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Catholic Lay Organizations

 

Over one hundred1 national and hundreds more local Catholic lay organizations serve the Church and provide direct services in communities throughout the United States. Here is a spotlight on just four of these organizations: the Knights of Columbus, the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the Catholic Extension Society.

More information is available at the USCCB’s Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth at www.usccb.org/about/laity-marriage-family-life-and-youth/.

Knights of Columbus

The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic men’s fraternal benefit society founded in 1882. Today, it is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. The Knights of Columbus are involved in a large number of service projects that range from programs with groups like Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics to smaller-scale initiatives that have a large impact on the community, like building wheelchair ramps, organizing blood drives and collecting food for the needy.2

  • More than 14,000 councils and 1.8 million members serve throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam and Saipan.3
  • Total charitable contributions in the United States surpassed $158 million in 2011, and volunteer service hours to charitable causes grew to more than 70 million hours.4

Over the past 10 years, Knights have contributed $1.4 billion and 653 million volunteer hours to charity.5 Some of the largest contributions during 2011 were:6

  • $515,000 for the Order’s Coats for Kids initiative
  • $1,593,000 from the Supreme Council and $5,950,073 from state and local units to support those studying for the priesthood and religious life

More information is available at www.kofc.org.

Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary

The Knights of Peter Claver and its Ladies Auxiliary is the nation’s only historically African American Catholic fraternal organization. It was founded in 1909 and has over 16,651 members nationwide, including men, women, young men and young ladies. In addition to serving as a support to pastors and bishops, they contribute to the Knights Award Scholarship Fund, mentor youth and contribute to numerous charitable organizations. They have about 1,000 units in the United States.7

During 2012 the organization donated a total of $76,505 to the following charity programs:8

  • $20,000 to programs managed by churches, schools, and social services
  • $38,000 to scholarship funds
  • $2,681 to human development and social justice programs
  • $3,831 to academic support programs
  • $11,993 to help sickle cell anemia patients and research

More information is available at www.kofpc.org.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of the United States

One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of almost 700,000 men and women who as volunteers provide person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 144 countries.

  • In the United States, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has more than 141,000 members in 4,300 communities.9
  • Charity and assistance programs include home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, transportation and utility costs, care for the sick, the incarcerated and the elderly, and prescription medicine.
  • In 2011, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul provided more than $660 million in tangible and in-kind services, made more than 1.5 million home visits, and helped almost 10 million people.10

More information is available at www.svdpusa.org.

The Catholic Church Extension Society of America

Founded in 1905 to extend the Catholic faith in mission dioceses of the United States where resources are insufficient, the Catholic Church Extension Society of America builds awareness of mission needs and raises funds to spread the Gospel message.

  • In 201111 Catholic Extension provided $21.9 million to meet the funding requests of 86 mission dioceses.
  • In 2011, Catholic Extension helped finance the education of 595 seminarians.12
  • It provided $5.4 million for building projects during 2011.13
  • Since its founding, Catholic Extension has received and distributed more than $500 million to 91 poor mission dioceses across the United States.14

More information is available at www.catholicextension.org.

Notes

1 2012 Catholic Almanac (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 2012),
p. 495.
2 Ibid.
3 Knights of Columbus, Learn About Us, www.kofc.org
4 Knights of Columbus, Knights of Columbus sets new records for
charitable giving, 06/10/2012,
http://www.kofc.org/un/en/news/releases/detail/stdep_chgiving.html
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.
7 Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary, 2012.
8 Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary, Charitable Donations for 2012.
9 Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of the United States 2012.
10 Ibid.
11 Catholic Extension, 2011 Annual Report, p. 1, (accessed on 07/27/12)
http://www.catholicextension.org/sites/default/files/
fulfillinghope_17-1-mr-lowres.pdf
12 Catholic Extension, 2011 Annual Report, p. 6.
13 Catholic Extension, 2011 Annual Report, p. 10.
14 Catholic Extension, Catholic Extension Across America,
http://www.catholicextension.org/how-we-help



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