Defending life since conception …. Helping persecuted Christians …. Helping the family….
These are just three key elements for which Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the Knights of Columbus on the occasion of the 138th Supreme Convention which took place Aug. 4-5 on the theme: “Knights of Columbus: Knights of Fraternity,” reported Vatican News.
In the message dated July 14 from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, on the Pope’s behalf, the Pontiff offered warm greetings to the Knights’ Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson.
“Your strong and courageous defense of the inviolable dignity of human life from its conception, and your commitment to strengthen family life,” the message stated, “offer the Knights and their families, ‘a true path to daily sanctification’ (Amoris Laetitia, 316) and Christian witness.”
“In a particular way,” Cardinal Parolin stated, the Pontiff also offered “heartfelt thanks to the Knights for their steadfast support of our Christian brothers and sisters persecuted for the sake of the Gospel.”
The Knights, Cardinal Parolin pointed out, have made “care for the family” a priority especially as the Order was established out of Venerable Michael McGivney’s concern to promote “the material and spiritual welfare of working men and their families.”
“Through the building up of family life, individuals grow in solidarity, mutual respect, truth, mercy and love,” he said, giving examples of the “Into the Breach” video series and the “Leave No Neighbor Behind” Program – both initiatives of the Knights in support of families.
The Vatican Secretary of State noted that the principle of fraternity flowing from the theme of the Convention “is a timely reminder of the vision that guided the foundation of the Order.” And, it has inspired in the Knights a “creativity of charity” inculcated by the Gospel.
Recalling Pope Francis’s words during the Extraordinary Moment of Prayer on March 27th, especially at this time when the world faces the Covid-19 pandemic, “the Church as a whole feels the urgent need to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning.”
The Secretary of State said that the Pope applauded the Knights’ charitable support to individuals and communities suffering because of the health crisis. He also extended the Pope’s gratitude to the Order for how it continues “to bear witness to God’s dream for a more fraternal, just and equitable world” where no one is left behind.
In May, Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Venerable Michael McGivney, paving the way for his beatification.
With this in mind, the Pope–Cardinal Parolin said–joins the Knights in “giving thanks” and trusting “that the celebration will be a stimulus for Knights to deepen their commitment to live as missionary disciples in charity, unity and fraternity.”
The letter noted that “His Holiness Pope Francis was pleased to be informed that the 138th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus will be held this year both in person and virtually on 4-5 August… He has asked me to convey his warm greetings to all taking part, together with the assurance of his closeness in prayer.”
“On this occasion, His Holiness renews his profound gratitude for your Order’s historic contribution to the Church’s mission of evangelization and its unswerving solidarity with the Successor of Peter in his concern for all the Churches (2 Cor 11:28).”
He added that the Pope is confident that the Founder’s heroic virtues and example of faith will inspire them to practice “a fraternal love capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbor, of finding God in every human being.”
As a parish priest, continued the Cardinal, “your Founder knew well and wished to impress on his flock the urgency of the Gospel mandate, “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25: 40).
Cardinal Parolin concluded, saying that Pope Francis commended the Knights’ deliberations to the intercession of Our Lady and assured them of his prayers.
The Holy Father also imparted his Apostolic Blessing on them “as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord.”