VATICAN CITY, OCT. 3, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Benedict XVI gave today upon receiving in audience members of the administrative council of the Knights of Columbus. The Knights are on pilgrimage in Rome in the context of the Pauline Jubilee Year.
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I am pleased to welcome you, the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus, together with your families, on the occasion of your pilgrimage to Rome in this Pauline Year. I pray that your visit to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul will confirm you in the faith of the Apostles and fill your hearts with gratitude for the gift of our redemption in Christ.
At the beginning of his Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul reminds his hearers that they are “called to holiness” (Rom 1:7). During my recent Pastoral Visit to the United States, I wished to encourage the lay faithful, above all, to recommit themselves to growth in holiness and active participation in the Church’s mission. This was the vision that inspired the foundation of the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal association of Christian laymen, and it continues to find privileged expression in your Order’s charitable works and your concrete solidarity with the Successor of Peter in his ministry to the universal Church. That solidarity is manifested in a particular way by the “Vicarius Christi” Fund, which the Knights have placed at the disposal of the Holy See for the needs of God’s People throughout the world. And it is also shown through the daily prayers and sacrifices of so many Knights in their local Councils, parishes and communities. For this I am most grateful.
Dear friends, in the spirit of your founder, the Venerable Michael McGivney, may the Knights of Columbus discover ever new ways to serve as a leaven of the Gospel in the world and a force for the renewal of the Church in holiness and apostolic zeal. In this regard, I express my appreciation of your efforts to provide a solid formation in the faith for young people, and to defend the moral truths necessary for a free and humane society, including the fundamental right to life of every human being.
With these sentiments, dear friends, I assure you of a special remembrance in my prayers. To all the Knights and their families, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing, as a pledge of lasting joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.
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