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A Sign of Solidarity


Columbia staff

Pope Francis meets with the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors and guests Oct. 10 during an audience in the Sala Clementina of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. (photo by L’Osservatore Romano)

Greeting members of the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors and their wives at an audience in the Vatican Oct. 10, Pope Francis thanked the Order for its “unfailing support” of the Holy See. He expressed his gratitude not only for the Knights’ financial assistance, but also for its spiritual support of prayer, sacrifice and acts of charity.

The meeting took place after Pope Francis received Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson in a private audience. The supreme knight presented the Holy Father with a $1.6 million donation representing the annual proceeds from the Order’s Vicarius Christi Fund, which was established in 1981 to support the pope’s personal charities and causes.


Greeting of Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson to Pope Francis

Holy Father, during this Year of Faith, the officers and directors of the Knights of Columbus express our deep gratitude for the privilege of this audience. As an organization established on the principles of charity, unity and fraternal brotherhood, we have been challenged by your call for a Church capable of accompanying people on their journey, unafraid of going into the night and with the strength to do this without being overcome by the darkness — a Church capable of “healing wounds and warming hearts.”

In your words we recall those of Pope Paul VI, who spoke after the Second Vatican Council of a Church of the Good Samaritan that did not come to condemn but to bind up wounds, of a Church that lives from its heart Our Lord’s teaching that love for our brother is the “distinctive mark of His disciples.”

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson delivers remarks to Pope Francis on behalf of the 1.8 million members of the Order. (photo by L’Osservatore Romano)

Our more than 1.85 million members in North America, Asia and Europe come from all walks of life. Each year, through their millions of hours of volunteer service to the poor and suffering, they build bonds of solidarity every day by making a sincere gift of self to their neighbors in need.

Today, we assure you that we will continue to build up that Church which opens “a horizon of hope” and practices “a charity that evangelizes.”

We thank you for your words of encouragement during our recent international convention, especially in regard to our defense of marriage, religious liberty and human life before birth.

Holy Father, on this occasion the Knights of Columbus pledges our prayers, our fidelity and our service to you and to your ministry on behalf of the universal Church. We ask for your blessing that we may continue a witness of charity with courage and humility, advancing the Gospel of Life and building a true civilization of love so that many more around the world will say, “We want to come with you.”


Pope Francis speaks to the Knights of Columbus

Dear Friends, I am pleased to welcome the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus on the occasion of your meeting in Rome. I thank you once again for the prayers which you, and all the Knights and their families, have offered for my intentions and the needs of the Church throughout the world since my election as Bishop of Rome.

Pope Francis exchanges greetings with Supreme Knight Anderson during the audience. (photo by L’Osservatore Romano)

On this occasion I also wish to express my gratitude for the unfailing support which your Order has always given to the works of the Holy See. This support finds particular expression in the Vicarius Christi Fund, which is an eloquent sign of your solidarity with the Successor of Peter in his concern for the universal Church, but it is also seen in the daily prayers, sacrifices and apostolic works of so many Knights in their local councils, their parishes and their communities. May prayer, witness to the faith and concern for our brothers and sisters in need always be the pillars supporting your work both individually and corporately. In fidelity to the vision of the Venerable Father Michael McGivney, may you continue to seek new ways of being a leaven of the Gospel and a force for the spiritual renewal of society.

As the present Year of Faith draws to its close, I commend all of you in a special way to the intercession of St. Joseph, the protector of the Holy Family of Nazareth, who is an admirable model of those manly virtues of quiet strength, integrity and fidelity which the Knights of Columbus is committed to preserving, cultivating and passing on to future generations of Catholic men.

Asking a remembrance in your prayers, and with great affection in the Lord, I now willingly impart to you, and to all the Knights and their families, my apostolic blessing.