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Supreme Chaplain urges state deputies to lead Knights to Christ

Celebrating the Mass at which newly-elected state deputies received their jewel of office, Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori urged the K of C leaders to accept the honors of their position as “a challenge to bear witness” to Jesus Christ.

He told both re-elected and newly-elected state deputies, who attended the Mass with their wives, that their mission is “to help our members find the Lord in their lives.” In this way, he added, they will become “better disciples, husbands and fathers.”

Archbishop Lori, who is head of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, remembered in a special way the two priest members of the Knights of Columbus who were attacked at a Catholic mission in Phoenix, Ariz. Father Kenneth Walker was killed in an apparent robbery attempt and Father Joseph Terra was seriously injured. Both belong to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. During the Prayer of the Faithful, Laurence Becker, state deputy-elect of Arizona, offered an intention for the two priests.

The Mass was celebrated Friday, June 13, in New Haven’s St. Mary’s Church, where the Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney. The remains of Father McGivney, whose cause for canonization is being studied by the Vatican, are sealed in a sarcophagus by the entrance to the church.

Concelebrating the Mass were Dominican Fathers Joseph Allen, pastor of St. Mary’s parish, and Jonathan Kalisch, director of chaplains and spiritual development for the Knights of Columbus.

Noting that the Mass was being celebrated on the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, Archbishop Lori said that the popular saint should be invoked for more than just finding lost objects. Since St. Anthony is often depicted holding the child Jesus, Knights should also ask him to help them find Jesus in their lives, he said.

“It’s not that we don’t know or love (Jesus),” the archbishop said, “but somehow he slips from the center of our lives.”

By asking St. Anthony to aid them in finding Jesus and then placing him at the center of their lives, Knights fulfill the mission of the Order, he added.

“In helping us to find Christ, St. Anthony is helping us to rediscover the beautiful guiding principles which the Venerable Father McGivney gave us to guide our beloved Order in all that it does,” he said.

After Communion, Archbishop Lori offered a prayer for the newly elected state deputies and blessed the jewels of office. The state deputies then came forward with their wives to receive their jewel from Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.

‘Bringing the Light of Christ’
Supreme Chaplain Brings Message to Become Disciples of Christ

In his address to state deputies at the annual organizational meeting, Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori stressed the importance of state leaders to have courage in going forth in their states, jurisdictions and councils and to become “missionary disciples” of Christ.

Three main topics were given in carrying-out this mission: religious freedom, marriage and Pope Francis’ “call that we become ‘missionary disciples’ of Christ.”

The supreme chaplain explained that religious freedom and the federal government’s HHS mandate has resulted as an appeal to brother Knights, the Order and Catholics in the United States and around the world, to unite with the efforts of bishops to promote and defend Religious Liberty. He encouraged the Order to support and participate in programs such as the Fortnight for Freedom, beginning June 21st and ending on July 4th. This year’s theme is “The Freedom to Serve.”

Archbishop Lori continued on the topic of marriage, stressing the importance that the sacramental union between a man and woman plays in today’s society, as compared with the threat of new state laws that have been passed defending the rights of same-sex marriages. While the HHS mandate has become a battle and “stoutly resisted,” the greatest domestic threat to religious freedom is that of the redefinition of marriage, the archbishop stated. “There is reason to fear that next year about this time the Supreme Court may declare unconstitutional all laws protecting marriage as between one man and one woman.”

Our response, especially as Knights of Columbus, must be to “be on the front lines” in promoting and defending marriage and family life. The Archbishop echoed the words of the Holy Father, reminding brother Knights how important the family is for the Church, for society and the poor. He charged Knights to reach out to the Order on the local level and councils to strengthen families.

In conclusion, the Supreme Chaplain explained the third part of his talk – Pope Francis’ call that we become missionaries and disciples of Christ. In today’s challenging times of our society, Archbishop Lori thanked the Knights of Columbus, saying that in his role as bishop in the church, he stands “shoulder-to- shoulder with my brother knights as leaders and servants of the Order.”