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Keeping the promise

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K N I G H T S O F C O LU M BU S M Ay 2 0 1 7 ♦ V o l u M e 9 7 ♦ N u M b e r 5




K of C Service in the Great War During World War I, Knights from North America provided abundant material and spiritual support for troops. BY JOSEPH PRONECHEN

14 The Witness of Blood Imprisoned for decades, an Albanian cardinal bears living witness to his country’s 20th-century martyrs. BY MIKE STECHSCHULTE

18 Fatima at 100 The message of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917 points to God as the source of peace in the world. BY COLUMBIA STAFF

24 Mercy and the Mother of God Mary teaches us how to trust in God, receive his grace and share his love with others. BY FATHER JACQUES PHILIPPE

The words “K of C Every Body Welcome” are formed by Army officers, men and camp activity workers at Camp Wheeler outside Macon, Ga., 1918.

Photo by Mole & Thomas Studios / Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archives


Building a better world The United States has an unprecedented opportunity to halt Roe v. Wade’s legacy of abortion on demand. BY SUPREME KNIGHT CARL A. ANDERSON


Learning the faith, living the faith The rosary spiritually enriches us as we meditate on the life of Christ through the eyes of Mary.


Knights of Columbus News Supreme Knight Addresses San Antonio Men’s Conference • Belmont Abbey College Honors Supreme Knight • Order Celebrates 135th Anniversary • Mexican Knights Make Pilgrimage to Christ the King Shrine • Knights Provide Life-Saving Mobile Ultrasound Unit

23 Fathers for Good Our adoption pilgrimage has opened our hearts and deepened our faith. BY BETHANY MEOLA

26 Knights in Action


PLUS: Catholic Man of the Month

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Bad News, Good News FOR ANYONE who consumes news media on a regular basis, it is all too easy to become discouraged, if not fearful, about the state of the world. Conflicts and scandals dominate headlines as communicators take advantage of what psychologists call “negativity bias” — that is, people’s tendency to respond more to negative things than positive ones. In his message for the 51st World Communications Day, which will be observed May 28, Pope Francis wrote, “I am convinced that we have to break the vicious circle of anxiety and stem the spiral of fear resulting from a constant focus on ‘bad news’ (war, terrorism, scandals and all sorts of human failure).” The “tragedy of human suffering,” the pope added, should not be ignored, but neither should it be reduced to entertainment nor feed a pessimistic outlook. “The good news — Jesus himself — is not good because it has nothing to do with suffering, but rather because suffering itself becomes part of a bigger picture,” Pope Francis wrote. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we are called to see the world and communicate through the lens of hope, which the pope called “the humblest of virtues, for it remains hidden in the recesses of life; yet it is like the yeast that leavens all the dough.” St. Paul wrote his Letter to the Philippians from prison while facing probable death, yet in it he continuously rejoices with gratitude in the promises of Christ. Filled with “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding,” Paul urges his readers to “rejoice in the Lord always,” to “have no anxiety at all,” and to focus their

minds on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure” (cf. Phil 4:4-9). We may take one small step toward this eternal perspective by recognizing how people of faith have responded in the past to sin and suffering, which are not unique to our times. Just 100 years ago, a growing number of nations found themselves embroiled in a global war that resulted in the deaths of millions. This conflict inspired countless examples of heroism and charity, including those performed by members of the Knights (see page 8). It was also during the Great War that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, in May 1917 (see page 18). Our Lady came with a warning of punishment if people did not cease offending God, but her message was ultimately one of hope. Within a few short years of the apparitions, two of the children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, died of illness. But because of the faith, joy and holiness they exhibited in life, they will soon become the youngest non-martyred saints to be canonized by the Church. Like the 20th-century martyrs of Albania (see page 14) and the martyrs of today, their witness reminds us of our heavenly citizenship, even as we are tempted to remain nearsighted and become disheartened in the face of difficulties. And through the gifts of faith, hope and charity, the Holy Spirit leads us to embrace the Good News of salvation in Christ.♦ ALTON J. PELOWSKI EDITOR

CIS Resource: The Message of Our Lady of Fatima The Message of Our Lady of Fatima (#341) by Father Frederick L. Miller provides a clear overview of Mary’s message to the three shepherd children, beginning with the six apparitions and their spiritual significance. Part of the Veritas Booklet Series published by the Order’s Catholic Information Service, it also explains the so-called “third secret” of Fatima and its relationship to St. John Paul II. To download or order this resource, visit kofc.org/cis. 2 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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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 203-752-4210, option #3 addresschange@kofc.org PRAYER CARDS & SUPPLIES 203-752-4214 COLUMBIA INQUIRIES 203-752-4398 FAX 203-752-4109 K OF C CUSTOMER SERVICE 1-800-380-9995 E-MAIL columbia@kofc.org INTERNET kofc.org/columbia ________ 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 © 2017 All rights reserved ________ ON THE COVER A statue of Our Lady of Fatima is carried to the Maronite patriarchate in Bkerke, Lebanon, June 12, 2015.

Photo by Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images


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A Pro-Life Moment The United States has an unprecedented opportunity to halt Roe v. Wade’s legacy of abortion on demand by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson PRO-LIFE AMERICANS now face a human dignity implies above all affirmhistoric opportunity. Not since the ing the inviolability of the right to life, Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in from conception to natural death, the 1973 has the United States government first among all rights and the condition had so many high-ranking officials who for all other rights of the person” (553). are pro-life. Last August, during our Supreme with society. Consider this: The House majority Convention in Toronto, I stated that we Our Knights of Columbus/Marist leader and the speaker of the House are can never hope to build a true culture of polling on abortion has consistently strongly pro-life. So are the Senate major- life and civilization of love as long as the shown that strong majorities of Ameriity leader and the chairman of the Senate legal regime of abortion mandated by cans support significant restrictions on Judiciary Committee. Both the president Roe v. Wade remains in effect — a regime abortion. And on some questions, these and the vice president as well as 17 mem- that has resulted in the deaths of an esti- majorities include majorities of those bers of their cabinet are pro-life. mated 60 million unborn children in the who describe themselves as “pro-choice.” Just three days after the inauguration, United States since 1973. On Jan. 22, the 44th anniversary of President Trump signed a presRoe v. Wade, Pope Francis idential memorandum reinstatstated, “The Church must ing the Mexico City Policy, never tire of being an advoIt is time to take up the which requires that, as a condicate for life and must not negchallenge of Pope Francis to tion for receiving U.S. foreign lect to proclaim that human aid, nongovernmental organizalife is to be protected unconwork tirelessly for the building tions agree to neither perform ditionally from the moment nor promote abortion. Then, of conception until natural up of a culture of life. several days before the March death.” He went on to enfor Life, the House of Represencourage participants of the tatives passed Rep. Chris Smith’s “No As the Compendium affirms, “The March for Life “to work tirelessly for Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” immediate purpose of the Church’s so- the building of a civilization of love Vice President Pence went from cial doctrine is to propose the principles and a culture of life.” meeting pro-life leaders and speaking at and values that can sustain a society Today, we have in America a new the March for Life to later casting the worthy of the human person” (580). pro-life moment. Now is the time for tie-breaking vote to pass legislation And Pope Francis in his encyclical on Catholics and other pro-life Americans overturning an Obama administration “care for our common home,” Laudato to seize this moment to turn the corner rule blocking states from defunding Si’, speaks of the need to “safeguard the on the legacy of Roe v. Wade. Planned Parenthood. moral conditions for an authentic The political stars are aligning in a The pro-life agenda has had an impor- human ecology” and to provide the way as to make change possible. It is tant place in the first 100 days of the new poor with the “right to a life consistent time to take up the challenge of Pope administration and the new Congress. with their inalienable dignity.” Francis to work tirelessly for the buildBut that agenda is far from complete. The civilization of love rests on respect ing up of a culture of life by advocating The Compendium of the Social Doc- for the equal dignity and right to life of for the unborn. trine of the Church, issued by the Pontif- every person. Human dignity goes beIf we do not, then in the words of ical Council for Justice and Peace in yond abortion. But the right to life is not Shakespeare, “the fault … is not in our 2004, describes the right to life as “the only a foundation; it can also be a com- stars, but in ourselves.” first right” (155) and states: “Promoting mon ground to a broader engagement Vivat Jesus!

