The Knights of St Columba elect new leader and launch an evangelising initiative at their Supreme Council meeting in Scotland

The Knights of St Columba launched an evangelising initiative, began a new fundraising campaign and elected its next Supreme Knight at their recent Supreme Council meeting in Scotland.

Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow and Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham, the Knights’ ecclesiastical adviser, were among guests at the event held at the Beardmore Hotel Clydebank, Glasgow.

The weekend began with a Mass on the Friday at which the fraternal organisation launched the Opportunity to Serve programme through which it hopes to contribute “to the Church’s mission to evangelise”. Through the programme, to be promoted in every parish, the Knights wish to “promote and share not only what we have been doing but our vision of the future”.

With Supreme Knight Johnjo McDonagh coming to the end of his term in office, the Knights elected Ron Lynch as his successor at the weekend. They also welcomed Archbishop Conti, Bishop McMahon and representative of the Knights of St Columbanus from Ireland to their Supreme Council dinner.

At the dinner the Knights presented a cheque to the charity the group has been supporting for two years, Vision Aid Overseas, bringing the total amount to £30,500. Then, in the presence of Lorriane McMahon, Aid to the Church in Need’s head of operations in Scotland, and clergy supporter Fr Len Black, the Knights pledged to fund-raise for and support ACN for the next two years.

Michael McGrath, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, another guest at the dinner, was also presented with a cheque for £9,000 from the Knights to support the Caritas award initiative in schools, which Pope Benedict XVI recently officially endorsed.

Moments of levity on the night came throughout the after-dinner toasts and were capped by Archbishop Conti who, when called upon to speak at short notice, drew with great wit from his childhood before coming back to his serious point that, like members of the Catholic clergy and hierarchy, the Knight of St Columba must be “ready for anything” in the society we live in and all the challenges that brings.

At the end of the dinner Bishop Malcolm McMahon presented long-serving Knights of St Columba retired administator
Mary Cavan with a Bene Merenti medal from Pope Benedict XVI.