Columbia April 2011

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APrIl 2011 ♦ VoluMe 91 ♦ NuMber 4


8 In His Words In his many messages to the Knights, Pope John Paul II conveyed pastoral guidance, solidarity and gratitude. BY COLUMBIA STAFF

16 Passage to Sainthood John Paul II’s beatification is meaningful for the world, the Church and the Knights of Columbus. BY CARDINAL STANISŁAW DZIWISZ

19 Schools of the New Evangelization World Youth Days demonstrate the pastoral genius of John Paul II and the vitality of the Church. BY FATHER THOMAS ROSICA, C.S.B.

24 Blessed John Paul the Evangelizer John Paul II left a diverse and extensive legacy that will benefit the Church and the world for years to come. BY GREG BURKE

28 Journeys Into Our Hearts In his visits to Knights of Columbus lands, John Paul II touched lives and inspired faith. BY BRIAN CAULFIELD

Pope John Paul II is depicted with the rays of Divine Mercy shining in the background. Painted in 2007 by Polish artist Teresa Sliwka-Moskal, the work is currently on display at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Conn.

PAINTING: Foundation of the Shrine of Divine Mercy/Teresa Śliwka-Moskal, 2007


Building a better world


Blessed John Paul II entrusted us with the task of a new evangelization. BY SUPREME KNIGHT CARL A. ANDERSON


Learning the faith, living the faith In word and deed, Pope John Paul II taught about charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. BY SUPREME CHAPLAIN BISHOP WILLIAM E. LORI

PLUS Catholic Man of the Month

Knights of Columbus News Inaugural State Chaplains Meeting Convened in New Haven • Catholic Information Service Offers Resources Online • Knights-Supported Prosthetic Lab in Haiti Unveiled • Knights of Columbus Museum Honors John Paul II • Saying ‘Thanks’ to Pope John Paul II



Columbia Conversation Past Supreme Knight Virgil C. Dechant recalls personal encounters with John Paul II.


Columbianism by Degrees

World Youth Day 2011 The Knights and the Sisters of Life prepare English-language pilgrim site in Madrid. BY COLUMBIA STAFF

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The Pope of Mercy ALTHOUGH THE theological and pastoral contributions of Pope John Paul II’s 26-year pontificate were farreaching and diverse, his teachings and actions were all built on a common foundation: an unwavering trust in Divine Mercy and in Mary, the Mother of Mercy. In his second encyclical, Dives in misericordia (rich in mercy), John Paul II reflected on the importance of mercy, the meaning of which is ultimately found in Jesus Christ. In 1993, the pope beatified St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), the Polish nun whose message of Divine Mercy he understood to be universal and essential for our time. Seven years later, he canonized Faustina as the first saint of the new millennium and declared that the Second Sunday of Easter would from then on be known as Divine Mercy Sunday. The message of mercy was so central to the pontificate of John Paul II that many people have come to know him as the “mercy pope.” He embraced the simple prayer of abandonment associated with the Divine Mercy devotion: “Jezu ufam tobie” (Jesus, I trust in you). That prayer complemented his motto, inspired by a Marian prayer of St. Louis de Montfort: “totus tuus!” (Totally Yours). Like his trust in Divine Mercy, the pope’s devotion to Mary was evident from the beginning. After he was shot in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, John Paul II attributed his survival to Mary’s intercession, believing that “it was a

mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path.” One year after the assassination attempt, while in Fatima, Portugal, he consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The pope also frequently wrote about Our Lady’s irreplaceable role in the Church, such as in his encyclical on Mary and in his apostolic letter on the rosary. As John Paul II neared the end of his life, suffering on the world stage, he no doubt cried to Jesus and Mary for consolation. He finally breathed his last on April 2, 2005. In God’s providence, it was the evening of the first Saturday of the month — a day closely associated with the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Our Lady of Fatima — and the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday. Of course, it is no coincidence that Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate the beatification of his predecessor this year on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1. The first day of May also marks the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, a day of great significance to the Polish pope, as well as the beginning of the month of Mary. In anticipation of John Paul II’s beatification, we reflect in this issue of Columbia on the significance of the pope’s teaching and witness. In a particular way, we recall his close relationship with the Knights of Columbus as we entrust ourselves and our Order to Divine Mercy and to the loving hands of Our Lady.♦ ALTON J. PELOWSKI MANAGING EDITOR

Knights of Columbus Book Club — April 2011 THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS BOOK CLUB is proud to feature Jesus of nazareth: From the entrance into Jerusalem to the resurrection (Ignatius, 2011), by Pope Benedict XVI. The release of the new volume, the second part of a planned trilogy on the life of Christ, coincides with the commencement of the Lenten season and focuses on Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. Please join us in late April for a discussion of Jesus of nazareth at 2 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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COLUMBIA PUBLISHER Knights of Columbus ________ SUPREME OFFICERS Carl A. Anderson Supreme Knight Most Rev. William E. Lori, S.T.D. Supreme Chaplain Dennis A. Savoie Deputy Supreme Knight Emilio B. Moure Supreme SeCretary Charles E. Maurer Jr. Supreme treaSurer John A. Marrella Supreme aDvoCate ________ EDITORIAL Alton J. Pelowski managing eDitor Patrick Scalisi aSSoCiate eDitor Brian Dowling Creative & eDitorial aSSiStant ________ GRAPHICS Michelle McCleary layout

Venerable Michael McGivney (1852-90) Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Intercede for Us. ________ HOW TO REACH US mail COLUMBIA 1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326 phone 203-752-4398 Fax 203-752-4109 e-mail internet CuStomer ServiCe 1-800-380-9995 ________ membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the holy See. this means that an applicant or member accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church.

________ Copyright © 2011 All rights reserved ________ ON THE COVER pope John paul ii is pictured in France in october 1986.

CoVer: bernard bisson/Sygma/Corbis



Accepting the Mission Blessed John Paul II entrusted us with the task of a new evangelization by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson

THE BEATIFICATION of Pope Perhaps more than any other docJohn Paul II will be a time for reflec- ument, it was in ecclesia in america tion upon the accomplishments of that John Paul II proclaimed the need evangelization” — a repetition of his pontificate and the holiness of for a new evangelization. He wrote, what had gone before — but an evanhis life. But it will not be enough for “As the Church’s Supreme Pastor, I gelization “new in ardor, methods and the Knights of Columbus to simply urgently desire to encourage all the expression” (6). This newness, in a significant way, look back and remember history. If members of God’s People, particuwe are to keep faith with our great larly those living in America … to depends upon the creativity and the friend and beloved spiritual leader, take up this project and to cooperate dedication of the lay faithful who are willing to commit their personal lives, we must also look to the future. in carrying it out” (66). In working toward this goal, we The pope understood that there was their families and their associations in should ask ourselves, “What would a common Christian foundation to the witnessing to the good news of the Blessed John Paul II say to us today?” new civilization being built in the West- Gospel. “In accepting this mission,” We are fortunate that we John Paul II wrote, “everyone have thousands of pages of should keep in mind that the his writings that still speak to vital core of the new evangelizaus clearly, and none is more Our common Christian foundation tion must be a clear and unrelevant to the work of the equivocal proclamation of the Knights of Columbus than offers the promise of an even person of Jesus Christ” (66). his 1999 apostolic exhortaFor the Knights of Columtion ecclesia in america. In greater solidarity, community bus, the beatification of Pope reading this document, it and charity in the future. John Paul II is a historic occaseems as though John Paul II sion to reflect on precisely the is speaking directly to us. ways in which our dedication He wrote, “The renewal of to our principles of charity, the Church in America will not be possible without the active ern Hemisphere during the past five unity and fraternity provide “a clear presence of the laity. Therefore, they centuries. This common foundation of- and unequivocal proclamation of the are largely responsible for the future of fers the promise of an even greater sol- person of Jesus Christ.” And as we witness with confidence the Church” (44). idarity, community and charity in the Today, there is no lay organization future, if only we have the determina- to this reality, both on a personal level in the countries where the Knights of tion to work for such a transformation. and through the work of our thouColumbus works that surpasses us in For more than a century, the Knights sands of active councils, we will not terms of charity, promotion of voca- of Columbus has been promoting this only take up a more vigorous role in tions and evangelization. Thus, the greater solidarity among Catholics in the work of the new evangelization, magnitude of our work on behalf of Canada, Mexico, the United States and but we will also realize more fully Fathe Church can be measured in a cer- the Philippines through our work of ther Michael McGivney’s vision of a tain degree only by the magnitude of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. dynamic organization that is wholly at our responsibility for the future of the Blessed John Paul II knew that the the service of the Church. vivat Jesus! Church. task before us was not simply a “re-

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Our Principles in Action In word and deed, Pope John Paul II taught about charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism by Supreme Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori

POPE JOHN PAUL II often expressed great affection for the Knights of Columbus. Even more profoundly, by his own priestly example and his vast efforts to teach all nations about Jesus Christ, he shed a good deal of light on the Columbian virtues.

