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BU I L D I N G A B E T T E R WO R L D
A True Knight for Today The heroic witness of Kendrick Castillo demonstrates the fullness of a life lived for others by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson THERE ARE THOSE who say we don’t than this, that he lay down his life for have heroes anymore. his friends” (Jn 15:13). Kendrick Castillo proves them wrong. In a better world, Kendrick Castillo One day last May, Kendrick woke up would still be with us. That Tuesday as if it were any other day. An 18-year- would have gone like any other — no old young man, he went through his shooting, no grief, no resulting search for of others ahead of themselves, even if it normal morning routine, packing his answers. Sadly, that is not the world we costs them everything. backpack and heading to school in a live in. Ours is marred with sin and strife If we look around, we’ll see that plenty suburb of Denver. It was an exciting and suffering. But that doesn’t mean we of people still embody these characteristime for him. As a high school senior, have no hope. Heroes give us hope. tics in their daily lives. They are often he looked forward to his graduation — There have always been — and there unknown or unacknowledged because only days away — and the promising will always be — those who inspire us they don’t seek publicity. They also come life that lay before him. with their selfless actions. Some, like from unexpected places and their heroBut on that Tuesday afternoon, Kendrick Castillo, have given up their ism emerges at unforeseen times. everything changed. After lunch, as lives for the sake of others. Others are still One of the most inspiring aspects of Kendrick sat at his desk, a serving as supreme knight has troubled student entered his been meeting so many brother classroom and pulled out a Knights who are true everyday Heroism lives in ordinary people gun. In that instant, Kendrick heroes — heroes who sacrifice who practice the timeless made his decision — he to advance our principles of charged the assailant. charity, unity and fraternity. principles of courage, truthfulness, Kendrick gave his fellow A famous 14th-century treaclassmates the precious seconds tise on knighthood advises humility and self-sacrifice. they needed to hide or escape, Christian knights to be men of before he was shot. But while integrity and devotion, for as the he courageously saved lives, he selflessly among us, living their lives for others, in writer observes, “they are in danger every gave up his own. In Kendrick Castillo, ways big and small. day, and at the moment when they think a life was tragically lost — but a true To find them, we must know where themselves to be the most secure, it is then hero was born. to look. Some think of heroes as having that they may suddenly have to undertake As a nation, we mourn Kendrick’s supernatural powers, only to be found in demanding and dangerous adventures.” death, even as we celebrate his courage. comic books or movies, and in the The integrity of the knight included As an organization, the Knights of mythic tales of ancient Greece and the commitment to defend those in danColumbus is especially moved by his Rome. Others associate heroes with ger who could not defend themselves example of selfless sacrifice. His father, celebrities — great athletes, talented and the courage not to recoil in the face a member of the Knights, has said that artists, the beautiful, the wealthy, the of danger. his son “wanted to be a Knight of powerful, and so on. Yet true heroism We are told that Kendrick Castillo Columbus because he wanted to help has a different face. wanted to join the Knights of Columnot only people, but his community.” Heroism lives in ordinary people who bus and so to be more like us. My sinKendrick Castillo did exactly that. A do extraordinary things. They practice cere hope is that because of his example, faithful Catholic to the end, he lived the timeless principles of courage, truth- our brother Knights will want to be and died according to the teaching of fulness, humility and self-sacrifice. Like more like him. Jesus Christ: “Greater love has no man Kendrick Castillo, they put the interests Vivat Jesus!
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Columbia July/August 2019