Convention Insider

Building a Better World

by Brian Caulfield

A Knight and his family pause to study a history panel in the lobby of the Wardman Park Marriott hotel in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, chronicling the charitable events of the Knights of Columbus, is on public display for the Order’s annual international convention.

A Knight and his family pause to study a history panel in the lobby of the Wardman Park Marriott hotel in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, chronicling the charitable events of the Knights of Columbus, is on public display for the Order’s annual international convention.

The depth and breadth of the works of the Knights of Columbus are on display in the main lobby of the convention hotel, telling an impressive story of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism over the course of more than a century.

The story is laid out in word and image on two large displays, under the title “Building a Better World.” The Disaster Relief panel starts with the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, when the Order sent recovery funds, and continues through to Hurricane Katrina, when Knights raised more than $10 million for Gulf States relief, and the wheelchairs delivered to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake this past January.

Other categories in the display are: Charitable Works, Social Justice, Religious Freedom, Diplomacy, Patriotism, Troops and Works in Washington.

Some of the dramatic photos include:

  • a Mexican firing squad aiming at a priest fully vested for Mass, from the era of persecution of the Church in Mexico, when Knights of Columbus were at the forefront of Catholic resistance
  • Al Smith, a Knight and the first Catholic to run for president from a major party, speaking at a campaign stop
  • World War I soldiers at a KC Army, receiving snacks and assistance
  • a pregnant woman viewing an image of her unborn baby with one of the two dozen ultrasound machines the Order has delivered to pro-life pregnancy centers throughout the United States, as part of its Culture of Life Fund

Other fascinating stories include the Order’s support for racial equality in the early part of the 20th century, decades before the wider civil rights movement; the formation of councils for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, which perform charitable works for local families and communities; and the Order’s lead role in getting the words “under God” added to the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, and the Knights’ continued involvement in preserving those words against the challenges of atheists who would remove any reference to God in public displays.

It is clear after viewing the story of the Knights of Columbus that the Order has worked long and hard to make our world a more charitable, more tolerant, more free and more just place to live.

It’s all part of the Order’s commitment to “Building a Better World” – yesterday, today and for the children of tomorrow.