The leadership of the Knights of Columbus convened in Québec City, November 6-10, for their semiannual “Midyear Meeting” to plan charitable, spiritual and recruitment activities in the coming months.
The meeting gathered the Order’s Supreme Officers, Board of Directors and the 70 State Deputies who lead the organization in Canada’s 10 provinces, the 50 United States of America, as well as in Mexico, the Philippines and Poland. Also participating in the meeting were the priests who serve State Chaplains from those jurisdictions, as well as five bishops (Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, the Order’s Supreme Chaplain; Bishop Frederick J. Colli of Thunder Bay; Bishop Ronald P. Herzog of Alexandria; Bishop Bryan J. Bayda, C.SS.R. of Saskatoon (Ukrainian) and Bishop Noël Simard of Valleyfield).
Québec City was chosen for the site of this meeting in response to the invitation extended by Québec Archbishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix at the Knights’ 130th Supreme Convention in Anaheim, in 2012.
The Knights were welcomed to the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec on Thursday, November 7th, for a solemn Mass celebrated Québec Archbishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, a strong supporter and member of the Knights. At the conclusion of the Mass, Archbishop Lacroix, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore paused at the tomb of Blessed François de Laval to pray for the Church in Québec and across Canada, and for the Knights of Columbus, that the 350th anniversary year will be an occasion of grace, renewal and growth.
After Mass, dinner was held at Québec’s historic Frontenac Hotel. There, in his keynote remarks, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson pointed to the heroic vision, determination and holiness of Blessed François de Laval as an example for Knights. He also noted that the Knights’ founder, the Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney studied for the priesthood for two years at the Seminary of Saint-Hyacinthe in Montreal, Québec.
During the meeting, the Supreme Knight also announced that the Supreme Council authorized an immediate grant of $250,000 for relief efforts in the Philippines in the wake of devastating Typhoon Haiyan which impacted the country during the Midyear Meeting. The Knights has more than 250,000 members in the Philippines.
Besides this pilgrimage of the Order’s leaders to Notre-Dame de Québec on the threshold of the 350th anniversary year, the Knights of Columbus has been involved in the 350th anniversary jubilee celebration in two other significant ways:
The Knights of Columbus Supreme Council, the Québec State Council and the Canadian Association of the 10 Canadian State Councils teamed up to donate $500,000 to underwrite the creation of the Holy Door that will be installed in a side chapel of the Cathedral-Basilica – the first Vatican-sanctioned Holy Door in North America. The massive bronze door bears the emblem of the Knights of Columbus in recognition of the Order’s support for its creation.
In addition, on August 6, 2013, at the Knights’ 131st Supreme Convention in San Antonio, the Order’s new international Marian Prayer Program was inaugurated, which features the painting of the Immaculate Conception that hangs above the main altar in the Cathedral-Basilica Notre-Dame de Québec, painted in 1925 by Sister Mary of the Eucharist, a Sister of Charity of Québec, to replace the 18th-century painting destroyed during a fire at the cathedral in 1922.
Through this program, beautifully framed reproductions of this painting, each blessed by Pope Francis, were entrusted to State Deputies to take back to their home states, where the images will travel between the Order’s more than 14,000 local councils around the world for the purpose of organizing rosary-based prayer services for Knights, their families and other Catholics.
The current prayer program honoring the Immaculate Conception is the 16th program organized by the Knights of Columbus to use a sacred image as its centerpiece. The first such program was held in 1979 with images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. Over the years, the Blessed Mother has also been honored by her Knights under her various titles, including: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Czestochowa, Our Lady of Pochaiv, Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady of the New Advent, Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Charity and Our Lady of Guadalupe. These Orderwide prayer programs have brought together more than 16 million people at some 140,000 prayer services conducted at local councils and parishes.