Carl A. Anderson, Former Supreme Knight, Receives Highest Award of UGCC
The 67th annual Dormition pilgrimage at Sloatsburg, NY took place on August 15, 2021. It is the largest Ukrainian Catholic pilgrimage in the United States. Metropolitan Archbishop Borys Gudziak, on behalf of the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Synod of Bishops, bestowed upon Carl Anderson the UGCC’s highest award: the Order of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. Anderson, former Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, is the seventh recipient.
The Order of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky was founded in September 2018 by the UGCC’s Synod of Bishops. It is the highest award conferred by the father and head of the Ukrainian Church and preserves the memory of the righteous Metropolitan Andrey. Any individual or institution applying the principles of the life and service of the righteous Metropolitan Andrey may be awarded the order, including laity, religious, diocesan clergy, and secular or ecclesial institutions. In November 2019, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, was the first to be inducted into the order.
The certificate accompanying the medal reads, “for his example of long-standing professional service to the Church and charitable giving; for his dedicated work in cherishing and defending Christian values, such as the right to life, freedom, and dignity; for his generous financial and moral support in the capacity as Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus (2000–2021) towards the many social and charitable projects of our Church in Ukraine; for his invaluable contribution in establishing and developing the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, in Ukraine, as well as for the support of various projects of the Order in Ukraine; and for his outstanding example of Christian family life and testimony of faith.”
The Knights of Columbus is the largest Catholic fraternal organization in the US, with more than two million members worldwide. While presenting the award the Metropolitan remarked, “Knights donate millions of hours of volunteer work and tens of millions of dollars to charity. Mr. Anderson initiated a sonogram program that saved the lives of thousands of children–mothers were able to see their babies in their womb and gave up the idea of terminating the pregnancy. He also actively supported the initiative to create a branch of the Knights of Columbus in Ukraine.”
Anderson noted the following in a brief speech, “It is difficult to find words to express my gratitude in receiving this award named for one of the great heroic churchmen of the 20th century and indeed of all time–the Venerable Servant of God Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky–a good shepherd who guided his flock and guarded it from not one but many wolves during the first half of the 20th century. In the light of his noble example, I can accept this recognition only with a deep sense of humility.”
Anderson expressed gratitude to the head of the UGCC, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, and the bishops of the Synod. He believes that the brave and determined witness of Metropolitan Andrey personified the bravery of more than a century of persecution. “This witness was not only for Catholics but for all those who suffered under the terrible totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. During these years the world saw a Church that believes, that bears witness, that suffers, that endures, and that continues to live”.
The former Supreme Knight said that today’s diaspora of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church must be ordered towards definite service. “I believe that this service is one of the examples of a people who can experience an immense burden of suffering and still bear witness to the Lord. This is a witness that Christians throughout the world need today–and especially our fellow Catholics here in the United States as all of us face the challenges of an increasingly hostile secular society,” he stressed.