(Source: CD/Vatican News)
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has conveyed Pope Francis’ “warm greetings” to Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus on the occasion of the Knights’ 138th Supreme Convention which took place last week.
“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”, read a letter from Parolin dated July 14.
“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)”, the cardinal wrote.
“In a particular way, he offers heartfelt thanks to the Knights for their steadfast support of our Christian brothers and sisters persecuted for the sake of the Gospel”, Parolin said.
The theme of the convention was “Knights of Columbus: Knights of Fraternity”.
Charity amid COVID-19 crisis
Cardinal Parolin said 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” as well as an ideal which has inspired in the Knights a “creativity of charity” inculcated by the Gospel.
Especially at this time when the world is facing 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”, said Cardinal Parolin echoing Pope Francis’s words during the extraordinary moment of prayer and Urbi et Orbi blessing on March 27.
The Secretary of State acknowledged 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.
Care for families: a priority
Cardinal Parolin pointed out that the Knights have made “care for the family” a priority, especially as the order was established out of founder 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”, wrote the cardinal.
He gave examples of the “Into the Breach” video series and the “Leave No Neighbor Behind” program – both initiatives of the Knights in support of families.
Today, the cardinal continued, “your strong and courageous defence of the inviolable dignity of human life from its conception, and your commitment to strengthen family life… offer the Knights and their families, ‘a true path to daily sanctification’ (Amoris Laetitia, 316) and Christian witness”.
Inspiration from the founder
Pope Francis, in May, approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Venerable Michael McGivney, paving the way for his beatification.
In view of this, Cardinal Parolin said that the Pope 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”.
He added that the Pope is confident that founder McGivney’s heroic virtues and example of faith will inspire them to practise “a fraternal love capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbour, 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)”.
Concluding, Cardinal Parolin said that Pope Francis commended the Knights’ deliberations to the intercession of Our Lady and assured them of his prayers. The Pope also imparted his apostolic Blessing on them “as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord”.