Order welcomes first South Korean council
The Knights of Columbus has set a new record in charitable giving, is continuing to experience membership growth, and has established a new council in South Korea, said the organization’s supreme knight in his annual report to the Knights’ 132nd annual international convention in Orlando.
“Florida is a fitting place for us to remember the great Catholic contribution to our hemisphere,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson as he opened his report. “Before the colonies of Jamestown and Plymouth, the first permanent European settlement was here in Florida, and it was Catholic.”
The supreme knight spoke to an audience of nearly 90 archbishops and bishops, including 11 cardinals, scores of clergy and approximately 2,000 members of the Knights and their families from throughout North and Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe.
The theme of the annual convention -- “You Will All Be Brothers: Our Vocation to Fraternity” — was drawn from the message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Peace, in which the Holy Father observed: “Without fraternity it is impossible to build a just society.”
“This sense of fraternity is at the foundation of our call,” said Anderson. “Our charitable activity is all the more effective because it is supported by our fraternal brotherhood.”
For the 14th consecutive year, Anderson reported, the Knights set a new record in charitable giving, with over $170 million and 70.5 million hours of voluntary service given during 2013. According to independent sector, the time donated by Knights to charity was worth more than $1.6 billion.
In addition, “During the fraternal year ending June 30, our membership grew for the 42nd consecutive year,” said Anderson. The Knights now has more than 1.8 million members.
He also announced that the Knights has established St. Andrew Kim Taegon Council 16000, the first K of C council in South Korea.
“There are nearly 5.5 million Catholics in South Korea today. It is the fastest growing Catholic community in the world,” said Anderson. “I am sure that South Korea, like the Philippines, will play a significant role in the future of the Knights of Columbus.”
Other developments reported by the supreme knight included:
- By percentage, the Knights grew the most in Poland, where membership increased by more than 23 percent. Notable growth has also being achieved in Ukraine and Lithuania.
- Texas membership grew by two percent last year, making it the only jurisdiction in North America to top 100,000 members.
- In October, the Knights will launch “Building the Domestic Church: The Family Fully Alive” to help families and parishes offer opportunities for daily prayer, catechesis, Scripture reading, charitable projects and social activities.
- The Knights’ New Evangelization Series includes new booklets on prayer, the Eucharist, the theology of the body, marriage and consecrated life.
- The Knights responded quickly and creatively to disasters in the Philippines and North America.
- The Knights added 15 college councils last year, and now has 302 campus councils with 27,000 members.
- More Catholic families are protected by the Knights’ insurance program than ever before with $8.2 billion in new insurance issued last year — another annual record.
- The new Young Adult Insurance Program provides annual renewable term insurance at competitive rates to Knights and their spouses ages 18-29.
- The Knights remains fully committed to Church teaching and supporting Pope Francis and the bishops in defending religious freedom.
- The Knights has made great strides in bringing people together in appreciating the gift of life. The K of C ultrasound initiative has added 480 ultrasound machines to pregnancy resource centers in the United States, Canada and beyond, bringing together mothers and their unborn children in an important way. In addition, the K of C-Marist polling has continued to uncover an ever-growing consensus on life issues and a solid consensus in favor of greater abortion restrictions in the United States.