SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Saying "our order is stronger today than ever before, and the best is yet to come," Supreme Knight Carl Anderson chronicled the record-setting activity of the Knights of Columbus at the organization's 131st annual convention.
While charitable giving in the United States grew by two per cent last year, charitable donations from the Knights of Columbus grew by six per cent, Anderson said.
Volunteer time donated by K of C members also climbed to a new record high, reaching over 70 million hours.
"Charity has always been a defining characteristic of the Knights of Columbus because our love of neighbour has always motivated us to protect God's gifts," he said.
"From the beginning, we have understood that God's gifts include the poor, the suffering the marginalized - in other words - every human being."
The supreme knight said membership in the international fraternal organization grew for the 41st consecutive year, to a record 1,843,578 Knights.
Nearly 230 new councils were added, including 13 in Canada.
In addition, insurance in force reached $90.6 billion, nearly double the amount just 10 years ago.
Anderson received a standing ovation when he spoke of the order's opposition to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' requirement - better known as the HHS mandate - that most employers provide insurance coverage of contraceptive services for employees, even if the employer objects on moral grounds.
"We continue to work to undo the HHS contraceptive mandate, which attempts to force us to violate our fundamental religious beliefs regarding abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception."
He quoted from a speech Pope Francis gave to the bishops gathered in Brazil for World Youth Day in late July: "Our pastoral work does not depend on a wealth of resources, but on the creativity of love."
Anderson added: "Through charity, we strengthen our own faith through our love of neighbour and evangelize those around us through this witness."
More than 2,000 knights and their family members attended the supreme convention.