NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – The Knights of Columbus (K of C) has announced two programs to help communities and churches cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first program is designed to equip US and Canadian dioceses with short-term financing as many dioceses and their parishes reel from the effects of the virus, including cancelled services and missing collections.
With a separate initiative, “Leave No Neighbor Behind,” the K of C is focusing its well-known charitable work, asking its vast volunteer network to help ensure that essential needs are met during the pandemic in communities from coast to coast.
The financing program for dioceses is a $100 million fund, with up to a $1 million secured line of credit per Catholic diocese. The program will be available for 60 days beginning on Monday, March 30.
“It is critical for us to support the Church at this time, so that the Church can continue to provide irreplaceable spiritual and charitable support, and can keep the staff supporting its mission and outreach employed,” said Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Our fund is designed specifically to help dioceses and their parishes whether this pandemic financially so that they can continue their important work.”
The lines of credit will have a very competitive interest rate equivalent to that of the one-year US Treasury bill, plus 225 basis points (2.25 percent).
The line of credit has a two-year term. At the end of that term, dioceses will have the option to convert the line of credit to a Knights of Columbus church loan, fully amortizing at the prevailing rate for a term selected by the borrower of five, 10 or 20 years – the same low-interest terms offered by the Knights’ existing and long-standing ChurchLoan program. The Knights of Columbus has been a key lender to parishes and dioceses for more than a century, and the Church Loan program remains a key source of financing for Catholic parishes and institutions.
Speaking of community outreach the Knights are doing at this time, Anderson said, “The Knights’ Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative builds on a long history of community outreach through innovative charitable programs at the national and grassroots levels.” He added, “During times of need from the 19th century to the present, the Knights of Columbus has been there in communities to support one another, the Church and the evolving needs of their communities.”
Knights of Columbus are encouraged to assist their neighbors, from the hungry, to those in the community, to those in their parish, to fellow Knights of Columbus. Knights have responded by supporting food bank deliveries and other programs within their communities. Knights are also encouraged to make blood donations, especially in response to current shortages.
In addition, the organization is also providing spiritual resources to its members and has urged them to offer prayers composed by Pope Francis and other church leaders.