During his annual report Aug. 5, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson announced that the Order is making another international expansion, this time to South Korea.
The chartering of St. Andrew Kim Taegon Council 16000 in Seoul extends the Order’s reach to the country’s growing Catholic population.
“There are nearly 5.5 million Catholics in South Korea today,” said Anderson during the announcement. “It is among the fastest-growing Catholic communities in the world. I am sure that South Korea, like the Philippines, will play a significant role in the future of the Knights of Columbus.”
The Order made its initial inroads into Korea in 2007 with the establishment of Bishop John J. Kaising Council 14223 at U.S. Army Base Camp Humphreys near Osan. Since then, military Knights in Korea have provided support to fellow service members in the Middle East and have demonstrated charity to poor Koreans by collecting clothing for the needy and volunteering at Shalom House, a Christian center for migrant workers.
Bishop F. Richard Spencer, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, transferred his membership to the Korean military council shortly after its founding in 2007. Four years later, Bishop Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il of the Military Ordinariate of Korea joined Council 14223 in mid-2011.
In addition to the councils in Korea, there are five military councils in Japan. But the Order’s biggest presence in Asia lies in the Philippines, where there are more than 320,000 members in approximately 2,600 councils.