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Archived Online Discussion
Topic: By Their Works
Date: 5-6 pm (ET)
on Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Carl A. Anderson
Supreme Knight
Carl A. Anderson:
Welcome to this month's book club discussion on "By their Works" by Stephen Singular. It is a pleasure to discuss these men of faith with you this afternoon.

Tony Genco, Deputy Grand Knight
Woodbridge, Ontario Canada Council 13630
What is the overriding quality that these men embody through their commemoration in this important book
Carl A. Anderson:
The men in this book came from many walks of life and served their communities in many different ways, but if there is a common theme that binds them all together, it is their commitment to the principles of the Knights of Columbus, Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. Each of these men is an excellent example of one or more of these principles. As I read this book, I think I was personally most struck by how powerful the charity of one individual can be.

Thomas C. Massman Sr., F.A # 12983
Warrenton,Missouri, USA
Great book. Did the K of C reserve the rights to run identical articles in the Columbia Magazine about these 60 members. If so, why haven't we seen any, these are some of the best stories ever about the Knights of Columbus membership?
Carl A. Anderson:
I am glad you enjoyed By Their Works. We did run several stories on this book, including an excerpt on Al Smith, in Columbia. More excerpts are also available on our website I certainly agree that stories like this are an excellent way for Knights to tell people about the work that we do at every level of the Knights of Columbus, and it is because countless men have had similar experiences that we can say that the Knights of Columbus is the "experience of a lifetime."

William J. Briere, I.P.S.D.
Laramie, Wyoming
By Their Works has instilled a great sense of pride and fraternity in our brother Knights. It and the multimedia chronicles of our history that are now available are contributing to our grounding in tradition and are helping us to chart our course with a vision that has stood the test of time. Some new historical material was released in video form during the recent supreme convention; and I know that I am not alone in eagerly awaiting any similar projects that may be in the works.
Carl A. Anderson:
I am glad that you enjoyed By Their Works and the historical program shown at the Supreme Convention. You will be happy to know that a feature length program for television on the life of Father McGivney is also in the works. As we celebrate our 125th anniversary, it is indeed an appropriate time to look back with satisfaction on the many good works of the Order in our history, and to look forward to the good work we have yet to do.

John J.
Newark, NJ
I was surprised to see that Father McGivney not shown in the book. Wasn't he the greatest Knight ever? Do you think he will be a saint soon?
Carl A. Anderson:
Father McGivney, our founder, was certainly a great man. The book "Parish Priest" did an excellent job of telling his life story, and was our first book club pick. We all hope and pray for his beatification and canonization and were very happy to hear Cardinal Bertone say at our Supreme Convention this year that he would work personally to hasten the day that Father McGivney is so honored by the Church. For the prayer for Father McGivney's canonization, please visit

I think we need to tell such great Catholic stories about heroes more often because no one knows how great Catholics have changed the world. All we hear is bad publicity. Maybe you should give a copy of this book to every library.
Carl A. Anderson:
Thank you for your comment. When this book was first published, we encouraged every council to purchase copies for their local parish or public library. We certainly hope that they will continue to do so. When Catholics live out their faith, amazing things happen, and we should all tell those inspiring stories to those we know.

Grand Knight Robert Camilleri
Las Vegas, Nevada
How were the men profiled in "By Their Works" selected?
Carl A. Anderson:
There have been millions of men who have been members of the Knights of Columbus since its founding. There are certianly many more who deserve a chapter. But for this book, we wanted to tell the stories of a wide range of men,both famous and lesser known, since the members of the Knights are and always have been from many different backgrounds and walks of life.

Tony Genco, Deputy Grand Knight
Woodbridge, Ontario Canada Council 13630
What is your favorite story in By Their Works
Carl A. Anderson:
It is certainly difficult to choose only one chapter as a favorite, but I think the chapter on the Mexican Martyrs has special significance. Here were six men, who literally went to their deaths for their faith. The basis of Charity is selfless giving to others, and these men did this in the greatest way possible: they put their faith into action even when it cost them their lives.

Lawrence Salvato
Brick, N.J. USA
My Council #5611 allows me to publish and edit a 6-8 pg newsletter in which I would like to receive and publish a one page review of By Their Works. Is that possible?
Carl A. Anderson:
We would welcome a review of By Their Works in your council newsletter. The book may be purchased online through our website with a portion of the proceeds from each sale going to the Father McGivney Scholarship Fund.

