PHOENIX, Ariz. — As a child, Edwin Flores attended the annual Arizona Rosary Celebration organized by the Knights of Columbus, which gathers young and old from across the state to pray for the intercession of the Blessed Mother.
Now 30 years old and a member of St. Henry’s Council 9467 in Buckeye, Flores returned once again to pray the rosary with the roughly 5,000 people gathered at the Phoenix Convention Center for the 44th annual event.
“When I first heard about the Knights, I was a very young boy — my grandfather was a Knight,” Flores said. “My girlfriend's family are very involved with the Knights, so it's kind of like it’s bringing me back into the Knights and I really appreciate it.”
The event this year in Phoenix was the second day of a weekend full of activities, beginning with an event at the Cathedral of St. Augustine in Tucson, where hundreds prayed through the Blessed Mother’s intercession.
The gathering in Phoenix was even bigger than in Tucson, packing a convention hall. Along with the Legion of Mary, the Knights have been a primary co-sponsor of the Rosary Celebration since 1985. In 2006, the Knights became the sole primary sponsor.
Greg Mattingly, a member of Fray Francisco Garces Council 3855 in Glendale, is one of the co-chairs for the celebration in Phoenix. He said that most of the coordinators of the event are Knights, as are many of the priests involved.
“It's a great opportunity for us to reach out to the community and bring in more Catholics and people interested in the Catholic faith,” Mattingly said.
Knights from throughout the Phoenix diocese joined the procession that began the day’s events and received a blessing with the other participants from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted.
Many of the attending Knights and their families mentioned the need for prayer within the Knights of Columbus, within parishes and in communities at large. The celebration serves as a catalyst for promoting this prayer.
Frank Yanez of St. Henry’s Council 9467, sees the Rosary Celebration as essential to fulfilling the mission of the Knights of Columbus.
“I think we Knights have to remember that we're called to do many things — living in charity, living the precepts, the principles of our Order,” Yanez said. “We can't do it alone. And we need the greatest intercessor, and partner, if you will, in this journey for Jesus Christ and that's our mother. And without our mother, we can't do anything. We know that the best way to get to Jesus is through mom.”
As the Diocese of Phoenix celebrates its 50th anniversary, special devotion is being offered to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas and also of the Knights of Columbus. At the Rosary Celebration, guest speaker Father Robert Gonzalez, parochial vicar of St. John the Evangelist Parish in the Diocese of Tucson, spoke of her significance.
“Our Lady is alive,” Father Gonzalez said. “Juan Diego realized that because he saw that face transformed by the light that she had within herself and he saw her as a queen because she was a ray of the colors of heaven.”
Father Daniel McBride, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Chandler, Ariz., oversaw the lighting and sound in Phoenix. some light on the Knights’ emphasis of community and family.
“Events like this one show that the Knights of Columbus are very community based,” Father McBride said. “It's all about the community, being in the same place at the same time praying for the Church at large. So, I think the Knights of Columbus are very focused on the family.”
In local councils around the world, Knights of Columbus programs help strengthen Catholic family life. By organizing programs like Family Prayer Night and Consecration to the Holy Family, councils provide the opportunity for men to grow together in faith with their families.
Father Gonzalez agreed these events help families to grown in faith, and he especially noted the importance of Knights’ wives.
“The Knights are the Knights because of their wives. Each of them sanctifies each other mutually through the graces of the sacrament of marriage,” Father Gonzalez said. “They love Jesus Christ. They love Our Lady. They promote the church. They promote it by action and word.”
For Edwin Flores, those actions and words come from Catholics who bring the faith into their family life.
“I feel that as a Catholic now, you need to be the leader of your family,” Flores said. “You need to definitely be devoted to the faith and it's not so much just doing it at certain events. You should be practicing it every day of your life.”
Local Knights of Columbus councils in parishes around the world organize opportunities for Knights, their families and members of the community to gather and pray the rosary. It’s part of the Knights’ Faith In Action program.
As Rosary Celebration co-chair Greg Mattingly said, “The more people we get together to say the rosary, the better it is for us and the community as a whole.”
We are Catholic men building a bridge back to faith. Join the Knights of Columbus today.
Logos & Emblems
Fraternal Leader Advisory
Knights in Action
Share your Knights in Action News
Please contact the
Knights of Columbus News Bureau