Columbia April 2014

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St. John Paul the Great

“From its foundation, your Order has been committed to the material and spiritual well-being of its members and to the promotion of the Church’s mission.” ~ Pope John Paul II to Knights of Columbus Insurance Agents, March 20, 1993.

Two decades later, we’re still committed. Thank you, St. John Paul II, for your witness. The Knights of Columbus Insurance Agents





Building a better world Through his personal witness and tireless defense of the family, St. John Paul II proclaimed the dignity of every person. BY SUPREME KNIGHT CARL A. ANDERSON


Learning the faith, living the faith Formed and inspired by faithful men, Karol Wojtyła became a powerful father figure for many. BY SUPREME CHAPLAIN ARCHBISHOP WILLIAM E. LORI

AD DESIGN: Matt Duman — AD PHOTO: CNS photo/Joe Rinkus Jr. – THIS PAGE: CNS photo/Catholic Press Photo


Newly elected Pope John Paul II greets the world from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica Oct. 16, 1978. The first Polish pope will be canonized together with Pope John XXIII on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27.

Knights of Columbus News Special Olympics Athletes Train With Pros • K of C Cardinals Receive Red Hats at Vatican • Order Distributes Pope Francis DVDs to Seminaries • 40 Cans for Lent Project Gives Hope • Knights, Families Urged to Pray for Ukraine • K of C Rome Playgrounds to Host Canonization Pilgrims

21 Fathers for Good John Paul II continues to guide families through the confusing landscape of modern culture. BY RANDY HAIN


8 Crossing the Threshold of Sanctity An interview with the postulator of the cause for canonization of St. John Paul II. BY COLUMBIA STAFF

14 Five Essential Insights of Pope John Paul II With the canonization of Karol Wojtyła, the Church embraces a vision of man and the family centered in Christ. BY MICHELLE K. BORRAS

16 Co-Workers in Christ’s Vineyard Pope John Paul II often shared pastoral guidance with the Knights of Columbus and expressed gratitude for their friendship. BY COLUMBIA STAFF

22 In the Footsteps of St. John Paul II Through the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., the Knights of Columbus will preserve the spiritual legacy of the late pope. BY ALTON J. PELOWSKI

26 Good Pope John and the Knights With the canonization of Pope John XXIII, the Order remembers its close relationship with this visionary pontiff. BY JOSEPH PRONECHEN

30 The Birthplace of the New Evangelization For John Paul II, the faith and struggle of his countrymen in Nowa Huta heralded a new springtime for Christianity. BY KRZYSZTOF MAZUR

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The John Paul II Generation THE CANONIzATION of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II on April 27 will celebrate the personal holiness of two men who profoundly impacted the universal Church. Although John XXIII’s pontificate was relatively brief, he will forever be known as the pope who convened the Second Vatican Council, which will shape the Church’s mission of evangelization for decades to come (see page 26). Bishop Karol Wojtyła was an active father of the council and wrote extensively about the council’s scope and vision. Elected in 1978 as the first Polish pope, his 26-year pontificate — the third longest in history after St. Peter and Pius IX — was dedicated to faithfully interpreting and implementing Vatican II. Amid John Paul II’s more than 100 apostolic voyages outside of Italy — more than all of his predecessors combined — he won the hearts of an entire generation of Catholics. I count myself among the John Paul II Generation, as I was born just four months after he was elected. My father, proud of his Polish heritage and Catholic faith, even chose John-Paul as my middle name. As a result, I was intimately aware of John Paul II from a young age. Our family attended a papal Mass during the pope’s 1987 visit to Detroit, and I have many fond memories of World Youth Days in Denver (1993) and Toronto (2002). When the Holy Father could not come to me, I went to him. I made personal pilgrimages to Rome in 1998 and 2002, and went back in 2003 with a small group of young adults for the beatification of Mother Teresa and John Paul II’s 25th anniversary celebration. Finally, following the pope’s death in 2005, I went to Poland with friends to walk in John Paul II’s footsteps in Kraków, Wadowice, Częstochowa and elsewhere. Friends and family joked that I was a John Paul II “groupie,” and they were right. But what began as simply an attraction to the Holy Father’s charisma and joyful witness of the Gospel grew into a deep appreciation of John Paul II’s 2 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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theological and philosophical wisdom. I discovered in his writings on such topics as authentic freedom, the sanctity of life and the universal vocation to love an eminently practical vision of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God (see page 14). In contemplating the deepest questions of man, his answers radiated with the “splendor of truth.” Although I never had the opportunity to meet John Paul II, I felt as though he knew me, for he strongly affected my life, just as he did so many others. Not long after our group returned from its 2003 pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi, one friend decided to join the Sisters of Life; another entered the seminary and is now a priest; two others began dating and were married a year later (they now have five children, including two named after John Paul and Mother Teresa). As for me, it was there that I made the decision to apply to the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, where I studied from 2004-2006. There are, of course, countless stories of Catholics today whose lives have been transformed in one way or another by their experiences of John Paul II and his teachings (see, e.g., page 21). This is true not only of one generation, but of several. And even those who have not been impacted directly by his life and teachings still encounter the fruits of his theological, ecclesial and societal contributions in innumerable ways. Finally, his legacy will be preserved and deepened in a special way for future generations through what will soon be known as the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, operated by the Knights of Columbus (see page 22). In this way and others, the Knights will help ensure that the gift of John Paul II’s life and ministry, which was received with joy and gratitude by an entire generation, will endure for many more to come.♦ ALTON JOHN-PAUL PELOWSKI EDITOR

COLUMBIA PUBLISHER Knights of Columbus ________ SUPREME OFFICERS Carl A. Anderson SUPREME KNIGHT Most Rev. William E. Lori, S.T.D. SUPREME CHAPLAIN Logan T. Ludwig DEPUTY SUPREME KNIGHT Charles E. Maurer Jr. SUPREME SECRETARY Michael J. O’Connor SUPREME TREASURER John A. Marrella SUPREME ADVOCATE ________ EDITORIAL Alton J. Pelowski EDITOR Andrew J. Matt MANAGING EDITOR Patrick Scalisi SENIOR EDITOR Kaitlyn Landgraf EDITORIAL ASSISTANT ________

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 ADDRESS CHANGES 203-752-4580 OTHER INQUIRIES 203-752-4398 FAX 203-752-4109 CUSTOMER SERVICE 1-800-380-9995 E-MAIL INTERNET ________ 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 © 2014 All rights reserved ________ ON THE COVER Pope John Paul II stands on the threshold of a former slave-trade depot on Goree Island during his 1992 trip to Senegal.

COVER: CNS photo/Giancarlo Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo



Champion of Human Love Through his personal witness and tireless defense of the family, St. John Paul II proclaimed the dignity of every person by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson THIS MONTH, we will celebrate the canonization of Blessed John Paul II. Some years ago, as part of the process for his canonization, I was interviewed by the office of the postulator of his cause. That interview was later published in the postulator’s magazine, Totus Tuus. I thought that this month would be an appropriate time to reprint a portion of that interview in place of my monthly column.

include questions about people he knew — were they well, how were their families, how was their work going? He was pastor of the universal Church, and he was also pastor of individuals and of families. One special occasion was a meeting in which he blessed a painting of the Divine Mercy that we then used for a special pilgrimage throughout the Knights of Columbus. He wanted very much to spread this devotion throughout the world, and we wanted

International Congress of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. In what way do you hand on this rich heritage as supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus? “Loving human love” is such an accurate way to describe the heritage of John Paul II because perhaps more On June 28, 2005, you and your than anyone else in our time, he was wife, Dorian, participated in truly the champion of the Opening Ceremony of the human love. He knew that Cause for the Beatification without love man’s life is unJohn Paul II knew that without and Canonization of the Serintelligible and that each perlove man’s life is unintelligible, vant of God John Paul II. You son is of such tremendous also had the opportunity to be dignity that only the reand only the response of love is received on a number of occasponse of love is worthy of sions in private audience by the human person. … worthy of the human person. John Paul II. What do you reThe teaching of John member in particular about Paul II in this area is so rich those meetings? to be more closely united with him in and complex that it will require Earlier, Dorian and I were together this prayer. many decades of scholarly study to in St. Peter’s Square for the funeral On one of our last visits, the Holy do it justice. Mass of John Paul II. We saw those Father was having great difficulty In the Knights of Columbus, we beautiful banners that proclaimed speaking, and so our conversation was take a more direct approach: we strive “Santo Subito” [“Sainthood Now”] mostly one-sided. We said good-bye to build stronger Catholic families and on that day we made that prayer and received his blessing. When we and parish communities through our own; so we had to be in Rome in reached the door of his study, I turned works of charity, unity and fraternity. 2005 to participate with so many to wave a final good-bye and he was We view the pastoral legacy of John friends in the opening ceremony of sitting there repeatedly making the Paul II regarding marriage and family the cause of John Paul II. sign of the cross. Not even illness as the prophetic key to the future of Private meetings with John Paul II could prevent his desire to communi- strong Catholic communities. We were always remarkable because of his cate with others. This was just a small take his message to heart of a new great interest in what was happening; glimpse of what the world would later evangelization in which the role of the family and of the laity is central to the he wanted the latest information see during the last days of his life. future well-being of the Church. about how situations were changing, what should be done to help and esJohn Paul II will remain a spiritual “Loving Human Love: The Heritage pecially what could he do as pope to of John Paul II on Marriage and father to us for many years to come. Vivat Jesus! help. Yet conversations would often the Family” was the theme of the 25th

