October 15, 2013 // Uncategorized

Thank you, Knights of Columbus!

Pope Francis greets Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore during a meeting with a delegation from the Knights of Columbus at the Vatican Oct. 10. Archbishop Lori is chaplain of the Knights.

The Knights of Columbus have been called “the strong right arm of the Church” in our country. That has certainly been my experience here in our diocese. Having just observed Columbus Day, I wanted to use this column to express my gratitude to the Knights of Columbus throughout our diocese who have been such a great support to me and to the Church.

Two weeks ago, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the Knights for their unfailing support of the charitable works of the universal Church. He praised the integrity and loyalty of the Knights of Columbus. I wish to express my gratitude to the Knights in our diocese for their unfailing support of the charitable works of our diocese and our parishes and of our efforts to promote and support vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

The charitable work of the Knights of Columbus serves the material needs of the poor and also provides a beautiful witness of Christ’s love and compassion to our neighbors. This charitable service includes support of the Church’s pro-life and pro-family efforts. The witness of charity of the Knights also serves the Church’s evangelizing mission. In this Year of Faith, we are reminded that acts of charity inspired by faith are essential to the new evangelization.

There are over 1.8 million members of the Knights in more than 14,000 councils in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and several other countries. Last year, the Knights of Columbus worldwide donated more than $167.5 million to charity and volunteered more than 70 million hours of service. These statistics are truly remarkable. Charity is the first principle of the Knights of Columbus, followed by the principles of unity, fraternity, and patriotism. All their good works are informed by these four core principles.

The Knights of Columbus were founded in 1882 by a holy priest, Father Michael McGivney, so that men could work together fraternally to serve their parishes and communities, to support each other in faith, and to provide for the well-being of their families through their excellent life insurance program.

I wish to encourage men of our diocese to consider joining the Knights of Columbus. We have 9 Fourth Degree Assemblies and 38 Councils of the Knights of Columbus in our diocese. Being a Knight provides the opportunity to serve God and neighbor, support the Church, and grow in faith with other brothers in Christ. I have been a Knight of Columbus for many years.

The Knights of Columbus are a great support of the Church’s defense of life, marriage, and religious liberty. A century ago, the Knights were at the forefront in opposing anti-Catholic prejudice from groups like the Ku Klux Klan. They worked to overcome racial prejudice in American society. When the Church in Mexico was being persecuted in the 1920’s, the Knights worked tirelessly for religious liberty in that country. Six members of the Knights of Columbus were among the 25 martyrs canonized saints by Blessed John Paul II in the year 2000. There is much more that can be said about the rich history of the Knights of Columbus, but there is not enough space in this column.

When natural disasters strike, the Knights are there to donate money and volunteer help. When the Church faces particular challenges, the Knights are there to help. This has been my experience here in our diocese. I know I can always count on my brother Knights.

The Vatican is investigating the cause for canonization of Father McGivney. Father McGivney was a true servant of Christian charity and a promoter of Christian family life. He wanted to strengthen husbands and fathers so that they could, in turn, strengthen their families in the faith and secure their material well-being. This task is still so very important: the formation of Catholic families strong in the faith.

The work of the Knights of Columbus is an important part of the history of the Church in the United States. That history continues. Thank you again to all the Knights in our diocese and thank you to your wives and families for their support! Thank you for serving our parishes and our diocese! Thank you for your generosity and hard work! Thank you for your faithful witness to Christ through charity! May the Lord continue to bless you and your service of the Gospel!

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