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Finding Jesus in the Mysteries of the Rosary The rosary spiritually enriches us as we meditate on the life of Christ through the eyes of Mary by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori DURING A RECENT visit to New the rosary “spiritual medicine … for the Haven, I was asked to bless several pal- heart, the soul and the whole of life.” lets loaded with more than 30,000 On another occasion, he pulled a rosary rosaries. In fact, I bless large numbers from his pocket, held it up, and asked of rosaries whenever I’m at the Supreme the people if they too had rosaries. Council headquarters. The reason is Then, he asked if they merely carry the that a rosary is given to every Knight of rosary in their pockets or if they actually Columbus when he becomes a mem- pray it! ber. I still have the rosary I was given We might ask why it is that popes, when I became a Knight in 1986 and a great saints and pastors, and masters of few newer ones to spare. A rosary is the spiritual life are nearly unanimous “standard operating equipment” — if I might use that phrase — for every Knight. The Blessed Mother calms our Members of the Knights and spirit and leads us to Jesus. their families are encouraged by the Order to pray the rosary She helps us enter into the daily. Indeed, every Catholic should try to pray the rosary “mysteries” of her Son’s life. frequently. And what better month than May — dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary — for us to in urging us to pray the rosary. Many revisit this devotion. others have answered that question more convincingly than I ever could. SPIRITUAL MEDICINE Yet, emboldened by the Blessed By word and example, Pope Francis Mother’s love for me, I am willing to certainly encourages us to pray the try! And I’d like to take my cue from a rosary. The Holy Father prays 15 prayer that is often recited at the end of decades of the rosary daily and often the rosary. It goes like this: can be seen praying it in public. He has “O God, whose only begotten Son, by even written a pocket-sized book of his life, death and resurrection, has purmeditations on the mysteries of the chased for us the rewards of eternal salvarosary. Through these easy-to-read re- tion: Grant, we beseech thee, that while flections, Pope Francis invites us to ask meditating on these mysteries of the the help of Mary so that our hearts most holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin might be prepared to enter into the Mary, we may both imitate what they mysteries of Christ’s life. contain and obtain what they promise, The pope also talks about the rosary through Christ our Lord. Amen.” in his addresses and homilies. In one Let’s consider two phrases in that Angelus address, for instance, he called prayer: 1) “meditating on these myster4 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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ies of the most holy rosary” and 2) “imitate what they [the mysteries of the rosary] contain and obtain what they promise.” I believe that these two phrases can help deepen our understanding of the rosary and motivate us to pray it daily. First, this concluding prayer reminds us that the rosary is a prayer for meditation on the mysteries of the life of Christ. In a daily Mass homily, Pope Francis said that prayer is not mindlessly repeating words “like a parrot!” The rosary, too, is not merely a matter of saying Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Rather, when we address the Blessed Mother using the words of the archangel Gabriel — “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Lk 1:28) — she calms our spirit and leads us to Jesus. She helps us enter into the “mysteries” of her Son’s life. THE PROMISE OF JOY When we refer to the “mysteries” of the rosary, we do not mean something that is difficult or even impossible to explain. Rather, the word “mysteries” refers to events in the earthly life of Christ that reveal the saving work of our heavenly Father. Mary, who shared in these events like no one else, guides us through the incarnation, birth and childhood of Jesus (joyful mysteries);

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through the events of Jesus’ public life that manifested the Father’s glory (luminous mysteries); through Jesus’ saving passion and death (sorrowful mysteries); and through the triumph of the Lord over sin and death (glorious mysteries). By allowing Mary to help us to reflect prayerfully on these events in the life of Christ, we begin to “imitate what they contain.” For example, the first joyful mystery is the Annunciation. As we greet Mary and ask her intercession, we ponder the news that the angel Gabriel brought — the birth of the Savior. We should be moved to give


Offered in Solidarity with Pope Francis


CHRISTIANS IN AFRICA: That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice and peace.

thanks and praise to God for loving the world so much that he sent us his only Son (cf. Jn 3:16). We should also ponder Mary’s response to this astonishing news: “Let it be done to me according to thy word!” When we pray each successive Hail Mary attentively, we always receive some benefit for our spiritual life. The Good News that the angel brought might dispel our gloomy outlook and rekindle our Christian hope. The response of Mary might challenge our tendency to be a Christian on our own terms, not the Lord’s.

As we enter into the mysteries of Christ’s life, we also “obtain what they promise” — first and foremost the blessedness and joy of growing in the likeness of Christ. This overarching blessing is specified in the 15 promises of the Blessed Mother to those who pray the rosary, as promoted by the Dominican order — promises that strengthen our hope for eternal life and that give us encouragement in the misfortunes and challenges of life. In this month of May — and in every month thereafter — let us put our K of C rosaries to good use!♦


Father Edward J. Flanagan (1886-1948) THE EIGHTH of 11 children, Edward Joseph Flanagan was born July 13, 1886, into a hardworking, closeknit Catholic family in County Roscommon, Ireland. As a boy, Flanagan was fond of praying the rosary while pasturing sheep and at age 8 expressed the desire to become a priest. An exceptional student, he immigrated to the United States in 1904 to pursue his vocation. After studying at Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., and then at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, N.Y., ill health forced Flanagan to convalesce in Omaha, Neb., where most of his family had since settled. He completed his priestly formation in Rome and later in Innsbruck, Austria, where he was ordained for the Diocese of Omaha in 1912. Father Flanagan was assigned to parish work and opened a men’s shelter in Omaha in 1913. Moved by the plight of homeless and wayward boys, in 1917 he started what soon was called Boys Town, which within four years housed, educated and trained some 500 boys.

“I do not believe that a child can be reformed by lock and key and bars,” Father Flanagan said. “A boy given the proper guidance will prove my statement that there is no such thing as a bad boy.” With the 1925 launch of a radio show, Father Flanagan became a respected authority on childcare. Following World War II, President Truman asked him to travel to Asia and Europe on behalf of war orphans. Father Flanagan suffered a heart attack and died in Berlin on May 15, 1948. Soon after, Omaha Council 652, of which he was a member, changed its name in his honor. The Archdiocese of Omaha opened the cause for Father Flanagan’s canonization in 2012.♦

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Supreme Knight Addresses San Antonio Men’s Conference SUPREME KNIGHT Carl A. Anderson was a keynote speaker at the 12th annual Catholic Men’s Conference in San Antonio, held at St. Mary’s University March 18. The conference was organized by the Pilgrim Center of Hope, led by Deacon Tom Fox, a member of St. Matthew’s Council 8065 in San Antonio. Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, M.Sp.S., of San Antonio, was the principal celebrant for the conference’s Mass. A Fourth Degree honor guard was present, and local Knights assisted with the conference in various capacities, including manning information tables and the concessions booth. Registered participants received the Order’s booklet titled The Family Fully Alive, Building the Domestic Church. In his keynote address, Supreme

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson addresses the 12th annual Catholic Men’s Conference in San Antonio March 18. Knight Anderson reflected on the conference theme: “Master, I want to see” (Mk 10:51). “With sight comes responsibility,”

the supreme knight said. “If we see as Jesus does, then we are obligated to follow him along his road — the road of compassion, charity and courage.”♦