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The Spiritual Fatherhood of St. John Paul II Formed and inspired by faithful men, Karol Wojtyła became a powerful father figure for many by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori YEARS AGO, while serving as Cardinal the Body and the Bride of Jesus Christ” James A. Hickey’s priest-secretary, I had (23). In this way, the priest’s celibate way the privilege of joining a small number of life is far from lonely and barren. As a priestly vocation began stirring in of priests who concelebrated an early Rather, it corresponds to the joy that his heart, Wojtyła found a true spiritual morning Mass in Pope John Paul II’s pri- married couples experience when, even father in Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, vate chapel. Afterward, the Holy Father amid suffering and setbacks, they give archbishop of Kraków. During World greeted each of us as our picture was themselves to each other and to their War II, Polish seminarians had to be taken. Of all the photos I had with John families. When a priest gives himself to formed for the priesthood clandestinely Paul II over the years, this one is my fa- the people he serves, even when this en- in the cardinal’s residence. Here, up close, vorite: The pope put his hand on my tails great sacrifice, the Lord sees to it that the seminarian Karol Wojtyła witnessed shoulder and smiled at me, the way a his ministry bears much fruit. in Cardinal Sapieha a man of profound proud father smiles at his son. It faith and great courage in the face was a moment when I personally of grave and tragic circumstances. Both by his teaching and his experienced the spiritual fatherIt was an example that John Paul II hood of John Paul II. example, John Paul II personified cherished for the rest of his life. Throughout his ministry as THE RADIATION the love a father should express priest, bishop and pope, John OF FATHERHOOD Paul II related to everyone as a toward his family and the love Pope John Paul II affected many strong, loving and wise spiritual priests in the same way that he father. From the very beginning, that a spiritual father, a priest, did me. Indeed, his spiritual fahe reached out to young people therhood radiated through the — hiking and skiing with them, should express toward the Church, inspiring a new generparticipating in student theater, Church and her members. ation of priests. They were atteaching them to know and love tracted not only by the pope’s their culture, and helping them to obvious intelligence, energy and Many have written about John Paul II’s think critically about life. Most imporcharisma, but even more by his faith, relationship with his own father, a man tantly, he encouraged them to discover inner strength and fatherly love. Both by of faith and virtue. The future pope’s their dignity and joy in Christ. his teaching and his example, John Paul mother died when he was 8 years old, yet When he became archbishop of II personified the love a father should ex- throughout his formative years, young Kraków, the communist authorities dispress toward his family and the love that Karol Wojtyła was blessed by a loving fa- missed him as a thinker and dreamer, a a spiritual father, a priest, should express ther. Capt. Wojtyła instilled in Karol a poet, playwright and mystic. He was all toward the Church and her members. passion for history, literature and sports. those things — and much more. ArchIn his beautiful exhortation titled Pas- Above all, he helped his son develop a bishop (later Cardinal) Wojtyła was a tores Dabo Vobis (I Will Give You Shep- deep life of faith and prayer, so that he courageous leader, an image of the Good herds), John Paul II spoke of this spousal might become the man that God in- Shepherd who guides his flock through dimension of the priesthood. He wrote tended him to be. Later, as pope, Karol dangerous territory. As a wise father, he that just as Jesus gave his very life for the Wojtyła would write that his father’s ex- knew how to deal with the communist Church, so too must priests make a “gift ample of prayer was his “first seminary” regime in order to defend the rights of his of self to the Church … insofar as she is (Gift and Mystery, p. 20). people and the freedom of the Church. 4 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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FATHER FIGURE FOR THE WORLD In 1978, when he was elected pope, John Paul II embraced a much larger family of faith. Months later he returned to Poland, his fatherland, with a message of human dignity, hope and freedom — the freedom that God the Father offers us in Christ — and soon brought that same message all around the world. Among his earliest pastoral innovations was World Youth Day. Though some of his advisers told him this idea would never work, Pope John Paul II knew better. Nothing would prevent him from touching the minds and hearts of young people just as his


POPE FRANCIS: CNS photo/Paul Haring — BLESSED ZENON: Photo courtesy of the Redemptorist General Archive, Rome (

Offered in Solidarity with Pope Francis GENERAL: That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources. MISSION: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

own father had nurtured him in the ways of faith, wisdom and human maturity. Young people responded enthusiastically, turning out in droves, despite predictions of failure. And it seems the older and more infirm that John Paul II became, the more young people loved him. Who can forget the throng of young people holding vigil in St. Peter’s Square on the night the pope said, “Let me go to the house of my Father”? As we celebrate the canonization of St. John Paul II, let us keep in mind his spiritual fatherhood. In his ministry to the family, he taught us to seek the source of fatherhood in the heav-

enly Father, whom Jesus teaches us to call, “Abba, Father” (Mk 14:36; cf. Rom 8:15, Gal 4:6). He helped us to see how fathers and mothers cooperate and complement each other in establishing a stable home and in guiding their children in the ways of faith, knowledge and love. And always he spoke about fatherhood, motherhood and family as a vocation of love, service and self-giving. As Knights of Columbus, as fathers of families, as priests who are spiritual fathers, let us ask St. John Paul II’s intercession that we may be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect (cf. Mt 5:48).♦


Blessed Zenon Kovalyk (1903-1941) BORN AUG. 18, 1903, in western Ukraine, Zenon Kovalyk was raised in a poor peasant family. He dreamed of becoming a priest and entered the Redemptorist order in 1926. Kovalyk studied philosophy and theology in Belgium before his ordination in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in 1932. His ordination card bore these prophetic words: “Jesus, receive me as a sacrifice together with the Holy Sacrifice of your Flesh and Blood.” For the next seven years, Father Kovalyk conducted missions in Ukraine, working with Orthodox believers who sincerely sought reunion with the see of Rome. When the Soviet Union invaded Ukraine in 1939, Father Kovalyk openly condemned the atheistic regime. Advised by friends to soften the tone of his sermons, he replied, “I will receive death gladly if such be God’s will, but I shall never compromise my conscience as a preacher.” Renowned for his apostolic zeal, he continued preaching and delivered his last mission sermon in August 1940 before 10,000 faithful. Four months later, Father Kovalyk was arrested by the Soviet secret police. Confined for six months in Lviv’s Brygidki

prison, he endured dozens of beatings and brutal interrogations. Sharing a 14by-12-foot cell with 32 others, he never ceased his pastoral work of hearing confessions, leading prayers and giving spiritual direction. Gifted with a keen sense of humor, Father Kovalyk also buoyed the spirits of his fellow prisoners by telling them amusing stories. When Nazi forces captured Lviv on June 29, 1941, residents rushed to the prison hoping to find their relatives. While most of the inmates had been shot by the fleeing prison keepers, Father Kovalyk’s body was discovered crucified to a wall. Together with Bishop Mykola Charnetsky and 22 martyr-companions, Father Kovalyk was beatified in Lviv by Pope John Paul II on June 27, 2001.♦

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Knights Help Special Olympics Athletes Train With Pros

Four former players of the Indianapolis Colts join volunteers and participants during the Special Olympics “Mini Combine and Football Clinic” Feb. 22. many of the same drills that the nation’s premier college football players were being put through just a few miles away at Lucas Oil Stadium. The event served as an important reminder of the dignity of the human person and the abilities and character of Special Olympics athletes.

The players and participants were joined by a group of Indiana Knights that included State Deputy Lawrence B. Fluhr, along with Special Olympics personnel and Catholic Athletes for Christ volunteers — all of whom came away inspired by the athletes’ determination, joy and commitment to excellence.♦

K of C Cardinals Receive Red Hats at Vatican

Order Distributes Pope Francis DVDs to Seminaries

Cardinal Kelvin Felix, retired archbishop of Castries, St. Lucia, and a member of Immaculate Conception Council 13875, stands with priests during a reception for new cardinals at the Vatican Feb. 22. Including Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano of Managua, Nicaragua, Cardinal Orlando Beltran Quevedo of Cotabato City, Philippines, and Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix of Québec, four of the 19 new cardinals are members of the Order. Cardinal Felix, who was inadvertently omitted from a news brief in Columbia’s March issue, is a charter member of Council 13875 and was instrumental in establishing the Knights in St. Lucia.♦

COMPLIMENTARY copies of a documentary about Pope Francis produced by the Knights of Columbus are being sent to seminary leaders and diocesan religious education directors. Through an initiative to better educate Catholics about the life and formative years of Pope Francis, the Order is making available its documentary, Francis: The Pope from the New World, to more than 200 vocations directors and seminaries in the United States. Since his election, Pope Francis has captured the attention of the world, yet many people still know very little about his upbringing in Argentina and the roots of his faith. Featuring exclusive interviews with people who grew up with the pope and those who have known and worked with him for many years, the film provides a rare, in-depth profile of the first pope from the New World. Copies of the DVD can also be purchased through♦


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SPECIAL OLYMPICS: Jacqueline Halpern – CARDINAL FELIX: CNS photo/Paul Haring

AS NFL personnel and the best college football players in the United States descended on Indianapolis at the end of February for the annual Scouting Combine, more than two dozen Special Olympics athletes demonstrated their own impressive set of skills. Thanks to a partnership between the Indiana Knights of Columbus, Special Olympics and Catholic Athletes for Christ, the first-ever “Mini Combine and Football Clinic” for Special Olympics was held Feb. 22 at the Indianapolis Colts training complex. Former Colts quarterback Jim Sorgi, with past teammates John Standeford, Rick DeMulling and Dylan Gandy, offered instruction and inspiration to the athletes. Indiana Knights manned five different stations where the athletes could test their football skills. The combine featured the 40-yard dash, football long throw competition, broad jump, shuttle run and three-cone drill —


UKRAINE: CNS photo/David Mdzinarishvili, Reuters

40 Cans for Lent Project Gives Hope to Those in Need PRAY, FAST, GIVE ALMS. The third of these pillars of Lent is at the heart of the Order’s “40 Cans for Lent” project. As the economy sputters along, many people find it difficult to make ends meet. Fortunately, 40 Cans for Lent, a special initiative of the Order’s Food for Families program, is in a position to help by collecting and distributing nutritious food for those in need. The goal of the project is for each council member and each parishioner to contribute one can of food per day during the 40 days of Lent. The program was launched in 2011 by Our Lady of Guadalupe Council 8306 in Helotes, Texas, when Knights there collected 4,300 cans of food for pantries and soup kitchens. Since then, 40 Cans for Lent has spread as an Orderwide initiative. As further incentive, the Supreme Council will count a qualifying Food for Families program — including 40 Cans for Lent — as fulfilling all four of the Family Activities requirements for the Columbian Award. To qualify, councils must collect and distribute a minimum 1,000 pounds of food and volunteer 100 hours of service in the preparation or distribution of meals to the needy.

