In recognition of his service and devotion to Mary, the Knights of Columbus' head will receive the Patronal Medal from the Catholic University of America and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
“Carl Anderson has dedicated his life to serving the Church and our nation,” John Garvey, president of Catholic University, said Nov. 26.
He said Anderson has been “a wonderful supporter” of the university and the Knights of Columbus have “touched the lives of countless people” under Anderson's leadership.
“He embodies the qualities for which the Patronal Medal is awarded because his strong faith and devotion to Mary underpin all that he does,” the university president said.
Since 2000, Anderson has headed the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal order with over 1.8 million members worldwide. He will receive the medal during a noon Mass at the basilica Dec. 9.
The university and the basilica award the medal on an occasional basis to recipients who have shown distinguished service to advance Marian devotion, theology, or general appreciation of the role of Mary in the Catholic Church.
Monsignor Walter R. Rossi, rector of the basilica, said that Anderson has dedicated his time as Supreme Knight to Our Lady of Guadalupe. He has shown his “filial devotion” to the Virgin Mary and promotes “the important place the Blessed Virgin Mary holds in the life of faith.”
He noted that Anderson and the Knights of Columbus have been “stalwart supporters” of the National Shrine.
Msgr. Rossi said the Knights of Columbus help broadcast Mass at the Basilica to the homebound through television. The knights run an usher program at the basilica and are supporting the completion of the Shrine’s Great Upper Church.
Under Anderson’s leadership, the knights and their families have logged more than 653 million hours of service and have contributed more than $1.4 billion to charity. The order has supported families of first responders who died in the Sept. 11 attacks and has raised almost $10 million to help rebuild Catholic churches and schools damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The order also donates thousands of wheelchairs and thousands of winter coats to those in need. It has donated artificial limbs to nearly 1,000 children in Haiti and also helps build schools and food distribution centers for AIDS orphans in Kenya and Uganda.