THE BENEDICT LEADERSHIP Institute at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., presented Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson with the inaugural Benedict Leadership Award March 24 for the Order’s work on behalf of persecuted Christians. The award is designed to recognize outstanding men and women whose achievements reflect the heroic leadership of St. Benedict of Nursia, co-patron saint of Europe. The institute selected Anderson for his advocacy of persecuted religious minorities targeted for genocide in the Middle East. It also applauded his efforts in leading the Knights of Columbus to raise more than $12 million in humanitarian relief for Christian refugees since 2014. Conor Gallagher, executive director of the Benedict Leadership Institute, wrote in a letter to the supreme knight, “It is our hope that your award will bring attention and relief to persecuted Christians and move the public to act more decisively in their behalf.” In his address at the award ceremony, Supreme Knight Anderson described the injustices and dangers endured by Christians in the Middle East. He pointed out that Christians in the region have dwindled in number since the early 1900s, particularly in Iraq, and now face extinction. “Where has been the effective leadership in the West to rescue them?” the supreme knight asked. “I would say now is the time for action. Their plight calls out to us for action 6 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson receives the inaugural Benedict Leadership Award, joined by (from left) Belmont Abbey College President Dr. William Thierfelder, Belmont Abbey College Chancellor Abbot Placid Solari, and Benedict Leadership Institute Executive Director Conor Gallagher. and a new spirit of Christian solidarity. Their witness should inspire us to take up the challenge.” He added that the new administration in the United States should begin to right this wrong and chart a different course. “It can quickly end this de facto discrimination, and in so doing, help save ancient ethnic and religious communities that could otherwise cease to exist,” the supreme knight said.♦

TOP: Photo by Stephen Feiler — BOTTOM: Photo by SueAnn Howell/Catholic News Herald, Diocese of Charlotte

Belmont Abbey College Honors Supreme Knight

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Order Celebrates 135th Anniversary Following the Founder’s Day Mass March 29 at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore leads Supreme Officers and guests in prayer for the canonization of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney at the founder’s sarcophagus.

Mexican Knights Make Pilgrimage to Christ the King Shrine ON SUNDAY, MARCH 12, the five Mexican jurisdictions celebrated the sixth annual Knights of Columbus pilgrimage to Christ the King Shrine on Cubilete Hill, the geographic center of the country. Approximately 1,000 members and their families attended the pilgrimage, led by the five state deputies. Father Eduardo Saucedo, associate chaplain of Mexico West, celebrated Mass at the holy site, where the Mexican martyrs are commemorated. The pilgrimage coincided with the beginning of the Novena of Grace and Solidarity, the Orderwide prayer for persecuted Christians. Following Mass, Mexico Central State Deputy Juan Ygnacio Vargas invited the pilgrims to join in the prayer.♦

TOP: Photo by Tom Serafin — BOTTOM: Photo by Stephen Feiler

Knights Provide Life-Saving Mobile Ultrasound Unit ON MARCH 18, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson and local K of C leaders attended the blessing of the newest machine donated through the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative. Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller blessed the new mobile ultrasound unit for A Woman’s Haven, a pro-life pregnancy center that has been serving women in San Antonio since 2007. Several area councils donated to the project, and matching funds were provided by the Supreme Council’s Culture of Life Fund. “Because of this mobile pregnancy center, we anticipate that the number of women we serve will grow to approximately 2,000 on a yearly basis,” said Eddie Perez, president of A Woman’s Haven and a member of St. Joseph’s at Honey Creek Council 8521 in Spring Branch, Texas. According to Darlene Balenger, a nurse practitioner at A Woman’s Haven, the very first woman to use the new machine changed her mind about having an abortion after seeing the image of her child. Since 2009, the Order’s Ultrasound Initiative has funded more than 785 ultrasound machines for pro-life pregnancy care centers throughout the United States, as well as in

Supreme Knight Anderson and Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller join (left to right) State Deputy Douglas Oldmixon; Eddie Perez, president of A Woman’s Haven; Supreme Director Javier Martinez; and San Antonio Diocesan Deputy Derek Rabey in front of the new mobile pregnancy center. Canada, Guatemala, Jamaica and Peru. Since fall 2016, the Supreme Council also began offering additional funding for ultrasound machines used in mobile medical units. For more information, please visit kofc.org/ultrasound.♦

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C Service


the Great War During World War I, Knights from North America provided abundant material and spiritual support for troops by Joseph Pronechen 8 ♦ COLUMBIA ♦

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Photo by E.S. Brooke / Knights of Columbus

U.S. soldiers and K of C field secretaries stand outside of a K of C hut in Andernach, Germany, circa 1919.


century ago, as World War I raged in Europe, the United States declared war on Germany April 6, 1917. When Americans joined the war effort and soldiers sailed overseas, the whole country was soon singing “Over There,” a hit song by George M. Cohan. Among the U.S. servicemen shipping over to Europe were some 100,000 members of the Knights of Columbus, including hundreds of clergy and war relief workers. Many more Knights would assist in war relief in the states, keeping up morale at military camps and raising funds.

Knights from Canada already had been fighting in the trenches for more than two years. World War I officially began July 28, 1914, and Canada entered the war the following week, together with the United Kingdom. To mark the centenary of the U.S. involvement in the war, a new major exhibit is now on display at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Conn., and will be open through Dec. 30, 2018. The title of the exhibit, “World War I: Beyond the Front Lines,” speaks to soldiers’ lives during the long months of war, including how the Knights provided them major support. M AY 2017


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The Order’s work had such an impact that Gen. John Joseph Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), stated that “of all the organizations that took part in the winning of the war, with the exception of the military itself, there was none so efficiently and ably administered as the Knights of Columbus.” ‘EVERYBODY WELCOME, EVERYTHING FREE’ On April 14, eight days after the United States entered the war, the K of C Board of Directors passed a resolution, which was sent to President Woodrow Wilson. It assured the president that “the crisis confronting the nation hereby reaffirms the patriotic devotion of 400,000 members of this Order in this country to the Republic and its laws and pledges their unconditional support to the President and Congress.” Soldiers needed a respite from the war; they needed Mass and the sacraments. The Knights of Columbus came to the rescue, providing a major service with recreation centers, which became known as huts. This initiative was inspired by 15 such centers that the Order had established the previous year for National 10 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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Guardsmen serving along the Mexican border. The Knights’ Committee on War Activities coordinated fundraisers and war relief efforts, and the Order soon financed huts both in the United States and around Europe. When the first goal of $1 million was raised in record time from the stateside councils, the goal was upped to $3 million. Catholics and non-Catholics alike donated, and the goal was raised again to $12 million. The final amount exceeded $14 million — at a time when bread was 7 cents a pound. Similar efforts were already underway in Canada for war relief efforts. Canadian Knights at first helped by providing chaplains with portable altars and giving soldiers rosaries, medals and prayer books, as well as entertainment. Because recreation huts in England were run by nonCatholics, Catholic chaplains from Canada eventually appealed for K of C help to establish huts for the Canadian camps in England and France. In May 1917, plans to erect Catholic huts for Canadian soldiers were set in motion thanks to the efforts of Knights such as Major Rev. John J. O’Gorman, an Ottawa-based priest who

Photo: Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archives

U.S. Army soldiers write letters on K of C-supplied stationery in the reading room of the K of C Army hut at Camp Gordon in Atlanta, Ga., circa 1917.