For more information about Food for Families and the Supreme Council’s reimbursement program, visit♦

Knights, Families Urged to Pray for Ukraine

K of C Rome Playgrounds to Host Canonization Pilgrims

THE KNIGHTS of Columbus has been intently following the events unfolding in Ukraine. Of the turmoil there, Pope Francis said: “I assure the Ukrainian people of my closeness and pray for the victims of the violence, for their families, and for the injured. I urge all parties to cease every form of violence and to pursue harmony and peace throughout the country.” In solidarity with the Holy Father and with the Catholic bishops and Church in Ukraine, the Knights of Columbus is asking all of its members around the world to pray the Prayer of St. Francis that there may be a renewed dialogue and respect, and a peaceful resolution to the situation in Ukraine.♦

IN ANTICIPATION of the historic canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, the Knights of Columbus is opening several of its Rome sports fields to pilgrims travelling to the Vatican for the event April 27. K of C members and their families will have the opportunity to camp at the sports fields free of charge. Located within the city of Rome, St. Peter’s Square is accessible from the fields by walking or by public transportation. Pilgrims who decide to take advantage of this offer must bring their own tents and sleeping bags, and advance registration is required. For more information and guidelines, visit♦

Members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Council 8306 in Helotes, Texas, at the first 40 Cans for Lent event in 2011.

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Crossing the Threshold

of Sanctity An interview with the postulator of the cause for canonization of St. John Paul II by Columbia staff

he third longest reigning pope in history, John Paul II is also one of the most beloved. The unofficial cause for his canonization began almost immediately, with crowds spontaneously acclaiming, “Santo subito!” (“Sainthood now!”) at his funeral April 8, 2005. The official cause began only a month later, when Pope Benedict XVI waived the customary five-year waiting period on May 13. The man appointed to guide the cause through the canonical process required by the Church was Msgr. Sławomir Oder. Born in Chełmża, Poland, and ordained shortly after the collapse of communism in 1989, Msgr. Oder has spent most of his priesthood in Rome. He is the author of Why He Is a Saint: The Life and Faith of Pope John Paul II and the Case for Canonization (Rizzoli, 2010). Columbia recently spoke with Msgr. Oder about the sanctity and legacy of the world’s first Polish pope. The original interview was conducted in Polish with the assistance of Knights of Columbus staff.

COLUMBIA: What significance does John Paul II’s canonization have for the Church today and for the new evangelization? MSGR. ODER: Each saint is a gift for the Church. John Paul II used to say that a saint in the Church both disconcerts and comforts us. A saint disconcerts us by showing how far we still have to travel on our path to sanctity, and comforts us by saying that no path to holiness is too far for us. 8 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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John Paul II amazed me by the way he realized his love for Christ through concrete love, and through his devotion to the Church. Thus, we priests certainly have a most beautiful model of priesthood to follow. Yet the personality of John Paul II was so rich and versatile — he was a Renaissance man, a man of intellectual depth with manifold interests. One can find in him an example for people seeking the truth, for people seeking dialogue, for people in positions of power. In addition, sick and elderly people find in him an example of the special vocation of suffering, the path of illness, the path of old age, and they use it as a chance to say their own “Here I am” to Christ. So it seems to me that the canonization of John Paul II will strengthen the faith of a wide variety of people in their vocation to sanctity. Let us also bear in mind that John Paul II, throughout his long pontificate, worked to implement the authentic teachings of the Second Vatican Council. Because of this, his canonization will certainly put renewed attention on the Church’s task of living the council. COLUMBIA: Pope Benedict waived the ordinary five-year waiting period to open the cause of John Paul II’s canonization. How do you respond to people who say that the process occurred too swiftly? MSGR. ODER: Five years is the time period set by the canon law of the Church to verify a person’s so-called reputation for

CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec


Pope John Paul II prays at Mass in St. Louis Jan. 27, 1999, during his last visit to the United States.

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holiness (fama sanctitatis). John Paul II’s reputation for holiness was never in doubt, for it was deeply established in the consciousness of the Church and in society in general. As a result, Pope Benedict dispensed with this five-year waiting period. However, all the other regulations relating to the canonical process had to be strictly observed. Therefore, it cannot be said that there was any form of leniency in the canonization process. Let us also remember that, apart from the time of listening to personal testimonies and collecting records, the element that sets the rhythm of the canonization process is above all a sign received from God in the form of a miracle. In John Paul II’s case, we received this sign at the beginning of the process. Just a few weeks after it had started, we were informed about Sister Marie Simon-Pierre’s healing from Parkinson’s disease. Then, on the very day of the beatification, a Costa Rican woman suffering from a brain aneurism was healed. [Both miraculous healings were attributed to John Paul II’s intercession.] In this way, God gave us the signs to continue. COLUMBIA: John Paul II stressed the Second Vatican Council’s universal call to holiness and canonized more saints than all of his predecessors in the previous three centuries combined. What did his canonization process reveal about his own personal holiness and heroic virtue? 10 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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MSGR. ODER: What John Paul II expressed through those beatifications and canonizations is that the Church is able to inspire holiness and awaken saints. What would be the purpose of the Church if, living the word of Christ and the sacraments, the sons and daughters of the Church did not become saints? What touched us the most in his personal sanctity was the ordinariness of that sanctity, meaning that he experienced every single moment with exceptional intensity. What touched me personally in my encounter with John Paul II was the depth of his prayer, the mystical dimension present in his life. That mysticism was not a detachment from the world; these were not visions, ecstasies. It was the ability to live in the presence of God, experiencing every single gesture, every decision entirely with reference to God, to Christ. It was a continual dialogue with God, a dialogue of love, which was realized in his everyday life, meeting with people, making decisions and personal choices. The other element that struck me was the poverty of John Paul II. He was truly a man of God. He lived a very modest life, a very poor life because he was a free man. His freedom stemmed from his relationship with God. He himself said that the man who stands before God is free. He was free from himself and from tangible goods, and could therefore preach the Gospel without fear, without any compromises. He gave himself to others, to the Church until the very end.

SKIING: CNS photo from the Vatican – YOUNG PEOPLE: Viviane Rivière/Roger-Viollet – BOOK & FAMILY: Archival Collection of Adam Bujak

Clockwise from left: Pope John Paul II (center, in red boots) prays with a group of skiers before heading down the slopes in 1984. • The Holy Father rides through a massive crowd during his visit to the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, where he visited for World Youth Day in 1995. • Cardinal Wojtyła is surrounded by young believers before departing for Rome in the late 1970s. • Wojtyła stands outdoors with a prayer book in hand. • Young Wojtyła is photographed with his parents as an infant.

AP Photo/Alberto Marquez

COLUMBIA: When did Cardinal Wojtyła first become acquainted with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — later, Pope Benedict XVI — both personally and with regard to his work? What influence did Ratzinger and his thought have on him? MSGR. ODER: Karol Wojtyła was named cardinal by Paul VI in 1967, while Cardinal Ratzinger received the cardinal’s hat in 1977, one year before Paul VI’s death. Although they had both attended the Second Vatican and were familiar with each other’s work, their first opportunity to meet was at the conclave following the death of Paul VI. It was there, while talking about the future of the Church and the successor of Paul VI, that they got to know each other and had a spontaneous rapport. After the death of John Paul I, John Paul II as the newly elected pontiff soon wanted to have Cardinal Ratzinger near him for theological and dogmatic support, as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It is difficult to say how their thinking influenced one another. Their ideas and vision of the Church were very convergent, and their reading of the challenges faced by the Church after the Second Vatican Council was very similar. It would be better to refer to the interpenetration and synthesis of their ideas that took place during their day-to-day work together, very often in meetings for the good of the Church.

COLUMBIA: How did he come to the point of developing his “theology of the body” and the decision to start the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family? MSGR. ODER: His “theology of the body” developed from his philosophical and anthropological interests, primarily in the pastoral dimension. As a young priest in Kraków, Karol Wojtyła was responsible for pastoral work with young people and health services. His student ministry work at St. Florian’s Church, his summer vacations on the Masurian Lakes, and religious retreats for couples preparing for marriage were the places where many of his ideas crystallized. The fruits of these experiences became the book Love and Responsibility [first published in Polish in 1960]. As pope, he further developed his reading of the truth about man, revealed in Jesus Christ. This relates in a special way to his great cycle of Wednesday catecheses (1979-1984), dedicated precisely to the “theology of the body.” Out of these vital concerns emerged the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, which was founded in 1981. With all certainty, it is a very lively institute, very relevant. Let us remember that the problem of the family was fundamental for John Paul II. And his message to families is a response to the reality we are witnessing. This is to say that the crisis of society manifests itself in a special way APRIL 2014

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GUADALUPE: Gianni Giansanti/Sygma/Corbis – RATZINGER: CNS photo/Catholic Press Photo – WESTERN WALL: Servizio Fotografico/L’Osservatore Romano

Clockwise from top: Pope John Paul II celebrates Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in 1999. • John Paul II greets Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI, at the Vatican in 2004. • The Holy Father places a handwritten prayer in Jerusalem’s Western Wall during his visit to the Holy Land for the Jubilee Year 2000. • The pope emerges from a First Nations teepee at Fort Simpson in Canada’s Northwest Territories in 1987.

TEEPEE: Arturo Mari/L’Osservatore Romano via Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archive– MOTHER TERESA: CNS photo by Arturo Mari

through the crisis of the family. John Paul II’s teachings, preserved in the heritage of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, is a response to this crisis. John Paul II also founded the Pontifical Council for the Family. He signed the decree establishing this council on May 9, 1981, and wanted to personally announce the establishment of both the institute and council during the audience on May 13, which was the date of the assassination attempt. In a sense, then, the struggle of John Paul II for the truth about man, for the truth about marriage and the family, was sealed in his blood. I see it as symbolic.

