ORLANDO, Fla. — The Knights of Columbus continued to set records for charitable giving and volunteer hours, making this the 14th consecutive year they've increased their contributions.
For the 2013 year, the Knights donated nearly $170 million and volunteered more than 70.5 million hours, according to their "Annual Survey of Fraternal Activity" discussed at the 132nd Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention in Florida.
“Charity has been at the heart of the Knights' mission for the past 132 years,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
“Whether with funds or service, and whether quietly helping someone overcome a personal tragedy or assisting in the aftermath of a widely known humanitarian disaster, the outpouring of charity by our members produces meaningful results, especially by helping to bring peace of mind to those who find themselves in incredibly difficult situations.”
Contributions for relief efforts in the aftermath of both Hurricane Sandy and the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., factored in to the 2013 figure, making it a 13% increase in donations from the previous year.
The Knights also continued their support for programs such as the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids and Food for Families, the Special Olympics and the American Wheelchair Mission.
The theme for the convention was: “You Will All Be Brothers: Our Vocation to Fraternity.” It was based on the message of Pope Francis for the 2014 World Day of Peace, in which the Holy Father said: “Without fraternity, it is impossible to build a just society.”
“This sense of fraternity is at the foundation of our call,” said Anderson. “Our charitable activity is all the more effective because it is supported by our fraternal brotherhood.”
Besides increases in their charitable giving and volunteering, the Knights also expanded their membership to 1.8 million members and established the first Knights of Columbus council in South Korea, St. Andrew Kim Taegon Council 16000.
“There are nearly 5.5 million Catholics in South Korea today. It is the fastest-growing Catholic community in the world,” said Anderson. “I am sure that South Korea, like the Philippines, will play a significant role in the future of the Knights of Columbus.”
Pope Francis will be visiting South Korea Aug. 14-18 in honor of the Sixth Asian Youth Day, having been invited by the Korean bishops and Korean President Park Geun-hye.