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Photo: U.S. National Archives 111-SC-21372

A K of C field secretary, known as a “Casey,” passes a cup to a U.S. soldier from a rolling kitchen in Juvigny, France, 1918, while other soldiers from the American 32nd Division look on. spearheaded the Catholic Army Huts program in Canada. With the support of K of C state councils and the Canadian hierarchy, a series of fund drives were launched that raised more than $1.2 million for some 30 Canadian huts in France and 20 in England, all of which were run by Catholic chaplains. Meanwhile, dozens of huts were built on or near U.S. military bases in the United States and Europe, offering soldiers an escape from the war. The spaces were versatile, and even the largest were designed to make the soldiers feel like they were at home, with tall windows and bright colors. The K of C hut slogan was “Everybody Welcome, Everything Free.” No soldier or sailor had to pay a cent for anything the Knights gave them, nor would any free-will offering on their part be accepted by the secretaries who ran the huts. They gave everything free to whomever walked in, with no questions about religion, race or rank. The uniform was all that mattered. In the huts, soldiers had the opportunity to attend Mass,

go to confession, hear a music recital, see vaudeville entertainment or watch a movie. They could attend a dance, sit ringside at popular boxing competitions, write letters home (the Knights provided 1,800 tons of stationary), or read a book from the library. The exhibit at the K of C Museum has a wonderful example of a typical hut, down to the player piano — around which soldiers would sing wartime favorites like “Keep the Home Fires Burning.” They would also join in the chorus of the Knights’ official hut song, “Everybody Welcome, Everything Free!”: “Ev’rybody welcome, ev’rything free. That is the slogan of the K. of C. For all the boys here, and ‘Over There,’ The K. of C. is doing its share.” By the summer of 1918, when the National Catholic War Council was created to coordinate Catholic works related to the U.S. war effort, the Knights of Columbus continued in its role as the Catholic agency providing recreational activities. M AY 2017

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‘CASEYS’ AND CHAPLAINS To run the huts, Knights of Columbus workers, known as secretaries, began arriving in France from the United States in March 1918. These men did not qualify for military service but still wanted to help as much as they could. Their uniforms were like the U.S. Army’s but with “KC” on their shoulder badge and buttons. Naturally, secretaries quickly got the nickname “Casey.” One such Casey was Frank Large, later grand knight of Palos Council 35 in Bristol, Conn. His poor vision prevented him

WWI AT THE K OF C MUSEUM THE EXHIBIT “World War I: Beyond the Front Lines,” which runs through 2018 at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Conn., features artifacts and archival materials from the Great War. The Museum and Supreme Council Archives are currently seeking donations specifically related to the Order’s support of troops during the war. Of particular interest are materials related to the efforts of Canadian Knights. Please contact the museum staff before sending items. For more information, visit kofcmuseum.org.♦


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from enlisting, but he served as a secretary and chaplain’s assistant at southern U.S. camps. His uniform and several items from his work are displayed in the museum exhibit. The Caseys dispensed items such as candy, gum, cigarettes, playing cards, sewing kits, razors, postcards and rosaries. The KC secretaries sometimes even went to the front lines and trenches to hand out items to soldiers. They also operated large mobile food trucks known as rolling kitchens — a Knights’ invention — to bring the men hot coffee, cocoa and other warm food. The secretaries even provided tremendous quantities of sports gear and equipment, including baseball bats and gloves emblazoned with the Order’s emblem. During their first month overseas, 14,772 baseballs, 2,286 sets of boxing gloves, and 1,687 footballs were doled out. Doughboys played 5,000 games of baseball every day wearing uniforms also supplied by the Knights. No doubt some got pointers from Hall of Fame infielder Johnny Evers, who played on the Boston Braves’ 1914 World Series winning team and was the league’s MVP. A member of Troy (N.Y.) Council 176, Evers joined the Caseys and served overseas from July-December 1918. Caseys also helped the wounded in the field and hospitals, writing letters for men unable to do so themselves. One KC secretary, Frank Larkin, a past grand knight of Mystical Rose Council 268 in New York, N.Y., remembered a badly wounded young soldier at a hospital in Neuilly, France, calling out to him: “Have you a minute to spare,

Photo by Tom Serafin

The Knights of Columbus Museum’s new exhibit, titled “World War I: Beyond the Front Lines,” features various galleries of artifacts and information about the experience of servicemen during the Great War.

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Photo by J.C. Hemment / Knights of Columbus

Casey?” The young man first wanted to write a letter, but then said, “Casey, get a priest.” He had a smile on his face as a chaplain gave him the last rites. Since more than a third of the soldiers were Catholic, chaplains were there to serve the men — and serve with them. Among the first five K of C chaplains to arrive in France, for example, was 1st Lt. Chaplain John B. DeValles. Known as the Angel of the Trenches, Father DeValles never recovered from exposure to mustard gas while ministering on the front lines. He died shortly after the war, in 1920. His tunic, helmet, Distinguished Service Cross, Portuguese Military Order of Christ and French Croix de Guerre medals are on display in the K of C Museum exhibit. The exhibit includes numerous other World War I artifacts as well, including a 13th-century altar stone from Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims, which was bombed during the war; uniforms, helmets and hats from service members; a rosary and pocket shrine; the Catholic Prayer Book for the Army and Navy; and an autographed manuscript of “The Peacemaker” by famous poet and journalist Joyce Kilmer, a Knight from New York who died in the war. The exhibit even includes a gallery simulating a trench and trench warfare, complete with lighting and special sound effects. SERVICE AND SACRIFICE By the end of the war in November 1918, more than 116,000 American men and some 60,000 Canadians had died in the conflict. Among them were 1,500 members of the Knights of Columbus from the United States and approximately 120 Knights from Canada. Both the first and the last U.S. officers to die in the war were Knights. “The first name on the casualty list of the American army in France is that of Dr. William T. Fitzsimmons of Kansas City, killed in a German air raid on our hospitals,” wrote former President Theodore Roosevelt in the fallen doctor’s hometown paper. “To the mother he leaves, the personal grief must in some degree be relieved by the pride in the fine and gallant life which has been crowned by the great sacrifice. We, his fellow countrymen, share this pride and sympathize with this sorrow.” Lt. Fitzsimmons was a member of Kansas City Council 527. In 1914, before the United States entered the war, he had served as a volunteer with the Red Cross in France for four months, returned home, and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Medical Officers’ Reserve Corps. When the AEF was formed, he immediately volunteered and was with the first five physicians heading overseas in June 1917. Fitzsimmons was waiting to help the wounded at Base Hospital 5 in Pas-de-Calais, France, on the afternoon of Sept. 4, when he was killed by a bomb from a German plane. His memory wasn’t forgotten, nor was that of 1st Lt. Chaplain William F. Davitt, the last U.S. officer and chaplain to be killed in the war. A member of Holyoke (Mass.) Council 90, Father Davitt volunteered as a K of C chaplain and served with the 125th Infantry. He was killed by one of the last shells fired

A Casey assists a wounded U.S. soldier in the Argonne Forest, France, in fall 1918. A K of C rolling kitchen is pictured in the background. in the war, just over an hour before the ceasefire at 11 a.m. on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918. The priest had already been awarded the Croix de Guerre and Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for organizing and leading the rescue of 40 wounded soldiers cut off from the troops. One soldier wrote that Father Davitt’s “DSC” should stand for “Died in the Service of Christ!” Even though the war ended Nov. 11, 1918, a number of the recreation centers remained in full swing. Serving troops at a hut in Koblenz, Germany, Knights gave a new meaning to the nickname “doughboys,” producing more than 40,000 doughnuts a day in their large kitchen. Overall, about 1,100 men and women served overseas to run nearly 150 K of C huts. Even more worked in a comparable number of huts stateside. The war relief effort during World War I made such an impression that between 1917-1923, approximately 400,000 men joined the Knights, doubling the pre-war membership. Through its war relief efforts, both on the battlefield and behind the lines, the Knights of Columbus earned international esteem and recognition. And it was through this work that the Knights brought the message of charity, care and Christ to countless servicemen.♦ JOSEPH PRONECHEN is a staff writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register. M AY 2017

