Memorial Mass Features Relic of Blessed John Paul II
Blessed John Paul II “had a strong relationship with the Knights of Columbus,” said Archbishop Mieczylaw Mokrzycki, who served as personal secretary to the pope for a number of years. “I believe that he is still close to us and he remains an inspiration for our Order.”
Head of the Archdiocese of Lviv in Ukraine since 2008, Archbishop Mokrzycki spoke at the end of the annual Memorial Mass offered for all deceased Knights of Columbus on Aug. 8, the final day of the Supreme Convention. He was at the convention as part of the announcement that Supreme Knight Carl Anderson made two days earlier, that the Knights of Columbus has formed two councils in Ukraine and one round table in Lithuania in its further expansion into Europe.
The Memorial Mass featured a special relic – a small amount of blood from Blessed John Paul II – that was carried reverently in procession and displayed in the sanctuary for veneration. Contained in a gold vial attached to a monstrance, the relic was a gift to the Knights of Columbus from Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Kraków and who also was personal secretary to the pope for many years. It is part of the holdings of the Order’s Blessed John II Shrine in Washington, D.C., where it is displayed to foster devotion to the late pope.
In his remarks, Archbishop Mokrzycki recalled that in the last months of his life, before going to sleep at night, John Paul would pray in his private chapel and then go to his bedroom window to offer a blessing. “He would bless the pilgrims walking on the square, bless the Eternal City of Rome, bless the whole Church and the whole world. He would do it every day,” the archbishop said.
Concluding his remarks, Archbishop Mokrzycki told those at the convention Mass, “So today, through this holy relic, may he also bless our work as we continue to grow in faith and holiness.”
The principal Mass celebrant was Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori, who said that the requiem liturgy “reminds us that this life is short and the life to come is eternal.” A special remembrance was given to the seven Knights of Columbus Mexican saints, all of whom died under religious persecution in the past century, and four Knights who have been beatified.
“The saints are the ones who have lived and loved in such a way that the grace of God was able to change them inwardly so as to make them capable of eternally receiving the love of the living God,” Archbishop Lori said. They “support and pray for us” so that all Knights may follow them to heaven, he said.
After the homily, Deputy Supreme Knight Dennis Savoie read the Order’s necrology, a list of the names of members of the hierarchy and Knights of Columbus leaders who passed away in the past year.