In response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Knights on Sept. 12 establishes its $1 million Heroes Fund. Checks for $3,000 are presented to the families of all full-time professional law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel who lost their lives at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Forty-five Knights were killed on 9/11.
The Knights of Columbus awards Mother Teresa with the Order’s first Gaudium et Spes Award at the 110th Supreme Convention in New York in 1992. The “Joy and Hope” award acknowledges her contributions to the Church and the world.
In this picture, Supreme Knight Dechant presents Mother Teresa with the award.
In 1981, the Order establishes the Vicarius Christi Fund, with annual earnings used for the pope’s personal charities. The initial fund of $10 million is increased to $20 million in 1988. The Knights then underwrote a series of major restorations at the St. Peter’s Basilica in anticipation of the Jubilee Year of 1983. The Order agrees to underwrite the restoration of the 65,000-square-foot facade of St. Peter’s Basilica, the first time it has been cleaned in more than 350 years. Several subsequent projects have taken place at St. Peter’s, including the restoration of chapels and of the Holy Year Door.
In this picture, the fascade of St. Peter’s Basilica after the restoration.
More recently, on 12/12/2014, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson presented the Holy Father with a contribution of $1.6 million from the Vicarius Christi Fund. In addition, the supreme knight spoke about the Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief Fund and provided the pope with a contribution of $400,000 from that fund to supplement the relief efforts of the Holy See in the Middle East.
The Knights of Columbus purchased for $2.5 million the land on which Yankee Stadium is built. Papal Masses in the United States have taken place at the Yankee Stadium (Pope Paul VI in 1965, JPII in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2005).
Sargent Shriver, a member of the Knights, is pictured with a map of Africa after his appointment as the first director of the Peace Corps in 1961. His wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded Special Olympics, which has drawn support from the Knights since the organization began in 1968.
The Knights of Columbus contributed $1 million toward the construction of the 329-foot bell tower at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. More than 1,000 Knights formed an honor guard for the shrine’s dedication. In 1963, the Order also finances installation of the carillon of 56 bells at the National Shrine.