Convention Opens with Concelebrated Mass

With reverence and fanfare, the 132nd Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention officially commenced Tuesday morning with the Opening Mass at the Orlando World Center Marriott. The opening procession of Fourth Degree Knights, members of the Church’s hierarchy and other clergy took 13 minutes through the grand ballroom that seated some 2,000 Knights and their families.

The main celebrant and homilist was Bishop John G. Noonan, who has headed the Diocese of Orlando since December 2010. Born in Ireland, he came to the United States as a young man, pursued a vocation to the priesthood and was ordained in 1983. He is a Fourth Degree member of St. James Council 12402 at the Orlando cathedral and Monsignor Bishop Assembly 162.

Concelebrants of the Mass included eight cardinals, 74 other archbishops and bishops, and 122 priests.

In his homily, Bishop Noonan said that the many problems today in the world, and in the lives of individuals, may cause people to despair or doubt God’s love as they ask, “What will the future hold?” Yet Pope Francis has set an example of hope and expressed that message consistently in his homilies, messages and encyclical, Bishop Noonan pointed out.

“He is telling us not to view the world with fear but with the joy of the Gospel,” he said. “Pope Francis challenges us to let God into our lives. … We have to be like the moon, because the moon reflects the light of the sun just as we must reflect the love of Christ in our lives.”

Trust in Christ was the message of the Gospel reading of the Mass, he explained, which describes Peter stepping out of the boat and sinking in stormy waters until he cries out and Jesus saves him. Jesus admonishes Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Bishop Noonan continued, “Pope Francis reminds us that fear will always be interwoven in our lives. We need to discern not only our hopes but also our fears so that our fears will not overcome our hopes and leave us in doubt.” He concluded, “The joy we experience in a relationship with Jesus Christ is more than simple enthusiasm; it is forged into our lives in our surrender and ultimate trust in Jesus Christ.”