FULL, VIGOROUS LAST DAYS AT THE SUPREME CONVENTION
August 3, 2016
On the third day of the Convention, the morning began with yet another inspiring Divine Liturgy at which the Archbishop of Washington, DC, Cardinal Donald Wuerl delivered the day’s homily. The morning was filled with a working session at which, among other matters, the delegates voted on replacement candidates for retiring members of the Supreme Board of Directors.
An important feature of the afternoon session was the awards segment at which many deserving individual Knights and entire State Councils are recognized for their extraordinary dedication and often amazing achievements in areas such as recruitment and charitable activity. Some very moving stories were recounted of how local councils engaged themselves with seeming impossible acts of kindness. This may have taken the form of fundraising to help an individual or family in need, helping refugees, the poor – whether local or in distant lands. It was at this session that the International ‘Family of the Year’ was recognized. This year, it was the Paul & Michelle Nowak family of 13 children from Lebanon, Oregon. They were not honoured only for their boldness in having a large beautiful family, but for the many dedicated things that the family does. They volunteer for a myriad of things in the parish and the community…. Youth, Catechism instructors, donating materials and helping build homes for Habitat for Humanity, serving in the military, fundraising events, etc.
After the awards, there were smaller meetings and then the councils went off to a number of special events around the city. A number of ‘state’ jurisdictions, including the province of Manitoba, were invited to what was billed as a gathering especially to acknowledge the newer Eastern European councils – Lithuanian, Poland and Ukraine in particular. This took place at the John Paul II Polish Cultural Centre at St. Maximillian Kolbe parish in Mississauga. The evening mainly focused on Poland’s 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Knights of Columbus. The hospitality was warm with a great meal, lively entertainment and a number of ad hoc speeches, songs and toasts. Some of the more vivacious members from Pennsilvania and Florida led the crowd in a few well-known songs, including “God Bless America”.
All throughout the Convention there were two chapels set up that were open during the day from morning until evening. One was a Holy Relic Chapel with an exposition of many relics of the Saints that the Knights have acquired over the years. This year, Fr. Brian Kolodejchuk, the postulator for Blessed Mother Teresa’s cause for canonization – which will take place in Rome on September 4th, presented the Knights with a first class relic “ex sanguinis” of the soon-to-be declared St. Theresa of Calcutta. The other was the Blessed Sacrament Chapel where an exposition of the Divine Mystery – i.e. the Body of Christ – was arranged every day. A honour guard of 4th Degree Knights of Columbus took turns being present at every moment. A peaceful atmosphere was maintained and it was an inspiration to see that at any given moment, some Knights and especially their Chaplains and Bishops would find time to visit every day – especially to spend time praying the chasoslov or breviary.