” written by Bishop George Lucas.

The Resource Book previously used for the Essay Contest contains an introduction by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson on the Essay Contest topic and papal documents issued by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II.

A link to the Supreme Knight's remarks to the John Carroll Society in 2009 on faith in the public square. These links may be accessed through the Order's Web site and then clicking the Resources link.