The last two years may have prevented large gatherings from taking place, but that has not dampened the fundraising efforts of the Knights of the Southern Cross (KSC) Victoria, who recently presented Archbishop Peter A Comensoli with a cheque for $60,000, to go towards the ongoing education and formation of seminarians and priests.

‘My deep thanks to the Knights, its associates, and to the sponsors who have been a part of this journey,’ Archbishop Comensoli said as he accepted the cheque presented by KSC State Chairman Paul Mitchell.

‘The work of promoting the vocation to the priesthood seems sometimes “put to the side” in our society and church. Thank you for stepping up and stepping forward, not only with this material help which is wonderful but more particularly by your prayer and personal support of our seminarians, which is vastly more than a dollar amount.’

Archbishop Comensoli also paid tribute to the late Valerie (Val) Sumner, who passed away in 2021. Val was a stalwart of the KSC and a long-time member of its Priests Support and Education Fund Committee. ‘I’m sure she is praying for us and is with us today,’ he said.

For the last 23 years, the KSC Priests Support and Education Fund Committee has raised more than $1.3 million for the education and formation of seminarians and clergy. Despite the annual KSC Archbishop’s Dinner – a key feature in the KSC’s fundraising calendar – not taking place over the last two years, the Committee has continued to garner support from sponsors, donors, and KSC branches and members, raising $66,000 in 2020 and $60,000 in 2021. The money raised is split evenly among the four Victorian Dioceses and the Military Ordinariate of Australia.

Rector of Corpus Christi College, Fr Denis Stanley EV, praised the Knights for their ongoing commitment, acknowledging their efforts at a time when they ‘could have tossed in the towel’.

Jesus had a lot to say about the mustard seed and the yeast and the work they do in a hidden way. And [with the committee] that work kept going on, so we give thanks to Carmine and the committee for their work and commitment over these last two years.’

Former State Chairman, Carmine Miranda, also confirmed that plans are already underway to host the 2022 KSC Archbishop’s Dinner, scheduled to take place on Friday 19 August.

‘Considering there was no dinner for the second consecutive year, we were thrilled with our [fundraising] results,’ said Carmine. ‘Our sponsors and donors have been magnificent with their very generous donations and support.’

Knights to celebrate 100 years

This year marks the centenary of the Knights of the Southern Cross, which was originally known as the Knights of St Francis Xavier. The Order’s first meeting took place in February 1922, with 27 foundation members in attendance. This number would soon grow and by 1947 there were 53 KSC branches established across the state and nationally.

From its inception, the mission of the Order has been to foster a Christian way of life in Australia and to support educational, charitable, religious and social welfare work. Although the KSC Priests Support and Education Fund Committee was only formed in the late 1990s, the Order enjoys a long history of supporting the enrichment of the Catholic community. In fact, the inaugural KSC State Chairman, Thomas Michael Burke, was one of the first to donate to Corpus Christi College in 1922 when it was first established in Werribee.

To mark its centenary, a special Mass and celebration will take place on Sunday 20 February at St Clement of Rome Church in Bulleen, with Archbishop Peter A Comensoli as the main celebrant.

Sponsors of the KSC Priests Support and Education Fund Committee

Platinum, Gold & Silver Sponsors:

Wighton’s Printers, Hangan Construction, Mercy Health, Tobin Brothers Funerals, Pat & Helen La Manna, Prowse Quantity Surveyors, John & Barbara Ralph, Helen Swan, JA Cain Real Estate, Australian Catholic University, Catholic Development Fund, Dubock Funerals, Fergus & Judy Ryan

Bronze Sponsors:

Berwick Toyota, La Manna Supermarket, Southern Cross Church Supplies, Summit Fleet Leasing, Sumner Family, Victorian Insurance Solutions, KSC Branches - Baw Baw, Bendigo, Box Hill, Dandenong North, Doncaster-Templestowe, Mildura and Nunawading