Knights' Carl Anderson and President Andrzej Duda discuss a range of issues
WARSAW, Poland, Oct. 11, 2018 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson met with Poland's President Andrzej Duda this week in Warsaw to discuss the legacy of Pope St. John Paul II, the growing presence and charity of the Knights in Poland and the good relations they help foster between U.S. and Polish societies.
Photo: Polish President Duda (left) welcomes Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. High-resolution version available.
Duda and Anderson also discussed the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Their cause has been the object of charitable efforts by the Knights of Columbus, the Polish government and charitable organizations in Poland.
Anderson was in Poland along with the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors to help mark the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence and the 40th anniversary of the election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła as Pope John Paul II.
Duda expressed his gratitude for the charitable work of the Polish Knights, including the numerous volunteers who came to the assistance of those affected by the 2017 hurricane in the Pomeranian region. The financial, material and spiritual assistance provided by the local Knights was substantial and continues to be experienced by those in the affected region.
The establishment of the Knights of Columbus in Poland began in 2005 and marked the first major international expansion of the organization since 1905. The Knights in Poland now number over 5.5 thousand members operate through 110 local councils in 28 dioceses. Over the past 12 years, the Polish Knights have contributed more than $1.6 million to charity and notched more than 825,000 hours of volunteer service.
"By establishing the Knights of Columbus in Poland, we fulfilled a request of Pope John Paul II that we bring our work of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism to his homeland," said Anderson in an address to Polish Knights. "Because of this, we may truly say that every new member recruited, every new council established, every act of charity given, every devotion and prayer offered is in a special way the fulfillment of our promise to this great saint."
The two leaders also reflected on the role of the Knights in building strong relations between the Polish and American people and the role that John Paul II's teaching has played in forming a common understanding of the world by Catholics and others in both nations.
In his talk to the Polish Knights, Anderson said the organization came to Poland seeking, in John Paul's phrase, a "fraternal exchange of gifts" and with the expectation that all would be, in the words of the pope, "mutually enriched by the diversity of each other's experiences."
This was not the first meeting between Duda and Anderson, who was awarded the Order of Merit in 2015 by the Polish president "for outstanding services in charity, for promoting the heritage of John Paul II and disseminating knowledge about the recent history of Poland." They also met a year later during President Duda's visit to Washington.
At their meeting in Warsaw, Anderson presented President Duda with a commemorative album about the Knights' National Shrine of Saint John Paul II in Washington, D.C. and a replica of the Carolingian Cross from the Chapel of Cyril and Methodius in the grottos of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, which the Knights renovated in the 1980s.
During his visit to Poland, Anderson placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw and led the Knights group on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Częstochowa. Before returning home, Anderson will give a talk at the Veritatis Splendor Conference at the Pontifical John Paul II University in Krakow to mark the 40th anniversary of John Paul's election.
About the Knights of Columbus
Founded in 1882, the Knights of Columbus is a 1.9 million member fraternal organization and Fortune 1000 insurance company. The organization is well known for its charitable activities carried out by its 15,000 councils that support local neighbors and the Catholic Church. However, the K of C's reach extends beyond parishes and communities to the rest of the world. Whether it's donating food and clothes, providing support for disaster relief, helping persecuted Christians in the Middle East, volunteering to help children with special needs with the Special Olympics or supporting mothers of unborn children, Knights demonstrate the power and impact of men turning their faith into action every day. 2017 was a record-setting year for Knights of Columbus charitable work with an unprecedented $185.6 million in donations and 75.6 million hours of volunteer service provided worldwide. For more information, visit www.kofc.org