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.

Judicial Nominee Excellent Opportunity to Build on Common Ground on Abortion

May 26, 2009

by Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest fraternal organization of Catholic laymen, and a New York Times best-selling author.

New Haven, CT (MetroCatholic) - The American people no longer support the regime of Roe v. Wade. That’s not a controversial statement; it’s simply true.

And though – because of the abortion debate – the headlines for weeks were filled with the drama that unfolded over the propriety of President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame, there was an even bigger – if less noticed – story: the growing consensus among Americans on abortion, and its relationship to a looming decision that could affect abortion law for decades.

Roe v. Wade, which has been interpreted to allow abortion without restriction, is at odds with the overwhelming majority of Americans according to several recent public opinion polls. And in light of this, as the president and Senate consider an appointment to the Supreme Court, they should not the waste the chance to embrace a growing American consensus by moving away from the absolutist position of Ro and its increasingly few adherents.

Two polls in the last few weeks – one by Pew, the other by Gallup – show far more consensus on the issue than the political rhetoric would lead us to believe.Pew found that only 18% favored legalized abortion “in all cases.” 28% said it should be legal in “most cases,” 28% said it should be “illegal in most cases,” and 16% said it should be illegal in all cases. 

In other words, 72% of Americans are against the abortion on demand regime that followed Roe, while only 18% are in favor of it.

The even more recent Gallup survey grabbed headlines by finding that a majority of Americans now identify as “pro-life.” Furthermore, it found that while 22% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in any circumstance, most do not. 23% believe it should be illegal in every circumstance, and 53% believe it should be legal “only under certain circumstances.”

The totals: 75% of Americans don’t agree with the Roe regime, while only 22% of those polled do agree.

Though the debate has been framed in terms of an all or nothing issue, the fact is – as these polls show – Americans by a more than 3:1 margin, want to move away from Roe and want some restrictions on abortion. One of the most detailed surveys of Americans’ attitudes on abortion was the Knights of Columbus-Marist poll conducted in October 2008. Taken while those identifying as “pro-choice” held a slight advantage over those who called themselves “pro-life,” in hindsight, that poll accurately predicted the growing consensus we see today on abortion by asking very specific questions about the respondents’ views.

By giving respondents a greater variety of options than most polls on the subject, here’s what the KofC-Marist poll found: Only 8% of Americans agreed with abortion “any time during a pregnancy,” and another 8% supported abortion during the first six months of pregnancy. But 84% of Americans wanted more significant restrictions than that. 24% wanted abortion limited to the first three months.

The greatest number, 32%, wanted to limit abortion to cases of rape, incest, or saving the life of the mother, while another 15% wanted to limit abortion only to saving the life of the mother. Finally, 13% said abortion “should never be permitted.”

As the president and Senate consider a replacement for David Souter, they will be pressured by a vocal minority to pick someone who passes a pro-Roe litmus test. Politically and legally – let alone ethically – that is not the right move.

As the plans to fill the Souter vacancy on the Supreme Court take shape, the president and Senate should consider the will of the people and the integrity of the constitution - as well as political common sense – over narrow interest group politics. If they do, the vast majority of the American people will be on their side.

Relic of St. Juan Diego’s ‘Tilma’ Coming to Phoenix for Festival in August

May 26, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA (MetroCatholic) -  One of the rarest and most venerated relics in the United States will be on display in Phoenix at the Guadalupe Festival in August.
The relic, which visited Arizona in 2003 and drew more than 20,000 throughout the state has not left the Cathedral in Los Angeles in more than 5 years. It will be on display at the Guadalupe festival, which will be held on the afternoon of August 8, 2009, at Jobing.com Arena.
In 2003, more than 150,000 people nationwide turned out for events with the relic, which was co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. This piece of the tilma – or cloak of Juan Diego – is approximately a half-inch square and is the only known relic of the tilma in the United States.
“We are grateful to Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles for the loan of this wonderful and historic piece of St. Juan Diego’s tilma,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, “and to Bishop Olmsted, Cardinal Rivera Carrera, and the Guadalupe Institute, for co-sponsoring the event, along with the Knights of Columbus.”
“We know that not everyone in Phoenix can go to Mexico City, but we hope that this event will give those living in Phoenix and the surrounding areas a chance to experience the loving message of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” he added.
Anderson – whose book on Our Lady of Guadalupe comes out earlier that same week – will also address the crowd.
In addition to the relic, the event will feature prayers – including a living rosary – and a talk by Msgr. Eduardo Chavéz, who was postulator of the cause of St. Juan Diego.
The festival will also feature an international cast of performers including Irish singer and former member of the European Parliament Dana Scallon, Rwanda genocide survivor and bestselling author Immaculée Ilibagiza, Native American matechine dancers and mariachi music.
Latin film and television star Eduardo Verastegui is also expected to appear as a speaker.
The free event is expected to attract thousands of people, and tickets are available at http://www.guadalupefestival.org/.  Those interested in attending are encouraged to order tickets early.

