Religiously Devoted, Patriotically Proud
Vice Supreme Masters Meet in New Haven
“You are a unique fraternity of Knights of Columbus leaders,” Former Supreme Master Lawrence Costanzo told the current and former Vice Supreme Masters of the Fourth Degree as they began the 99th Supreme Assembly meeting in New Haven on Sept. 25. “Religiously devoted and patriotically proud” is the description we now give to Sir Knights, of whom there are now 310,719, or 17.4% of the total membership of the Knights of Columbus. Costanzo told the VSMs that “we should see that rise to twenty-five percent.”
There was much discussion of efforts to achieve uniformity in appearance among Fourth Degree Knights in regalia. A revised Protocol Manual and Color Corps Drill Manual was issued last December, and Costanzo noted that “we have seen a vast improvement in the overall appearance and performance of the Color Corps.”
More uniformity is also coming thanks to the issuance of a revised Fourth Degree Ceremony for the United States, complete with vivid graphics in a new powerpoint program. Vice Supreme Masters are being asked to ensure that the revised ceremony is presented “as written,” without local “innovations.” Revised versions of the ceremony for use in Canada, Mexico and other countries are in development, with the Canadian version to be completed in the near future.
Constanzo reported that Assemblies have raised just over $377,000 of the $500,000 Fourth Degree donation to creation of the Knights of Columbus Incarnation Dome at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Assemblies are being asked to make a determined effort to raise the remaining $123,000 in the very near future.
The VSMs were given briefings on a variety of projects underway, including a special Fourth Degree section of the Order’s Web site, the online “member management” program for Assemblies, creation of a Flag Program for presentation at schools by Fourth Degree Color Corps.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson spoke to the VSMs by telephone from Mexico City, where he was presiding at an international conference on religious liberty being co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Mexico City and The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Current and former Vice Supreme Masters and their wives attended this year’s meeting, which included a welcome reception at the Knights of Columbus Museum, a Saturday night dinner at New Haven’s historic Quinnipiac Club and Sunday morning Mass at St. Mary’s Church.