States Dinner Address
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson
Philippines 9th National Convention
Manila, Philippines April 29, 2012
Drawing on the National Convention theme, “So That the World May Know New Hope,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said that the people of the Philippines give the world new hope through their young people and commitment to pro-life and family values. Therefore, Philippine Knights must continue to protect life and defend the family from all attacks, Anderson said in his keynote address at the States Dinner held Friday night in the main ballroom of the Manila Hotel, the convention headquarters.
Earlier during the convention’s proceedings, the Supreme Knight met personally with a number of the nation’s youth when 56 former Columbian Squires, who had just taken their First Degree, were presented to him by Luzon Deputy and convention chairman Arsenio Yap. They carried a banner indicating that the degree was conducted in honor of the Supreme Knight. Moved by the sight of so many new, young Knights processing into the ballroom dressed in their formal white barongs, Anderson descended the dais to greet them and hand them a commemorative medal that bore an image of Father Michael McGivney, the Order’s founder.
Recalling that moment in his States Dinner keynote, Anderson said that meeting with the newly inducted teenage Knights was one of the highlights of his visit. “This is the new hope that the Philippines has to give the world,” he remarked.
A sign of hope for family life was highlighted in the Father for Good Philippines award, a national honor that was conferred for the first time. It is based on the Fathers for Good initiative that was launched by the Supreme Council in August 2008 and includes a website (fathersforgood.org). The three winners of the Philippine award were selected from among more than 186 candidates who were nominated by their councils: Alfredo Lallana of Luzon, Gerardo Gamposilao of Visayas and Rosalio Ferilo of Mindanao.
Each winner, with his wife, was invited to the dais to receive his award from the Supreme Knight, who was assisted by KCFAPI Chairman Hilario Davide, and KCFAPI President Guillermo Hernandez. KCFAPI was the sponsor of the award which gathered a nationally renowned board of judges who chose the winners on the basis of the Order’s principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.
In his keynote, the Supreme Knight also spoke in strong terms about the Reproductive Health Bill that has been proposed year after year in legislative sessions. With its mandate for grade-school sex education and license for contraception, sterilization and abortifacients, the bill runs counter to the life-affirming, family-based culture of the Philippines, he noted.
“The defeat of the RH Bill must be the Number One issue for the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines,” the Supreme Knight said, drawing loud applause from the delegates. “We do this not just with political strategy but with spiritual weapons, because this issue is not just political but spiritual. We need to form our men for Catholic families so they will be the good husbands, good fathers and good citizens that this country needs.”
He added, “The Philippines has a bright future. The Philippines has a great people; they don’t deserve the RH Bill. They deserve a culture of life where everyone is welcome into life, where everyone is respected, where everyone is given an opportunity. The people of the Philippines deserve a great culture.”
Speaking about Father Michael McGivney, he recalled the pilgrim statue program that was inaugurated Friday morning at the convention’s Opening Mass, and the many other initiatives Philippine Knights have launched to promote the cause of the founder. Anderson encouraged bishops, priests and Knights to spread devotion and prayer to Venerable Michael McGivney, who needs a miracle attributed to his intercession for beatification. “If we get the miracle soon for the beatification and it comes from the Philippines, that would be great,” he remarked, again gaining spirited applause.
The Supreme Knight explained that promoting devotion to Father McGivney was also showing respect for every parish priest, since Father McGivney’s heroic virtue was lived out day to day as a humble priest, not as a missionary or a martyr. “If we look to Father McGivney, we show that we understand the work and life of the parish priest,” he said. “Just like Father McGivney did, our parish priests pour themselves out for the people of God. So devotion to Father McGivney brings with it devotion to our parish priests.”
The annual reports of the three state deputies were delivered during the convention by Arsenio Yap of Luzon, Rodrigo Sorongon of Visayas and Balbino Fauni of Mindanao. Focusing on membership growth and works of charity, they told the story of the Knights in their jurisdictions in terms of the six categories of the Order’s “Surge with Service” program: Church, Council, Family, Community, Youth and Pro-Life. Overall, the Philippines has more than 288,000 Knights, making it the second largest country in terms of membership, behind the United States.
The program on Saturday, April 28, began with Mass in the main ballroom, with Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo of Jaro, who is the Visayas State Chaplain, as the main celebrant and homilist. Citing the Gospel reading from St. John in which Jesus tells his followers that he will give them his own body to eat as food for the soul, Archbishop Lagdameo said that the members of the Church today are the body of Christ. “He gives us his body in the Mass and we become his body for the world,” he said. “As Knights, that means that we care for one another in charity, reaching out to all who have need of our help, so that the world may know new hope.”
A Guadalupan Prayer Service was conducted by Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, Assistant Luzon Chaplain and news director for the Philippine Bishops’ Conference. The pilgrim image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that was given to all state deputies at the Supreme Council Convention last August was displayed during the service, which included a prayer by Blessed John Paul II and a reading from the book Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love, co-written by Supreme Knight Anderson and Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, postulator for the Cause for Canonization of St. Juan Diego.
The convention concluded on Sunday morning with a Memorial Mass for all deceased Philippines Knights of Columbus, offered by Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco of Cubao, Luzon State Chaplain. Noting that the Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday, Bishop Ongtioco said that Knights of Columbus leaders must first be fed by Jesus in the Eucharist before they can exercise true leadership based on love and service rather than on selfishness and power.
“A Knight becomes a good shepherd, in the image of the Good Shepherd, when he serves and feeds others what he has been first received from the Lord,” he concluded.