Address at the States Dinner
Welcome and Remarks
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson
August 4, 2015
Your Eminences and Excellencies, Reverend Fathers, Distinguished Guests, Brother Knights, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is a great honor to be here with all of you tonight.
The theme of this year’s convention is one that is particularly significant for us as we meet in Philadelphia. There is no better city in which to recall that we are “endowed by our creator with life and liberty.” It is a theme that is important for us to remember, as we discuss the issues of the day.
As Knights, we are committed to defending life and liberty for all: for those on the margins of our communities, and for those on the margins half a world away. Indeed, our commitment is as old as the Knights of Columbus itself, and it is a testament to the fact that we take both our faith and our patriotism seriously.
We gather this evening, as we do every year, from around this country, from around this continent, and from around the globe. But the diversity represented by our flags this evening reminds us of our common cause. It reminds us that we are a fraternity united in charity – a Catholic brotherhood growing daily around the world.
We have been blessed this year with a wonderful letter of greeting expressing the Holy Father’s appreciation for what he calls the “outstanding charitable, educational, and spiritual activities with which the Knights of Columbus contribute to the Church’s mission.”
The letter also shared the Holy Father’s appreciation for – and I quote -“the steadfast public witness the Order has borne to our Christian understanding of marriage and family.”
Pope Francis also expressed his wish to us that our theme this year would “draw attention to the duty of American Catholics, precisely as responsible citizens, to contribute to the reasoned defense of those freedoms on which our nation was founded. The cornerstone of these is religious liberty, understood not merely as freedom to worship as one chooses, but also for individuals and institutions to speak and act in accordance with the dictates of their conscience.”
I know all of us deeply appreciate his support and his encouragement on these important issues to the future of our countries.
As I mentioned earlier today in my report, there has never been a time in our history when so many brother Knights have done so much good.
We set new charitable records with more than $173.5 million and 71.5 million hours donated to charity.
This year, we grew to almost 1.9 million members, and added more than 250 councils.
Our top-rated life insurance program also set records as it protects the financial future of Catholic families.
We now have $99 billion of insurance in force protecting the financial future of millions of Catholics in Canada and the United States. Our assets under management grew by 4.5 percent last year and now total $21.5 billion.
My brother Knights, this has been our most charitable year ever. Never before have we done so much good, with the help of so many Knights. But last year’s achievement must now become tomorrow’s foundation. And in the coming year, we will do even greater things.