Consecration and Renewal
3/1/2016by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson
Councils can strengthen Catholic family life through our prayer program and consecration to the Holy Family
In my column last month, I related a part of the conversation the supreme chaplain and I had with Pope Francis regarding our Order’s new emphasis on strengthening Catholic family life.
During the last fraternal year, we implemented a new family life program titled Building the Domestic Church: The Family Fully Alive. Each month, it provides prayers, Scripture readings and meditations for families on different aspects of the domestic church and recommends charitable activities that councils can sponsor. At last August’s Supreme Convention, we began our 17th Orderwide rosary-based pilgrim icon prayer program — this year dedicated to the Holy Family.
Then, at the midyear State Deputies meeting, I announced an important new initiative: Building the Domestic Church While Strengthening Our Parish. It encourages councils to sponsor programs promoting Catholic family life while integrating their activities more closely into the life of their parish.
Last month, I asked that the opening Mass at all state conventions this year include an act of family consecration to the Holy Family. This should become an essential part of our family life programs, and should move from state convention Masses to the parishes where our local councils are based.
The response of Pope Francis and of many bishops and priests to these programs has been greatly encouraging, and I now take this opportunity to announce another expansion of our initiative.
Our Holy Family Prayer Program has met with such success that we should take it to a new level. I have asked our state deputies and state chaplains to continue our Holy Family Prayer Program in local parishes, but also to select one Saturday this October to offer the program as a diocesan-wide event, and to invite all Catholic families.
The diocesan-wide event should retain the rosary, papal meditations on family life, and the litany to the Holy Family that is already a part of the parish-based prayer program. But it should be expanded to include recitation of the new act of family consecration to the Holy Family and solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
State councils should begin now to make preparations for this diocesan-wide Holy Family Prayer Program. State chaplains should also assist in selecting a suitable parish in each diocese and in coordinating the event with the local bishop.
Recently, Pope Francis reminded us that the Church continues to propose marriage “not as an ideal only for a few” but as “a reality that can be experienced by all the baptized faithful.”
This is precisely the idea of our program. Every family can benefit, and every family should be invited to participate.
One of the great lessons of the recent World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia was that millions of families can be helped by coming together in solidarity with and for each other.
What is also necessary for an effective evangelization of family life is for Catholic families to realize that the principles of charity, unity and fraternity apply also to them as families. This is one of the keys to understanding the family as a “domestic church.”
There is no Catholic organization better positioned today to assist in the renewal of family life than the Knights of Columbus. But the realization of this goal will require the renewed dedication of our local councils.
A renewal of Catholic family life can begin with a simple plan: the consecration of millions of Catholic families to the Holy Family and their dedication to living as a domestic church within their parish communities.
The Knights of Columbus can begin to make this happen. With the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe and our venerable founder, Father McGivney, let us begin!