Cardinal Bertone Expresses Interest in Sainthood Cause
More than 2,700 Knights and family members greeted with applause the statement from a high-ranking Vatican official that he was personally interested in the cause for sainthood of K of C founder, the Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, made his remarks during the homily he preached at the opening Mass of the 125th Supreme Convention in Nashville, Aug. 7.
He was joined on the altar by more than 70 members of the hierarchy, including cardinals from the Vatican, Cuba, Mexico and the United States. Close to 100 priests also took part.
Concelebrating clergy processed into the Opryland Convention Center center behind a 125- member-strong Fourth Degree honor guard.
Cardinal Bertone brought greetings from Pope Benedict XVI, saying the pope was joined “in spiritual closeness” with the Knights during the convention. “During this celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice, let us join our intentions to those of His Holiness, in prayerful gratitude for the good works carried out by the Knights of Columbus and in humble supplication for the success of your convention and the fruitfulness of your apostolate,” Cardinal Bertone said.
Cardinal Bertone noted that Father McGivney’s cause for canonization is currently being investigated by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The Church, he said, is studying Father McGivney “as a model Christian, worthy of imitation.”
The Archdiocese of Hartford officially opened Father McGivney’s cause in 1997, and all the paperwork pertaining to the founder’s life and heroic virtue has been filed at the Vatican. A miracle attributed to Father McGivney has also been reported to Rome.
The cardinal said Father McGivney founded the Knights during a time when “the plight of Catholics in America was far from easy.” The young priest, though, “found the faith and the courage to walk steadfastly toward Christ and to inspire others by his leadership.”
“Everyone who had the privilege of knowing Father McGivney was impressed by the dynamism of his personality and his pastoral zeal,” said Cardinal Bertone. The cardinal called the founding of the Knights “a noble goal” and said that the “key” to Father McGivney’s “apostolic vision” was “helping others to recognize the call that Christ addressed to them, and to respond generously.”
Father McGivney, said Cardinal Bertone, “knew that it is not only priests and religious who have a vocation, but that every Christian is called by Christ to carry out a particular mission in the Church.” The Knights of Columbus, he said, has provided “opportunities for countless lay Catholics to play their part in building up the kingdom of God.”
Cardinal Bertone also compared the Knights to the Gospel’s Good Samaritan. “You bind the wounds of those you discover lying by the wayside and help restore them to health and strength. In so doing, you are following in the footsteps of your founder, and with him imitating Christ.” included announcements of several new initiatives, many with a Marian theme.
The supreme knight reported that the Order had broken several records this year. Among them:
• 1,741,288 members, with a net gain of 19,162 Knights.
• 246 new councils.
• $62 billion of insurance in force and 1,628,238 certificates in force.
The Order’s insurance program, he said, has experienced “extraordinary growth” in the last five years.
The supreme knight’s remarks received several standing ovations, including a sustained one when he said the Knights would never back down from battles on life issues, such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research. “On abortion,” Anderson said, “we will never give in. We will fight until the day when society once again protects the right to life of every unborn child.”
He said the Knights would also “pursue laws that protect the life and dignity of every person and the integrity of marriage and family.”
Supreme Knight Anderson also announced that following the 2009 Supreme Convention to be held in Phoenix, Ariz., the Order would sponsor its first-ever international Marian Congress. It will be devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“This will be a joyful celebration of how Our Lady has blessed our hemisphere,” he said. The supreme knight also announced that beginning in September, the Order would conduct a yearlong Marian prayer program in honor of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, Cuba. The Pilgrim Virgin program will be offered for offered for Pope Benedict XVI’s intentions.