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The Witness of Blood Imprisoned for decades, an Albanian cardinal bears living witness to his country’s 20th-century martyrs by Mike Stechschulte


irst, the angels were nudged to move. Dressed in white, with wings and halos a bright contrast to the somber occasion, the four young girls slowly carried candles toward the altar of St. Paul Albanian Catholic Church in Rochester Hills, Mich. They lit the way for 38 more boys and girls wearing traditional Albanian garb, who followed beneath the swords of a Knights of Columbus honor guard. The children carried simple black-and-white photographs with the names of the Blessed Martyrs of Albania, such as Archbishop Vinçenc Prennushi, O.F.M., whose torture included being rolled in a nail-studded barrel for refusing to separate Albania’s church from the Holy See; and Father Lazër Shantoja, whose forearms and legs were broken, forcing him to move by crawling, before he was shot in the neck and killed. At the end of the procession came an elderly priest wearing purple vestments and a gold-and-white miter. 14 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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“Christianity is no joke; it is not a game,” Cardinal Ernest Troshani Simoni said during his homily March 19. “It is a very serious matter. You have to know Christ and choose Christ. As he himself says, ‘Without me you can do nothing.’” The 88-year-old priest suffered nearly three decades of torture, imprisonment and forced labor at the hands of Albania’s 20th-century communist regime. Today, he stands as a living symbol of those persecuted by Stalinist leader Enver Hoxha’s brutal dictatorship, which outlawed the practice of religion for all Albanians in 1967. AN ATHEISTIC STATE Albania’s Catholic martyrs — including the 38 who were beatified by Pope Francis in November 2016, just days before the pope elevated Father Simoni to the College of Cardinals — are still little-known outside the Balkan country of 2.7 million people.

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Photo by Lisa Hodack Photography

Cardinal Ernest Simoni, who endured 28 years in communist labor camps in Albania, delivers the homily during Mass at St. Paul Albanian Catholic Church in Rochester Hills, Mich., March 19. “Other than Albanian-Americans, no one in the United States seems to know about it,” said Mike Kalaj, grand knight of Father Gjergj Fishta Council 10343. “It’s like you’re alone in a room full of people.” Based at St. Paul, one of a handful of ethnic Albanian parishes in the United States, Council 10343 helped bring Cardinal Simoni to Michigan. Though the Catholic Church in Albania is not large — less than 20 percent of the country’s total population — it was much smaller after the persecution that lasted from 1944 until the fall of communism in 1991. The 38 beatified martyrs represent a cross-section of the country’s faithful: men and women, clergy and laity, priests and religious — including a Jesuit brother who was a cousin of St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Following an invasion from fascist Italy during World War II, the Communist Party of Albania sought to reassert the country’s independence. Hoxha rose to power in the aftermath of the war, and Catholics weren’t the only ones to suffer under his rule. Despite peaceful relations between Albania’s majority-Muslim population and the smaller number of Catholics and Orthodox, Hoxha believed religion factionalized the nation. He moved immediately to seize churches, mosques and schools and suppress religious orders such as the Franciscans and Jesuits. The persecution intensified in 1967, when the dictator declared Albania the “world’s first atheistic state” and began overtly targeting those who persisted in the public practice of their faith. M AY 2017

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The easiest and earliest of these targets was the Catholic Church, which Hoxha viewed with suspicion both for its ties to the Vatican, and thus Italy, and for the challenges that its teachings presented to the party’s ideological revolution. Early on, he tried to persuade many of the country’s priests and bishops to repudiate Rome and form a new, state church. When they refused, they were tortured and imprisoned — often in former monasteries — or killed. For Albanian-Americans like Kalaj, who was born in the United States, thinking about what family members suffered in Albania can seem surreal. “They tried to destroy the whole Church in Albania,” Kalaj said. “Every time I read about it, I can hardly believe that it really happened.” In 1992, Msgr. Ivan Dias, Albania’s papal nuncio, testified that of the 300 priests alive when Hoxha came to power, only about 30 survived, not to mention the thousands of other Catholics who were murdered or imprisoned for their faith. Father Frederik Kalaj, pastor of St. Paul and a cousin of Mike Kalaj, said no one knows how they will react to persecution until the moment comes, yet the faith of Albania’s martyrs continues to inspire those who have made their way to the United States. “These martyrs were underground for many years, but they came out and became a great symbol of resurrection and freedom, love and forgiveness, not only for Albanians but also for the whole universal Church,” Father Kalaj said. PRISONER FOR CHRIST Cardinal Simoni might be familiar to many as the priest who, in 2014, brought Pope Francis to tears. During a one-day visit to Albania, the Holy Father listened 16 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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intently as Father Simoni told of being beaten, handcuffed and locked in solitary confinement for his refusal to betray his faith. Father Simoni was celebrating Mass on Christmas Eve in 1963 when he was arrested for offering a prayer for the repose of the soul of recently assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy. That was enough for the communists to charge Father Simoni with treason. “They incarcerated us, and we all knew we were going to die for Christ,” Cardinal Simoni said during an interview in the St. Paul parish rectory, translated from his native Albanian. “They chose the public holiday, which was Christmas, when they arrested me because they wanted to incite fear in the congregation.” While many of his fellow priests were killed, Father Simoni was sentenced instead to 18 years of prison in the northern Albanian town of Spaç, followed by 10 years of forced labor, working with sewage. During his imprisonment, the regime spent several years attempting to trap him into betraying his bishops and fellow clergy, first sending a wiretapped inmate — one of his best friends — to record his conversations. They later tried to frame him for inciting a prison revolt. “They wanted me to name the archbishop and other priests as instigators of a prison revolt,” said Cardinal Simoni, who while in prison continued to clandestinely celebrate Mass, baptize and hear confessions. “I refused because I knew such traitorous testimony would be used to arrest more priests and as propaganda against the Church.” Like Christ at the hands of his accusers, Father Simoni remained silent and accepted his punishment. “I was handcuffed and tortured, hit with rifle butts and

Photo by Vera Camaj

Cardinal Simoni is pictured with State Deputy Kenneth B. Unterbrink and members of Father Gjerg j Fishta Council 10343 shortly after he became the council’s honorary 100th member March 18.

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Photo by Lisa Hodack Photography

chains,” he recalled. “I passed out from the torture and they threw a bucket of water on me to revive me, but I still wouldn’t go along. After I refused, they threw a bucket of ice on me, and still I didn’t admit anything.” Christ set a high cost for being his follower, the cardinal added. “Everything we went through was according to what the Lord told us: ‘In the same way they persecuted me, they will persecute you,’” he said. “This journey of our suffering followed the same path as the cross of Christ.” Cardinal Simoni said Catholics should pray for the intercession of the Virgin Mary on behalf of all those who continue to suffer persecution. He thanks the Blessed Mother every day for sparing his life — not for his sake, but to witness on behalf of those who died. “My friends who went through this, they paid their martyrdom with their blood, and my life is a testimony to give echo to their voices,” Cardinal Simoni said. “Everything is for the glory of God, and through the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to carry on.” HOPE AND STRENGTH During his visit to Michigan March 18-19, Cardinal Simoni was the guest of honor at a Saturday evening dinner at St. Paul Albanian Parish, which drew local Albanians and others, including State Deputy Kenneth B. Unterbrink. Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron attended and said he was “blessed to spend the evening with a true hero of the faith.” While visiting Albania in November 2016, Father Kalaj invited Cardinal Simoni to share his story in the United States. The Knights of Council 10343 worked with Father Kalaj, the council’s chaplain, to help organize the visit. Council 10343 is one of the younger councils in Michigan — both in terms of its average member age and the council itself, which was founded in 1990. But members didn’t mind their average age getting a little older March 18, when they welcomed Cardinal Simoni as the council’s honorary 100th member. Also giving his testimony at the dinner was Gasper Kalaj, another cousin of Father Kalaj who was imprisoned with Cardinal Simoni. With Father Kalaj translating, Gasper shared a story about walking with Father Simoni one day during a “free hour” in 1978. They were quietly discussing the Gospel when a young man ran up with a newspaper announcing the election of Pope John Paul II. “The man said, ‘Dom Ernesto, you see, the communists are now in the Vatican. Wojtyła — John Paul II — is from a communist country. So the KGB is now in the Vatican,’” Gasper Kalaj recalled. “He thought it would shake the cardinal’s hope, but he didn’t understand who he was talking to. The cardinal said, ‘Nobody knows God’s plans.’ Of course, John Paul II is actually the pope who helped bring down communism.” Gasper Kalaj said prisoners would sneak in pages of the Gospel one by one through their clothing and pass them