lives in Christ. In other words, before showing charity to others, we must welcome Christ’s mercy and love. All of our charitable work is but the evidence that this love has taken root in our hearts. Pope John Paul II’s ardent life of prayer was also the source of his insight and strength as he relentlessly strove “to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3). His

about God and the human person, fully revealed in Christ. A profound philosopher in his own right, John Paul II defended reason’s capacity for truth. He witnessed to the truth in which the rights and dignity of the UNITED IN CHARITY human person is rooted and upon Like many others, I had the privilege of which a civilization of love can be built participating in Masses celebrated by amid the diverse cultures of the world. John Paul II in his private chapel. The pope’s witness to unityAfter vesting, we priests and bishin-truth should inspire us to ops would quietly take our place pray and work for unity in our there, only to find the pope alOrder, in the Church and in The pope’s witness to ready absorbed in prayer. John the world. Our unity does not Paul II’s life of deep prayer, spring merely from our own unity-in-truth should inspire founded upon the Eucharist and good will, but is instead rooted us to pray and work for unity his frequent reception of the in God. This profound sense sacrament of penance, was the of unity must extend to all of in our Order, in the Church source of an immense pastoral our relationships. charity. The pope loved his worldand in the world. wide flock, both consoling us and LOVE OF BROTHER, teaching us the truth about God LOVE OF COUNTRY and man. In a special way, he Closely allied to unity is fraterloved the poor and the vulnerable, as homilies, addresses and writings were nity, what John Paul II often referred we saw by his defense of the unborn suffused and shaped by the doctrine of to as solidarity. The pope understood and his interventions on behalf of the the Holy Trinity — the source of the this to mean much more than just a elderly and those condemned to die. Church’s communion and the ultimate group of people with common interests. Rather, he frequently taught that To put into practice the first princi- basis for unity of the human family. ple of the Order, we too must pray John Paul II taught bishops and at the heart of a truly universal brothdaily and make the Eucharist and all priests that the unity of the Church erhood is the very fact that Christ asthe sacraments the foundation of our was at the heart of their ministry. He sumed our humanity. By becoming traveled to the ends of the earth to man, Christ in a certain way united unify God’s people and worked persist- himself to every person. The pope also EDITOR’S NOTE: Supreme Chapently for Christian unity, especially taught that the family, based on the lain Bishop William E. Lori’s series with the various Orthodox commun- love of husband and wife, is where on the Compendium of the Cateions. He also reached out to the Jewish human dignity, the virtues and brothchism of the Catholic Church will community and other religious groups. erly love are first learned. resume in May 2011. Through baptism, we become the The unity that he promoted was built not on compromise, but on the truth Father’s adopted children and, thus, 4 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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brothers and sisters in Jesus. Our brotherhood with Christ is constantly re-established and strengthened each time we receive his body in the Eucharist. So, with Pope John Paul II, we can say that our faith in Christ is the source of our fraternity. It is expressed in how we support one another in professing and living the faith, and in how we help one another in times of need. Our fraternity includes our families and all those who share our Catholic faith. It also extends to people who need a helping hand or who long for the fullness of truth. We manifest our brotherhood by placing ourselves “in service to one, in service to all.” Thus,


Offered in solidarity with Pope Benedict XVI GENERAL: That the Church may offer new generations, through the believable proclamation of the Gospel, ever-new reasons of life and hope.

PHoToGrAPH oF PoPe: CNS photo/Paul Haring

MISSION: That missionaries, with the proclamation of the Gospel and their witness of life, may bring Christ to all those who do not yet know him.

when we greet one another with the title of “brother,” let us remember that we are brothers in Christ. During John Paul II’s papacy, the world witnessed the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Even then, however, the pope did not rest easy. In his love for the world, he taught the relationship between truth and freedom. True love of country demands that its citizens use the God-given gift of freedom to protect human dignity and to secure the common good. From the time of its founding, members of the Knights were patriots, even when their love of country was not appreciated by their fellow citizens.

To be sure, creating a culture that respects life and loves justice is a very difficult task. Nonetheless, many of our brother Knights work tirelessly doing just that, some with their very lives. Because we want what is best for our country, and because our patriotism is rooted in charity, unity and fraternity, we want our native lands to respect other nations and to be forces for justice and peace in the world. Linked to such authentic patriotism is a longing for our true homeland in heaven. May Blessed Pope John Paul II continue to inspire us to live the principles of our Order and strengthen us by his prayers.♦


St. Albert Chmielowski (1845-1916) Feast day: June 17 AT AGE 25, during his final year at seminary in Krakow, Poland, Karol Wojtyła wrote a play titled our god’s Brother. The play was about Brother Albert Chmielowski, an artist and friar whom Wojtyła — the future Pope John Paul II — recognized as an extraordinary model of charity. Born Adam Hilary Bernard Chmielowski, Brother Albert was raised in an aristocratic family outside Krakow. As a teenager, he took part in the 1863 uprising against the Russian Empire. After studying in Warsaw, Munich and Paris, he established himself as an artist in Krakow. While painting his most famous work, an unfinished painting of Christ titled “Ecce Homo,” Chmielowski entered the Jesuit order in 1880. He left the novitiate within a year, and then began living as a lay Franciscan missionary. Chmielowski returned to Krakow in 1884 and felt strongly called by God to aid the poor and homeless. In 1887, adopting a sackcloth habit and the name “Brother Albert,” he began begging on behalf of the poor. He then founded the

Brothers of the Third Order of St. Francis, Servants of the Poor — also known as the Gray Brothers or Albertine Brothers — and with them established nearly a dozen homes for the poor by the time of his death in 1916. Pope John Paul II celebrated the beatification of Brother Albert in 1983, and canonized him six years later. During the Mass of canonization, the pope noted how Brother Albert found his vocation through his artistic yearnings and his compassion for the poor, and added, “In this untiring, heroic service to the underprivileged, he finally found his way. He found Christ.”♦

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Inaugural State Chaplains Meeting Convened in New Haven

Chaplains from 58 jurisdictions, pictured here celebrating Mass at St. Mary’s Church, gathered in New Haven, Conn., for a meeting March 1-4. THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS and its leadership are committed to making the Order and its members participants in the great renewal of the Catholic Church, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson told chaplains gathered for the first-ever State Chaplains Meeting. Sixty-six chaplains from 58 jurisdictions — including five bishops from the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico — gathered in New Haven for the meeting, which took place March 1-4. “We (as Knights) must embrace the renewal being carried out in the Catholic Church and extend and promote that renewal,” the supreme knight said. He added that the

Knights of Columbus needs to offer more than a gathering space for Catholic men; it needs to offer a way of life that forms its members to be better Catholics. “We will keep our Church strong through parish-based councils,” the supreme knight said. “These councils and their members will keep the parishes active and healthy, the laity united with pastors and priests.” Supreme Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., reflected on a similar theme, saying, “The better we live our lives through our priesthood, the stronger our members and families will be. … The better the laity lives its faith, the stronger the clergy will be.”

At the opening Mass, Bishop Lori said that the Order’s founder, Father Michael J. McGivney, understood the Gospel passage in which Jesus on the way to Jerusalem tells the disciples of his coming passion, death and resurrection. Jesus asks them if they are willing to “drink from his cup” and ultimately delivers the message of his redemptive mission that he “did not come to be served, but to serve.” This sheds light on the role of council chaplains, Bishop Lori added, as they carry on the message and vision of Father McGivney. Some of the discussion topics for the meeting included the four principles of the Order, the promotion of fellowship, an intellectual understanding of the faith, and keys to success as a K of C chaplain. Hosting the meeting’s proceedings was Augustinian Father John Grace, director of Chaplain Program and Development, who knows just how helpful and fruitful a meeting like this can be. “When I arrived here in New Haven almost two years ago, I was able to attend the orientation meeting conducted for the state deputies,” Father Grace noted. “It was comprehensive, and I was impressed. However, the thought did occur to me: ‘Why is something similar not being done for the state chaplains?’” By calling the chaplains meeting, Father Grace added, the supreme knight and supreme chaplain answered that question.♦

Catholic Information Service Offers Resources Online THE NEWLY REDESIGNED WEBSITE of the Order’s Catholic Information Service,, is now offering a variety of new, easy-to-use features for people who want to learn more about the Catholic faith. CIS offers two online study courses based on its popular Luke E. Hart Series and Veritas Series. Visitors to the site can access PDF versions of the booklets in both series or listen to them in MP3 format. Printed 6 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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copies of the booklets can also be ordered for a small fee. Of special interest is CIS’s online Catechism of the Catholic Church. This resource offers users the ability to browse the Catechism through a table of contents and to search the text by topic or keyword. Lastly, the CIS website offers online versions of devotional items, including “A Guide to Confession” and “A Guide to Praying the Rosary.”♦


Knights-Supported Prosthetic Lab in Haiti Unveiled MORE THAN A YEAR after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the children injured in that calamity have renewed hope thanks to the joint efforts of Project Medishare, the Knights of Columbus, Össur, and the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Through the “Healing Haiti’s Children” program, established by the Knights of Columbus and Project Medishare last year, every child who lost a limb in the earthquake is eligible for a two-year course of free prosthetics and physical therapy. On March 5 in Port-au-Prince, the organizations unveiled a state-of-the-art prosthetics and orthotics laboratory during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Project Medishare Hospital Bernard Mevs. The lab was donated by Össur, an orthopedics technology company, and houses equipment purchased through Knights of Columbus funding. Challenged Athletes Foundation has also become involved in the rehabilitation element of the program, working with patients to ensure that rehabilitation brings them the opportunity for the highest level of physical performance possible. During the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony, Össur’s founder, Össur Kristinsson — himself an amputee — also presented more than 600 modular prosthetic systems to Project Medishare. Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said, “Providing the limbs, therapy and support to these children is truly a lifechanging gift and one that we are very pleased to be able to give in partnership with Medishare and with the help of Challenged Athletes Foundation and Össur.” The new lab will be the nexus of education and production of prosthetics and orthotics in Haiti. It houses materials and equipment, and serves as a classroom for training the Haitians who will be hired as prosthetic technicians.

