127th Annual Convention of the Knights of Columbus

July 31, 2009

Phoenix, AZ (MetroCatholic) - The world’s largest lay Catholic organization, the Knights of Columbus, will be holding its annual convention in Phoenix (at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa) next week (Aug. 4-6), and there will be many opportunities for feature coverage of the event. The convention will be followed immediately by a special Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe, to be held at the same hotel (Aug. 6-8). Activities conclude with a gala Guadalupe Festival at the Jobing.com Arena on Saturday, for which we expect attendance to approach the Arena’s capacity of 17,000.

Delegates begin to arrive this weekend, Aug. 1-2, and by Monday afternoon the hallways will be filled with Knights and their families. Monday evening from 7 to 8 p.m. there’s a colorful souvenir exchange. Every state jurisdiction produces a special pin each year on their theme for the year. At the exchange, they bring a big supply of their own pins to trade with those from other states and provinces. There will be some pretty amusing photos to be had!

August 4 - Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m., the opening Mass of the convention will take place. It is an elaborate, colorful event, with at least 81 bishops from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Philippines concelebrating, 8 of whom are Cardinals. Another hundred or so priests and deacons will also participate. The principal celebrant will be Bishop Thomas Olmsted, of Phoenix (he will also be the principal celebrant on Friday). Fourth Degree Knights in full regalia will much in evidence.

Tuesday afternoon at 1:00 p.m., at the first business session, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson delivers his annual report, and will be flanked on the stage by members of the Church hierarchy and members of the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors.

Tuesday evening, the annual “States Dinner” takes place at 7:30 p.m.. This is another photographer’s delight (both still and video), with every jurisdiction rising in turn to sing its state song, and a celebratory atmosphere that must be experienced to be appreciated. There will also be a keynote address by the President of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago.

August 5 - Wednesday morning’s Mass takes place at 8:00 a.m., with Cardinal Theodore McCarrick as principal celebrant, and Cardinal William Levada, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Pope Benedict’s job before he became Pope) as the homilist.

Wednesday afternoon, at an awards session beginning at 3:00 p.m., we will honor the International Family of the Year, as well as the winners of awards in several major categories: family activities, community activities, youth activities, church activities and pro-life activities.

August 6 - Thursday morning’s Mass at 8:00 a.m. commemorates deceased members of the Knights of Columbus, and the principal celebrant will be the Supreme Chaplain, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport.

At the convention’s final business session beginning at 10:00 a.m., resolutions will be adopted pertaining to a number of hot button issues in contemporary society: abortion, marriage, rights of conscience, pornography and violence, and a number of other subjects. Attendance at this session is limited to delegates and members, but the text of the resolutions will be released immediately after they are adopted.

The two-and-a-half-day Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe will begin at 3:00 p.m., and will feature a wide variety of speakers and experts on the apparition of Mary in Mexico City in 1531, and the impact it has had throughout the Americas and the world. More information at http://www.mariancongress.org/en/index.html.

Thursday evening, there will be a Guadalupe art exhibit and panel discussion at 8:00 p.m., featuring a variety of major paintings, some of which are hundreds of years old, and some that are more contemporary.

August 7 - Friday morning at 8:00 a.m., there will be a Votive Mass to Saint Juan Diego, followed by a continuation of the Marian Congress throughout the day. Friday evening at 8:00 p.m., there will be a screening of the movie “Guadalupe” by producer Pablo Barroso.

August 8 - A Votive Mass to Our Lady of Guadalupe will be celebrated by Bishop Thomas Olmsted at 8:00 a.m., and the Marian Congress will conclude at 12:00 noon.

Saturday afternoon, the Guadalupe Festival will begin at the Jobing.com Arena at 3:00 p.m., and will feature a wide variety of speakers and entertainers, including “Marianitas” Mariachis and Matachines Dancers. We expect to fill the 17,000 seat arena. More details can be found at http://www.guadalupefestival.org/en/index.html.

The Festival will conclude at approximately 8:00 p.m.

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