Robert J. Fallon
Brooklyn, New York, USA
By Their Works tells the stories of unique men who exhibited rare strength and courage often in the face of severe adversity. How can we as knights prepare and motivate ourselves and others to stand up and speak up in a Secular Humanist socital culture which acrimoniously, adamently and proudly advocates virulent and openly aggressive, in your face anti-Catholicism and the Culture of Death mindset at every level of our existance and social structure? Vivat Jesus.
Carl A. Anderson:
I think this book provides the answer. As we read about men like Dr. Claude Brown, the Mexican Martyrs, Matt Gannon and the many others like them, we see that men of faith can truly have a positive impact on their culture. As Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Ratzinger) said in 2000: "The deepest poverty is the inability of joy, the tediousness of a life considered absurd and contradictory. This poverty is widespread today, in very different forms in the materially rich as well as the poor countries. The inability of joy presupposes and produces the inability to love, produces jealousy, avarice—all defects that devastate the life of individuals and of the world. This is why we are in need of a new evangelization—if the art of living remains an unknown, nothing else works. But this art is not the object of a science—this art can only be communicated by [one] who has life—he who is the Gospel personified." As we read the stories of these men, we see people for whom the gospel message was real, and we see men who took that Gospel message to others, showing them, through love of God and neighbor, what a civilization of love might look like.

Carl A. Anderson:
I would suggest contacting your local book seller. You can reference the book's ISBN# (0061161454) to help them in acquiring the book.

Matthew Buttaro
Great Neck, New York, USA
Hello. Of all the books about the Knights of Columbus, would you say that this book would be a good primer for someone who would be thinking about joining the Knights?
Carl A. Anderson:
I think this book is an excellent primer for someone considering the Knights. The wide range of experiences recounted in this book will certainly provide examples of interest to any prospective Knight. Each of these stories tells something about who we are as Knights, and what it means for a man to be committed with us to the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism.

William C. Vinet, Jr.
Kaneohe, HI, USA
Worthy Supreme Knight: Where and how can I obtain a copy of this book? Vivat Jesus
Carl A. Anderson:
Please refer to the the Bookstore section on our web site ( We provide helpful links to purchase the books.

Carl A. Anderson:
The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic Family Service organization. We encourage the participation of every member of the family in our activities. Membership is open to practicing Catholic men who are over 18. As of this time, however, while the Knights of Columbus is organized in many countries around the world primarily in North America (United States, Mexico and Canada), the Philippines, the Carribean, and in Poland, but we do not presently have any councils on the continent of Africa.

Justin J.
It was great to read about Babe Ruth being a brother Knight. But why do you have someone like JFK who seemed to act like his Catholic religion didn't matter -- given the stories that came out later about him?
Carl A. Anderson:
Certainly what has come to light regarding JFK's personal life tarnishes his image. Nonetheless it does not detract from his accomplishments, first in his election to the presidency, second in his vision for the nation as articulated in his innaugural address and third in lifting up the country in regard to initiatives such as the advancement of civil rights, the Peace Corp, the engagement with Latin America and the defence of freedom in Europe.

Steve Dietz
Farragut, Tennessee
By Their Works is a great book and has become our "coffee table" book at home. It has stired up many great conversations with our Catholic and Protestant friends. Do you foresee a Volume 2 down the road illustrating the good works of even more Knights?
Carl A. Anderson:
Certainly with so many great Knights and so many great stories, the possiblity of second book is certainly there. But As I said in the introduction, "For every Knight whose life is detailed in this book, there are tens of thousands more who are making a difference in their communities, their parishes and their families." To tell all of their stories, we would have to fill an entire library.

new haven, ct
Why do the Jesuits get so much attention in this book? Weren't there any notable Franciscan or Dominican Knights?
Carl A. Anderson:
The Knights of Columbus have been blessed to have members from many religious orders. For instance, Cardinal Gagnon, who passed away this week was a Sulpician, Father Patrick Peyton, another of our members, was a Holy Cross priest. Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston is a member and Capuchin. Father Juan Diego Brunetta who works at our Supreme Office as director of Catholic Information Service is a Dominican. We chose to highlight many priests, diocesan, Jesuits, and Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father William Ryan. We are grateful for the service of all of our member clergy.

Jersey City
Do you know if Babe Ruth was born to Catholic parents, or did the brothers have him baptized in the orphanage?
Carl A. Anderson:
Excellent question. The Xaverian brothers had him baptized “conditionally”, given the possibility that he had been baptized earlier. It is believed that his parents may have baptized him, but there was enough uncertainty at the time for him to be given conditional baptism eleven years later.

Carl A. Anderson:
Thank you for joining me in this month's discussion. Please join me next month as we discuss "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light" by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk.

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