In addition, the lab promises to be a sustainable, needed and advanced care system for all amputees of Haiti, the likes of which has not been available until now.♦

Saying ‘Thanks’ to Pope John Paul II

Knights of Columbus Museum Honors John Paul II

FOR AN ENTIRE GENERATION he was an inspirational leader and the only pope they had known. Now the Knights of Columbus, through its news website Headline Bistro, is giving members of the “JPII Generation” the opportunity to say thank you. Those wishing to participate can visit or and submit their message of thanks for Pope John Paul II and his pontificate (in 500 words or less). All entries will be printed and hand-delivered to the tomb of Pope John Paul II in Rome during the week of his beatification, which will take place in Rome May 1.♦

IN ANTICIPATION of his May 1 beatification, the Knights of Columbus Museum presents “Blessed: A Tribute to John Paul II.” To recall and celebrate Pope John Paul II’s life and legacy, the April 2-June 30 exhibition will feature some personal effects of the late pontiff, as well as mementos of his apostolic journeys to North America. In addition, it will include a selection of paintings by Italian artist Francesco Guadagnuolo (b. 1956), which are focused on John Paul II’s courageous and faithful witness during the end of his pontificate. For more information, call 203-865-0400 or visit♦

Three-year-old Anaika Pierre walks on two legs for the first time since the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, moments after being fitted with a Knights-funded prosthetic leg by prosthetist Adam Finnieston.

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in his

In his many messages to the Knights, Pope John Paul II conveyed pastoral guidance, solidarity and gratitude


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CNS file photo



rom his election in 1978 until his death in 2005, Pope John Paul II addressed more than two dozen messages to the Knights of Columbus. From his addresses to the K of C Board of Directors to his letters to the annual Supreme Convention, the pope’s words often expressed appreciation and admiration for the Order’s work, and offered reflections about the Knights’ mission in the Church and the world today. John Paul II’s high esteem for the Knights of Columbus was evident in the ways he spoke about the Order, just as the Knights’ love for the pope was expressed in innumerable gestures of support. Addressing the Board of Directors in September 1987, he quipped, “It was a good idea for Columbus to discover America, for this enabled the foundation of the Knights of Columbus.” We include here some representative excerpts from John Paul II’s words addressed to the Knights throughout his pontificate. Although years have passed since they were delivered, the relevance of these words has not diminished, and they continue to encourage and inspire us today. MAY THE LORD REWARD YOU, and through your efforts bring forth abundant fruits of evangelization in the Church. May your dedicated activity in turn help you to realize in yourselves those interior attitudes without which no one can truly evangelize: trust in the power of the Holy Spirit, true holiness of life, deep concern for truth, and an ever increasing love for God’s children. May the Lord’s blessing be upon you, upon your families and upon all the Knights of Columbus. — Address of John Paul II to the Knights of Columbus, Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 7, 1979

WHENEVER I THINK of the Knights of Columbus, I am reminded with joy of a rich heritage of faith, fraternity and service, and of a shining example of Catholic laity involved in the

On his first international trip as pontiff, Pope John Paul II arrives in Mexico for the opening of a Latin American bishops’ meeting in January 1979.

mission of the Church. And therefore … I encourage you to carry on the worthy traditions which are yours, even as St. Paul says, “to make still greater progress” (1 Thes 4:1), seeking to be ever more attentive to the word of God and completely disposed to carry out God’s will. — Message to 101st Supreme Convention, Columbus, Ohio, July 21, 1983

I URGE YOU TO PERSEVERE in doing good works and to remain steadfast in the Catholic faith which has been handed on to you by the Church. A passage from St. John expresses my sentiments well … “My reason for having written to you is not that you do not know the truth, but that you do” (1 Jn 2:21). Let what you have from the beginning remain in your hearts. — Message to 103rd Supreme Convention, Washington, D.C., 1985

A PARTICULARLY CRITICAL CONCERN IN THE CHURCH TODAY is the well being of the family. While we can take heart that many families are vital and strong and are the channels of many graces and blessings, no one is unaware of the numerous threats to family life which arise in contemporary society. As the Church seeks to respond to the needs of married couples and families, she depends to a great extent on organizations such as the Knights of Columbus to meet the urgent problems and pressing needs, to protect and to promote family values. I am aware of the many programs which you have already undertaken in this regard. … I offer you my grateful support and encourage you never to lose heart. For the family is the basic cell of human society. Upon it depends the stability and health of our communities, and even the future of the world. — Message to 104th Supreme Convention, Chicago, 1986

FOR MORE THAN A HUNDRED YEARS the Knights of Columbus have distinguished themselves by their love for Christ and loyalty to the Church, by their service to the poor and needy, by their defense of the handicapped and unborn, and by their strong support of family life. You stand forth as a shining example of the role of the laity in the life and mission of the Church. The financing of the repair and maintenance of the façade of Saint Peter’s Basilica and the colossal statues above is yet one more symbol of the dedicated spirit of your esteemed organization and of your devotion and fidelity to the successor of St. Peter. — John Paul II’s speech during ceremony for the completion of renovations on the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica, Feb. 23, 1987

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BY REASON OF YOUR ORDER’S distinguished record of concern for the poor, the disadvantaged and the unborn in particular, I am confident that the Knights of Columbus will continue to be in the forefront of the Church’s efforts to promote a “culture of life” (cf. Centesimus Annus, 39), one which fully respects the spiritual dimension of human existence and the sublime dignity of each individual, created in the image of God and destined for eternal life in Christ. — Message to 109th Supreme Convention, St. Louis, 1991 BECAUSE THE CHURCH acknowledges her Savior as the Lord of history, from the very beginning she saw the discovery of the New World as a fresh and urgent call to carry out the mission he entrusted to his Apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). … Today, five hundred years after the beginning of that first evangelization of the Americas, a new proclamation of the salvific message of the Gospel is needed. I know that the Knights of Columbus are deeply conscious of this challenge. — Message to 110th Supreme Convention, New York, 1992

Left: Pope John Paul II is silhouetted against a sunny background in St. Peter’s Square as he arrives for Mass on his 80th birthday in 2000. Facing Page: John Paul II kisses a baby while blessing a crowd in Ars, France, in 1986.

TIMELINE Here is a selection of historic moments of Pope John Paul II’s relationship with the Knights of Columbus. A more comprehensive timeline can be found online at

1978 – The Order underwrites costs to telecast the installation of Pope John Paul II and funds a film of the pope’s first trip to Mexico.

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John Paul II and the Knights of Columbus 1979 – In October, the Order collaborates with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide funding to film the entire journey of Pope John Paul II to the United States.

1983 – The Order provides financial assistance to the pope to help offset the annual operating budget of the San Lorenzo International Youth Center in Rome.

1981 – The Order establishes the Knights of Columbus Vicarius Christi Fund in the amount of $10 million, the earnings of which will be presented to the pope in perpetuity for his charitable purposes.

1984 – The Supreme Council authorizes a special $1 per capita assessment on Canadian members to assist the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in defraying expenses coincident with John Paul II’s visit.

SIlHoueTTe: CNS photo from reuters — JPII WITH bAbY: Image by © Gianni Giansanti/Sygma/Corbis

THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS ARE AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE of the contribution which the laity can make by working together. The manner of good works that you perform yourselves are further multiplied by those which you inspire in others. In this way you are being faithful to a serious command … “Your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16). — Message to 105th Supreme Convention, New Orleans, La., 1987

1985 – The Order provides funding for the Vatican Television Center (CTV) to purchase a mobile television production studio, which enables CTV to document the words and activities of John Paul II for use by the world press and to produce other programs on the pope’s journeys, activities and speeches. 1985 – At the pope’s wish, expressed through the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the Order is presented with the opportunity to restore the en-

tire façade of St. Peter’s Basilica, which has not been touched for 350 years. 1986 – Pope John Paul II presents as a gift to the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Conn., the copper cross that, since 1614, was held in the arms of the statue of Christ on the very top of St. Peter’s façade. The gift was in appreciation for the collaboration of the Knights of Columbus in restoring the façade of St. Peter’s and related work.

1989 – The Knights of Columbus provides funding for the publication of the pope Speaks to the american Church, a complete collection of the pope’s addresses to Catholics in the United States 1979-88. 1990 – The Order develops and distributes a study guide on the pope’s 1989 apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici, on the vocation and mission of the laity. 1991 – In August, the Knights launch an Orderwide Quincentennial Prayer APRIL 2011

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TODAY, MORE THAN EVER, the Church’s apostolate to families needs to be supported by each of her members and, above all, by families themselves. I am deeply grateful for the outstanding support which over the years the Knights of Columbus have given to the Church’s mission of promoting Catholic family life. During this Year of the Family, I encourage you to renew your efforts to confirm Christian families in their witness of faith and love, and thus enable them to play their part in the building of a just and morally sound social order. I urge you to continue to give voice to the Gospel of Christian married love in requiring “from all, beginning with public authorities, respect for those rights which, in saving the family, will save society itself ” (Christifideles laici, 40). — Message to 112th Supreme Convention, Pittsburgh, 1994

THE WIDE VARIETY OF GOOD WORKS undertaken by the Knights of Columbus in service to Christ and his Church demonstrates your Order’s spiritual vitality as it strives to carry on the vision of its founder, Father Michael McGivney. It is my hope that the Knights will always be in the forefront of the Church’s efforts to prepare for the coming Third Christian Millennium by bringing the light of faith to bear upon the urgent social issues and problems of our time. — Address of John Paul II to Board of Directors, Nov. 6, 1995

INSPIRED BY THEIR CATHOLIC FAITH, the Knights of Columbus have been in the forefront of the movement to affirm the sanctity of all human life and to call attention to the urgent need for responsible public debate on important ethical issues which directly affect the future of society. As the reality of the threats against human life, especially the life of the unborn, becomes increasingly evident, I encourage you to continue your efforts to work for a general awakening of consciences at every level of society. These efforts, especially when they are combined with charitable initiatives on behalf of

