NEW HAVEN, Conn. – More than 200 college members of the Knights of Columbus recently gathered for leadership training, prayer and service at the 54th College Councils Conference in the city where the Order began.
At the opening session, Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly said that while secular culture offers comfort and individualism, the Knights offers something different.
“As leaders of the Knights on campus you can build the kind of college brotherhood that men desperately need,” Kelly said. “You can help foster the friendships that will help you and the men around you grow in character and faith.”
The goal of the Knights of Columbus College Councils Program is to help students contribute to Catholic life on campus through charity, social events and faith formation. Attendees at the conference represented councils from 91 campuses across North America.
Tyler Foreman, a senior from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Council 14542 at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, served as the conference’s chairman.
“The Knights of Columbus need to set the standard on what it means to be a Catholic man,” Foreman said. “We need to show the world that there are young Catholic men that are interested in serving the Church, that have a passion to serve in the church.”
Attendees took advantage of the opportunity on Saturday for Eucharistic adoration, the sacrament of reconciliation, Mass and a special consecration to St. Joseph.
At the awards banquet, St. Peter’s University Council 7913 in Jersey City, N.J., was recognized as the 2019 Outstanding College Council. One of the council’s particularly impressive programs centers on supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East. In addition to praying for persecuted Christians at all council meetings, the council partners with a local Coptic Orthodox Church to regularly tutor children from families who fled religious persecution in Egypt.
(To view a full list of award winners)
Father Maurice Henry Sands, the executive director for the Black and Indian Mission Office in Washington, D.C., gave the conference’s keynote address. A key figure in the Knights of Columbus’ new initiative focusing on Native Americans and First Nations people, he spoke of the challenges that these peoples face.
He discussed the high levels of poverty, unemployment, substandard housing and education, substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide among Native American peoples. He said college Knights can help “bring this Gospel message to Native people who really need it.”
Attendees immediately brought the Gospel message to people in need in the conference’s backyard. In conjunction with the Brian O’Connell Homeless Project, they spent Sunday morning assembling hundreds of care packages containing food, water, and toiletries and distributing them to people in need in downtown New Haven. The event was covered by local media including NBC Connecticut.
“What I hope that these attendees will bring back is that fire to be that inspiration on their campus,” Foreman said. “To not just their campus, but their community, their church.”
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