Children from St. Paul Albanian Catholic Church hold images of the Blessed Martyrs of Albania during Mass March 19. around, secretly copying each page by hand under their blankets at night. “We would copy the whole Gospel and read it, and that became the source of our strength,” Gasper Kalaj recalled. “If they caught you, they would add years in prison.” Father Kalaj, who himself escaped the communist persecution to come to the United States, where he was ordained in 2001, said conditions in Albania’s political prisons — especially in Spaç, where opposition leaders, professors and intellectuals were held — were not designed to keep people alive. “With the treatment they received there, they were not supposed to survive more than 15 years; they would contract diseases and die,” Father Kalaj said. “It was a camp to terminate whole intellectual groups.” Despite everything they endured, Cardinal Simoni and Gasper Kalaj not only survived, but they have long forgiven those who tormented them, even as the Church in Albania continues to recover today. “Jesus told us we are to love and forgive our enemies and forgive those who harm us,” Cardinal Simoni said. “Before anything else, before any martyrs or saints, the source of all strength in difficult times is Christ himself.”♦ MIKE STECHSCHULTE is managing editor of The Michigan Catholic, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Detroit. M AY 2017

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Fatima at 100 The message of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917 points to God as the source of peace in the world by Columbia staff


etween May and October 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared six times to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Francisco and Jacinta Marto and their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, received Mary’s words with simple trust and faithfully put them into practice. Our Lady’s message was one of prayer, penance and conversion at a time of international crisis, as World War I intensified in Europe and the Bolshevik revolution in Russia loomed on the horizon. During the deadly flu pandemic that began months later, young Francisco and Jacinta suffered immensely, and they showed great spiritual maturity and holiness despite their young age. Francisco died in 1919 at age 10, and Jacinta died a year later at age 9. Lucia, who became a Sister of St. Dorothy and eventually received permission to join the Carmelites, wrote of the Fatima events in a series of memoirs and obediently shared what came to be called the “secret of Fatima.” Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 2000. Sister Lucia died in 2005 at age 97, and three years later, Pope Benedict XVI waived the five-year waiting period for her cause for canonization. In March 2017, Pope Francis formally recognized a second miracle attributed to the intercession of Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta, and to celebrate the centennial of the apparitions he will visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 12-13. 18 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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As summarized in the pages that follow, the story of Fatima, which unfolded over many decades, is a call to deeper prayer and conversion, and it is intertwined with the Church’s experience throughout the tumultuous 20th century. APPARITIONS AND MIRACLES On May 13, 1917, 10-year-old Lucia was herding sheep in the Cova da Iria, near Fatima, with her cousins Francisco, 9, and Jacinta, 7, when the children shared a supernatural vision: A woman “clothed in white and brighter than the sun” spoke to them and asked them to meet her in the same place on the 13th day for the next five months. Though cautioned by Lucia to remain silent about the event, Jacinta could not contain her joy and told her mother, who gave the claim little credence. Lucia’s mother accused her own daughter of lying, even blaspheming. As word spread through the community, the children faced increasing questions and threats from the local authorities while ever larger crowds gathered each month. On Aug. 13, authorities went so far as to kidnap, imprison and threaten the children in an attempt to make them repudiate the apparitions. That month, the Blessed Mother appeared to the children on the 19th, after their release, promising to “perform a miracle so that all may believe” in October. On Oct. 13, an estimated 70,000 people gathered. While only the children saw Mary, as well as St. Joseph and the Child Jesus, the crowd witnessed what came to be called the “miracle

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TOP: CNS photo/Rafael Marchante, Reuters — RIGHT: CNS file photo

A statue of Our Lady of Fatima is carried May 12, 2016, through the crowd of pilgrims gathered at the Marian shrine of Fatima, Portugal. • Jacinta and Francisco Marto are pictured with their cousin Lucia dos Santos (left) around the time of the 1917 apparitions. Pope Francis recently approved the recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta, thus paving the way for their canonization. of the sun” — the sun appeared to spin, move toward the earth and cast colored light in an extraordinary manner before resuming its normal appearance. Sister Lucia later revealed in her memoirs that the remarkable events of Fatima actually began a year before Mary’s first appearance. The children had previously been visited three times in the spring of 1916 by the Angel of Portugal, who taught them prayers and called them to deeper love of the Eucharist. MESSAGE AND PRACTICE Mary’s message to the children at Fatima was essentially a summons to conversion, faith, prayer, penance and hope. Repeatedly, Our Lady instructed them to “pray the rosary every day” to bring peace to the world and an end to war. She also said to “make sacrifices for sinners” and “in reparation” for offenses against God and her Immaculate Heart. On the last day, she said, “People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins.” The Fatima message inspired spiritual practices that have become part of popular Catholic devotion in many parts of M AY 2017

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the world. This includes devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and First Saturday Communions of reparation, much like the First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart inspired by visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century. A number of specific prayers also stemmed from these events, including the Fatima Prayer said at the end of the rosary: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need of your mercy.” Pope John Paul II affirmed the universality of the Fatima message in 1991 when he said, “Mary’s message at Fatima can be synthesized in these clear, initial words of Christ: ‘The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel’ (Mk 1:15).” CHURCH APPROVAL OF THE FATIMA ‘REVELATION’ On Oct. 13, 1930, after a seven-year investigation, the bishop of Leiria-Fátima declared the apparitions at Fatima worthy of belief and authorized public devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. In reflecting on the Fatima message in 2000, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then-prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explained that Church-approved “private revelation” has three elements: The message contains nothing contrary to faith or morals; it is lawful to make it public; and the faithful are authorized but not obliged to accept the help it offers. This is distinct from “public revelation,” which came to completion in Christ, as enunciated in the New Testament, and demands faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “Throughout the ages, there have been so-called ‘private revelations,’ some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history” (67). As with the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe (1531) and Our Lady of Lourdes (1858), recent popes have expressed personal devotion to the Blessed Mother under her title Our Lady of Fatima. When Pope Francis visits the Fatima Shrine in May, he will be the fourth pope to do so, following Paul VI (1967), John Paul II (1982, 1991 and 2000) and Benedict XVI (2010). THE ‘SECRET’ OF FATIMA During the apparition of July 13, 1917, the Virgin Mary revealed to the shepherd children the so-called secret of Fatima, comprised of three parts. At the request of her bishop in 1941, Sister Lucia recorded the first two parts of the secret in writing. The first part was a harrowing vision of hell, depicting demons and souls in human form plunged in fire. Mary said to the children, “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” 20 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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TOP: Photo by Goldman & Parrish / Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archives – BOTTOM: Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archives

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ABOVE LEFT: CNS Photo — ABOVE RIGHT: Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Above: Pope John Paul II meets with Carmelite Sister Lucia dos Santos in Fatima May 13, 1982. • Pope Francis prays the rosary at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome May 4, 2013. • Opposite page: Knights from Father Perez Council 1444 in Chicago welcome the arrival of the pilgrim virgin statue to Holy Name of Mary Church Sept. 12, 1948. • Fourth Degree Knights carry a statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock, Ark., in April 1949. In a reference to World War II, Sister Lucia further said that Mary spoke of a terrible war that would break out during the pontificate of Pius XI “if people do not cease offending God.” Mary also referred to “persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father” and to the great harm Russia would inflict upon humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing atheistic communism. “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph,” Our Lady concluded. “The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted the world.” In communion with all Catholic bishops, Pope John Paul II consecrated Russia and the whole world on March 25, 1984. Sister Lucia later confirmed that this act of consecration corresponded to what Mary had requested, writing, “Yes, it has been done just as Our Lady asked.” The following years saw the weakening of communist Russia and its satellite states; the Soviet Union finally collapsed Dec. 26, 1991, opening the door to a new evangelization.

