In his annual report to the 129th Supreme Convention, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson highlighted the theme of the gathering – “That the World May Know New Hope” – as he provided details on the enormous levels of charitable and volunteer efforts by the Knights of Columbus around the globe.
He also announced four new initiatives that the Order will undertake in the coming months. The first initiative is the Knights of Columbus Disaster Response Program, which will help local councils prepare to serve as “second responders” by providing food, clothing and shelter for those affected by disasters. Leading the program will be New York Fire Dept. Capt. Alfredo Fuentes, a member of the Order and 9/11 hero, who was critically injured while rushing to rescue victims at the World Trade Center.
A second new program is an AIDS outreach to children in Africa, where there are millions of orphans to the disease. To provide shelter and care for these children, the Order will partner with the Apostles of Jesus, the first religious order of missionary priests and brothers founded in Africa. In pursuing this program, Supreme Knight Anderson said, the Knights will be continuing the mission of Venerable Michael McGivney, who founded the Order to help widows and orphans of the 19th century.
To support priestly vocations for the military, the Knights of Columbus has established the new Father McGivney Military Chaplain Scholarship, reserved exclusively for seminarians who will, once ordained, serve both their home diocese and the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, as a uniformed chaplain. Thanking the Knights of Columbus for the scholarship program, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Military Archdiocese said in a talk later in the program that he could not estimate the amount of good the new initiative will have for the spiritual welfare of military personnel and their families.
At the end of his report, Supreme Knight Anderson announced the fourth new initiative that will help keep alive the message and legacy of Blessed John Paul II. The Knights of Columbus will purchase the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., and establish there a shrine dedicated to the late pope and a museum based on the 500-year Catholic history of North America, beginning with Columbus’ voyage to the New World.
“True to Pope John Paul II’s vision, and using the story of his life as an inspiration, this shrine will be an opportunity to spread the good news of the Gospel through the New Evangelization,” Anderson said. The museum, he added, will be a place where generations to come will learn the history of the Church and find many reasons to be proud to be Catholic.