The Knights of Columbus have been preparing to welcome Pope Francis to the U.S. this autumn with record-setting charity, having raised more than $173 million in 2014. The world’s largest Catholic fraternity achieved an all-time record in donations and community service hours in 2014. The Knights of Columbus raised more than $173.5 million and served more than 71.5 million hours. In a June 8 statement Supreme Knight Carl Anderson commented that “charity has been at the heart of the Knights’ mission for the past 133 years.” According to Anderson, the Pope will see the Church in America alive “with love of God and love of neighbor, and the Knights of Columbus are excellent examples of this reality.” For the 15th consecutive year, the Knights of Columbus has increased its charitable giving. Some major donations the fraternity has given include more than $1 million to the Special Olympics World Games, which “will cover the cost of transportation, housing and meals for the athletes as they travel to the games, stay there during the competition, and return home,” according to the statement. Another organization the Knights of Columbus has helped tremendously is the Knights of Columbus Refugee Relief Fund, to which the fraternity donated more than $2 million. The relief fund is using the donations to help persecuted persons in the Middle East. “It has shocked the conscience of the world that people are systematically being purged from the region where their families have lives for millennia — simply for their faith,” Anderson said. The Knights also made gifts of $400,000 for the humanitarian relief of Catholics in Ukraine, where Russians and Russian-back separatists are fighting the national government in the country's east. The last ten years have shown the fraternity’s immense passion for helping out in the community.  Cumulatively, the Knights of Columbus has donated more than $1.5 billion and contributed more than 600 million hours of community service supporting charities.