John Paul II was rushed in an ambulance to the Gemelli University Hospital, where surgeons discovered the bullet had missed his abdominal artery by the narrowest of margins. The pope later attributed his survival to the intervention of Mary and said, “It was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path.” He visited Fatima for the first time on the one-year anniversary of the assassination attempt, and the bullet that nearly killed him now rests in the crown of the Marian statue in the shrine’s apparition chapel. On the day of the assassination attempt, the Holy Father had intended to announce the establishment of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. The institute’s constitution was instead presented the following October, and the institute was entrusted to the care of Our Lady of Fatima. In a 2008 interview, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, the institute’s first president, reported receiving a letter from Sister Lucia, in which she wrote, “The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.”

THE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON ST. JOHN PAUL II On May 13, 1981, a jeep carrying Pope John Paul II made its way through St. Peter’s Square shortly after 5 p.m. Suddenly, two shots rang out as Mehmet Ali Ağca, a Turkish assassin, fired at the pope from point-blank range. One shot entered the Holy Father’s abdomen, while the other grazed his elbow. Then-Supreme Knight Virgil C. Dechant was among those gathered in the square for the Wednesday audience, and in the hours that followed, he joined others in prayers for the pope.

THE ‘THIRD SECRET’ In 1944, Sister Lucia’s bishop had instructed her to put the third part of the secret of Fatima in writing. A sealed envelope containing the text remained with the bishop until 1957, at which time it was delivered to Rome. It was first read by Pope John XXIII in 1959 and later by Paul VI in 1965. John Paul II read it in July 1981, three months after the attempt on his life, and later authorized its publication. The full text was presented June 26, 2000, accompanied by a commentary by Cardinal Ratzinger. M AY 2017

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The third secret described a vision of “a bishop dressed in white” going up a steep mountain toward a cross while praying amid the bodies of martyrs along the way. Upon reaching the summit, he fell to the ground, shot to death by soldiers. Cardinal Ratzinger explained that “the figurative language of visions is symbolic” and therefore “not every element of the vision has to have a specific historical sense.” Taken as a whole, the vision presents the 20th century as “a century of martyrs, a century of suffering and persecution for the Church, a century of World Wars.” He added: “When, after the attempted assassination on May 13, 1981, the Holy Father had the text of the third part of the ‘secret’ brought to him, was it not inevitable that he should see in it his own fate?” With regard to individual events described in the vision, the cardinal affirmed that “they belong to the past,” and “those who expected exciting apocalyptic revelations about the end of the world or the future course of history are bound to be disappointed.” OUR LADY OF FATIMA AND THE KNIGHTS In 1947, during the first North American journey of the international pilgrim virgin statue of Our Lady of Fatima, 22 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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Knights across the continent took part in the devotion and served as escorts. The journey reached more than 250 cities in Canada and the United States in honor of the 30th anniversary of the apparitions, promoting prayer for peace. The pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima also inspired thenSupreme Knight Virgil C. Dechant to initiate in 1979 the Order’s first Marian Hour of Prayer, featuring traveling images blessed by the pope. A year earlier, the Knights of Columbus began the practice of giving each new member a rosary blessed by the supreme chaplain. Through its support of Holy Cross Family Ministries and through its own distributions, the Order has placed hundreds of thousands of rosaries into the hands of the faithful. In addition, through personal devotion and by organizing prayer services, Knights have promoted the daily recitation of the rosary, as recommended at Fatima. On Oct. 13, 2013, a Fourth Degree honor guard participated in the Year of Faith “Marian Day” at the Vatican by carrying the original pilgrim virgin statue of Our Lady of Fatima through St. Peter’s Square. And in February 2015, Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson traveled to Fatima on pilgrimage for the first time with Knights and their families.♦

LEFT: Photo by L’Osservatore Romano

Left: Fourth Degree Knights carry the international Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima through St. Peter’s Square Oct. 13, 2013. • Above: Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson and Dominican Father Jonathan Kalisch, director of chaplains and spiritual development, lead a group of Knights and their families on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in February 2015.

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Called to Adopt Our adoption pilgrimage has opened our hearts and deepened our faith by Bethany Meola



our years after our wedding, my husband, Dan, and I were still childless despite our fervent desire to be parents. After prayer and discernment, we decided to embark on the journey of adoption — specifically, domestic infant adoption. We quickly learned that welcoming a child through adoption is a calling. It requires sacrifices of time and money, as well as the willingness to open your relationship, health, home and finances to evaluation. We call our adoption journey a pilgrimage, a walk of faith, with daily — sometimes hourly — opportunities to deepen our trust in the Lord. Like all pilgrimages, our adoption journey has included challenges. Beyond the mountains of paperwork, the most difficult part was the waiting after our home study was approved. Dan and I created a profile book with pictures and a narrative about ourselves. Several times, our book was considered by birthparents choosing a family for their child; hearing that we weren’t chosen was heartbreakingly difficult. Finally, we received the call: An expectant mother chose us to adopt her baby girl, who was due on April 1! Since I’m writing this column in March, many things could still happen between now and then, and after the baby is born. Her biological parents will have a period of time to affirm their adoption plan, or to decide to keep the child. No matter what happens, this prospect of becoming parents through adoption has brought Dan and me so much joy. I am profoundly aware that our future child, who will bless me with the beautiful name of “mama,” will have known another mother’s presence for nine months in utero. In an era when abortion is easily accessible and even encouraged for mothers in crisis, a birthmother’s choice to continue a pregnancy is truly courageous. With deep admiration and gratitude, I recognize that our happiness entails sacrifice and suffering by our child’s birthparents. For this decision, they will always be our child’s first heroes. In time, we pray that our joy will be their joy. They will

know that their child is safe, greatly loved, and given a stable home. In our case, open adoption will allow us to remain in contact with our child’s birth family, and we believe this will be a blessing for all of us. Years of infertility also remind me what a gift children are — never to be taken for granted, and certainly not “owed” to me or to anyone. Dan and I are very aware that the number and timing of our children is not fully up to us. We will receive our child from God, and do our best to nurture her God-given identity and vocation. Unlike most parents, we’ll have no genetic clues about our daughter’s personality, natural talents or even looks. Already, we marvel at the delightful surprises this fact will hold for us, as we get to know this little person we had no part in creating. And if stories of other adoptive families are true, Dan and I may even fight over who gets to change our baby’s diaper because we are so grateful to finally be parents! We are supported and comforted by the words of Pope Francis, which we hope will also encourage other couples facing infertility: “Adoption is a very generous way to become parents. I encourage those who cannot have children to expand their marital love to embrace those who lack a proper family situation. They will never regret having been generous” (Amoris Laetitia, 179). Indeed, our adoption pilgrimage has opened our hearts. For close to six years, we have prayed and waited patiently to be a mother and a father. We know that all the waiting has not been in vain, but has rather served to strengthen our love for our future child. ♦ BETHANY MEOLA is an assistant director in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. Her husband, Dan, works at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine and is a member of Sacred Heart Council 2577 in Bowie, Md. They have chronicled their adoption journey at adoptionpilgrimage.blogspot.com.


