S+L logo

KofC Convention: Mass at Washington's Basilica, helping Haiti, honouring a Cuban Cardinal, highlight day one

August 3, 2010
Today was the first day of work at the Knights of Columbus Supreme Annual Convention in Washington D.C. Traditionally the convention kicks off with a concelebrated Mass at the conference venue. This year was a little different and whole lot more spectacular.
KofCThe opening Mass was celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Washington. The Basilica is one of, if not the largest church in North America and is home to the largest collection of modern ecclesiastical art. That is not, however, the reason the Basilica is so dear to U.S. Catholics. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States and this Basilica is dedicated to her in that context.
A Mass with the Knights is like no other. The entrance procession alone takes 10 minutes because of the honour guard that precedes the 80-plus concelebrants. This year the main celebrant was Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. Several Canadian Bishops where among the concelebrants, as was Salt + Light's CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica.
In his homily Archbishop Wuerl marveled at the work he has seen the Knights do in his 30 years involvement with the order. He also said that Mary, with her entire life, pointed humanity toward Jesus. The challenge today, he said, is for the faithful to do the same. The faithful have to encourage others to live out the Gospel through their very lives, all their actions words and deeds. Part of this means recognizing that we are not individuals and, yes, we are responsible for those around us; we are our brother's keeper, so to speak -- -- in fact the theme of this year's convention is I Am My Brother's Keeper.
KofC-CALooking out for the "next door neighbour" in need, is perhaps one of the things the Knights do best.  In his annual report Supreme Knight Carl Anderson revealed that immediately after the earthquake in Haiti, the Knights gave Catholic Relief Services (the equivalent of Canada's Development and Peace) $50,000 to provide immediate aid to victims of the quake. (Ultimately they've donated $600,000 to Haiti.) The Knights later followed that up with a special trip to Haiti during which they delivered wheelchairs to people who had been incapacitated due to injuries sustained in the earthquake. Anderson also announced that the Knights will provide prosthetic limbs for all children who have lost limbs because of the quake.
Another little known fact: the Knights have what they call a "round table" at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. A round table is when Knights who belong to different councils find themselves in the same community (i.e. a military airbase in Afghanistan) and join together to serve that community, even though they are all from different councils and cities.
As Carl Anderson said at the close of his address, the Knights are strong and vibrant. In fact they now number over one million eight hundred thousand.
The open day concluded with a colourful Knight's tradition, the States Dinner-- a white jacket formal dinner at which each "state" is represented. During dinner the delegation from each state is given a chance to sing their "state song" for their brother Knights, while waving their "state" flag. The state songs are popular traditional songs or church hymns that are modified to better represent the state in question. (British Columbia's "state" song is a shortened and slightly modified version of "Sing to the Mountains").  Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the granting of the Gaudium et Spes Award to Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the Archbishop of Havana, Cuba.  You can read his remarks HERE.
The evening wraps up early since tomorrow begins with morning Mass.  You can catch that live on Salt + Light around 8am ET.
For more on our coverage of the 128th Supreme Convention, visit HERE, and you can always learn more about the Knights on their official website HERE.
Photos: Knights of Columbus
Related posts
SLHour: Superheroes, Gaudete et Exsultate and other conversations
This week, on a special edition of the SLHour, we speak with Jim Papandrea about superheroes, science fiction and Christ and we learn all about Pope Francis’ latest exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate ...read more
Feast of St. Philip Neri, Priest
A brief overview of who St. Philip Neri was, and what he accomplished as a Priest to commemorate his feast day - May 26th. ...read more
Read more about Amoris, a new 6-part series leading up to the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) this August airing on Salt+Light every Sunday from May 27th to July 1st at 8 PM.  ...read more
Welcome to S+L’s Weekly News Round-Up. As part of my job, I come across many interesting Catholic news stories on a daily basis. Some of them I'll cover on Perspectives Daily and the others I’d li ...read more
The spiritual bond between two Francises: <br> Pope Francis and Padre Pio
In honour of the birthday of Padre Pio, we present you with this article written by Dr. Ines Angeli Murzaku on the occasion of the pilgrimage of his major relic to Boston in 2016.  ...read more