Rally in Hartford on Religious Freedom (Raised Bill 1098)

March 12, 2009

HARTFORD, CT, Mar. 11 (MetroCatholic) - Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the New Haven-based Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest lay Catholic organization, was among the speakers to address the rally held in Hartford today at 12:00 noon concerning the now-tabled Raised Bill 1098, which called for completely restructuring the Catholic Church and stripping priests and bishops of their ability to administer their parishes and dioceses.

Carl Anderson’s column on this issue appears in today’s Connecticut Post at: http://www.connpost.com/opinion/ci_11880961

His speech can be found at www.kofc.org

Groups Gather for Emergency Summit on Volunteerism as Response to Economic Crisis

February 27, 2009

New Haven, CT (MetroCatholic) - With the philanthropic giving index down 22 percent, and the economic crisis affecting nonprofit organizations nationwide, the Knights of Columbus and Fairfield University’s Center for Faith and Public Life will host a summit this week to discuss the role volunteers can play in helping their communities to recover from the financial crisis.

The summit, “A Nation of Neighbors Helping Neighbors: A Summit on Volunteerism as a Response to the Economic Crisis,” will be held at the Marriott East Side in New York City on Friday, Feb. 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be Web cast live from this Web site.

Executives from more than three dozen educational, corporate, charitable and governmental organizations will discuss the ways in which volunteers and volunteer organizations can respond to community needs made increasingly acute by the economic crisis.

The organizations include Habitat for Humanity, United Way, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the National Fraternal Congress of America, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, General Electric, the Foodbank of Greater New Jersey, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, Goldman Sachs and Volunteers of America.

In a Jan. 23 speech at Fairfield University, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson called for the summit and laid out a vision of what it could accomplish. “If greed – one of the worst aspects of human nature – helped push us into this crisis, then one of the best aspects of our nature – generosity – will be necessary to help pull us out of it,” Anderson declared.

New York Governor David Patterson sent a letter in which he applauded participants for focusing on “how we can harness the energy of this renewed commitment to service to fuel our great Nation’s turnaround.” The summit sponsors, he said, “remind us of the power of volunteerism to unify and to bring light and hope to so many.”

The summit will feature three panel discussions with speakers from top national and regional volunteer organizations and programs. Additionally, all attendees will participate in roundtable discussions on the issues raised during panel discussions.

Complete Schedule

Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Program Assists Pregnant Women

January 23, 2009

NEW HAVEN, CT. (MetroCatholic) - As the nation marked the 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand the Knights of Columbus launched a new initiative aimed at providing women considering abortion a new way of viewing the life within them.

The K of C Supreme Council, in cooperation with its state council affiliates in Iowa and Florida, today provided two crisis pregnancy centers complete funding for the acquisition of ultrasound machines that will help the centers better provide for the health of both mother and child. Ultrasound exams, which are medically indicated throughout pregnancy for a variety diagnostic reasons, use sound waves to scan a woman’s abdomen, creating a picture or “sonogram” of the baby in her uterus.

Without K of C support, these centers would be unable to purchase the ultrasound devices, each costing tens of thousands of dollars.

The Women’s Help Center Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla., received a check today from K of C Supreme Director Dennis J. Stoddard and Florida State Deputy James J. Schonefeld. Supreme Director David A. Bellendier and Iowa State Deputy Patrick T. O’Keefe presented a check to Choices Medical Clinic in Iowa City, Iowa.

“The sophistication of today’s medical technology provides a ‘window on the womb,’” said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. “Even from the early stages of pregnancy, a mother can see her developing child, hear the baby’s heartbeat, and to recognize the miracle of new life within her.”

The Knights of Columbus ultrasound project seeks to provide medically certified pro-life pregnancy centers with the modern technology to monitor the health of babies in utero, and to allow mothers to visually experience that development.

The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest lay Catholic organization with more than 1.7 million members worldwide. Last year, Knights gave more than 68 million hours of their time to charitable causes and donated more than $144 million to charity.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson Announces Summit on Volunteerism in Speech

January 23, 2009

NEW HAVEN, CT (MetroCatholic) - With the philanthropic giving index down 22 percent, and the economic crisis affecting nonprofit organizations nationwide, Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, will call for a summit of charitable and volunteer organizations to be held in New York City next month.

In a speech Jan. 23 at Fairfield University, Anderson will invite the nation’s top charitable and volunteer organizations to attend a summit on Feb. 27 on volunteerism and the charitable response to the economic crisis.

The summit will be sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Fairfield University Center for Faith and Public Life. Mr. Anderson’s talk will be available live via satellite and online at www.kofc.org.

The speech will also encourage charitable organizations to work together with the new administration to emphasize and create opportunities for volunteers, especially at a time when financial donations to charity are decreasing.

Speaking just days after the Jan. 19 National Day of Service, Mr. Anderson will also call for Americans to take the spirit of that day forward and to make 2009 “the year of the volunteer.”