It seems to me that in this sequence of three popes, we see the Church that wishes to take Christ “to the peripheries,” to use the language of Pope Francis. John Paul II had to face geopolitical peripheries: the division of the world into the east and the west, regimes versus democracy, militant atheism versus Christian tradition. Pope Benedict was taking the Gospel to the intellectual peripheries of the world: the challenges of secular culture, atheism in its new forms, relativism. Pope Francis continues to follow this path of evangelizing the existential peripheries: poor people, immigrants, people who are marginalized. With all certainty, there is continuity, the continuity of Christ’s love, which manifests itself through Peter’s service.

COLUMBIA: In your opinion, what were some of the most significant or unique hallmarks of COLUMBIA: How do you think John Paul II’s pontificate? Catholics will view St. John Paul II MSGR. ODER: His pontificate was 100 years from now, or even 500 primarily an expression of the years from now? What will be his teachings of the Second Vatican legacy? Council. John Paul II is a faithful MSGR. ODER: When we look son of the Church as defined by the back, I think we will see him as the Council Fathers. pope who lived and implemented His pontificate was also marked Vatican II. In Poland, we will see from the beginning by evangelical him as one of the greatest, if not the openness to the contemporary greatest, of Poles. John Paul II himworld. His inaugural homily conself once said that he would like to tained the programmatic proclamabe remembered as a pope of life and tion: “Do not be afraid! Open wide a pope of families — I think this is the doors for Christ.” This is the how John Paul II will also be perChurch which is not afraid or deceived, as a defender of dignity with fensive, but which carries hope to a profound message concerning the all who are lost. It seems to me that truth about man, about the family, this powerful element of hope was about life. It is not a plain humanalso revealed in his intuitive desire ism alone but rather Christian huand ability to dialogue with young manism, because John Paul II read Pope John Paul II affectionately greets Mother Teresa at people, which found expression in the truth about man through the the Vatican during one of their many encounters. the establishment of the World perspective of the incarnation of the Youth Days. divine Word, Jesus Christ. This is Thus, I would say that it was a the great message from John Paul II: very joyful, open, creative pontificate. At the same time, it was a positive view of man, revelation of the truth about human a pontificate that looked squarely into the eyes of contempo- dignity, and greatness through the encounter with Christ. rary man, who suffers and does not find all the answers to his questions within himself. And so it was a pontificate of truth COLUMBIA: What would it mean to be a follower of St. John about man — the truth revealed by Christ, the only Savior Paul II and his spirituality? and Redeemer of man. MSGR. ODER: The most characteristic feature of John Paul II’s sanctity is his union with Christ, his ability to look at another COLUMBIA: What influence did John Paul II have on his human through the prism of Christ. During the beatification successors? How have Benedict and Francis built on the de- process, I heard this many times and in many ways from peovelopments of John Paul II? ple who had met him: He was able to see in each human being MSGR. ODER: Certainly, both Benedict and Francis lived — believer or non-believer, saint or sinner — the image and many years observing John Paul II. Pope Benedict mentioned likeness of God. his admiration of John Paul II a number of times, referring to To be a follower of St. John Paul II means primarily to be his personal sanctity, his evangelical openness, his ability to deeply rooted in the love of God and to look at others, at face the challenges of the world. Pope Francis, in turn, empha- friends and adversaries alike, as made in the image and likeness sized how John Paul’s Marian devotion influenced his own de- of God. It is precisely by seeking whatever is good, beautiful votion and how John Paul’s sanctity inspired his own choices and noble in man that one can build a new humanism, a new and desire for perfection. future for man.♦ APRIL 2014

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Five Essential Insights

of Pope John Paul II With the canonization of Karol Wojtyła, the Church embraces a vision of man and the family centered in Christ by Michelle K. Borras


ens of thousands of people are expected to gather April like the wise steward of Scripture, who drew new insights for 27 in St. Peter’s Square to celebrate the canonization of the Church and the world out of the storehouses of the Pope John XXIII, who opened the Second Vatican Council, Church’s Tradition (cf. Mt 13:52). and with him the “son” of the council who left an indelible A distillation of John Paul II’s key theological developments mark on our age, Pope John Paul II. might appear somewhat abstract until we remember that for It was not so long ago when, in April 2005 as John Paul II John Paul II, Christian thinking was inseparable from lived lay dying, thousands of young people gathered in the same Christian faith. This profoundly pastoral philosopher and theplace in prayerful vigil — a testimony of love for the pope ologian called for a radical renewal of faith that would bear whose love they had experienced. Millions flocked to his fu- witness to the truth of Jesus Christ in our age. He called for neral Mass April 8, giving thanks to witnesses whose worship, words and God for the gift of this man. That day very existence would radiate the Gospel in Rome, the crowds shouted so loudly to a world profoundly in need. And he that they could be heard atop Janicuwas what he preached. lum Hill: “Il Grande!” (“The Great!”) Any attempt to list the new saint’s OHN PAUL II CALLED FOR and “Santo subito!” (“Sainthood now!”). central insights will necessarily be inA RADICAL RENEWAL OF This scene had not been repeated since complete. With Pope Emeritus Benethe funeral of Pope St. Gregory the dict XVI and Pope Francis, we are still FAITH THAT WOULD BEAR Great in the year 604. discovering what God gave to his On the feast of Divine Mercy — the Church in “John Paul the Great.” WITNESS TO THE TRUTH OF feast that John Paul II himself gave to Nonetheless, we can recognize some of the Church — that spontaneous acclathe treasure that this great teacher and JESUS CHRIST IN OUR AGE. mation will become reality. The Polish shepherd presented to the Church and pope who grew up amid some of the the world. worst horrors of the 20th century will be publically declared a gift of God’s 1. He re-centered the Church on mercy to our time. “Christ, the Redeemer of man,” and so showed the way to As the crowds again fill St. Peter’s Square, overflowing into an “adequate anthropology.” its side streets and filling the Via della Conciliazione, the Like his life, all of John Paul II’s key developments of the broad avenue leading to the Tiber River, we might take a mo- Church’s thought were anchored in the simplest and oldest ment to remember what John Paul II gave to the Church and Christian confession of faith. A decidedly modern, resounding the world. One of the longest and richest teaching pontifi- affirmation of this ancient faith begins his first encyclical: “Jesus cates, his 26 years as pope has already borne abundant fruit. Christ, the Redeemer of man, is the center of the universe and of But such fruit only endures if, like Mary, the Christian faith- history” (Redemptor Hominis, 1). The opening paragraph of Reful remember the gifts of God, pondering them in our hearts demptor Hominis deliberately evokes the beginning of the Com(cf. Luke 2:19). munist Manifesto, bluntly contradicting Marxism’s man-made, Those old enough will recall the day Karol Wojtyła first self-destructive salvation through violent revolution. Society is emerged on the balcony of St. Peter’s as a joyful burst of new healed neither through socialism nor through the “market,” energy, his arms outstretched to embrace the world. They will both of which subordinate the good of the person to the funcremember the stirring cry he uttered during his inaugural tions of the societal mechanism. It is healed through the onlyMass: “Be not afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!” Those begotten Son of God who was born of Mary two millennia ago of any age who listened to the homilies or read the works of to become our companion on life’s path and to show us the love this fearless pastor and theologian will recognize that he was of the Father (cf. John Paul II, “Prayer for the Great Jubilee”).


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CNS file photo

John Paul II had firsthand experience of destructive ideologies that did not understand the human person. He was unshakably convinced that “only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light…. Christ … by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and his love, fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, 22).

4. He fearlessly defended the dignity of the human person. The family is the place where the human person is meant to be received in love, no matter what his abilities or disabilities, his age or “productivity.” Thus John Paul II, the pope of the family, was also a prophetic voice proclaiming the inviolable dignity of every human life: born or unborn, rich or poor, healthy or sick, oppressed or free. He wrote in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of God’s love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel” (2). This Gospel impelled John Paul II to speak out especially on behalf of the most vulnerable: the unborn and the elderly. But it also led him to challenge unjust economic practices, remind workers of their dignity, rebuke dictators and cry out for peace, convinced that “the answer to the fear which darkens human existence at the end of the 20th century is the common effort to build the civilization of love” (Address to the United Nations, 1995).

2. He gave us a theology of human love. In his first encyclical, John Paul II wrote that man “remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love” (Redemptor Hominis, 10). In the light of the incarnate Word, who reveals the Father’s love and bestows the Spirit on us, we begin to understand why: God himself is infinite communion, perfect self-giving, shared joy. Since man is created in the image of this God, he “cannot ‘fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self.’ This … is the magnificent 5. In his suffering, he pointed us paradox of human existence” (John to the mercy of God. Paul II, Letter to Families, 11; cf. Near the beginning of his pontifiGaudium et Spes, 24). cate, John Paul II wrote an encyclical As a young priest working with on God the Father titled Dives in married couples, the future pope Misericordia (Rich in Mercy). In a learned to “love human love” (cf. sense, this title could be placed over Crossing the Threshold of Hope his entire life and pontificate, espe[1994], p. 123). Throughout his cially his years-long struggle with pontificate, he boldly developed a Parkinson’s disease and his death in theology of human love in many of 2005. This pope, who had been so his teachings. He taught that the great a speaker, finally taught us best human body has a “nuptial meanwith his silence. In the Church that ing.” In our sexual difference (i.e., lives from the sacrifice of her Lord, As auxiliary bishop, and later archbishop, of Kraków in existing only as men or as women John Paul II became a suffering and, the 1960s, Karol Wojtyła was a prolific writer. who together image God), we can finally, a mute witness of Christ’s love already glimpse the signs of the fun“to the end” (cf. Jn 13:1). damental human vocation to love. The pope gave Divine Mercy the last word in his life. After entrusting everyone and everything 3. He articulated the “saving mission of the family.” into the hands of the Virgin Mary, he wrote in his will and tesJohn Paul II’s theology of human love reached its culmi- tament, “I … ask for prayers, so that God’s Mercy may prove nation in a development of a theology of marriage and the greater than my own weakness and unworthiness: ‘For with the family so rich that it will take generations to fully unfold in Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption (Ps 130:7).’” the life of the Church. The faithful and fruitful communion If we recall nothing else as we watch the enormous crowd fill of man and woman shows forth in the world the faithful and St. Peter’s Square on April 27 — just as it did at John Paul II’s fruitful communion that is in God. And that is not all. The unforgettable funeral Mass, only now without a trace of sadness family has a mission so vital that with it, humanity stands — we can remember this mercy. Ultimately, it is this mystery or falls. of God’s love that shines through every one of the great pope’s Simply by becoming what it is — that is, a “community of insights and, indeed, through his whole life. Everything John life and love” — the family is a “saved and a saving commu- Paul II gave to the Church and the world that he so loved was nity” at the heart of the Church’s mission. “The family,” John — and is — an expression of this: God, rich in mercy, who Paul II wrote, “has the mission to guard, reveal and commu- gave himself to the world in his only Son.♦ nicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord MICHELLE K. BORRAS is theologian in residence at the for the Church his bride…. Family, become what you are!” Blessed John Paul II Shrine in Washington, D.C., and director (Familiaris Consortio, 17; cf. 70). of the Order’s Catholic Information Service. APRIL 2014

