Amidst economic and societal hardships not seen in nearly a century, the Knights of Columbus has not only been able to “withstand the challenges,” but also grow in membership and charitable giving, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson recently announced during the annual Organizational Meeting of State Deputies, which was held virtually.
“Membership in the Knights of Columbus is not a casual commitment. But it is a commitment that cannot be measured entirely by attending meetings or paying dues,” Supreme Knight Anderson said. “Rather, it is a commitment that goes beyond such quantitative measures. Ultimately, it is a commitment of the heart and of the will because it is the commitment to be a brother.”
“I am pleased to report, that according to our 2019 Fraternal Survey, our brother Knights gave more than $187 million to charity and volunteered more than 77 million hours of service,” Supreme Knight Anderson said.
Both marks surpass totals from 2018.
Knight Anderson credited this generosity in part due to the Order’s changes to its operations prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past several years, the Supreme Council has restructured the IT department and reorganized the insurance field force, as well as solidified the financial strength of the Knights.
“But more importantly, we have the fraternal strength to do the great works of charity that the times demand,” Supreme Knight Anderson stressed.
This strength is reflected in the new exemplification ceremony — combined ceremonials of charity, unity and fraternity — because it gives a clearer vision and understanding to Catholic men that membership in the Knights of Columbus isn’t merely an invitation to volunteer, but to be more committed to Catholic teachings.
“We want all of our members to have a better understanding of how charity, unity and fraternity come together to form brothers in the Knights of Columbus,” Supreme Knights Anderson said. “This new ceremony provides a gateway to inspire the next generation of Knights.”
It is also applicable in an age of social distancing as exhibited by the first virtual online exemplification ceremony hosted by the Supreme Council, in which more than 2,000 men joined the Order. Since the beginning of April, more than 23,000 men have participated, bringing the total membership in the Knights of Columbus to over 2 million.
“The more men who join, the more lives we will transform and communities we will serve,” Supreme Knight Anderson said. “The more men we have, the more we will do for our parishes and the more Catholic families we will strengthen.”
Some of the men who joined during the online exemplification ceremony were inspired to do so after witnessing the Knights of Columbus’s initiatives during the pandemic, which included a $100 million church loan program to assist parishes facing financial struggles, donations to food banks throughout the U.S. and Canada, and the launch of the “Leave No Neighbor Behind” program.
Supreme Knight Anderson called upon the state deputies to continue the “Leave No Neighbor Behind” initiative. He also announced that the Supreme Council’s suspension of per capita assessments to help alleviate financial burdens of local councils.
“We are committed to leave no neighbor behind during this pandemic,” Supreme Knight Anderson said. “Let’s also be committed to leave no brother Knight behind because of the hardship of unemployment.”
The supreme knight reassured the state deputies that even as communities are beginning to lift pandemic restrictions and precautions, the Knights are uniquely poised to approach the new normal by adhering to the “spiritual genius” of the Order’s founder, the soon-to-be-beatified Father Michael J. McGivney, because Knights are brothers committed to faith, conversion and self-sacrifice.
“My hope is that, amidst all these challenges, we grow closer to one another, and that each of us will live more profoundly our principles of Charity, Unity and Fraternity,” Supreme Knight Anderson said. “And that because of our efforts, the Knights of Columbus will emerge from these circumstances stronger and more vigorous than ever.”
Share your story of how your council is helping strengthen people’s faith and offering support during this time. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in a weekly edition of Knightline, a resource for K of C leaders and members. Access Knightline’s monthly archives.
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