‘Will We Do More?’ Supreme Knight Asks at 8th Knights of Columbus Philippine National Convention

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4/19/2010

  Convention Photos
 
The Supreme Knight arrives in the Philippines

Arrival

Opening Mass

Opening Mass

Keynote Address of Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson

Supreme Knight's Address

Keynote Address of Hon. Hilario G. Davide Jr.

Hilario G. Davide Jr.

 
  Homily of Cardinal Vidal ‘Will We Do More?’ Most Rev. Rodolfo F. Beltran, Ph.D, D.D.
 
Most Rev. Nereo Odchimar Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo Bishop Julito Cortes Half a World Away

The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines has never been stronger, it has never been more dedicated, it has never made a greater contribution to the good of this society than today, under the current leadership of this great organization, Supreme Knight Anderson said.

“The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines has never been stronger, it has never been more dedicated, it has never made a greater contribution to the good of this society than today, under the current leadership of this great organization,” Supreme Knight Anderson said.

The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines has enjoyed an impressive history of growth and service over the past 105 years, but the Order in the Asian nation is poised for even greater accomplishments under the current leadership, said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in impromptu remarks April 17, the second day of the Knights of Columbus Philippine National Convention.

The key to achieving the Order’s potential, he said, is in responding to the call from the Philippine bishops’ at the convention to “do more.” He said the bishops are asking the Order because there “is a realization that the Knights of Columbus is the most important Catholic lay organization today in the Philippines.”

The supreme knight offered his unscripted remarks after listening to Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato (Mindanao), who spoke on the fraternal nature of the virtue of charity. The archbishop expressed a message similar to that of the other members of the hierarchy who spoke at the convention, challenging Filipino Knights to be even more active in their parishes and communities for the sake of the Church and the most needy.

Anderson said, “The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines has never been stronger, it has never been more dedicated, it has never made a greater contribution to the good of this society than today, under the current leadership of this great organization. What we have to ask ourselves today when we hear the challenge given to us by Archbishop Quevedo and by Cardinal Vidal and by the other members of the hierarchy is this:

“Will we do more? Will we stand up and reach farther? Will we meet our obligations as Catholics in better ways, in larger ways? Will we be a voice for conscience in the upcoming national elections, as we are a voice of conscience in the defense of the right to life, in the defense of marriage, in the defense of the family, in defense of the poor? We must ask ourselves as leaders of this organization, how much more can we do, and how much more are we expected to do? That is the message we have been hearing from the hierarchy yesterday and today."

To have such a positive impact, however, the Knights in the Philippines must not just talk about fraternal charity, they must be witnesses to this virtue in their daily lives and activities, the supreme knight concluded.

“What makes a just society, what makes a humane society, what is it about a society that recognizes the dignity of every human person?” the supreme knight said. “I believe the answer is the Christian understanding that comes to us in the first pages of the Book of Genesis. It is a question: Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Individuals and societies that answer “yes” to the question ultimately prosper and find a place for every human person, and thus develop into just societies, he said.

Charity in Action

Archbishop Orlando Quevedo speaking to the convention delegates.

Archbishop Orlando Quevedo speaking to the convention delegates.

Archbishop Quevedo, who works with many poor communities in the southern region of the Philippines, said that the fraternal charity of the Knights of Columbus must be practiced not only internally, among members. The experience of fraternity within the Order must impel Knights to apply their fraternal love to communities outside the Order.

Ultimately, all human persons, even those of other faiths, must been seen as objects of fraternal love, because each bears the imago Dei the image of God, he said.

“When we say we are a fraternal organization, the word fraternal should include all of the concepts of charity found in the Gospels,” Archbishop Quevedo said.

Addressing the theme of the convention, “Volunteerism: Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” the archbishop said that the Gospels provide a challenging answer to the question “who is my neighbor?” Our neighbor is not only the one who is part of our community or fraternity. The term also applies especially to those who are our enemies yet in need of our help, as in the parable of the Good Samaritan, he explained.

“You are not simply volunteering yourself as Knights of Columbus to help those in need, he added. “God is calling you!”

Deputies Report

Evidence that the Knights in the Philippines are taking this call of God seriously was presented in the reports of the three Philippine deputies: Alonso Tan of Luzon, Dionisio Esteban of Visayas and Sofronio Cruz of Mindanao.

Each of the deputies reported significant increases in membership that qualified them for Circle of Honor status. They also highlighted the numerous charitable programs of their respective jurisdictions.
Among them was the Knights of Columbus Village, a development of about 70 homes for indigent families located in Bulacan, in the hills north of Manila. On April 12, the most recent five housing units were dedicated in the name of Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson.

Here is a transcript of the Supreme Knight’s remarks, based on a voice recording:

Brother Knights:

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson responds to the intervention of Archbishop Quevedo.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson responds to the intervention of Archbishop Quevedo.

If you have listened closely to Archbishop Quevedo, and yesterday to Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, and the other bishops who have addressed us, either in a homily or as part of our meeting, the message that they have is essentially the same. They are asking for help from the Knights of Columbus. They are asking us to do more. My conclusion is that there is a realization that the Knights of Columbus is the most important Catholic lay organization today in the Philippines.

Last night I spoke about the great history of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines. But I am here today to say that there has been no generation of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines with more resources, no generation that is better educated, no generation that is better trained in the principles of our Order, than the leadership of the Knights of Columbus that is sitting on the floor of this convention today.

The Knights of Columbus in the Philippines has never been stronger, it has never been more dedicated, it has never made a greater contribution to the good of this society than today, under the current leadership of this great organization. What we have to ask ourselves today when we hear the challenge given to us by Archbishop Quevedo and by Cardinal Vidal and by the other members of the hierarchy is this:

Will we do more? Will we stand up and reach farther? Will we meet our obligations as Catholics in better ways, in larger ways? Will we be a voice for conscience in the upcoming national elections, as we are a voice of conscience in the defense of the right to life, in the defense of marriage, in the defense of the family, in defense of the poor? We must ask ourselves as leaders of this organization, how much more can we do, and how much more are we expected to do? That is the message we have been hearing from the hierarchy yesterday and today.

I have one more observation and it is this: What makes a just society, what makes a humane society, what is it about a society that recognizes the dignity of every human person? I believe the answer is the Christian understanding that comes to us in the first pages of the Book of Genesis. It is a question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Those individuals, those societies that say yes, I am my brother’s keeper, I have a responsibility to my neighbor, I must do something to help those in need, ultimately, these societies are the ones that will find a place at the banquet of life for all those who are in need, they will prosper and build a just and humane society.

My question to you, brother Knights, is this: where do we learn brotherhood, where do we learn justice? We learn it in our Catholic communities, and in a special way we learn it in our Knights of Columbus fraternity. The lesson of brotherhood that we live, that we teach to our new members, that we espouse in our councils, this is the lesson of brotherhood that every single person in our countries need to know. And the best organization, the best witness to teach this lesson – not only by talking about it but by living it as an example – is the Knights of Columbus.

And the men who have to lead the Knights of Columbus, to make that witness and to teach that lesson, are the men who are sitting here today.