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Co-Workers IN CHRIST’S VINEYARD Pope John Paul II often shared pastoral guidance with the Knights of Columbus and expressed gratitude for our friendship by Columbia staff

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ver the course of his 26-year pontificate, Pope John Paul II addressed more than two-dozen messages of appreciation for and encouragement to the Knights of Columbus. In many ways, his speeches to the K of C Board of Directors and his letters to the annual Supreme Convention highlighted the Order’s role as collaborators in the Church’s mission to radiate the Gospel and cultivate a civilization of love. The Knights worked closely with John Paul II throughout his papacy, from cosponsoring his 1995 Mass at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York and assisting with other papal trips to restoring the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica and bolstering the Vatican’s telecommunication capabilities. In the pages that follow, a timeline and photos highlight these and other significant collaborative efforts between the Knights and John Paul II. Recalling these signposts of solidarity with the pope, we also remember that the Order’s unity with John Paul II is grounded in the Church’s pastoral work. In a private audience with the supreme directors in October 1988, the Holy Father said, “The greatest joy and consolation that [the Knights] bring to the heart of the pope are the result of all that you are doing to protect the Christian family and the right to life from conception until death, to promote evangelization, Catholic education, parish life and vocations to the priesthood and religious life.” Today, the Knights’ friendship with John Paul II endures amid the communion of saints, as the Order is inspired to continue the work of building a culture of life and a civilization of love.


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

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.



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.

1981 The Order establishes the Knights of Columbus Vicarius Christi Fund in the amount of $10 million, the earnings of which are presented to the pope in perpetuity for his charitable purposes. I think of the “ Whenever Knights of Columbus, I am

Tens of thousands of pilgrims fill St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican for the beatification Mass of Pope John Paul II May 1, 2011. A tapestry featuring the late pope’s image hangs from the façade of the basilica, which was restored in the 1980s with support from the Knights of Columbus.

reminded with joy of a rich heritage of faith, fraternity and service, and of a shining example of Catholic laity involved in the mission of the Church.” — Message to 101st Supreme Convention, Columbus, Ohio, July 21, 1983

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


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.


At the pope’s wish, expressed through the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the Order is presented with the opportunity to restore the entire façade of St. Peter’s Basilica, which had not been cleaned for 350 years.


Pope John Paul II presents the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Conn., with the copper cross that, since 1614, was held in the arms of

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the statue of Christ at the top of St. Peter’s façade. The gift is given in appreciation for the Order’s collaboration in restoring the façade and related work.

financing of the “ 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


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.


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.

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).” — Message to 109th Supreme Convention, St. Louis, July 4, 1991 18 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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August marks the launch of an Orderwide Quincentennial Prayer 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.


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 co-host the pope’s Mass at Aqueduct Racetrack Oct. 6.


The Order publishes a study guide for John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life).


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 II 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.

L’Osservatore Romano via Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archive

reason of your Order’s “ By distinguished record of

Top: Pope John Paul II meets with Past Supreme Knight Virgil C. Dechant and Supreme Officers in Washington, D.C., Oct. 7, 1979. • Above: The Holy Father blesses a production van donated by the Order to the Vatican Television Center Nov. 6, 1995.

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In a society that 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. … “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, May 21, 1999

Pope John Paul II celebrates Mass at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y., during his visit to the United States Oct. 6, 1995.


The Order provides a grant to the bishops’ conference of Cuba to help with expenses of Pope John Paul II’s visit there.


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.


In January, the Order announces funding for the restoration of the 17thcentury Maderno Atrium and the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica as a gift to the pope and to the universal Church for the jubilee year 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.

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


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


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.


Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson is granted a private audience by John Paul II April 26, at which time they discuss the cause for the canonization of the Order’s founder, Father Michael J. McGivney.

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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.” — Message to 120th Supreme Convention, Anaheim, Calif., July 10, 2002


In response to the pope’s call for support of vocations, the Order undertakes a program centered on the 40th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations, observed May 11.


In October, the Order begins a yearlong prayer program in honor of John Paul II and priests through a Divine Mercy Prayer Service. The program features an image of Divine Mercy blessed by the pope.


In September, the Order begins its celebration of the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate with a special issue of Columbia.

Left: Pope John Paul II accepts a bas-relief sculpture of Father Michael J. McGivney from Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson in 2002. • Below: Pope John Paul II blesses an image of Divine Mercy while meeting with Supreme Knight Anderson and his wife, Dorian, and Dr. Stanisław Grygiel in 2003. The image was used in a yearlong K of C prayer program for the pope and all priests. Also pictured (left) is then-Bishop Stanisław Dziwisz, the pope’s secretary.


In connection with the opening of the 2003 academic year, the Supreme Council presents some 4,000 seminarians with 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.


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.

2011 On Aug. 2, four months after John Paul II’s beatification, Supreme Knight Anderson announces the Order’s plan to open a shrine in Washington, D.C., dedicated to preserving the legacy of Blessed John Paul II.♦ McGivney’s vision “ Father remains as relevant as ever in the changed circumstances of today’s Church 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 that 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., July 25, 2003

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express once more my “ Igratitude for the Knights’

Social Communications on a streaming video production of a 24-hour television program celebrating the 25th Christmas of John Paul II’s pontificate.


A Road Map for Catholic Families John Paul II continues to guide families through the confusing landscape of modern culture by Randy Hain

Servizio Fotografico/L’Osservatore Romano


hen my wife and I were welcomed into the Catholic Church with our two sons in 2006, we were somewhat overwhelmed by the new life we had begun. Although we were surrounded by wonderful priests, deacons and caring parishioners who helped us along the way, it was often the writings of Blessed John Paul II that gave us the most guidance and comfort. One document in particular, the 1981 apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), dramatically influenced our family. Like many converts, my wife and I sought more than a change in church membership; we wanted to follow Christ in a radical new way of life. On a personal level, this included rejecting purely secular values and conforming our marriage and family life to the teachings of the Church. On this journey, Familiaris Consortio was the road map we were seeking. Here are four principles from John Paul II’s teachings that have significantly reshaped our family’s thinking and understanding: Our marriage is a sacramental covenant. Although blessed with a deep love for each other, my wife and I recognize that marriage requires more than the popular idea of love as merely an emotion. We are called to conform our lives to Christ’s sacrifice for his Bride, the Church. As John Paul II explained, “by means of baptism … the intimate community of conjugal life and love, founded by the Creator, is elevated and assumed into the spousal charity of Christ, sustained and enriched by his redeeming power.” Because of the sacramentality of marriage, moreover, spouses are “the permanent reminder to the Church of what happened on the Cross” (FC, 13). We must be open to new life. Before we became Catholic, our understanding of this issue was simply rooted in ignorance and the uncritical acceptance of modern culture. Reading Familiaris Consortio and receiving advice from priests helped us to understand that, unlike periodic abstinence, contraception directly interferes with God’s plan for our marriage and fails

to respect the life-giving meaning of marital intimacy. In John Paul’s words: “Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language…. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality” (32). We are responsible for educating our children in the faith. “Parents have been appointed by God himself as the first and principal educators of their children,” writes John Paul II (40). Using a term recovered by the Second Vatican Council, he then calls the family a “domestic church,” which “like the greater Church, needs to be constantly and intensely evangelized” (51). Finally, he adds that “the future of evangelization depends in great part on the Church of the home” (52). These beautiful words of John Paul II are a daily challenge to us. They remind us that we are called to become missionaries by instilling a love for the Gospel in our own homes. Our family must pray together. Participating in the sacraments and fostering the practice of personal prayer are essential to a family’s spiritual formation. Again, in John Paul’s clear words: “Christian parents have the specific responsibility of educating their children in prayer, introducing them to gradual discovery of the mystery of God and to personal dialogue with him” (60). There certainly are other lessons our family will learn as we grow in our Catholic faith. After all, we are blessed with the teachings of Scripture, sacred tradition and the saints — including St. John Paul II, who is now a great intercessor for the health and holiness of families. His insights continue to offer married couples and families indispensable light on their journey, as we seek help, hope and a clear path to lasting joy.♦ RANDY HAIN is a member of St. Peter Chanel Council 13217 in Roswell, Ga., and author of books on the integration of work, home life and faith.


