Cardinal Ouellet Calls Knights to Lead Evangelization

  Photos from Mass  Text of Homily

In his homily at the opening Mass of the convention, Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec said that the Knights of Columbus has a lead role in the new evangelization that the Church is engaged in around the world.

He urged the Order to spread the Gospel through devotion to the Eucharist, protection of innocent human life, and defense of the Church’s teaching on family life, marriage and contraception.

Commending Knights for their assistance for the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, held this past June in Quebec City, Cardinal Ouellet called the Knights, “the most committed organization at all levels” in preparing for and conducting the event.

He said that the 126th Supreme Convention in Quebec City is “a sort of epilogue of this world event, an opportunity to ponder and gather the fruits of this extraordinary blessing.

“The Supreme Convention bears always witness to Christ by Eucharistic adoration, fraternity and commitment to charity and service in many works of mercy and solidarity,” he continued. “But it must be even more so this year in Quebec City in the wake of the International Eucharistic event celebrating the gift of God for the life of the world.”

The Mass, held the main convention room that was transformed into an attractive chapel was attended by some 2,000 persons, including delegates and their families.

The sacred ceremonies began with the procession of 185 Fourth Degree Knights in full regalia, including Supreme Master Joseph Schultz. The final four Sir Knights carried the Ark of the New Covenant, a boat-shaped object of devotion that was the centerpiece for the International Eucharistic Congress.

Concelebrating the Mass were 72 priests, most of them Knights of Columbus council chaplains, and more than 70 bishops from around the world, including Supreme Chaplain Bishop William Lori.

Joining Cardinal Ouellet at the altar were Cardinals Sean O’Malley of Boston, Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, Edward Egan of New York, William Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore, and John Foley, who is grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. Cardinal Foley, who was a great supporter of the Order during his two decades as President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, will be the keynote speaker at the States Dinner on Tuesday night.

‘A Civilization of Love’

Cardinal Ouellet observed that the Knights of Columbus has grown over the years not only in membership and insurance coverage, but it also has grown “in spiritual awakening, family commitment and social solidarity.” Thus, the Order “has a special role to play witnessing to the love of Christ in today’s world under the wise leadership of Pope Benedict XVI.”

Making particular mention of the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s ban on artificial contraception, Cardinal Ouellet said that Knights must be strong defenders of this teaching.

In the 40 years since the document was published, the widespread use of contraceptives has led to a culture of divorce, abortion, homosexuality and destruction of marriage and family, he noted.

The cardinal made a strong pro-life statement, urging the Order to continue its defense of the “sacredness of human life from the moment of conception to the last breath of natural death.”

Alluding to the Star of Canada award recently given to abortionist Henry Morgentaler, the cardinal continued, “It is not easy to embody those values in today’s context, especially in Canada where the culture of death is making further steps of domination by rewarding publicly an activist of abortion. It is time to wake up and to hear the word of the Lord: ‘Do not be afraid’ when the storm hits the boat.”

Cardinal Ouellet concluded by exhorting Knights to promote “more strongly a culture of live and a civilization of love.”