Service centering on replicas of the cross presented by Pope John Paul II to the bishops of the Americas in 1984 in the Dominican Republic. 1995 – On Oct. 5, Pope John Paul II blesses the new headquarters of the Permanent Observer Mission at the United Nations in New York City, which was funded by the Order. The Knights and the Diocese of Brooklyn also co-host the pope’s Mass at Aqueduct Racetrack Oct. 6. 12 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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women and children in need, represent a singular affirmation of the “Gospel of Life” which the whole Church is called to proclaim and celebrate. … As the domestic church where God is present to his children in love, the Christian family teaches its members to see, in the light of faith, the true meaning of our human vocation, the requirements of a sound and enduring social order, and the need for generous cooperation in the service of truth and the building of a society truly worthy of man. I commend your efforts to help families to understand their decisive role in the life of society and in the growth of the civilization of love. — Message to 114th Supreme Convention, Boston, 1996

IN A SOCIETY MARKED by the spread of messages opposed to the revelation in Christ of the Father’s redemptive love, the spirit of your Order calls you to bear clear and active witness to the final victory of God’s kingdom over the power of sin and death. Your lives should be filled with the certainty of the hope announced by the Gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. Rom 5:5). It is clear that if the Church is to bring about successfully the renewal envisioned by the Second Vatican Council, her members need more intense catechesis and formation in the fundamentals of the faith. They should be ever more conscious of their baptismal dignity, more assiduous in prayer and in the search for holiness, and more courageous in defending moral truth. For this reason, I encourage the Knights to provide old and new members alike with an appropriate catechetical formation aimed at deepening their knowledge of the faith and their commitment to the Church’s life and mission. Central to this effort should be the use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Only on the basis of a clear and firm understanding of Christian doctrine will you be able to meet the spiritual and moral challenges of our age. I am confident that the Knights will find practical ways to make the Catechism more widely known and used. — Message to 115th Supreme Convention, Montreal, 1997

1996 – The Order publishes a study guide for John Paul II’s encyclical evangelium vitae (the gospel of life). 1997 – Supreme Knight and Mrs. Virgil C. Dechant represent the Order at the Rio de Janeiro International Conference on Family attended by Pope John Paul II in October. 1997 – John Paul receives the Supreme Officers in audience Dec. 11. A spiritual bouquet of prayers is offered by Knights to mark his 50th anniversary as a priest.

1998 – A grant is given in January by the Order to the bishops’ conference of Cuba to help with expenses of Pope John Paul II’s visit there. 1998 – The pope receives the Board of Directors in audience Oct. 15. He blesses a mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe commissioned from the Vatican Mosaic Studios for the Knights of Columbus Museum. 1999 – In January, the Order announces funding for the restoration of the 17th century Maderno Atrium and

JOYFUL HOPE, ROOTED IN THE NEW LIFE poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 5:5), is the distinguishing mark of those who believe in Christ. To radiate this hope is surely one of the most effective means by which the Knights can actively contribute to the new evangelization. The witness of hope is in fact one of the most powerful and attractive signs of the salvation which the Gospel offers to the men and women of our time, so frequently tempted to discouragement and despair. I encourage all the Knights, most especially the young and those with young families, to strive to become ever more effective beacons of Christian joy and hope in the circumstances of their daily lives: at home, in the workplace and in society as a whole.

Pope John Paul II blesses an image of Divine Mercy while meeting with Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, his wife Dorian, and Dr. Stanisław Grygiel in 2003. The image was used in a year-long K of C prayer program for the pope and all priests. Also pictured (left) is then-Bishop Stanisław Dziwisz, the pope’s secretary. For generations the Knights of Columbus have helped to spread the Gospel message by showing solidarity with those in need. In this way your Order has contributed to that outstanding “history of charity” (cf. evangelium vitae, 87) by which Christ’s followers in every age have sought to serve him in the least of his brothers and sisters. — Message to the 116th Supreme Convention, Cincinnati, 1998

the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica as a gift to the pope and to the universal Church for the jubilee year 2000.

2001 – On April 29, John Paul II beatifies Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, a member of the Knights of Columbus in Puerto Rico.

is granted a private audience by John Paul II April 26, at which time they discuss the cause for the canonization of Father Michael J. McGivney.

2000 – On May 21, Pope John Paul II canonizes 25 Mexican martyrs, victims of the religious persecution of the 1920s. Six of the priests canonized were members of the Knights of Columbus.

2002 – As a sign of solidarity with the pope, the Order establishes in March the $2 million Pacem in Terris Fund, the earnings of which are used to promote peace initiatives in the Holy Land and to assist the Latin Patriarchate in supporting the Christian community there.

2002 – For Christmas, the Order collaborates with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications on a streaming video production of a 24hour television program celebrating the 25th Christmas of John Paul II’s pontificate.

2000 – The Order funds the telecast of the pope’s visit to the Holy Land in March.

2002 – Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson

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2003 – On May 11, the Knights of Columbus Museum opens an exhibit titled “John Paul II — A Passion for Peace.” Many of the items on display are on loan from the Vatican. 2003 – In October, the Order begins a yearlong prayer program in honor of 14 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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John Paul II and priests through a “Divine Mercy Prayer Service.” 2003 – In October, the Order begins its celebration of the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate with a special issue of Columbia. 2003 – In connection with the opening of the 2003 academic year, the Supreme Council presents some 4,000 seminarians with gift copies

of a special edition of John Paul II’s book gift and mystery. The book commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Holy Father’s priesthood, celebrated in 1996. 2005 – Supreme Knight Anderson, past Supreme Knight Dechant, their wives, and Count Enrico Demajo (director of the Order’s Rome Office) represent the Knights of Columbus at Pope John Paul II’s funeral April 8.

CNS photo courtesy Pope John Paul II Cultural Center

undertakes a program centered on the 40th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations, observed May 11.

Pope John Paul II is pictured walking and praying the rosary during his 1984 visit to Canada.

EACH OF YOU, IN YOUR FAMILIES, in the workplace, and in the wide variety of social settings in which you interact with others, has a remarkable opportunity to draw others to an experience of the strong and faithful love of our heavenly Father. In a society which urgently needs to rediscover the true face of manhood, the quiet example of men whose lives are shaped by the virtues of faith, integrity, fidelity, hard work and generous concern for others, can be an immensely effective testimony to the Gospel. I encourage you to reflect seriously on the importance of this particular form of Christian witness, especially to the young who are just setting out upon life’s way. … The history of the Knights of Columbus shows how a small group of men inspired by Christian faith and charitable concern were able to inspire a movement of immense fruitfulness for the advance of God’s kingdom on earth. — Message to 117th Supreme Convention, St. Paul-Minneapolis, 1999

THE CHALLENGES OF THE PRESENT MOMENT and the vast horizons opened up by the new millennium now invite the Knights as individuals and as a body to ponder new and effective ways of witnessing to the Gospel and resisting the “culture of death” which threatens the lives of the most defenseless of our brothers and sisters, even as it denies the most fundamental truths about human dignity: the truth that every man and woman has been created in the image and likeness of God and is called to a transcendent destiny in Christ. — Message to 118th Supreme Convention, Boston, 2000

FATHER MCGIVNEY, at the end of the 19th century, foresaw the importance of a united and informed laity for the progress of the Gospel in the new world. Almost a century before the Second Vatican Council, he sought to enable Catholic laymen to live up to their baptismal vocation “to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and ordering them according to the divine plan” (lumen gentium, 31). In today’s increasingly secularized culture, which at times rejects and even tries to ridicule religious belief and fundamental norms of the moral law, the Knights of Columbus can play a significant role in teaching and embodying the religious and civic ideals capable of shaping a future of hope and promise for coming generations. — Message to the 119th Supreme Convention, Toronto, 2001

MAY A DEEP AND ABIDING DEVOTION to Jesus Christ, present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, mark the spiritual life of every council, inspire an ever more

vigorous apostolate of service to Church and community, and bring about that transformation of society in accordance with God’s will which is the essence of the lay vocation. … As the Church in America seeks to move forward with sincere faith and confidence in the Lord’s sustaining grace, I urge all the Knights and their families to intensify their prayers for the authentic renewal of ecclesial life and the preservation of “that unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force” (Eph 4:3). In this context, I express once more my gratitude for the Knights’ unfailing commitment to promoting vocations to the priesthood and the religious life. Experience has shown that the more the lay apostolate develops, the more strongly the need for priests is felt; and the more the laity’s own sense of vocation is deepened, the more deeply is the unique role of priests appreciated. In this spirit I pray that the Knights of Columbus, in full fidelity to the vision of Father Michael McGivney, will make every effort to draw young people to Jesus Christ and help them to understand that the true meaning and value of life is found in the generous gift of self to God and to others. In this way a new generation will discover at the heart of the Church the spiritual resources necessary for building a society marked by authentic freedom, respect for the demands of truth and selfless concern for the good of all, especially the poor and the underprivileged. — Message to the 120th Supreme Convention, Anaheim, Calif., 2002

COMMITMENT TO BUILDING A WORLD marked by justice and mercy, freedom and peace has been a hallmark of the Knights of Columbus since their foundation. The spiritual legacy of your founder, Father Michael McGivney, has borne abundant fruit in an impressive network of social services, forms of charitable assistance, programs of educational and religious formation, and generous contributions to the apostolic works of the Church, both local and universal. Father McGivney’s vision remains as relevant as ever in the changed circumstances of today’s Church and society. At a time when many people throughout the world are experiencing uncertainty and fear about the future, and Christian faith is increasingly considered to belong only to the sphere of private belief and personal life, the Knights of Columbus are challenged to reaffirm their confidence in the power of God’s word to shed light on, and offer solutions to, the grave problems affecting individuals and society. … By their example as Catholic men, husbands and fathers, their witness of love for the Church and their fidelity to her teaching, the Knights have contributed significantly to the Church’s interior renewal and her mission of evangelization. I am particularly grateful for the support which the Knights have given in the public forum regarding freedom in education, the truth about marriage and family life, and the need to respect the dignity and rights of each human person, from conception to natural death.♦ — Message to 121st Supreme Convention, Washington, D.C., 2003 APRIL 2011