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In the Footsteps of St. John Paul II Through the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., the Knights of Columbus will preserve the spiritual legacy of the late pope by Alton J. Pelowski

n his annual report at the 129th Supreme Convention Aug. 2, 2011, exactly four months after the beatification of Blessed John Paul II, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson announced that the Order would establish a shrine in Washington, D.C. Located on the site of the former John Paul II Cultural Center, which opened in 2001 as an initiative of the Archdiocese of Detroit, the shrine would be dedicated to preserving John Paul II’s contributions to the Church and society. “We have the opportunity and privilege of protecting his legacy through this shrine, of continuing his mission and of continuing to form the next generation of Catholics,” the supreme knight said. “The Knights of Columbus will be the guardians of that legacy for years, for decades to come because of this shrine.” Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington gave his blessing to the initiative and declared the site an archdiocesan shrine in August 2011. Last month, on March 11, it was designated a national shrine at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Beginning April 27, the date of John Paul II’s canonization, the site will officially be known as the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. Since the Blessed John Paul II Shrine was established nearly three years ago, pilgrims have been welcomed for special events and several temporary exhibits on topics such as the conclave and election of Pope Francis. In recent months, while the second floor has featured an exhibit titled “Be Not Afraid: The Life and Legacy of Blessed John Paul II,” construction and renovation has been taking place in the shrine’s lower level to install a 16,000-square-foot permanent exhibition on John Paul II’s life and teaching. In addition to the permanent exhibition, which is scheduled to open later this year, plans are also underway to convert the 22 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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main floor into a church and to convert the current chapel into a reliquary chapel dedicated to John Paul II. The church and chapel will feature floor-to-ceiling mosaics designed by Jesuit Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, a Slovenian artist and theologian known for his distinct style and works at Catholic sites worldwide, including the Vatican’s Redemptoris Mater Chapel and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. The centerpiece of the reliquary chapel will be a vial of Blessed John Paul II’s blood, which was entrusted to the Knights of Columbus by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, archbishop of Kraków and longtime personal secretary to John Paul II. The church and chapel are expected to be completed in 2015, at which time staff will undertake further initiatives to develop the spiritual, intellectual and community life of the shrine. To further elaborate on the mission and purpose of this historic initiative, Supreme Knight Anderson gave the following interview. COLUMBIA: What is the significance of having a national shrine dedicated to St. John Paul II? SUPREME KNIGHT: History may record John Paul II as the pope of the millennium and one of the greatest popes in the history of the Catholic Church. Certainly, he was the greatest pope in the history of the United States, considering how many times he visited the United States and North America. Historians also talk about how John Paul II changed the face of Europe — the liberation of Poland and other countries behind the Iron Curtain — not to mention his dozens of visits to Latin America, Africa and Asia. But his greatest contributions are his teachings and his spiritual witness as a Catholic, a priest, a bishop and a pope.

CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec


Young people tour a temporary exhibit titled “Be Not Afraid: The Life and Legacy of Blessed John Paul II” at the Blessed John Paul II Shrine on Jan. 21. • Opposite page: The Blessed John Paul II Shrine — soon to be known as the Saint John Paul II National Shrine — is located in northeast Washington, D.C., at the site of the former John Paul II Cultural Center.

Photo by Matthew Barrick

Therefore, for generations to come, Catholics will ask, “Who is St. John Paul II? What does it mean to have a devotion to him? What does it mean to follow in his footsteps a Christian path, a Christian way of life?” Having a national shrine to St. John Paul II is a way to help pilgrims answer these questions and preserve his legacy. COLUMBIA: What was the spiritual vision and motivation for making a large church the centerpiece of the shrine, and designating the current chapel as a reliquary chapel? SUPREME KNIGHT: The purpose of a pilgrimage is to have an encounter that changes one’s life. Historically, pilgrimages to shrines were very important in the history of Catholicism in Europe, the Middle East and the Holy Land. John Paul II would not want the center of this pilgrimage to be an encounter with him, but to be an encounter with the Lord. Therefore, we felt that the principal place of encounter should be with the Lord in the Eucharist. That’s why the large church will have the Blessed Sacrament, and the chapel will be reserved for veneration of a relic of St. John Paul II. We follow John Paul II’s teaching, witness and spirituality to lead us to the Lord. COLUMBIA: Why is the Knights of Columbus a fitting steward to preserve the legacy of St. John Paul II?

SUPREME KNIGHT: There are many reasons. First, the Knights know that Father McGivney was very concerned with strengthening families and Christian family life. And we know that John Paul II is regarded as the “pope of the family” because of the great contributions of his teachings and ministry. Also, like John Paul II, Father McGivney was very concerned about the role of the laity; almost 100 years before the Second Vatican Council, he founded an organization that promoted the vocation of the laity. A third reason is that the Knights of Columbus had a very special relationship with John Paul II. We cooperated in many projects and had many audiences, and we were able to work with him on his fundamental pastoral initiatives, such as fostering the new evangelization, Ecclesia in America, human rights and democracy. COLUMBIA: In planning the permanent exhibit on John Paul II’s life and teachings, what were some of the many things that were considered? SUPREME KNIGHT: The intention of the permanent exhibit is to have this “museum” be part of the pilgrimage experience. It is not just an opportunity to see artifacts or interesting photographs, but it is also very much a part of coming to know John Paul II better: his accomplishments and his mission, but also his interior life, his spiritual life, his prayer life — what allowed him to become a great saint whom we might imitate more closely. APRIL 2014

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Dignity of the Human Person Light Within Darkness

“Living the Truth” “World Youth Days”

“Karol Wojty a”

“Reaching Out”

“Nazi Invasion and Occupation”

“Jubilee 2000”

“Communist Oppression Another Shadow” “Vatican II”

Faith & Forgiveness


“Totus Tuus”


“I have Looked for You, And You have

“Be Not Afraid!...”



, / * 5 , 0 $ * (

A WAY FOR THE CHURCH “A PILGRIMAGE OF LOVE” “A Theology of Human Love” “The Gift of Self in Work”

COLUMBIA: How is the mission of the John Paul II Shrine building on, or distinct from, that of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center? SUPREME KNIGHT: The John Paul II Cultural Center, which was supported in a significant way by the Knights of Columbus, was foreseen as a center in North America to study and understand more deeply the life and teachings of what was clearly understood at the time to be one of history’s great popes. Was it foreseen that the Church would declare him a saint so quickly? I don’t know. But now that he is being canonized, the center has naturally evolved to where it should be, which is not only an intellectual center for greater understanding, but also a spiritual center for devotion, evangelization and the conversion of countless Catholics, other Christians and perhaps even non-Christians. That is not being done only for a season, but for generations to come.

Left: Gathered in Washington for the March for Life, a group of teens from Freeport, Ill., visits the Blessed John Paul II Shrine for special events Jan. 21. 24 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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Photo by Matthew Barrick

COLUMBIA: What kinds of groups do you envision making pilgrimages to the St. John Paul II Shrine? SUPREME KNIGHT: Certainly, I think that every Catholic will be welcome and can benefit from a pilgrimage to the shrine. Every American Catholic has felt the influence of this great pope. Many non-Catholics and non-Christians

Left: A diagram shows the thematic path that pilgrims will take through the future permanent exhibition on the life and teachings of John Paul II, scheduled to open later this year. • Below: Patrick E. Kelly (left), executive director of the Blessed John Paul II Shrine, guides the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors on a tour of the shrine as it undergoes renovations. • Young pilgrims visiting the temporary exhibit learn about Karol Wojtyła’s early life and vocational discernment.


Holiness “Communion of Saints”

A GREAT GIFT “The Church from the Eucharist” “He Loved Them till the End” “Santo Subito”

PRAYER CARD PHOTO: Grzegorz Galazka – MIDDLE RIGHT: Photo by Matthew Barrick – TOP RIGHT: Photo by John Whitman

who are concerned about human rights, human dignity, cooperation among nations, reducing conflict in the world — they too will learn great things from the work and mission of this saint. COLUMBIA: The John Paul II Shrine is located near a number of significant Catholic sites that have been supported by F the Order. How might these sites, and their relative location, fit into the life of the shrine? SUPREME KNIGHT: I think we can look forward to many informal partnerships between the shrine and existing Catholic institutions in Washington. For example, there will clearly be a partnership with the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, which is a graduate school of theology dedicated to the study of John Paul II’s teachings. The shrine will also be a great resource for generations of young Catholic scholars and students at The Catholic University of America. And there will clearly be a synergy between the St. John Paul II National Shrine and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, given John Paul II’s great devotion to Mary. The Knights of Columbus has been instrumental in the development of The Catholic University of America for more than a century, of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for more than a half-century, and of the John Paul II Institute for more than a quarter-century. And now, we’ve begun this new initiative, which like the others, is a contribution by the Knights of Columbus for the generations.♦

ST. JOHN PAUL II PRAYER CARD THE SUPREME COUNCIL and the Saint John Paul II National Shrine have produced a new prayer card (#4983) requesting the intercession of St. John Paul II. These prayer cards are available in packs of 100 at a cost of $3 per pack. Make checks payable to “Knights of Columbus” and write #4983 in the memo line. Mail to: Knights of Columbus Supply Department, 78 Meadow Street, New Haven, CT 06519. Questions? Call 203-752-4214.

