August 4, 2016

The last formal day of the 134th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in Toronto, was one filled with challenging and encouraging messages, finalizing resolutions that will define the Knights in the year ahead, as well a few much-appreciated blessings.

The day, as always, began with a powerful Divine Liturgy. This time the main celebrant was the Supreme Chaplain of the Order, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. The general intention for the Mass was for all the members of the Knights that had died over the last “Columbian year”. Among those commemorated were Knights from the Manitoba State Council, including: Archbishop Peter Sutton of The Pas; Past State Deputy Merlyn A. Onyschuk and Former District Deputy Alfred A. Faucher. With a membership nearing two million worldwide, a list of all worthy Knights that have passed away over the past year would have been too exhaustive to present at the Liturgy. Thus the representative list published in the Mass booklet was limited to officers in these categories. However, all deceased Knights were remembered at this special annual memorial Mass.

There was barely time to run to one’s room – especially for the Knight-delegates that were checking out that morning - and/or grab a morning coffee. The working session began at 10:00 AM sharp and, amazingly, most delegates were in their places on time! The major order of the day was to vote on the many resolutions proposed by local and state councils around the world. The Resolutions were made available to all delegates from the beginning of the Convention, presuming that they would ‘do their homework’ and study the resolutions – at least the ones that concerned them the most. Even with a resolution committee working on amalgamating and combining repetitious resolutions and/or proposing alternative resolutions, the list was still very long. However, a method was proposed and accepted, in which all proposals were able to be presented and allowance was made for the possibility of discussion should delegates want to denbate the text. It was a tedious process at moments, but all the resolutions were presented by the Resolutions Committee Chair – Supreme Advocate John A. Marrella. They were dealt with, passed in the course of the morning session with only an acceptable amount of run-over time. During this session, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson also thanked those members of the Board of Directors that were retiring as they concluded the allotted term limits. The day and the business of the convention concluded with a prayer and a blessing imparted by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori.

After the morning session, the State Chaplains and Bishops made their way to a luncheon followed by a working session for the Chaplains. At this meeting, the chaplains had a chance to introduce themselves and get better acquainted, but also to share information about their “best practices” in their State territories and to ask questions and discuss ideas. It was a very satisfying session! The chaplains also received information folders, books and materials. The highlights were certainly the incredibly frank and open presentation by the Supreme Knight and the ensuing Question and Answer period. The chaplains appreciated very much that he was in no rush and stayed as long as the chaplains were willing to engage him. It was the same with the Supreme Chaplain. The State Chaplains that came to the Convention were truly glad that this session was arranged. After the hours-long discussion, the clergy were invited to a fellowship reception. The chaplains and the delegates that were staying until the next day (or longer) were invited to an early 7:00 AM Divine Liturgy the next morning. Archbishop William Lori, understanding that the delegates may be close to message-fatigue, jokingly promised that his homily would be brief.

The Supreme Convention was again an inspiring week. Every event and every aspect reflected the professional discipline of the Knights of Columbus and their unwavering loyalty to the Catholic Church, their utmost respect for Bishops and clergy and their great love for all God’s People. Knights of Columbus are proud of their Order and events like this 134th Convention demonstrate that they have every right to be. May our good Lord watch over them and bless their every worthy endeavour.

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