Pope Francis sent his warm greetings and gratitude to the Knights of Columbus in a letter by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State.
The Knights are joined in their 135th Supreme Convention, August 1-3 in St Louis. Fr Michael J. McGivney, founded the organization in 1882 to render financial aid to members and their families. Today, the Knights provide educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works. Fr McGivney’s cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican.
The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to 15,342 councils and 1.9 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam, Saipan, Lithuania, Ukraine, and South Korea.
“This same experience of God’s love and power, lived in the heart of the Church, led to the founding of the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal and charitable union of Catholic laymen, workers, husbands and fathers,” Cardinal Parolin wrote. “The subsequent history of your Order demonstrates how a spirit of solidarity and mutual concern inspired by God’s love can grow, like the mustard seed in the parable (cf. Lk 13:19), into something immensely greater, contributing to the glory of God, the spread of his Kingdom, and the universal mission of the Church.
“The Holy Father has often observed that in our own day a new world war is being fought piecemeal, as an ungodly thirst for power and domination, whether economic, political or military, is leading to untold violence, injustice and suffering in our human family. He has asked Christians everywhere, truly convinced of the infinite power of God’s love, to reject this mentality and to combat the growth of a global culture of indifference that discards the least of our brothers and sisters.”
Cardinal Parolin cited the Holy Father’s special gratitude for the Knight’s relief efforts in the war-torn Middle East:
“Finally, and in a very particular way, Pope Francis has asked me to express his gratitude for the commitment of the Knights to supporting our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East in their witness of fidelity to the Lord, often borne at great personal cost. None of us can be blind to the sufferings of those whom fratricidal violence and religious fanaticism have left homeless or forced to flee their ancient homelands. The Knights of Columbus Refugee Relief Fund is an eloquent sign of your Order’s firm commitment to solidarity and communion with our fellow Christians. The Holy Father once more asks the Knights and their families to pray for those in need, for the conversion of hearts, and for an end to the spiral of violence, hatred and injustice in that region.”