Archbishop Offers Knights Heartfelt Thanks for Help in Holy Land
Coadjutor Archbishop Fouad Twal of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem thanked the Knights of Columbus for support dating back to his days as a seminarian in the Holy Land, and for the assistance which continues today through the Order’s Pacem in Terris Fund. The fund provides an annual grant for the pastoral activities of the Patriarchate.
In his address at the States Dinner Aug. 7, Archbishop Twal made a deeply personal appeal for all Christians, and especially the Knights of Columbus, to remember the Church in the Holy Land, which is caught in the middle of continuing hostilities between Israel and Palestine.
“I rely on your help in this difficult situation,” he said. “Please do not leave me alone.” As coadjutor archbishop, he is due to succeed Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah upon the latter’s retirement next year.
At the beginning of the States Dinner, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, received the Gaudium et Spes Award, the Order’s highest honor, from Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson.
Supreme Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori read the citation for the award, which reviewed Cardinal Bertone’s service to the Church and to mankind. The award is named for the groundbreaking Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World.
Archbishop Fouad said that the small Christian community makes up only 2 percent of the population of the Holy Land, yet Christians are determined to remain as witnesses in the land where Jesus was born, walked, died and rose from the dead.
Pointing out the difficult contradictions in the land that is holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims, the archbishop said, “Jerusalem, the holy city, unites all believers. Jerusalem, the holy city, divides all believers.”
He said that the teachings of Jesus and the work of the Catholic Church are key to establishing peace in the area.
Archbishop Fouad also noted that when he was a seminarian studying for the priesthood in the Holy Land, the Knights of Columbus’ Fourth Degree Bienville Province provided financial help for his tuition as well as moral and fraternal support.
“Congratulations to you, Knights of Columbus, for your loyalty to the Church and commitment to the poor,” he said. “The Lord, who sees in secret, will reward your efforts.”
Other members of the Church’s hierarchy from countries around the world also spoke at the States Dinner, which was attended by Knights and their wives at the convention. Each speaker noted the support and financial assistance the Church in his area has received from the Knights of Columbus.