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Good Pope John and the knights With the canonization of Pope John XXIII, the Order remembers its close relationship with this visionary pontiff


hen Blessed John XXIII was elected the 261st bishop of Rome Oct. 28, 1958, succeeding Pius XII, many thought he would be a transitional pope, a kindly grandfather or a simple and serene pastor. A humble man of peasant origins, he had a warm personality and affectionately became known as “Il Papa Buono” (“The Good Pope”). On the first Christmas of his pontificate, Pope John made a point of visiting children with polio as well as prison inmates in Rome, saying, “You could not come to me, so I came to you.” A month later, however, the 77year-old pontiff astonished countless Catholics and non-Catholics alike by announcing his intention to convene a historic ecumenical council that would profoundly affect the future of the Church. During his brief but dynamic pontificate, a friendship also developed between Good Pope John and the Knights of Columbus. In May 1959, John XXIII became the first pope to visit a Knights of Columbus recreation center in Rome when he came to St. Peter’s Oratory, near Vatican City. Years later, regarding an April 10, 1961, private audience with Pope John, Supreme Knight Luke E. Hart recalled how the Holy Father said that he had heard about the Order’s initiatives during his youth and later was pleased to witness with his own eyes “the fruit their charitable assistance was producing in the Oratory of St. Peter.” That work, the pope said, “was like a flower of American charity transplanted and blossoming close to the basilica and tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter.” 26 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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‘THE BREATH OF NEWNESS’ As a young priest, Father Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII, was drafted into the Italian Army Medical Corps where he served as a chaplain to wounded soldiers. Called to the Vatican in 1925, he was made apostolic delegate to Bulgaria at age 43. He later served for a decade as apostolic delegate to Turkey and Greece and for eight years as apostolic nuncio to France before his appointment as Patriarch of Venice in 1953. With this background in Vatican diplomacy, “John understood the powerful changes that had occurred, the dangers the world was facing, and the calamitous results of the Second World War,” said Matthew Bunson, a leading authority on the papacy and the Church. “John was elected in 1958 at a time of immense social upheaval. He understood that he needed to move quickly to deal with the challenges.” And move he did, announcing his intention to convene the Second Vatican Council just one year later. Bunson calls John XXIII “a prophet in his time in anticipating the need for the Church to speak to the modern world in ways the world could understand.” In retrospect, Bunson added, it was “a brilliant way of anticipating the new evangelization.” Pope John Paul II specifically commented on this approach in his homily for John XXIII’s beatification Sept. 3, 2000: “The breath of newness he brought certainly did not concern doctrine, but rather the way to explain it; his style of speaking and acting was new, as was his friendly approach to ordi-

Fotografia Felici via Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archive

by Joseph Pronechen

Fotografia Felici via Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archive

Pope John XXIII receives Supreme Chaplain Bishop Charles P. Greco (front center), Supreme Knight Luke E. Hart (second from right), Count Enrico P. Galeazzi, the Knights’ representative in Rome (third from right), and members of the Supreme Council during the Order’s Board of Directors meeting in April 1961. nary people and to the powerful of the world. Christians heard themselves called to proclaim the Gospel with renewed courage and greater attentiveness to the ‘signs’ of the times.” But there were also unintended misunderstandings. Some interpreters, for example, considered that Pope John’s call for the Second Vatican Council meant that he had a negative view of the Church. On the contrary, “John XXIII saw the Church as strong, vibrant,” Bunson explained. “Yet he wanted to make sure she was able to communicate solutions the world needed in a way the modern world could understand.” With his papacy in full swing, John XXIII’s major contributions continued. He worked to internationalize the College of Cardinals and anticipated the continued growth of the Church in Asia and Africa, which became a hallmark of the pontificate of John Paul II. In addition, the pope published eight encyclicals, including Pacem in Terris (1963) on establishing peace, the first encyclical addressed to “all men of good will” rather than only to Catholics; Mater et Magistra (1961) on the importance of work, workers’ rights, private property, and principles of solidarity and subsidiarity; and others on the rosary, penance and St. John Vianney. “Pope John was blessed with an inordinate amount of common sense,” said Bunson. “He grew up in a family of peasant farmers and always had a practical view of things. He never

lost that simplicity. He saw himself, to borrow Pope Benedict’s description, as a humble worker in the vineyard.” FRIEND OF THE KNIGHTS In 1959, more than 600 children greeted the smiling Pope John XXIII at St. Peter’s Oratory. The priest-president welcomed him and paid special tribute to the Order for maintaining the recreation centers and giving financial support to the oratory’s programs. A report of the event mentioned that the Holy Father was particularly happy to have made the visit since Pius XI had been unable to do so in 1924 when the recreation center was founded. John XXIII could not accept the Order’s invitation to attend the dedication of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., later that year. He did, however, commend the Order’s support in several initiatives at the time, including the Pope Pius XII Memorial Library in St. Louis and the construction of the shrine’s bell tower, known as the Knights Tower. The letter, sent through the Vatican secretary of state, stated: “The report of these praiseworthy achievements has brought much comfort and consolation to the paternal heart of the sovereign pontiff, who would have me express his heartfelt appreciation and warm gratitude.” Likewise, John XXIII remembered the Order in a 1962 letter to Cardinal Richard Cushing of Boston in which he APRIL 2014

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EMBRACING THE WHOLE WORLD The Knights frequently aided the Holy Father not only materially, but also spiritually. At their 1961 meeting, Supreme Knight Hart presented the pope with a spiritual bouquet from the Columbian Squires of North America overflowing with more 28 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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Top left: Pope John XXIII reads a letter from a little girl during the Holy Father’s visit to St. Peter’s Oratory May 10, 1959. The Order donated funds to support the oratory’s programs and maintains several athletic fields in Rome to this day. • Above: The pope leads a prayer for those gathered at the oratory for his visit. than a half-million spiritual offerings for his intentions. This tradition of offering a spiritual bouquet continued when the pope asked for prayers for the Second Vatican Council’s success. John XXIII died June 3, 1963, and did not see the council to completion. During his pontificate, however, he made a tremendous and lasting impact on the Church. “Never within memory has there been such a universal sense of loss as that which spread over the world with the news of the death of Pope John XXIII,” said Supreme Knight Hart in an official statement. “Although his reign extended for less

TOP LEFT: Fotografia Felici via Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archive

highlighted the Knights of Columbus and its record of aiding the Church. “Of all the organizations which have demonstrated their generous and unflagging devotion to the Vicar of Christ down through the years, the Knights of Columbus undoubtedly ranks among the most praiseworthy,” wrote Pope John. One year earlier had shared similar thoughts during a 25-minute audience with the Order’s board members and their wives. Of this audience Supreme Knight Hart wrote: “His Holiness opened his address to us by applying to the Knights of Columbus the admonition from the New Testament: ‘Let them see your good works so that they may glorify your Father who is in heaven.’ The Knights of Columbus, he said, have been faithful to that Scriptural exhortation with an admirable record of achievement of which they may be justly proud.” Hart further noted that, days after the meeting with the board, at a private audience with him and Supreme Chaplain Bishop Charles P. Greco of Alexandria, La., John XXIII expressed gratitude for the Order’s efforts to have the words “under God” added to the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance so that “some 30 million children, at the beginning of each school day, acknowledged the existence of God and their dependence upon Divine Providence.” The Order’s tireless support was no less apparent during these audiences. Hart presented the pope with $50,000 to enlarge and improve the facilities of Vatican Radio. When the board later learned the cost for the new transmitting center would be $120,000, an additional $70,000 was swiftly sent for this purpose.

Attualita Giordani via Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archive

than five years, his warmth and amiability combined with the depth and broadness of his vision to capture the imagination and affection not only of Catholics but of non-Catholics and even of unbelievers. He was, to all men, an exemplar of all that is good in man.” John XXIII will be remembered for convening the Second Vatican Council, as well as for his social teachings. In August 2013, at the 131st Supreme Convention, the Order honored Pope John by resolving “to live out the call of Pacem in Terris by continuing to serve the poor and the disabled among us and to stand up for life from natural conception to natural death; and … to serve the Church in the tradition of the Second Vatican Council as lay leaders who serve as the leaven of the Church’s message in the world.” Nonetheless, it is because of John XXIII’s personal holiness and joyful witness to the Gospel that he will be raised to the

glories of the altar and named among the Church’s saints. When Pope John Paul II beatified John XXIII in 2000, he recalled the late pontiff in these words: “Everyone remembers the image of Pope John’s smiling face and two outstretched arms embracing the whole world. How many people were won over by his simplicity of heart, combined with a broad experience of people and things!” He was a man of peace “who could communicate peace,” noted Pope Francis on the 50th anniversary of his predecessor’s death. “Indeed, Pope John conveyed peace because his mind was profoundly at peace: he had let the Holy Spirit create peace within him.” Pope St. John XXIII, pray for us!♦ JOSEPH PRONECHEN is a staff writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register. APRIL 2014

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The Birthplace of the New Evangelization For John Paul II, the faith and struggle of his countrymen in Nowa Huta heralded a new springtime for Christianity by Krzysztof Mazur


hen Blessed John Paul II is declared a saint April 27, the date will be meaningful for several reasons. First of all, it is the Second Sunday of Easter, which has been recognized as Divine Mercy Sunday since the Jubilee Year 2000. In his homily for the Mass for the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, apostle of the message of Divine Mercy and the first saint of the new millennium, Pope John Paul II encouraged his listeners to make St. Faustina’s prayer their own: “Jezu ufam tobie!” (“Jesus, I trust in you!”). When, after a long period of suffering, the Holy Father finally entrusted his soul to the Lord in 2005, it was the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. The significance of this feast for John Paul II is no doubt part of the reason why Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his beatification on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2011. In 1982, on the first anniversary of the assassination attempt against him, John Paul II famously said, “In the designs of providence there are no mere coincidences.” The same could easily be said about the date of his canonization, for April 27 was also a date of great importance for John Paul II and the Church in Poland. On this date in 1960, a pivotal incident took place in the city of Nowa Huta as Karol Wojtyła, then a young auxiliary bishop, served in nearby Kraków. For the future pope, the events of this day and those that followed would come to symbolize the beginning of the new evangelization. COMMUNISM AND THE CROSS Nowa Huta (literally, “The New Steel Mill”), the easternmost district of Kraków, was originally constructed as a new city fol30 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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lowing World War II. At the heart of the rapidly developing city stood the Lenin Steelworks, a grim maze of metal catwalks, brick towers and massive blast furnaces — a symbol of the industrial might of the Soviet Union. The decision to construct Nowa Huta adjacent to the ancient city of Kraków was a deliberate strategy on the part of the communist authorities. For centuries, Kraków had been the intellectual and cultural center of Poland, due largely to the presence of the 600-year-old Jagiellonian University. The huge steel mill was intended to transform this academic city into a prototypical city of workers, an embodiment of communist ideology. According to communist propaganda, the residents of Nowa Huta were expected to give up the old Catholic worldview; one post-war newspaper stated that citizens should be “snatched from the clutches of the clergy” and taught how to love communism. Thus would “the new man” be forged. Certainly, Nowa Huta was a very comfortable place to live in those times. There was a cinema and theater, as well as sports clubs, libraries and schools. However, one structure was conspicuously absent from the urban plan: a church. Despite the fact that the majority of the population consisted of Catholic peasants from the surrounding villages, it was designed to be “the first communist city without God.” For many years, residents of Nowa Huta tried to get permission to build the church for which they longed. Following what came to be called the political “thaw” of October 1956 the communist authorities finally gave permission to build a place of worship in the city square. Citizens immediately placed a

