The Knights of Columbus has announced that the Secretary of State for the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, will be attending the Order’s 125th annual convention this August. While this will be the 125th convention for the Knights, it also will contain a number of first-time events. For Cardinal Bertone, it will be the first time as Secretary of State that he will visit the U.S. and for the Knights, it will be the first time since 1982 that they have hosted the secretary of state.
The cardinal will be attending the convention to receive the Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope) award and address the men gathered for the conference.
“We are honored that Cardinal Bertone will be coming to the United States to attend our convention this year,” said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. “To have the Vatican Secretary of State in attendance for our 125th annual convention is a great testament to the enduring legacy of our founder, the Servant of God, Father Michael J. McGivney.”
Cardinal Bertone will serve as principal celebrant and homilist for the convention’s opening Mass on Tuesday, Aug. 7, and will bring a special message from Pope Benedict XVI to be read during the opening session of the convention Tuesday afternoon. He will address the cardinals and bishops attending the convention, as well as the Knights of Columbus board of directors on Wednesday evening.
On Tuesday evening the Knights of Columbus will present him with the Order’s Gaudium et Spes award during the annual States Dinner. The award is not given annually with only seven being given out over the last fifteen years. The first recipient was Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 1992 and in 2005, Jean Vanier, founder of l’Arche, became the most recent recipient.
“The award is designed to recognize individuals for their exemplary service to the Church and humanity in the spirit of Christ as articulated by the work of the Second Vatican Council.”
Founded in New Haven, Conn. in 1882, the Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest lay Catholic organization, with 1.7 million members in the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Central America, and Poland.