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Vatican Secretary of State to Visit US in August for Knights of Columbus Convention

Cardinal Bertone to address Knights in Nashville and receive Gaudium et Spes Award


Contact: Peter Sonski, 203-410-4693; Andrew Walther, 818-522-2005


NEW HAVEN, Conn., Aug. 1 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Knights of Columbus announced today that Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will travel to the United States to attend and address the Order's 125th annual convention this August in Nashville, Tenn. He will also receive the Order's highest honor, the Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope) award. The visit is Cardinal Bertone's first trip to the United States, as Secretary of State.


"We are honored that Cardinal Bertone will be coming to the United States to attend our convention this year," said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. "To have the Vatican Secretary of State in attendance for our 125th annual convention is a great testament to the enduring legacy of our founder, the Servant of God, Father Michael J. McGivney."


Cardinal Bertone is the highest ranking Vatican official after the pope and has responsibility for overseeing many of the Vatican's internal and external affairs. He has served in that position since being appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. Prior to his role as Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone served as Secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he worked closely with then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.  In 2003, he was installed as Archbishop of Genoa and was made a cardinal the same year.


Cardinal Bertone will serve as principal celebrant and homilist for the convention's opening Mass on Tuesday, Aug. 7, and will bring a special message from Pope Benedict XVI to be read during the opening session of the convention Tuesday afternoon.


On Tuesday evening the Knights of Columbus will present him with the Order's Gaudium et Spes award during the annual States Dinner. Cardinal Bertone will be the seventh person to receive the award. The first recipient was Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 1992 and in 2005, Jean Vanier, founder of l'Arche, became the most recent recipient.


The award is named Gaudium et Spes in honor of the 1965 "Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World" adopted by the Second Vatican Council. A landmark of social teaching, Gaudium et Spes remains a foundational document in the renewal of pastoral action for the Catholic Church. The award is designed to recognize individuals for their exemplary service to the Church and humanity in the spirit of Christ as articulated by the work of the Second Vatican Council.


Cardinal Bertone will address the cardinals and bishops attending the convention, as well as the Knights of Columbus board of directors on Wednesday evening (August 8).


The U.S.-based Eternal Word Television Network, Canadian Salt and Light Television, and Sirius Satellite Radio's The Catholic Channel will broadcast live from the Convention.  More information is available at www.kofc.org


Founded in New Haven, Conn. in 1882, the Knights of Columbus is the world's largest lay Catholic organization, with 1.7 million members in the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Central America, and Poland.