Local man elected to top post with Knights - Catholic Courier

Local man elected to top post with Knights

A local man has been elected to the board of directors of the international Knights of Columbus.

Arthur J. Harris, 66, of Penfield, was one of four new supreme directors elected in August to help the international organization shape policies and set priorities.

In addition to participating in board meetings, Harris also may be assigned to standing or ad hoc committees and special assignments and will work with Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson.

Harris is a member of St. Thomas More Parish in Brighton. In June, he wrapped up a two-year term as state deputy of the New York State Knights of Columbus, which is the highest position in the state organization. He served a total of 12 years in state offices with the New York Knights of Columbus.

"During the convention in May in New York, they put a resolution to put my name in (for the supreme director position), but you never know if it’s going to happen," Harris said.

He joined the Knights of Columbus in 1984 and was a founding member of the Msgr. Richard Burns Council 11749 in Rochester. He also is a member of the Father Paul Cuddy Assembly in Webster and served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army, where he worked as a communications installer. He worked for 32 years as a quality engineer with Eastman Kodak Co., and worked as a project manager for Ciber IT Solutions from 1998 until his retirement in 2006.

Harris is the father of seven grown children and grandfather of 11.

During his time as state deputy, Harris was named humanitarian of the year by Cooley’s Anemia Foundation and helped coordinate prayer rallies and pro-life Masses for Knights across the state.

Building membership is the top priority of Knights at the local, state and national levels, Harris said.

"We are an army of Christian soldiers and if we don’t replenish our ranks, we are going to fade away," he said.

The Knights support the work of the Catholic Church and the community through volunteer work, charitable giving and an insurance program, and members often speak out on selected public-policy issues.

In an address to the Supreme Convention in August, Anderson announced four new initiatives: a disaster-response program to provide food, clothing and shelter for those affected by disasters; a shelter and care program for children orphaned by AIDS in Africa; a scholarship program for seminarians who commit to serving as military chaplains once they are ordained; and a program to purchase the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., and establish a shrine to the late pope and museum of North American Catholic history. The order also has committed to providing artificial limbs to Haitian children injured in that country’s 2010 earthquake.

In 2010, the 1.8 million members of the Knights of Columbus gave more than $151 million in contributions and 69 million hours of volunteer service. The organization added about 20,000 members and 250 councils from 2009 to 2010.

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