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Knights of Columbus Gather in Phoenix for 127th International Convention

PHOENIX, July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Delegates from all 72 jurisdictions of the 1.78 million member Knights of Columbus are gathering for their 127th annual convention, to be held August 2-4, 2009 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. The Knights of Columbus, founded in 1882, is now the world's largest lay Catholic organization, and has local councils in 11 countries on three continents.

In addition to delegates and their families, more than 80 bishops from the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Philippines will participate in the convention and help celebrate the daily Masses that are a part of the convention schedule. Among the eight Catholic cardinals in attendance will be Francis Cardinal George, the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archbishop of Chicago, who will deliver the keynote address at the "States Dinner" on Tuesday night, August 4. William Cardinal Leveda, the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will be the homilist at the convention Mass on Wednesday, August 5.

This year's convention will be followed for the first-ever Marian Congress devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe, who appeared to St. Juan Diego in Mexico City in 1531, and is considered the Patroness of the Americas. A new book, Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love, by Carl A. Anderson and Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, is being published by Doubleday on August 4, and will be available to participants in the Congress that follows the convention, August 6-8. Anderson is the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus and Chavez was the postulator for the cause for sainthood of Juan Diego, to whom Mary appeared on Tepeyac Hill.

The week's activities will conclude on Saturday, August 8, with a Guadalupe Festival expected to draw some 17,000 participants at the Arena in Phoenix. The five hour festival will include musical entertainment, prayer, and presentations by speakers with a variety of perspectives on Our Lady of Guadalupe and her message of hope and love. A small relic of the Tilma of Tepeyac - the cloak bearing a miraculous image of Our Lady - will be on display.

Additional details about the convention, congress and festival can be found on the Knights of Columbus web site:

SOURCE Knights of Columbus
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