Knights' Leader at Supreme Convention

"Last year, we set new records, giving more than $158 million and more than 70 million hours to charity"

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ANAHEIM, California, AUG. 8, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of the address given Tuesday by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson to the Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus, under way through Thursday in Anaheim.

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Before we begin tonight’s festivities, I would like to share a few thoughts with you.

As we discussed in my report today, last year was a record-setting year for the Knights of Columbus. Last year, we set new records, giving more than $158 million and more than 70 million hours to charity.

In this and in other ways, we continue the work begun by the Venerable Servant of God Father Michael McGivney. We continue his work of protecting the faith and livelihood of Catholic families.

Our programs for seminarians help ensure that Catholics will have another generation of parish priests like Father McGivney. And our Guadalupe Celebration, our Marian Prayer Program, and our Catholic Information Service support the faith of millions.

We continue to help protect the financial well being of Catholic families. Our insurance in force now totals $86 billion, and our total assets grew almost seven percent last year to $18 billion.

In a poor economy, we continue to keep our promise to our members and their families. And the foundation for our success has been – and will continue to be – our commitment to charity, business and investment based on Catholic Social Teaching.

This commitment to Catholic living is also evident in our work for civility and the Civility in America petition I mentioned this afternoon. Signing that petition at CivilityinAmerica.org says that as Christians we take Christ’s call to love our neighbor – including those with whom we disagree – very seriously. It is a powerful testament to the strength of our beliefs as Christians.

As we look back over the 130-year history of our Order, we should celebrate the Order’s many successes.

Over the past decade, Knights donated more than 653 million hours of time to charity, and the value of their time was more than $14 billion.

Last year, each Knight donated an average of 39 hours. That’s a little more than 3 hours per member per month.

This is a wonderful testament to the fraternal charity each of us knows so well. But let us expand our charitable reach even further. Let us offer to others the opportunity to join in our good work.

Let us challenge all the practicing Catholics in the United States and Canada – about 30 million people – to join us in charity - giving one hour a month of their time. One hour a month would be just 2 minutes a day. But, 2 minutes each day would be 360 million hours a year, with a value of more than $7.8 billion. Over ten years, that’s 3.6 billion hours with a value of $78 billion! As Catholics let us all join together to transform society through a new solidarity based upon charity!

Let us resolve that each of our councils in each of our jurisdictions offer the opportunity to our fellow Catholics to join us in charity. Together, let us work to make a better world - one council, one parish, one community at a time.