Knights of Columbus

Knights of Columbus

July 28, 2008 16:11 ET

Knights of Columbus to Hold International Convention in Quebec City

Fraternal organization's gathering to mark 400th anniversary

QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - July 28, 2008) - More than 2,000 Knights of Columbus and family members are expected to attend the Catholic fraternal order's 126th annual meeting in Quebec City, Aug. 5-7, 2008. The international convention, which will be held at the Quebec City Convention Centre, coincides with the 400th anniversary of the city's founding by Samuel de Champlain.

Founded in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney, the Knights of Columbus is the world's largest lay Catholic organization, with 1.75 million members throughout North and Central America, the Caribbean, the Philippines and Poland. Father McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is under consideration by the Vatican, began his studies for the priesthood in the province of Quebec in 1868, at St.-Hyacinthe Seminary. He also studied at St. Mary Seminary in Montreal from 1872-73. During Pope Benedict XVI's 2008 visit to the United States, the pontiff noted "the remarkable accomplishment of that exemplary American priest, the Venerable Michael McGivney, whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus," in his April 19 homily at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York.

The Knights of Columbus donated more than $144 million and 68 million hours of service to charitable causes in 2007. The province of Quebec, which is among the largest membership jurisdictions in the organization, led the way in 2007 charitable contributions, as it did in 2006. Ontario was second in overall contributions. The two jurisdictions have led in that category for the past decade. British Columbia led in the category of 2007 charitable contributions per capita.

The first Knights of Columbus council in Canada was established in 1897. Dr. James J. Guerin, a future mayor of Montreal (1910-12), served as the first grand knight of Montreal Council 284. By 1909, the K of C had established councils in every Canadian province. Today there are over 231,000 Knights in Canada. The Knights of Columbus has held its annual convention in Canada on 10 previous occasions, in Quebec (1910), Montreal (1923, 1945, 1967 and 1997), Toronto (1936, 1944, 1972 and 2001) and Vancouver (1988).

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec, will welcome the Knights of Columbus and preside at the opening Mass Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 9:30 a.m. Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will celebrate Wednesday's Mass at 8 a.m., with Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, Archbishop of Montreal, delivering the homily. On Thursday, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, will preside at an 8 a.m. Mass.

Other Tuesday highlights will include Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson's annual report and the international "States Dinner" banquet, at which Cardinal Thomas Foley will deliver the keynote address. On Wednesday, the annual service awards are presented. The K of C will release its annual public policy resolutions at the conclusion of Thursday morning's business session.

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