Convention HQ Alive with Activity
by Brian Caulfield
The 128th Supreme Convention does not officially begin until Tuesday, August 3, but convention headquarters is already in full swing. In fact, Knights of Columbus in Washington, D.C., have been in preparation mode for the better part of a year.
“It is always an honor to host a Supreme Convention, especially since we just had the last convention here in 2003,” said Peter A. Gabauer Jr., state deputy of the District of Columbia. “This is the home jurisdiction of our Worthy Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, so we are especially prepared to put on a good show.”
The convention is being held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, from August 3-5. The proceedings begin with the Opening Mass on Tuesday in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where some 90 members of the hierarchy from around the world are expected to concelebrate with Archbishop Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
Other highlights include the Supreme Knight’s annual report on Tuesday afternoon and the States Dinner that night, as well as the presentation of the Knights of Columbus International Family of the Year Award on Wednesday afternoon.
About 2,000 Knights and their family members are attending the convention. The annual convention has been held in Washington in 1932, the 50th anniversary convention, and in 1985 and 1993.
“We hope to give everyone a full experience of Washington, D.C.,” Gabauer said. “This is the seat of our government, and has the famous museums and monuments to our history, but there is much more here as well. D.C. is alive with culture and a diversity of communities, and we will try to give everyone here a taste of that as well. Of course, as a Catholic organization, we will also highlight the great spiritual and religious legacy that can be found in such places as the National Shrine, with the Knights’ Tower, and the Catholic University of America.”
“In fact,” Gabauer added, “this is the region where the Catholic Church in America got its beginning, since Baltimore was the first diocese in the United States.”
Tours for Knights and their families include Arlington National Cemetery, where on Friday Supreme Knight Anderson laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in a special ceremony; the Air & Space Museum, a Catholic Heritage Tour, Mount Vernon, a Duke Ellington Welcome to DC musical event, a DC Day Tour and a DC After Dark Tour.
The convention chairman is Peter Gervais, D.C. past state deputy, who has been planning the event for the past year.
“We have 100-plus volunteers who are really the heart of this convention,” said Gervais. “We have to give recognition to the state councils of Maryland and Virginia also, who are helping us to stage this event. They are our neighbors and we are working together like a true fraternity.”
Gervais said that Knights in Virginia are volunteering to pick up guests arriving at Dulles International Airport, and Maryland Knights are covering BWI Airport.
Summing up the role of the Order in the area, Gabauer observed, “I hope that when all our visitors leave here, they will know just how involved the Knights of Columbus is in all aspects of the D.C. area – spiritual, cultural, charitable and in the communities. It’s a story that we are proud to tell.”