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Passage CNS photo from Vatican


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A letter about John Paul II’s beatification and its meaning for the Knights of Columbus by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter to the Knights of Columbus, originally written in Polish, was sent by His Eminence Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz on Feb. 21, 2011.


he beatification of Pope John Paul II will be a very important event for the Church and the world, as it recalls the character and apostolic activities of the pope “from a distant country” who boldly preached Christ to the ends of the world. He reminded us that Jesus is the Redeemer of mankind and the hope for all people of good will, and he awakened in our hearts the apostolic desire to bring the Gospel — the Good News — to people of different races and cultures. Normally, the process of beatification can begin five years after the death of a candidate. By decision of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, the process of beatification of John Paul II began a month after his death. Pope Benedict made this decision after witnessing events that took place during John Paul II’s funeral, where participants cried spontaneously: “Santo Subito!” (“Sainthood now!”). The vast crowd that kept vigil over the tomb of the Holy Father in St. Peter’s Basilica was a great expression of respect and reverence for John Paul II and the belief in his holiness. This reverence for John Paul II has long been expressed by Knights of Columbus, who supported his apostolic ministry from the very beginning. THE BEATIFICATION Beatification is an act of law and liturgy through which the Church acknowledges that a candidate for sainthood enjoys the glory of heaven. In the first centuries of Christianity, until the Middle Ages, beatification was spontaneously performed by the bishop of a given location where God’s people venerated a candidate for sainthood. Later in Christian history, consent of a synod of bishops and the Holy See was needed. Since 1634, beatification and canonization have been approved by the pope. The process of John Paul II’s beatification began in St. John Lateran Basilica and was conducted by the Diocese of Rome. Part of the process also took place in Kraków where Cardinal Karol Wojtyła served as archbishop before becoming pope. During the investigation, more than a thousand witnesses were interviewed and documents were forwarded to the Con-

Pope John Paul II closes the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica Jan. 6, 2001. The pope ended the jubilee year by closing the portal and celebrating Mass for more than 100,000 people in St. Peter’s Square.

gregation for the Causes of Saints, which drafted a positio, a several thousand-page document evaluating the life of John Paul II in light of the theological virtues (faith, hope, love) and the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance). At the end of the process, Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree on the heroic virtue of Pope John Paul II in December 2009. The next stage of the process was the recognition of a miracle through John Paul II’s intercession. Among the many extraordinary graces, the Congregation chose the cure of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre of Parkinson’s disease. After completing the procedure on a miracle, Pope Benedict set the date for the beatification as May 1, Divine Mercy Sunday. This is a meaningful date, since John Paul II was an apostle of Divine Mercy throughout his life. The beatification process for John Paul II lasted nearly six years. It was necessary to carefully examine his rich life, his childhood and youth, his theological studies during the Second World War, his work as a young priest and professor, and his time as archbishop of Kraków and pope. Although the belief in John Paul II’s holiness was prevalent from the very beginning, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has retained all the procedures so as to avoid any suspicion that the process was accelerated or conducted superficially. The beatification of Pope John Paul II will be celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI, who usually celebrates only the canonization of candidates for sainthood. In this way, the pope wants to express his great respect for his predecessor, to whom devotion is present throughout the Catholic Church. THE KNIGHTS’ TESTIMONY OF FAITH The Knights of Columbus, faithful to Christ and the Church and according to the will of its founder, the Servant of God Father Michael McGivney, joins in the renewal of the world through its loving service to people affected by sickness and misfortune. In his speeches, John Paul II repeatedly stressed that the Knights of Columbus provides a wonderful example of the participation of the laity in the Church’s evangelizing mission. Known for their strong stance in defense of the Catholic faith and commitment to charity, Knights give public testimony of faith, thus contributing to our society’s transformation into one family of God. In their apostolic activity, they are faithful to the spirit of Christian love and the teaching of the Catholic Church. John Paul II, thanking the Knights of Columbus for involvement in the affairs of the Church and the world, said in 1988: “The greatest joy and comfort that you bring to the pope’s heart is the fruit of your action in defense of the Christian family and the right to life from conception to natural death, in promoting evangelization, Catholic education, deAPRIL 2011

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Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, shown speaking at a Mass during the 2001 Synod of Bishops, participated as an auditor in the month-long gathering, having been named to that post by Pope John Paul II. velopment of parish life and promoting vocations to priesthood and religious life.” The Knights’ relationship with John Paul II has manifested itself in numerous initiatives for the Church. The Order supported the pope in the great works of the apostolate, such as pastoral trips or aid to people affected by disasters. It also helped in the development of Vatican television, enabling it to broadcast the great events of the Church — such as World Youth Days, anniversaries and the world prayer meeting in Assisi — around the world. The Knights of Columbus, during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, was one of the main sponsors of the renovation and construction projects undertaken at St. Peter’s Basilica. Among other things, the Knights participated in the renovation of the Vatican grottoes and the expansion of the Chapel of Our Lady of Czestochowa. The Order also funded the renovation of the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Holy Door in preparation for the Great Jubilee year 2000. Finally, it is important to mention the establishment of the Vicarius Christi Fund in 1981, which, in part, has supported the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe. In addition to financial support, the Knights responded to the call of the Holy Father for the active involvement of the 18 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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laity in the new evangelization. Knights are involved in the work of evangelization in accordance with their states in life and occupations, imbuing their work with Catholic ethics and Catholic social teaching. The multiplicity and diversity of works undertaken by the Knights of Columbus in the service of Christ and his Church are the fruits of a vitality and spirituality inspired by your founder, Father Michael McGivney. Pope John Paul II, during his meeting with Supreme Knight Virgil Dechant and the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors at the Vatican on Nov. 6, 1995, said, “It is my hope that the Knights will always be in the forefront of the Church’s efforts … by bringing the light of faith to bear upon the urgent social issues and problems of our time.” Today, the Knights of Columbus truly fulfills this task by building in cities and villages “the culture of life” in which each of us must be involved as a child of God. Today, I would like to cordially thank you for your strong stance in defense of life from conception to natural death. I am convinced that the work started during the pontificate of John Paul II will be developed and continued by the Order in Poland, giving the Church in our country a foothold in the laity, dedicated entirely to serving God and the Church. I pray that the joy and the peace of Christ will fill the hearts of the Knights of Columbus in the service to the Church and to humanity. God bless you!♦ CARDINAL STANISŁAW DZIWISZ, the archbishop of Kraków since 2005, served as John Paul II’s personal secretary for nearly 40 years.

S CHOOLS of the N EW

E VANGELIZATION World Youth Days demonstrate the pastoral genius of John Paul II and the vitality of the Church by Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.


hroughout his pontificate, Pope John Paul II enjoyed an towns and villages from sea to sea. Eventually, during World incredible popularity with young Catholics. One of the Youth Day in Toronto, the magnificent presentation of the great reasons for this was the emphasis he placed on World Stations of the Cross was a profound witness of the Christian Youth Days, an initiative that he began in 1985. Through story in the heart of a modern city. these national and international gatherings, John Paul II made Young adults need heroes and heroines today, and Pope it very clear: Young people are not only the future of the John Paul II gave us outstanding models of holiness and huChurch, but are also its present. manity. During his pontificate, he canonized 482 saints and In the face of the cynicism, despair and meaninglessness so proclaimed another 1,338 blessed. How fitting that one of prevalent in the world today, the the principal patrons of World new evangelization at the heart of Youth Day in Madrid in August John Paul II’s teaching is about in2011 will be Blessed John Paul II. One thing is clear: stilling hope and vibrancy in the Many young priests and reliChurch. The pope knew well that gious have said “yes” to their vocaNo one could come away the world is often characterized by tions because of the personal separation, fragmentation and witness of John Paul II, who urged from Toronto, Cologne loneliness. Through the gift of them to “Be not afraid!” Many or Sydney thinking World Youth Days, he offered young men and women have dispowerful opportunities for young covered meaning in his theology that it is possible people to become bearers of hope, of the body and have entered into agents of community and instrumarriage with deep faith and conto compartmentalize ments of a moral globalization. viction. And many ordinary peotheir faith or reduce it to The beatification of Pope John ple have done extraordinary things Paul II invites us to take stock of the because of his influence, his teacha few rules and regulations gifts we received from him and to ings and even his gestures. examine how his vision and hope The extraordinary impact that and Sunday observances. have impacted our own efforts in John Paul II had on younger genpastoral ministry with young adults. erations has happily continued with his successor. In remarks at FORMING A GENERATION the concluding Mass of World Among the central elements of World Youth Days are wor- Youth Day 2008, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney thanked ship, sacred Scripture, catechesis, the sacraments, the cross, Pope Benedict XVI with these words: “Your Holiness, the the saints, pilgrimage, service and vocations. Each of these World Youth Days were the invention of Pope John Paul the components contribute greatly to, and must find a place in, Great. The World Youth Day in Cologne was already anan effective pastoral ministry with young people. nounced before your election. You decided to continue the The preparation for World Youth Days offers the Church World Youth Days and to hold this one in Sydney. We are prosome profound moments to deepen Christian piety and de- foundly grateful for this decision, indicating that the World votion. Throughout Canada, we are unlikely to forget the Youth Days do not belong to one pope, or even one generapowerful images of the World Youth Day Cross during its his- tion, but are now an ordinary part of the life of the Church. toric pilgrimage in 2002. With the assistance of the Knights The John Paul II generation — young and old alike — is of Columbus, the cross traveled through more than 350 cities, proud to be faithful sons and daughters of Pope Benedict.”

