1,000 Delegates and Their Families Hear 2009 Annual Report
Highlighting the Order’s commitment to the defense of life, to charity and to volunteer work, as well as its solidarity with the Holy Father and the clergy, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson delivered his annual report on Aug. 4 to the 127th Supreme Convention, held in Phoenix.
Devoting his strongest words for the proposed health care reform bills in the U.S. Congress, Anderson declared that “health care reform legislation must be abortion-free.”
He also said that no hint of euthanasia should be a part of health reform.
The Supreme Knight suggested that a simple provision be included in any legislation to exclude abortion and euthanasia from the bill.
He also warned that through the United Nations and other international agencies, pressures are increasing on predominantly Catholic countries such as the Philippines, Mexico and Poland to legalize abortion.
Delivered before more than 1,000 delegates and their families, who attended as guests, the annual report also outlined the wide-ranging charitable reach of the Knights of Columbus, and the strength of its financial operations.
The Supreme Knight reported that in 2008, Knights donated more than $150 million to charities and volunteered 68.8 million hours to their parishes and communities.
‘We Stand With Peter’ in Charity
In keeping with the theme of the convention – “We Stand With Peter, In Solidarity with Our Bishops and Priests” – the Supreme Knight began his report by highlighting the Order’s support for the priesthood and vocations, as well as the example of the Order’s founder, the Venerable Michael McGivney. He asked all Knights to pray that Father McGivney will soon become the first U.S.-born priest to be declared a saint.
He also outlined the renewed focus within the Order on spiritual enrichment and development of its members, which is taking place through council chaplains.
Pope Benedict XVI’s recent social encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity In Truth) can serve as a blueprint for the Knights of Columbus, he stated. Citing the Order’s principles of charity, unity and fraternity, he said that these words were “used so often in this new encyclical that one would almost conclude that it was written for us.”
Anderson reported on some of the activities of the Order to help those in need during the severe economic downturn, such as the KC Coats for Kids program in the winter, and the “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” summit in February that kicked off the K of C’s Year of the Volunteer.
Greetings from the Pope
The convention’s first business session opened with a prayer by Supreme Chaplain Bishop William Lori. Words of greeting from Pope Benedict XVI were then conveyed through a letter from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, who was an honored guest at the Knights of Columbus’ convention two years ago. Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, read the letter to the convention.
Bishop Lori also delivered a report on the Cause of Canonization of Father McGivney, saying that a reported miracle was under careful study at the Vatican, and a tribunal was being formed in the Hartford Archdiocese to provide more detailed medical information to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
One of the guest speakers after the Supreme Knight’s Report was Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, who expressed his gratitude to the Knights for their lay leadership. He said that he is often asked by Catholic laypersons why he does not provide stronger leadership on certain issues, and he responds that in some matters the laity is ordained to lead.
Archbishop Chaput exhorted the delegates, “Show us your leadership so that we can be better leaders for the Church. You’re Knights, you’re leaders.”