Jerzy Ridan/Fotonova/East News

Above: Together with then-Cardinal Wojtyła, workers lay the cornerstone — a stone from the tomb of St. Peter given to the Polish cardinal by Pope Paul VI — for the Lord’s Ark Church in Nowa Huta in 1969. • Opposite page: Polish faithful gather at the Nowa Huta cross outside Kraków circa 1960. The large wooden cross was erected in the city square in 1956 and served as a place of worship until a church was finally built. large wooden cross there, and the square became the center of the city’s religious life. Regular prayers, as well as occasional Masses, were organized near the cross. A church, however, was not built. The citizens struggled for years to obtain construction permits, until the authorities finally decided that a school would be built in the city square instead. Moreover, it was ordered that the cross be removed. On the morning of April 27, 1960, a corps of workers guarded by armed officers arrived early in the morning to tear down the Nowa Huta cross. A group of women saw what was happening and equipped themselves with shopping carts, brooms, bricks and bottles. A short time later, when a shift at the steel mill was let out, more than a thousand men started making their way toward the cross carrying shovels, pickaxes and other tools. In a spontaneous act of civil disobedience, 5,000 workers and citizens suddenly gathered in the square. After several hours, what began as a nonviolent protest devolved into street fight against the militia and the police special forces. Lasting for days, “the defense of the cross” led to bloody repression: a dozen people were killed and hundreds were injured; more than 500 demonstrators were arrested; 87 received prison sentences and many more lost their jobs. The witness of the protest, though, was not in vain, for the cross remained standing over “the city without God.” BISHOP WOJTYŁA AND THE NEW EVANGELIzATION In “the defense of the cross” in Nowa Huta, a young bishop named Karol Wojtyła played an important role. Just two years

earlier, Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak of Kraków had come under fire for recommending Wojtyła as an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese. The majority of Kraków priests were critical of the decision because young Father Wojtyła was inexperienced and had no family connections among the elite of Kraków. Archbishop Baziak defended the appointment, arguing that he wanted a bishop “to grind, not for decoration.” Moreover, Father Wojtyła “had been trained as a worker,” and understood the theoretical foundations of communism. Such a man, the archbishop concluded, would be particularly valuable to the Church in Kraków. Ordained Sept. 28, 1958, Bishop Wojtyła worked in this difficult ministry with great sacrifice. From the beginning, he strongly supported efforts to build a church in Nowa Huta. After the protests in the city square, he protected victims of communist repression and organized open-air midnight Masses under the cross on Christmas Eve — despite the severe Polish winter. Pope Paul VI was elected in June 1963 and appointed Wojtyła as the new archbishop of Kraków several weeks after Christmas. Later, just three days following the closing of the Second Vatican Council in December 1965, the pope presented Archbishop Wojtyła with a stone from the tomb of St. Peter. “Take this stone back to Poland,” he said. “May the church of Nowa Huta be built on it.” Thanks to the undying perseverance of the city’s Catholics, the first church in Nowa Huta was finally built in 1977. When Cardinal Wojtyła traveled to Rome for the conclave and was APRIL 2014

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OFFICIAL APRIL 1, 2014: To owners of Knights of Columbus insurance policies and persons responsible for payment of premiums on such policies: Notice is hereby given that in accordance with the provisions of Section 84 of the Laws of the Order, payment of insurance premiums due on a monthly basis to the Knights of Columbus by check made payable to Knights of Columbus and mailed to same at PO Box 1492, NEW HAVEN, CT 06506-1492, before the expiration of the grace period set forth in the policy. In Canada: Knights of Columbus, Place d’Armes Station, P.O. Box 220, Montreal, QC H2Y 3G7 ALL MANUSCRIPTS, PHOTOS, ARTWORK, EDITORIAL MATTER, AND ADVERTISING INQUIRIES SHOULD BE MAILED TO: COLUMBIA, PO BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 06507-0901. REJECTED MATERIAL WILL BE RETURNED IF ACCOMPANIED BY A SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPE AND RETURN POSTAGE. PURCHASED MATERIAL WILL NOT BE RETURNED. OPINIONS BY WRITERS ARE THEIR OWN AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS. SUBSCRIPTION RATES — IN THE U.S.: 1 YEAR, $6; 2 YEARS, $11; 3 YEARS, $15. FOR OTHER COUNTRIES ADD $2 PER YEAR. EXCEPT FOR CANADIAN SUBSCRIPTIONS, PAYMENT IN U.S. CURRENCY ONLY. SEND ORDERS AND CHECKS TO: ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT, PO BOX 1670, NEW HAVEN, CT 06507-0901.


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elected pope in October 1978, he took with him a piece of the wooden cross of Nowa Huta. During his first apostolic journey to his homeland in June of the following year, the communist authorities did not permit John Paul II to visit the church in Nowa Huta. Instead, he celebrated Mass at the shrine and medieval Cistercian monastery in Mogiła, a nearby village. Founded in the 13th century, the monastery became famous for housing a relic of the Holy Cross. In his homily at the shrine June 9, 1979, the pope noted that the history of Nowa Huta has been written “by means of the Cross,” referencing the ancient cross of Mogiła and the contemporary cross in the city. Even amid rapidly changing times and technological advancement, John Paul II explained, “the life of the human spirit, which is expressed by means of the Cross, knows no decline, is always relevant, never grows old.” He added, “Where the Cross is raised, there is raised the sign that that place has now been reached by the Good News of Man’s salvation through Love. … A new evangelization has begun, as if it were a new proclamation, even if in reality it is the same as ever. The Cross stands high over the revolving world.” It was perhaps the first time that John Paul II used the expression “new evangelization” — an idea that deeply influenced his pontificate and the universal Church. In fact, he twice repeated the sentiment in his homily at Mogiła, further noting, “From the Cross of Nowa Huta began the new evangelization, the evangelization of the second millennium. This church is a witness and confirmation of it.” THE WITNESS OF CHRISTIAN LIFE For John Paul II, it seems, the events of Nowa Huta were emblematic of the Church’s task of reintroducing the Gospel in Western societies, especially those that have lost a sense of God to progressive secularization. Thus, it is no coincidence that divine providence has linked the date of John Paul II’s canonization and the date of “the defense of the cross” in 1960. As it was in Poland more than five decades ago, the cross today is also, in a sense, being removed from politics, academia, culture, family life and the media as the Christian faith becomes increasingly marginalized. The new evangelization, the “great springtime for Christianity,” therefore, depends on our own reaction to the problems of the contemporary world. It depends on our willingness to start a personal “defense of the cross” in the places where we live. In his encyclical Redemptoris Missio, John Paul II stated, “The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission” (42). This witness, he added, involves not only “taking courageous and prophetic stands” in the face of corrupt political powers, but also exercising humility; practicing charity toward the poor, weak and suffering; and “imitating Christ’s own simplicity of life” (43). This task of the new evangelization, this call to Christian witness, is certainly difficult and demanding. Yet, inspired by St. John Paul II and the men and women of Nowa Huta, we too must have the courage to take up and defend the cross in our society today.♦ KRzYSzTOF MAzUR is a member of Our Lady of Mercy Council 15128 in Kraków.


Laurie Stevens Bertke/Catholic Chronicle, Diocese of Toledo

Carrying on the legacy of St. John Paul II The Knights of Columbus shared a special relationship with Pope John Paul II during his lengthy pontificate. Knights are proud to carry on John Paul II’s legacy, teachings and love in all the corners of the globe where the Order is active today.


be feaTured here , send yOur COunCIl’ s

C OlumbIa , 1 C Olumbus P laza , n ew

Fourth Degree Knights from the Toledo, Ohio, area look on as then-Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo blesses a statue of John Paul II in mid-2011. The statue is located outside of Sts. Adalbert and Hedwig Church, a traditionally Polish parish. Knights provided an honor guard for the blessing, which was held in honor of the late pope’s beatification. In December 2013, Archbishop Blair, a member of Cathedral of St. Joseph Council 11405 in Hartford, Conn., was installed as head of the Archdiocese of Hartford, which is the home of the Supreme Council.

“K nIghTs In a CTIOn ” h aven , CT 06510-3326

PhOTO as well as ITs desCrIPTIOn TO : Or e - maIl : COlumbIa @ KOfC . Org .

APRIL 2014

♦ C O L U M B I A ♦ 33

Please, dO all yOu Can TO enCOurage PrIesTly and relIgIOus vOCaTIOns. yOur Prayers and suPPOrT maKe a dIfferenCe.


I remember how as a child, in my own family, I learned to pray and trust in god. I remember the life in the parish that I attended in wadowice, as well as the parish of st. stanislaus Kostka, in dębniki in Kraków, where I received my basic formation in Christian living. I cannot forget the experience of the war and the years of work in a factory. my priestly vocation came to its full maturity during the second world war, during the occupation of Poland. The tragedy of the war gave a particular coloring to the gradual maturing of my vocation in life. In these circumstances, I perceived a light shining ever more brightly within me: the lord wanted me to be a priest! I remember with feeling that moment in my life when, on the morning of nov. 1, 1946, I was ordained a priest. … On Oct. 16, 1978, after my election to the see of Peter, when I was asked, “do you accept?” I answered, “with obedience in faith to Christ, my lord, and trusting in the mother of Christ and of the Church, no matter what the difficulties, I accept” (Redemptor Hominis, 2). from that time on, I have tried to carry out my mission, drawing light and strength every day from the faith that binds me to Christ. POPe JOhn Paul II 15th World Youth Day, Rome, Aug. 15, 2000

CNS photo from L’Osservatore Romano, Arturo Mari


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