That "extraordinary witness" and the pope's admonition to all to cast aside indifference have "captured the imagination of the world," he said Aug. 5 at the opening business session of the Knights' 132nd Supreme Convention in Orlando.
"As Knights of Columbus, we are well-positioned to respond," said Anderson.
He made the remarks in a lengthy annual report detailing the organization's accomplishments and initiatives in 2013.
The Aug. 5-7 convention celebrated a year in which the organization reported an all-time record for charitable giving: more than $170 million and more than 70.5 million hours of service to charitable causes in the United States and elsewhere the Knights are active.
Response to unexpected tragedies played a large role in members' activities last year, according to Anderson, while the Knights continued their support within their communities for the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids and Food for Families initiatives; programs for those with intellectual disabilities; blood drives; and partnerships with Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and the American Wheelchair Mission.
Knights were part of relief efforts following two natural disasters in the Philippines; tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma; floods in Alberta, Canada; the factory explosion in West, Texas; and the Boston Marathon bombing.
Anderson noted the year also saw the Knights continue their support for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, the October 2012 super storm, and for the people of Newtown, Connecticut, as they recovered from the late 2012 school shooting that left 20 children and seven adults dead.
"Charity has been at the heart of the Knights' mission for the past 132 years," said Anderson. "Whether with funds or service, and whether quietly helping someone overcome a personal tragedy or assisting in the aftermath of a widely known humanitarian disaster, the outpouring of charity by our members produces meaningful results, especially by helping to bring peace of mind to those who find themselves in incredibly difficult situations."
Anderson also noted:
-- Quebec led all Knights of Columbus jurisdictions with charitable donations of more than $11 million.
-- Record membership overall, including a new state benchmark of more than 100,000 members, in Texas.
-- Growth of membership and volunteer hours in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central Europe and Asia.
-- A new family program in advance of next year's World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Anderson made special mention of the establishment of the first Knights of Columbus council in South Korea, a nation with 5.5 million Catholics and which he described as the fastest growing Catholic community in the world.
He noted Pope Francis' trip to South Korea Aug. 14-18, saying that visit and a papal trip to the Philippines Jan. 15-19 "will play a significant role in the future of the Knights of Columbus."