Supreme Knight Meets with K of C Priest-Scholars
Among the concelebrants were four bishops as well as more than 50 priests – council chaplains and “KC Priest Scholars” who received material and moral assistance from the Order during their seminary studies.
The opening Mass for the eighth Knights of Columbus Philippine National Convention was offered April 16 by Cardinal Ricardo Vidal in the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, an elegant colonial baroque structure that is rich in history.
Concelebrating were four members of the Philippines hierarchy, including Bishop Nereo Odchimar, president of the Philippine Bishops’ Conference, and three dozen Knights of Columbus priest-scholars, who have studied with the aid of the Father George J. Willmann scholarship fund. The fund is administered by the Knights of Columbus Fraternal Association of the Philippines, Inc., the insurance agency for Filipino Knights.
Attending the early morning Mass were Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and his wife, Dorian, who had arrived the previous evening for the supreme knight’s second visit to the Philippines. Also at Mass were the deputies of the three Philippine jurisdictions and their wives, and hundreds of convention delegates.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson meets with Knights of Columbus leaders from the Philippines outside Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral before Mass.
In his homily, Cardinal Vidal welcomed the supreme knight and the delegates and wished them a successful convention. He noted that the gathering was being held during the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Archdiocese of Cebu, although the diocese was erected in 1595 under Spanish patronage.
After Mass, Anderson met with Cardinal Vidal in the enclosed garden of the Cebu Archdiocesan Museum, across from the cathedral, and the two were joined by the Knights of Columbus priest-scholars. Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, head of communications for the Bishops’ Conference and the Filipino first priest-scholar, introduced the supreme knight at the reception. He said that the priest-scholars had received a great gift from the Knights of Columbus and they were resolved to return a gift to the Order. Wherever a priest-scholar serves, a new Knights of Columbus council should be formed, he explained.
Supreme Knight Anderson expressed his gratitude to the priest-scholars and said that priests need to be well-educated in today’s quickly changing and challenging world. Yet what people look for in a priest has remained much the same over time. They want to see in a priest a witness to the truth of the Gospel, that the life that Jesus Christ laid out for believers is possible, he said.
The supreme knight also said that what happens to the Church in the Philippines is key because those who are out to discredit the Church know that if they can shake the strong faith in the Philippines, it will be shaken everywhere.
“The Knights of Columbus is committed to supporting your priesthood and your witness,” he assured them. “The Knights of Columbus is an organization with a mission to help the priest grow to be strong.”
In final remarks, Msgr. Quitorio gave Anderson a t-shirt from the Knights of Columbus priest-scholars and declared him an honorary member of the group.