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Thousands of young people cheer Pope John Paul II during World Youth Day 1991 in Czestochowa, Poland. the Jubilee World Youth Day on Aug. 15, 2000. Addressing a visibly moved and aging Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Stafford said, “Holy Father, as you walked in the 1960s to the [Second Vatican] Council’s sessions to express again the mystery of the always youthful Church, you experienced the embrace of these great colonnades many times. Today we all pray that your happiness may be full. For these youthful multitudes, now embraced by the arms of St. Peter also, are living witnesses to the council’s hope and to yours.” In this way, the cardinal beautifully expressed the mission and purpose of World Youth Days, which are a snapshot of the joy, hope and unity to which the Church is called. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his inaugural homily in 2005, “[T]he Church is alive. And the Church is young. She holds within herself the future of the world and therefore shows each of us the way towards the future.” World Youth Days are a reminder of this truth.♦ BASILIAN FATHER THOMAS ROSICA, a member of Toronto Council 1388, was the national director and C.E.O. of World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto. He has been the C.E.O. of Canada’s Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation since 2003.

CNS file photo by Arturo Mari

A YOUTHFUL CHURCH A person may choose to speak of his or her World Youth Day experience as something in the past that brightened the shadows and monotony of life at one shining moment in history. There is, however, another perspective. The Gospel story is not about “Camelot” moments but about “Magnificat” moments, constantly inviting Christians to take up Mary’s hymn of praise and thanksgiving for the ways that Almighty God breaks through human history — here and now. In other words, the Christian life is not nourished simply by memories, however good and beautiful they may be. The resurrection of Jesus is not a memory of a distant event in the past, but is the Good News that continues to be fulfilled. We must be honest and admit that World Youth Days offer no panacea or quick fix to the problems of our times, nor to the challenges facing the Church today as we reach out to younger generations. Instead, these events offer a new lens through which we look at the Church and the world, and build our common future. One thing is clear: No one could come away from Toronto, Cologne or Sydney thinking that it is possible to compartmentalize their faith or reduce it to a few rules and regulations and Sunday observances. I cannot help but recall Cardinal James Francis Stafford’s stirring words spoken to the throngs of young people gathered in and around St. Peter’s Square at the opening ceremonies of

Photo by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images


The Knights and the Sisters of Life prepare English-language pilgrim site in Madrid

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of pilgrims representing countries throughout the world have registered for the 26th World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain. From Aug. 16-21, the Knights of Columbus will be a significant part of the event’s excitement as a co-host of a major center for English-speaking pilgrims. With the Sisters of Life, the Order will be sponsoring and hosting the Love and Life Center: A Home for English Speaking Pilgrims at the Palacio de Deportes, a 15,000-seat sports stadium in Madrid. A number of organizations will also assist as co-sponsors, including Holy Cross Family Ministries, the Apostleship of Prayer, the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, and Salt + Light Television. “We are honored to be involved in creating a home for English-speaking pilgrims at World Youth Day together with our co-hosts, the Sisters of Life, and our many cosponsors,” said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. “This will be an event filled with graces for many people, and we very much look forward to an unforgettable week and a spectacular outpouring of faith.” The center will be home to Catholic speakers, catechetical programs, musical performances, discussions and other activities throughout the week. “The various talks, exhibits and concerts will engage the questions of the human heart: the longing for freedom, friendship, love, healing and true communion with God,” said Mother Agnes Mary Donovan of the Sisters of Life. “There will also be many opportunities for prayer so that pilgrims can personally encounter the Lord.” The official theme of the 26th World Youth Day is, “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith” (cf. Col 2:7). In his message for the event, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the need for Europe to rediscover its Christian roots, adding, “I would like all young people … to share this experience, which can prove decisive for their lives. It is an experience of the Lord Jesus, risen and alive, and of his love for each of us.”

At the conclusion the closing Mass at World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia, Spanish pilgrims celebrate Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that Madrid will host the next international World Youth Day. Even older Catholics and people who cannot attend the event in Madrid can participate. Knights are encouraged to sponsor their children, grandchildren or young people in their community as pilgrims, and to pray with and for the pilgrims and organizers as they prepare for the event. To this end, Holy Cross Family Ministries is organizing a World Youth Day rosary campaign titled “Firm in Faith with Mary,” which is scheduled to launch May 1. World Youth Day was first instituted by Pope John Paul II following the success of international gatherings of young people in Rome in 1984 and 1985. While it is celebrated on the diocesan level each year on Palm Sunday, it has included major international celebrations every two to three years, beginning with Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1987. The Knights of Columbus has been present at every international World Youth Day celebration since John Paul II came to Denver in 1993. At that time, Knights provided support in various ways, volunteering and distributing thousands of rosaries, water bottles and Catholic resource pamphlets to pilgrims. In Toronto in 2002, the Order was represented by a delegation of college Knights — as it had been in Paris (1997) and Rome (2000) — and funded the vocations pavilion and Duc in Altum

park, where thousands of pilgrims received the sacrament of reconciliation. When the last international World Youth Day took place in Sydney, Australia, in 2008, the Knights collaborated with the Sisters of Life and the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family to host the Love and Life Site on the campus of a local university. Together with the Sisters of Life, more than 30 college Knights welcomed approximately 12,000 pilgrims to the catechetical site, which featured talks and performances celebrating the Church’s teachings about life and love. The success of that collaboration prompted plans to host the premiere English-language site for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. “It is our desire to create a dynamic atmosphere into which young pilgrims can enter and experience the hope and joy that come from knowing Christ and from belonging to God’s family, the Church,” said Mother Agnes. “We pray that this endeavor will help to promote a genuine civilization of life and love throughout the world.” A soon-to-be-launched Knights of Columbus/World Youth Day website will include more details on the Order’s involvement and the event itself. Watch for more details.♦ APRIL 2011

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Past Supreme Knight Virgil C. Dechant recalls personal encounters with John Paul II


he longest term ever held by a supreme knight (19772000) largely corresponded to the second longest papacy in history (1978-2005). During those years, Past Supreme Knight Virgil C. Dechant met with Pope John Paul II dozens of times, developing a personal rapport and strengthening the Order’s ties to the Holy See. “In the discharge of his duties, Mr. Dechant has never failed in the loyalty born of love,” John Paul II said in his message to the 118th Supreme Convention in 2000, “and he has brought his skills and experience to the service of both the Knights of Columbus and the Church as a whole.” Columbia recently sat down with the past supreme knight, who shared a few highlights of this long relationship.

“WE HAD A BOARD MEETING in Canada when we heard who was elected pope. The board voted that we go, and we had to leave right from there in order to make it to Rome in time. One of our members had a Polish wife, and she told me I needed to greet the pope in Polish with the phrase, ‘Praised be Jesus Christ!’ In my German background, I’m accustomed to greeting priests this way. Although I didn’t know how to speak Polish, she drilled me on it. So, when I got to meet the pope three days after his installation, I said, ‘niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus!’ And he said, ‘Oh, you are Polish.’ I said, ‘No, Holy Father. I’m German.’ “Bishop Martin, who who was in charge of the pope’s household, was French. He was always very kind to me, and he thought I was French. When I said I was German, his chin dropped. That is how we started our relationship with John Paul II. “It wasn’t long after that the pope started traveling, and the first visit he made was to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Cardinal Beras Rojas of Santo Domingo invited us to be there, and I flew in with the supreme chaplain and supreme treasurer. The Holy Father received us in audience at the nunciature, and we were there for his great introduction to the world outside of Rome.” “HE THEN WENT TO MEXICO [in 1979], and we watched the visit from [New Haven]. Of course, it was a tremendous 22 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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success. People came out in droves. It shocked the world. “We were approached later and asked whether we would pay for a film of John Paul’s Mexico visit to be translated into Polish. We agreed to do that, and those videos were smuggled into Poland. At that time, the Iron Curtain was very much present. The videos were shown clandestinely in various parishes in Poland to encourage people peparing for the pope’s visit there.” “REDEMPTORIST FATHER JOHN MCGUIRE headed up the Catholic Information Service and our vocations program at the time. He and I had been invited to the World Congress on Vocations in Rome in 1981. It was a Wednesday, and we went to the papal audience with Count Enrico Galeazzi [the Order’s representative in Rome] and with Archbishop Lino Zanini, delegate of the Fabbrica di San Pietro. We had a front row seat, and we were waiting for the pope. When he went out into the crowd, we heard the shots ring out. The pigeons flew everywhere, and we knew the pope was shot. I recall that very well. “They took the pope out of the square behind the side gates as we were sitting there. Archbishop Zanini then said, ‘Let’s go. We’ll go in and see Archbishop Deskur.’ Cardinal [Andrzej Maria] Deskur was the pope’s friend, and he preceded Cardinal John Foley as president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. We went to see him, and there were all of the Polish nuns from the pope’s household. For about an hour we sat with them while listening to a small radio, and we prayed. Finally, the cardinal looked up at an image of Our Lady of Czestochowa and said, ‘You know, today is the feast of Fatima. She will save him.’ Just like that, he made a pronouncement, and the sisters and everybody smiled. It was quite an experience.” “ONE OF THE WARMEST short audiences I had with Pope John Paul II was in September as he was recuperating at Castel Gandolfo. My wife, Count Galeazzi and I went over to see the Holy Father. He still looked very much underweight, but he had a warm smile on his face, and you could see that he was on his way to recovery.”

“THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS HAD, for more than 50 years, a link to the Vatican with our playgrounds in Rome. At the time, too, the Church had budgetary problems, and I thought that we should set up something that would, in perpetuity, link the Knights to the Holy See. At the Supreme Convention in Louisville [Ky.] in 1981, we adopted a resolution to create a fund to be used by the pope for charities around the world, since nobody knows the needs of the world better than the pope. The Knights would serve a dual purpose with establishing the Vicarius Christi Fund: to give the Holy Father some funds so he could address any needs without explanation and to keep the Order linked to the pope, because every year we could bring the earnings of the fund to Rome.” “AT THE 100TH SUPREME CONVENTION [in Hartford, Conn., in 1982], I was able to arrange a private lunch between President Reagan, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal [Agostino] Casaroli, Archbishop Pio Laghi, the apostolic delegate to the United States, Mr. William Wilson, who was the president’s representative to the Vatican, and one or two others. They met in my suite, but I was not present. At that meeting, they discussed matters of Eastern Europe and the future ambassadorial relationship between the United States and the Vatican. Within the year, both countries accepted each other. Archbishop Laghi became a nuncio and Mr. Wilson became the first ambassador from the United States to the Holy See.” “ONE OF THE GREATEST MOMENTS was when we were asked to co-host the Mass in Brooklyn in 1995. That had never been done by a lay organization. The word came to us that the

Then-Supreme Knight Virgil Dechant, along with the Board of Directors, meets with John Paul II at the Embassy of the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See during the pope’s visit to Washington, D.C., in 1979. Holy Father wanted us to host it. He wanted a Catholic, family organization to do it, and we were chosen.” “THE LAST TIME I SAW the Holy Father was during an audience following a concert. He saw me down the line and grinned. Bishop, now Cardinal, Donald Wuerl later joked, ‘After you, he forgot about all the rest of us.’ “We related, communicated. The point is it really got down to trust. The Holy Father trusted us. He was comfortable knowing there wouldn’t be any surprises. It goes back to our presence in Rome and our modus operandi: We just let them know that we are there for service, and when they want us, they know where to find us.” “THE FUNERAL IN 2005 was one of the few times I served in my capacity as a Gentleman of His Holiness. I decided I would join the Vatican staff and help usher in the visiting dignitaries and pay my respects in that way. Almost every head of state in the world was there. I had the privilege of escorting [President George W. Bush] and the first lady, followed by President George Herbert Bush and President Clinton, who were also in the entourage. That was an experience — to see the Mass; to see the wind causing the pages of the book on top of the beautiful pine casket to flutter, as if showing the span of life passing by; to see the people for miles. He captured the world.”♦ APRIL 2011

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john paul the EVANGELIZER John Paul II left a diverse and extensive legacy that will benefit the Church and the world for years to come by Greg Burke


hen Pope John Paul II was shot on May 13, 1981, he nearly bled to death on his way to the hospital. He considered his survival a miracle. But what if the bullets that struck the pope had actually killed him? Certainly, history would have been a bit different if John Paul II had died a martyr. The Berlin Wall would still have fallen, and communism would still have crumbled, even if this would have taken significantly longer. I say this not to diminish the pope’s role in the fall of the Soviet Union, but simply to emphasize that this is probably not his greatest accomplishment. A comprehensive assessment of John Paul II’s impact on the Church and the world would fill volumes. Still, we may observe a number of recurring themes of John Paul II’s extraordinary life and teaching that continue to be felt today. A NEW EVANGELIZATION Above all, Pope John Paul II was an energetic and tireless evangelizer. This became clear with some of the first words the former archbishop of Krakow spoke upon his election as pope in 1978. “Brothers and sisters, be not afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power,” John Paul II said during the homily at his

Pope John Paul II waves to crowds on the way to the cathedral in Oaxaca, Mexico, Jan. 31, 1979. APRIL 2011

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When John Paul II celebrated Mass on Boston Common on Oct. 1, 1979, he made a special appeal to young Americans: “To each one of you I say therefore: heed the call of Christ when you hear him saying to you: ‘Follow me! Walk in my path! Stand by my side! Remain in my love!’ There is a choice to be made: a choice for Christ and his way of life, and his commandment of love.” The pope added that despite all the technological advances and material goods that the world has to offer, people still yearn for “more truth, for more love, for more joy. And all of this is found in Christ and in his way of life.” A CLEAR MESSAGE While many of Pope John Paul II’s encyclicals were theologically dense, his message in general was simple, clear and demanding — which is probably why young people felt so attracted to it. The Catholic Church is ultimately about following Christ, which means allegiance to his Church and knowing what the Church teaches. It sounds simple, but John Paul II saw a tremendous amount of ignorance in the world, even with regard to very basic Christian principles, and he did his best to combat it. The pope did not shy away from tough Catholic teachings on sexual morality, marriage or the sanctity of life. On the contrary, he did his best to make these teachings accessible, and he presented them in an attractive way. This was part of John Paul II’s secret: People could sense his authenticity. They saw someone who could demand of others because he demanded of himself. They also saw the joy of one who has left everything to follow the Lord. One of the pope’s constant messages was respect for human life. This became increasingly important in a world where abortion became widespread, scientific developments allowed for the manipulation of life at its earliest stages, and a movement to promote euthanasia was spreading. Pope John Paul II in many ways led the battle in defending life against a growing number of threats. His encyclical evangelium vitae (the gospel of life) helped advance a culture that respects every human life from conception until natural death. Related to this was his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, in which the pope articulated the central role of the family as a school of life and love. Likewise, in developing a “theology of the body,” he explained how our creation as male and female relates to this call to build a culture of life. Certainly, a hallmark of John Paul II’s papacy was the Catechism of the Catholic Church, first published in 1992. In essence, the Catechism is a summary of what the Church teaches (the title could have been, “This Is Who We Are, This Is What We Believe”). While it is a massive, comprehensive tome, the Catechism is also accessible and promises to be an important point of reference for generations of Catholics to come. Whether someone is approaching the faith for the first time, coming back after years away, or just trying to remember a particular doctrine or teaching, the Catechism is the place to go.

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inauguration Mass. “Be not afraid. Open wide the doors to Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of states, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Be not afraid.” These words set the tone of John Paul II’s entire pontificate. “Let Christ speak to man,” the pope implored. “He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life.” That message would be fleshed out in a more intellectual manner in his first encyclical, redemptor hominis (the redeemer of man), but in his homilies it was relatively simple. I had dinner not long ago with a group of friends, all 30-somethings who describe themselves as part of the “John Paul II Generation.” They are smart, sophisticated people whose lives were changed by the late pope. While this is largely due to a long tradition of World Youth Days — a John Paul II initiative — the pontiff had a way of attracting and challenging young people from the very start of his pontificate.

People could sense his authenticity. They saw someone who could demand of others because he demanded of himself. They also saw the joy of one who has left everything to follow the Lord.

Photo by Matthew Naythons//Time life Pictures/Getty Images

Facing Page: Pope John Paul II visits with Mehmet Ali Agca in a Rome prison Dec. 27, 1983. Their meeting came two years after Agca was arrested for shooting the pontiff in St. Peter’s Square. Above: Pope John Paul II is pictured during his visit to Poland in 1983. A POPE OF SURPRISES John Paul II surprised a lot of people during his long pontificate, including many of the prelates who worked closely with him. These surprises were often small things, like walking through the back of the plane on his trips to take a question from each reporter or sneaking out of the Vatican for a day of skiing. But sometimes the surprises were bigger, and one that certainly shocked many people was his mea culpa, made in the jubilee year 2000, for all the situations in which the Catholic Church failed to be faithful in its mission to Christ over the centuries. While that may have surprised some people, for John Paul it all seemed very logical. We are a Church of sinful human beings. We acknowledge our faults individually every time we go to confession, and we should acknowledge them as a community. While taking nothing away from all the glories of the Catholic Church over the centuries — among them outstanding examples of Christian charity, heroism and holiness — the pope’s public prayer of forgiveness was a kind of purifica-

tion. It may have all been providential as well, because it helped pave the way for a deeper purification in the wake of sex abuse scandals within the Church. It was difficult to watch John Paul II’s health decline, especially for anyone who remembered him as a robust athlete. Yet, it was also a striking example of someone putting himself entirely in God’s hands. It reminded us that, ultimately, we are not in control, not even the pope. Pope John Paul II believed in divine providence and entrusted himself to the loving hands of Our Lady, who was there to protect him, not only when he was nearly killed in 1981, but every day of his life. His motto — “totus tuus” (All Yours) — referred to the deep, almost childlike devotion he had to Mary. You could see this devotion in the way he prayed the rosary and constantly asked for Our Lady’s help. A friend once told me that in 500 years, people will not be talking about John Paul II and the fall of communism. Rather, he argued, John Paul II will be remembered best for instituting the five new mysteries of the rosary, the Mysteries of Light. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure: John Paul II contributed much to the Church and to the world during his nearly 27-year papacy, and he will be warmly remembered for many generations to come.♦ GREG BURKE is the Rome correspondent for Fox News.

