This past week I had the good fortune of being able to attend the 133rd Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Given that I am not a member of the order, it was my first time attending such an event, albeit as a member of the media. I had seen the event play out year after year on Salt + Light, however what I saw in person was something that I wasn’t quite prepared for. The sheer size and scope of the event is truly impressive.
The pageantry of the Knights was on full display, but by no means at the expense of substance. Talks and homilies like those given by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia or of visiting bishops from Iraq and Syria are reminders of the fidelity of the order to the Church. Reports and meetings are an incredible indicator of their endless litany of charitable works around the globe.
Grand gatherings in the Church are perhaps most valuable for their ability to encourage individuals and allow them to see that they are very much a part of something bigger. For any Knight of Columbus who helps with his local Special Olympics or runs a food drive at his parish, getting to walk into a gigantic convention hall, with hundreds of priests, bishops and Cardinals along with thousands of brothers in the order, it cannot but be a boost to their efforts.
Next year, the 134th Supreme Convention will take place in Toronto. Having been able to witness the event for myself, my message to those Knights of Columbus here in Ontario and surrounding areas would be take advantage of a tremendous opportunity. There is nothing like strength in numbers, and with all the good work being done in a world where the Church is perhaps not appreciated for its good works, being surrounded by your fellow Knights of Columbus is sure to be an encouraging and uplifting experience.