“Government and charities must work together for the good of our country, and in difficult economic times, that means creating opportunities for Americans to give of their time and talent, as well as their treasure,” said Anderson. “People may be unable to donate $50 or $100 dollars to charity, but everyone can certainly spend an extra hour a week — that’s less than ten minutes a day — doing something for the good of his or her neighbor.”

Anderson is the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus and the author of last year’s New York Times bestseller A Civilization of Love (HarperOne).

The Knights of Columbus is one of the nation’s most active volunteer organizations, and is the world’s largest lay Catholic organization. It counts more than 1.75 million members worldwide organized into more than 13,000 councils. Last year Knights donated more than $144 million and more than 68 million hours to charity.

Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids Program to Aid Needy Children

January 17, 2009

New Haven, CT (MetroCatholic) - The Knights of Columbus will distribute thousands of coats to needy children as part of the organization’s Coats for Kids program.

The Knights of Columbus has purchased 7,800 coats from OshKosh B’gosh and London Fog and will distribute them through local Knights of Columbus councils in several U.S. cities beginning in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 19, which has been designated the National Day of Service.

Coats for children ages 6 to 12 will be distributed by Knights of Columbus councils in Washington, D.C. as follows: 600 coats St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Southeast Washington, 300 at Nativity Catholic Church in Northwest Washington, and 300 at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Northeast Washington.

The distribution at each location will take place between 10 a.m. and noon on Jan. 19, the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and a national holiday.

Parents who might otherwise be unable to secure warm clothing for their children are invited to bring their children to one of the three locations to be outfitted with a new coat.

Coats are also slated to be distributed later this month in the Detroit and Chicago areas.

“As our nation faces tough economic times, we believe it is very important to respond within our communities in concrete ways to help those most in need,” said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. “Helping children in need was a fundamental reason for the formation of the Knights of Columbus in 1882 and continues to be a very important component of our work today.”

The Coats for Kids program is an outgrowth of the Knights’ Help a Child in Need campaign, which began in 2006 with nationwide television advertisements encouraging people to donate to charities in their areas in support of poor children.

Lawsuit Filed Against City of New Haven, Contractors

January 12, 2009

New Haven, CT (MetroCatholic) - The Knights of Columbus today filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in New Haven, seeking to recover damages resulting from the implosion of the city’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum two years ago. Named defendants include the City of New Haven, Stamford Wrecking Company and Demolition Dynamics Company.

The complaint states that when the Coliseum was demolished on January 20, 2007, the Knights of Columbus Museum incurred significant property damage as a result of the implosion, “including, but not limited to, broken and damaged windows, interior damage as a result of airborne debris that penetrated the windows, damages to the roof, entry stairs, granite sign, flagpoles, handrails, site fence, site wall, concrete façade, parking garage, and courtyard.”

Damage was also done to the Knights of Columbus headquarters building, “including, but not limited to, broken and damaged windows, damage to the site wall, plaza pavers and deck waterproofing, damage to the parking garage, damage to the metal panels on the exterior of the building, and damage to the drainage system.”

Although the “Statement of Amount in Demand” simply declares that the amount involved is in excess of the $15,000 required for a filing in Superior Court, the actual damage incurred exceeds $1 million. The complaint asks the Court to “enter judgment against Defendants in an amount to be determined at trial.”

The Knights of Columbus are represented in the lawsuit by the law firm of Day Pitney.

Knights Plan Congress, Festival in Honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 16, 2008

Events will take place Aug. 6 -8 in Phoenix following Supreme Convention.

New Haven, CT (MetroCatholic) - The Knights of Columbus will hold its First International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe from August 6-8, 2009, following the organization’s 127th annual convention in Phoenix.

The Congress will conclude with a Guadalupe Festival at Jobing.com Arena on August 8. Nearly 20,000 attendees are expected from throughout the United States and from Mexico.

Co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the Diocese of Phoenix, the Archdiocese of Mexico City and the Center for Guadalupan Studies, the Congress will be held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and will feature talks by experts from throughout United States and Latin America on Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“The centrality of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Americas as ‘the Christian Hemisphere’ is clearly evident throughout North and South America,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who will speak both at the Marian Congress and at the Guadalupe Festival. “Her message today is one that has as much importance and meaning today as it did nearly 500 years ago.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe is honored as the Empress of the Americas and devotion to her is widespread throughout the hemisphere, and in a particular way throughout Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

The lectures will focus on the meaning of the message, some of the scientifically inexplicable aspects of the image, and the relevance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in today’s world. Speakers include Dr. Jose Aste Tonsmann from Peru, who has done extensive studies of the reflections in the image’s eyes; Rev. Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, who oversaw the cause for canonization of St. Juan Diego – the Indian to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in December 1531; and other experts on key elements of Our Lady of Guadalupe and her message.

The Guadalupe Festival will feature an afternoon of music, prayer and inspiration speeches. Appearing will be best-selling author Imaculee Ilibagiza, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. Special invited guest speakers include actor Eduardo Verastegui. Performers at the festival will include Irish singer Dana, a mariachi band and matachin dancers.

A schedule and more information are available at www.guadalupefestival.org

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