Flags and Fanfare
The fun and festive States Dinner brought together delegates, families and guests who sat according their countries and states, waving flags and singing songs along with the band. National anthems were played, including the official song of Vatican City State.
Sitting on the dais were the Order’s supreme officers and board of directors, and their wives, along with members of the Church’s hierarchy.
Two inspiring videos were also shown, one about the Order’s work in Haiti after the January earthquake, and the other on the new Ultrasound Initiative.
In April, the supreme knight led a contingent to Port-au-Prince to deliver 1,000 wheelchairs in cooperation with the American Wheelchair Mission. The video showed the instant mobility received by Haitians who were injured or lost legs in the earthquake.
After that visit, the Order’s board approved a plan to provide prosthetic devices and physical therapy for two years for every child who lost a limb in the disaster. The program is expected to cost more than $1 million for 800 Haitian children.
The Ultrasound Initiative, launched two years ago, has provided more than 50 ultrasound machines to pro-life pregnancy centers in 25 states throughout the United States. It is the main program under the Order’s Culture of Life Fund.
The opening prayer for the dinner was offered by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. Also speaking were Bishop Pierre Morissette of St. Jerome, Quebec, who is president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops; Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, and Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales of Manila, Philippines.
Bishop Morissette thanked the Order for the longtime support for the Canadian bishops’ pro-life and family initiatives through the Commission on Life and Family (COLF). He also highlighted the more recent support the Order has given to the bishops’ commission on aboriginal peoples, which has seen events of reconciliation and understanding.
Archbishop Zimowski, former bishop of Radom in Poland, said that his pontifical council is dedicated to supporting Catholic health care workers around the world as they provide ethical, compassionate and professional care in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Knights of Columbus has been a firm supporter of the council, he said.
Cardinal Rosales said that he has been a member of the Order for 16 years, but this is the first time he has made the long trip from the Philippines to attend the event.
“Now I know how much I have been missing in the last 15 years,” he said with a smile.
Lauding the Order for its theme, “I am my brother’s keeper,” the cardinal said that a person “touches Jesus each time he touches the poor. Charity done in the name of God brings the person to the threshold of the Father’s kingdom.
“To be my brother’s keeper is to become the brother of Jesus.”