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Canadian Knights of Columbus Stand Out at 132nd International Convention

Cardinal Lacroix gives keynote to approximately 2,000 participants and prelates in Orlando

ORLANDO, FL, Aug. 7, 2014 /CNW/ - The Knights of Columbus' 132nd annual international convention honored a number of Canadian Knights and councils and featured a keynote address by Canada's Gérald Lacroix, ISPX, archbishop of Québec and primate of Canada.

Nearly 90 archbishops and bishops — including 11 cardinals — and scores of clergy joined approximately 2,000 Knights and family members from throughout North and Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe as they gathered for the three-day international convention in Orlando, Florida, under the theme of "You Will All Be Brothers: Our Vocation to Fraternity."

Cardinal Lacroix gave the keynote address at the event's opening dinner. He was joined at the convention by nine other Canadian archbishops and bishops, including Archbishop Paul-André Durocher of Gatineau, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

Founded in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney, who completed some of his priestly studies in Montreal, the Knights of Columbus has grown to more than 1.8 million members. The first Canadian council was established in Montreal in 1897 – just 15 years after the founding.

Globally, Knights donated more than $184 million and 70.5 million hours of service to charitable causes in 2013. The Canadian contribution was an all-time high of more than $30 million and and 9,323,063 hours of service.

Of the Knights' 70-plus regions, known as states, Québec placed first in charitable donations for the fifth consecutive year, giving $11.4 million and nearly 1.7 million hours of service to charitable causes in 2013. Ontario came in second with $7.9 million.

When it comes to the amount of time volunteered per member, four Canadian jurisdictions were in the top 10. Prince Edward Island took first place with more than 135 hours per member. British Columbia was number two with nearly 114 hours, while Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia rounded out the Canadian presence in the top 10.

"The generosity of our members in Canada is an inspiring example to every member of our organization," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. "Their contributions help to improve the quality of life of those most in need. On behalf of our more than 1.8 million members, I congratulate them for their inspiring work."

Canadian Knights and councils recognized by the international gathering included:

  • Coquitlam Council 5540 in British Columbia, which was awarded the 2014 International Service Award for Church Activities for its role in the completion of a chapel dedicated to perpetual eucharistic adoration. The council raised $15,000 for a new altar and tabernacle topped with a wooden cross made from a piece of the altar used by Pope St. John Paul II when he celebrated Mass in British Columbia during his 1984 visit to Canada.
  • Past State Deputy Walter N. Streit of Alberta accepted the Order-wide Top Recruiter Award for efforts that led to 261 new members of the Knights of Columbus in Alberta during the last year.
  • Past State Deputies Pierre Beaucage of Québec and Gilles J. Doiron of Saskatchewan were honored for their service.
  • Both Manitoba and Québec were recognized for establishing parish round tables as a way for the Knights to better serve parishes in their areas.  

Canadians were also among those honored for outstanding performances as general or field insurance agents of the Knights' insurance products. General Agents Marc Bouchard of Alberta, Richard Lee Wah of British Columbia and Mark Lewans of Saskatchewan were honored as top managers of 2013. Field Agents Cleophas Castillo of Manitoba and Joseph Ven Der Buhs of British Columbia were among the top 10 producers of 2013.

"This has been a special year for Canada," said Anderson. He reported to the convention that the Knights' Supreme Council, the Knights' Québec State Council and the Canadian Association joined together to fund a new holy door – used only when the Church proclaims a holy year -- at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec that bears the emblem of the Knights of Columbus The first Vatican-sanctioned holy door in North America, the massive bronze door bears the emblem of the Knights of Columbus.

The Knights also joined with the Church in Québec in celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Church in Québec, the canonizations of St. François de Laval and St. Marie of the Incarnation, and the Knights' supreme directors made a special pilgrimage to pray at the tomb of St. Brother Andre in Montreal.

Many of the proceedings were broadcast on Canada's Salt + Light Television network and can be followed on social media with hashtag #KofCFL14 on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

More information is also available at www.kofc.org

SOURCE Knights of Columbus

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