The Order hosted pilgrims and funded Vatican broadcasts
In celebration of the canonizations of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII, the Knights of Columbus was active in Rome, lending financial support to Vatican television’s broadcast of the canonization ceremony, and hosting numerous pilgrims at K of C facilities.
The Knights of Columbus provided nearly $100,000 to support Vatican Television’s (CTV’s) broadcast of the canonizations.
In addition, the Knights of Columbus opened two of its sports fields in Rome to give a thousand pilgrims – primarily from Poland – a place to camp for the events. Within the city of Rome, these sports fields are about three miles from St. Peter’s, which is easily accessible by foot or public transportation.
The Knights has been active in a variety of charitable roles in Rome for more than 90 years. Following the Knights’ service to American troops in Rome in World War I, Pope Benedict XV in 1920 invited the Knights to continue the Order’s good works in the city and develop playgrounds for the city’s youth, who had few open spaces for exercise in the post-war years. The Knights did so, and continue to manage and maintain athletic fields, which are free to the young people of Rome.
The work at the playgrounds continued unabated even during World War II, when the United States and Italy were at war. During the war, food delivery to the people of Rome from the Vatican was often coordinated from a K of C athletic field. After the war, a Knights’ athletic field became a distribution point for food to the children of Rome suffering food shortages.
The K of C has also supported the Eternal City in other ways, promoting its cultural and artistic heritage through restorations of Vatican and civic artworks and monuments, and the sponsoring of many renovation projects at St. Peter’s Basilica – including the restoration of the façade in the 1980s. The Knights has also sponsored a number of Vatican communications initiatives, including several satellite broadcasts each year, and the co-sponsoring with Sony of the Vatican’s acquisition of a mobile high definition television studio.