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Journeys into Our Hearts In his visits to Knights of Columbus lands, John Paul II touched lives and inspired faith by Brian Caulfield

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f all the trips Pope John Paul II made during his long Previous Spread: Ticker tape showers down upon Pope John Paul II during pontificate, visiting 129 countries and addressing hun- a 1979 parade in his honor along Broadway in Lower Manhattan. dreds of millions of people over the course of nearly 27 years, Facing Page: John Paul II leaves St. Patrick’s Cathedral during his first visit a short walk he took in New York City can serve as a symbol to the United States in 1979. of the spirit and purpose of his travels. In 1995, after comFelipe G. Solis-Ancona, a past state deputy of Mexico pleting a prayer service and exiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral to greet the massive crowds on Fifth Avenue, John Paul II (1983-1985), recalled John Paul II’s 1993 visit to Yucatan. walked past the waiting Popemobile to the crowd of people Solis, who arranged the pope’s stay and schedule, said, “I standing behind police barricades. With Cardinal John was honored with a blessing. He spoke directly to me, lookO’Connor of New York by his side, the pope walked near the ing into my eyes, a saint such as he was. I will never forget crowd, greeting and blessing people until they arrived at the his eyes, his voice, his pointing to me with his finger when he said, ‘Blessings.’ … I cried in silence and felt loved by a cardinal’s residence. That stroll along the street stole the headlines and TV saint. This I will never forget.” In 1979, John Paul II made his first of five trips to the sound bites that October day and told the New York media that the pope was not an old man out of touch with Amer- United States, bringing forth a burst of energy in the Church, ica, but instead a master of the stage and of his own message. especially among young people. At a youth rally at Madison The impromptu move also underscored John Paul II’s mis- Square Garden, the site of sports events and rock concerts, the pope held center stage, resion on his trips — to be with sponding to the crowd’s exuberpeople, to touch them, to bless ance with a joyful “Woo, woo, them and to look deeply into It is estimated that woo …” that captured youthful their eyes with an unshakeable hearts. He brought that enthusifaith in Christ. It is estimated more people saw John Paul II asm to his other U.S. destinathat more people saw him in perin person than any other tions that year, including son than any other figure in hisBoston, Philadelphia, Chicago, tory, yet for those who were figure in history, yet for those Washington, D.C., and Des fortunate to get close to him durMoines, Iowa. ing his public appearances, it who were fortunate to get A visit from John Paul II was seemed that he was present for close to him during his not only a religious and spiritual them alone. event; at times he influenced the “It was the experience of a lifetime public appearances, course of a nation’s history. In to meet him face to face and get to February 1981, when he landed shake his hand and kiss his ring,” reit seemed that he was in the Philippines, the country called James A. Foy, past state deputy present for them alone. was under martial law declared of New York (1995-97). by President Ferdinand Marcos. The day before that 1995 Five years later, Marcos was deprayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Foy and his wife, Dorothy, had been gift bearers posed by the peaceful People Power revolt that was guided during the K of C-sponsored Mass that John Paul II cele- by Church leaders and the country’s majority Catholic popbrated at Aqueduct Racetrack. The pope was joined at the ulation. There may not have been a direct link between the altar by then-Supreme Chaplain Bishop Thomas V. Daily of two events, said Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, who was a newly orBrooklyn. Meanwhile, a full retinue of New York Fourth De- dained deacon when the pope first came to his country, but gree Knights provided an honor guard for the event, and the Msgr. Quitorio recalled hearing that President Marcos was suspending martial law during the pope’s visit. pope greeted and thanked the Order by name. “The people were so tired and downtrodden under martial “Kneeling before him, we were in awe, until he asked us where we were from and he showed this great ability to make law. So, when it was heard that Marcos was lifting martial you feel comfortable in his presence,” added Foy. “Here he law — on paper, though not in fact — there was an amazing was the successor of Peter, and he was talking to us as friends.” spirit of hope within the Church and the country,” said Msgr. Quitorio, who now serves as the communications director for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the PhilipTHE POPE’S ‘ARMY’ In his travels, John Paul II was greeted on many occasions by pines and as the K of C state chaplain for the jurisdiction of members of the Knights of Columbus. During his visits to Luzon. “We saw the power of faith and a new spirit in the the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Philip- Philippines.” During the trip, the pope landed in Cebu City, in the cenpines, Guam, the Caribbean and even Cuba — all lands where K of C councils are present — Knights were among tral Visayas region of the country where 16th century exthe millions flocking to meet him, joining with Fourth De- plorer Ferdinand Magellan first brought Christianity to Asia. “After the Mass he proceeded to the archbishop’s residence gree honor guards to form a peaceful “army” of faith. 30 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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to take a rest, but thousands of people stayed in the plaza in front of the residence, waiting for the pope to greet them through the window,” recalled Eduardo G. Laczi, past state deputy of Visayas (2003-07), who was directing media coverage of the event for a regional television station. “As early as 4 o’clock the next morning, people were lining up again on the streets. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the people of Iloilo and nearby provinces.” John Paul II visited the Philippines again in January 1995 for World Youth Day, which brought an estimated 5 million people to the spacious Luneta Park along Manila Bay. At the time, it was reportedly the largest gathering of people ever recorded. VOCATIONS FOUND The Holy Father left a lasting impression on the Order and on Knights wherever he went, and in some cases changed lives and inspired vocations. During World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, many young people were inspired to seek a religious vocation, including Brother Daniel Tourigny of the Society of Mary. A member of Plessisville (Quebec) Council 2527, Brother Tourigny called the Toronto event “a turning point” that led him to consider entering religious life. He added, “It was World Youth Day that began my admiration toward John Paul, and here I am today.” At the same event, Justin Deges found a different vocation — to marriage. He recalled, “I saw my future wife standing

there alone in the cold, so I put my arms around her and shielded her from the cold and the rain during the Mass. It was a very moving moment between us, as if God had planned it that way.” They married in 2006 and currently live in Kansas, where Deges works as a K of C field agent. Of course, the country where the pope’s visits had the largest impact in historical terms was his native Poland, where he made eight pastoral visits during his papacy. The first visit in 1979 is credited with undermining the communist regime and inspiring the Solidarity movement that helped topple the Soviet Union. “Through his visits, we were able to discover who we were as a people, as a nation, as Catholics,” said Father Witold Kania, who serves as the chaplain of Matki Boskiej Piekarskiej Council 14983 in Tychy, Poland. “I remember his second visit, in 1993. I was a teenager at the youth rally in Jasna Gora. There were so many of us packed together that it was impossible to fall down.” Ordained in 1992, Father Kania said that he is able now to convey that spirit of solidarity to his brother Knights. “You go into any home in Poland, and every one has a picture of John Paul II,” he explained. “He has become for us our brother, our guest, a member of our family. This is the way we Knights look at him, too.”♦ BRIAN CAULFIELD is a communications specialist for the Knights of Columbus and editor of the website Fathers for Good (

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Charity MEMBERS OF Holy Cross Council 4104 in Laguna, Luzon, dish out soup for needy children during a councilsponsored feeding event. Knights, in conjunction with Laguna State Polytechnic University, distributed food, personal hygiene products and reading materials. • Msgr. Hugh MacPherson Council 14596 in St. Andrews, Nova Scotia, participated in the “Raise the Roof ” campaign at Immaculate Conception Church. Knights hosted a pancake breakfast that raised $1,700 to replace the building’s existing roof and volunteered at a number of other fundraising events.




ERIK VAZQUEZ RODRIGUEZ (left) of Juan Pablo II Council 14104 in Mexico City feeds baby food to a patient at a hospital in Tepexpan. Knights collected food and hosted a taquiza (a taco buffet) at the hospital for residents and staff. Council members also brought baby food for patients who can no longer eat solid food before escorting them for a ride around the hospital gardens. Council 14104 is a college council comprised of students from several area universities.

LARRY CANNON (center) of Bishop Joseph Durick Assembly in Adamsville, Ala., looks on while Patty Wehby and Douglas Blanchard light a memorial candle at a special Mass hosted by St. Patrick Council 10567. Knights and their wives gathered to celebrate the lives of 27 deceased members of the council and its ladies’ auxiliary. All widows and family members of the deceased were invited to the event.

CAPT. MARLON GOMEZ of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) in Kandahar, Afghanistan, displays some of the goodies he received in a care package sent by St. Mark Council 12553 in Denton, Texas. Knights in Texas assembled care packages that were mailed to the St. Michael the Archangel Round Table at the Bagram Air Force Base in Parvan, Afghanistan, which is sponsored by St. Luke Parish and Msgr. Robert D. Goodill Council 11229 in Erie, Pa. The packages were then distributed to troops throughout the region.

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Building a better world one council at a time Every day, Knights all over the world are given opportunities to make a difference — whether through community service, raising money or prayer. We celebrate each and every Knight for his strength, his compassion and his dedication to building a better world.




Aaron and Alex McKenney of The Four Chaplains Council 10652 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington display the U.S., K of C and Vatican flags that they brought to the summit of Mount Rainier. The twin brothers are former college Knights who are now serving in the U.S. Army. Aaron recently returned from a year in Iraq, while Alex served for a year in Afghanistan. When the brothers returned home following their deployment, they climbed Mount Rainier together and brought the three flags with them to the summit at 14,411 feet.

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‘CHRIST WAS CALLING ME TO SERVE HIM AS A PRIEST’ I am often asked, especially by young people, why I became a priest. May be some of you would like to ask the same question. Let me try briefly to reply. I must begin by saying that it is impossible to explain entirely, for it remains a mystery, even to myself. How does one explain the ways of God? Yet, I know that at a certain point in my life, I became convinced that Christ was saying to me what he had said to thousands before me: “Come, follow me!” There was a clear sense that what I heard in my heart was no human voice, nor was it just an idea of my own. Christ was calling me to serve him as a priest. And you can probably tell, I am deeply grateful to God for my vocation to the priesthood. Nothing means more to me or gives me greater joy than to celebrate Mass each day and to serve God’s people in the Church. That has been true ever since the day of my ordination as a priest. Nothing has ever changed it, not even becoming pope. POPE JOHN PAUL II Los Angeles, Sept. 15, 1987