JACKSON – Downtown Jackson hosted the annual Knights of Columbus State Convention April 25-27. More than 250 knights and ladies auxiliary members gathered at the Marriott for fellowship, continuing formation and celebration.
The theme for this year’s convention was “Honoring Our Chaplains.” Father Bob Higginbotham, state chaplain for the KCs and pastor of D’Iberville Sacred Heart Parish, celebrated a Friday morning Mass for the cause of Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus. State officers and the convention coordinating team participated in the Mass. Participants arrived throughout the day and in the evening enjoyed a dinner at the hotel.
One of the more moving moments of the convention was the reading of the necrology at the Saturday morning Mass celebrated by Bishop Joseph Kopacz. The necrology consists of the names of knights and ladies auxiliary members who have died since the last convention. State Secretary Jim McCraw read the names of more than 130 people as a candle was lighted for each one. The ceremony took place at the beginning of the the liturgy so that the 200 plus gathered could remember their friends and family in prayer throughout the Mass.
After business meetings and workshops during the day, the Saturday evening banquet commenced with the introduction of dignitaries and the presentation of colors followed by the singing of the national anthem.
Four Bishops were in attendance – Bishop Joseph Kopacz, who offered the opening prayer, Bishop Roger Morin of the Diocese of Biloxi, and Bishops Emeriti Joseph Latino and William Houck. Awards were given to individuals and councils who had achieved various honors over the past year.
The knights presented checks to Bishop Kopacz and Bishop Morin for seminarian education and pro-life activities. This year the knights in the Diocese of Jackson raised more than $50,000 for seminarian education.
On Sunday morning Bishop Morin celebrated Mass for the Second Sunday of Easter also known as “Divine Mercy” Sunday. In his homily, Bishop Morin spoke of the canonizations of now Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II by Pope Francis, which had happened earlier in the day in Rome, and the need to continue to work for justice and peace in the world. He thanked the knights for their ongoing work in support of the church on the local, national and international level.