Supreme Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori raises the chalice during the Knights’ annual Memorial Mass Aug. 4.
Although the Knights of Columbus is rightly known for tending to the material needs of others, offering Mass for the deceased is also fulfilling the theme of the Supreme Convention, I Am My Brother’s Keeper, said Supreme Chaplain Bishop William Lori.
He was the main celebrant and homilist at the annual Memorial Mass on Thursday morning, the final day of the 128th Supreme Convention. The Mass was offered for all deceased Knights of Columbus and their families.
During Mass, Supreme Secretary Donald Kehoe read the Order’s necrology, mentioning the names of Knights of Columbus leaders who died since the last convention.
The Mass also honored the six priest-martyrs who were members of the Order in Mexico and were killed during the government’s persecution of the Church in the early 20th century, as well as St. Rafael Guizar Valencia, who was a bishop in Mexico at that time.
“The charity which the Order renders always has a personal touch to it,” Bishop Lori said in his homily. “But for us it has never been enough to meet only the temporal needs of our brother Knights and the wider community. We have always rightly been concerned that they embrace the Catholic faith and have at their disposal all the spiritual goods they need for their spiritual welfare, which ultimately is salvation.”
He continued, “In prayer, we seek for our beloved dead precisely what God our Father seeks for them and for us – our eternal salvation. We ardently pray and ardently hope for the eternal salvation of those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.”
Since Catholics believe in the communion of saints, which includes those on earth and the souls in heaven and in purgatory, praying for the dead is a form of being our “brother’s keeper,” he noted. “The first way to show love for those who have died is not to presume that they have already reached heaven and then neglect to pray for them. We must pray for them the perfect prayer of the holy sacrifice of the Mass.”
The Memorial Mass was offered on the feast of St. Mary Major, a Roman basilica named for the Blessed Mother.
Referring to the feast, Bishop Lori said, “In our prayers, we do well to turn to the Blessed Virgin. Blessed are we who commend our beloved dead to her maternal care. With Mary as our mother, we can indeed be our brother’s keeper.”