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Mercy and the Mother of God Mary teaches us how to trust in God, receive his grace and share his love with others by Father Jacques Philippe

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following text is abridged from a homily given Dec. 8, 2015, at Thomas More College in Merrimack, N.H., and later published in a book titled Real Mercy: Mary, Forgiveness and Trust (Scepter, 2016). It is reprinted with permission.


s a priest, I often meet people who say, “A few years ago, I committed this great fault, and I went to confession. I think God forgave me, but I don’t seem to be able to forgive myself.” Consider asking yourself the question, “What will allow me to access the mercy of God?” My answer is that there are four conditions: trust, humility, gratitude and forgiveness. And Mary, who is the person with the deepest love and knowledge of God, can help us with these. The mercy of God will always be greater than our sins, and this is what we contemplate in the mystery of the Virgin Mary. She plays a very important role in introducing us to God’s mercy, which is his deepest attribute. Mary did not sin, but in the Magnificat she sang of the mercy of God (cf. Lk 24 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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1:46-55). God’s mercy is a grace given to Mary in advance, by merit of the sacrifice of the cross. The effusion of mercy that springs forth from the cross, from the very heart of Christ, is what purified Mary. Everything is given and everything comes from the mercy of God, not from our merit but from the free love of God. Mary is the richest of all creatures, the holiest and the most beautiful, but also the humblest and poorest because she knows that she has received everything from God. TRUST AND HUMILITY We see in the Gospels that the mercy of God is the greatest mystery and the most beautiful treasure. However, we have a difficult time accepting it because we really have very little trust in God’s forgiveness. This attitude can come about for certain reasons. Perhaps it has to do with human psychology, but without a doubt, there is a lack of trust. We don’t really believe in this reality of the forgiveness of God, and so we don’t always fully welcome it. God forgives us, but we can’t forgive ourselves.

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So there is an issue of trust that is not easy for us because gives thanks for these gifts, will receive more. of our wounded human nature. Yet we have the witness of the There is a little secret in the spiritual life: The more the saints, such as St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Faustina, who all heart gives thanks, the more God gives, even when life isn’t emphasize the importance of trust. What permits us to access perfect, even when we don’t have everything we need or want. God’s mercy? Trust — complete trust in God. The greater the The more we thank God, the more our heart is open to retrust, the more mercy will be given to us, and the more we ceive even more of his mercy and his gifts. will please God. Mary gives us the gift of thanksgiving. Mary is the Virgin St. Thérèse said that what wounds the heart of God most are of the Magnificat. She sings the marvels and the mercy of God not our faults but our lack of trust in his love. This is what pre- in a song of hope. God will strike down the mighty from their vents us from receiving the abundant mercy and love of God. thrones and will raise the humble. When Mary sings this, it St. Louis de Montfort writes about everything Mary gives is not yet fulfilled: The kings are still sitting on their thrones. us. She gives us her faith, her trust in God. She dilates our Mary’s song of hope is a song of gratitude. Mary teaches us hearts in a filial trust. She takes away every fear from us, along the grace of thanksgiving and praise through her Magnificat. with all our suspicions. She gives us trust and simplicity and a The fourth condition to receive God’s mercy abundantly profound faith that enables us to place all of our trust in God. is very clear in the Gospel: If you do not forgive, God cannot The second condition is humility. Sometimes, when we forgive you. Sometimes what stops us from receiving the don’t forgive ourselves even when God forgives us, the reason mercy of God is our lack of mercy toward others, our hardis pride — I don’t accept being a person who has fallen, who ness of heart toward others, our lack of goodness toward othhas made mistakes. I would have liked ers. And so we too need to be to have been the perfect person, infalmerciful. “Blessed are the merciful, for lible. But I’ve made mistakes, and I mercy will be shown them” (Mt 5:7). can’t accept having faults. This stems The more I’m merciful with my ARY GIVES US HER from a certain form of pride. brothers and sisters, the more God We have difficulty accepting that we will be merciful with me. FAITH , HER TRUST IN have to depend on the mercy of God. If we want to receive mercy, we have We would like to save ourselves. We to be merciful toward others. Here GOD. SHE DILATES would like to be our own richness — Mary gives us a beautiful gift: her mato be rich based on our good actions ternal heart, her merciful heart. She is OUR HEARTS IN A and qualities. To receive everything our mother, and everything she reFILIAL TRUST. from the mercy of God — to accept ceives from God, she gives to us. The that God is our source of richness and more I give myself to Mary, the more not ourselves — requires a great she will give herself to me. poverty of heart. What do we observe about Mary at Sometimes it’s good that we rejoice when we have accom- the wedding at Cana? She’s the first one to see the needs of plished great things. But in the moments where we feel our the people around her. There is no more wine; this would be poverty, we should also rejoice, because the good news is for a catastrophe — even worse if this wedding were in France! the poor. Mercy is for those who need it, who feel profoundly Mary is the first one to notice, and she goes to find Jesus. that they cannot save themselves. Our only hope is not Mary can help us open our hearts and eyes to the needs of through our own works; it’s hope in the infinite mercy of our brothers and sisters. She motivates us to acts of love and God. That is our only security. It’s our only security in life to mercy through her maternal grace. Her tenderness and love know that the mercy of God will never run out. That’s the has the force of faith. It can be compared to an army ready second condition for welcoming the mercy of God: humility for battle. She’s strong against evil, but with an inner peace and poverty of heart. and tenderness that she transmits to us. Mary’s maternal love helps us to recognize and accept Let us ask for the grace to welcome Mary into our hearts, to peacefully our limitations and fragility. This is Mary’s great give ourselves to her so she can give us what she has received gift to us. Close to Mary, we love our littleness. St. Thérèse from God. She will give us limitless trust, faith, humility, hope says this as well: “The more that you love your smallness and and thanksgiving, along with her loving and attentive gaze and your poverty, the more Jesus will give you grace.” the goodness that is so deep within her. By practicing all of this with Mary, she will ask for what we need.♦ GRATITUDE AND FORGIVENESS There is a third important condition: gratitude. Jesus said in FATHER JACQUES PHILIPPE is a member of the Commuthe Gospel, “For to him who has, will more be given, and he nity of the Beatitudes in France and the author of several will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what modern classics in Catholic spirituality, including Searching he has will be taken away” (Mt 13:11). We can understand it for and Maintaining Peace (2002) and Interior Freedom this way: He who knows he has received gifts from God, who (2007). Visit frjacquesphilippe.com.

Virgin of Mercy with Child and Saints / Museo Civico degli Eremitani, Padua, Italy / Cameraphoto Arte Venezia / Bridgeman Images


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REPORTS FROM COUNCILS, ASSEMBLIES AND COLUMBIAN SQUIRES CIRCLES ral golf outing was held on the same course that the Special Olympians use for their summer golf program. ON GUARD

In New Jersey, an honor guard made up of members of St. John Neumann Assembly in Millville, Bishop John Carroll Assembly in Vineland and Rev. Dr. John T. Sheehan Assembly in Atlantic City stood vigil for 26 hours while a first-class relic of Padre Pio was displayed at St. Padre Pio Parish in East Vineland. The occasion marked the first time that the relic — the saint’s heart, encased in a reliquary — had been brought outside of Italy. At the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix, members of Father Vincent R. Capodanno Council 13024 of Luke Air Force Base clean the grave markers of veterans. The council cleaned over 2,500 gravesites in memory of a departed council member.


Councils of the Petersburg, Va., region hosted the TriCities Pregnancy Support Centre 10th Annual Walk for Life. Knights walked the two-mile course, prepared food and provided Defend Life signs in English and Spanish. The ecumenical event, which brought together over 100 marchers and raised more than $15,000 for pro-life ministry, was held at Monumental Baptist Church. YOUTH RETREAT

St. Raphael Council 9620 in Legazpi City, Luzon South, spearheaded DOMNET TEC (Teens Encountering Christ), an overnight retreat for high school seniors and students of Aquinas University. The retreat promoted Christ-centered life and the importance of the Eucharist. 26 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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St. Joseph Council 10627 in High Bridge, N.J., works year-round to assist the Open Cupboard Food Pantry in Clinton. Each Christmas, through the support of St. Joseph parishioners and council members, ShopRite gift cards are donated for distribution to the pantry’s clients. This year, the value of the gift cards totaled $2,575. The council also sponsors a monthly collection of food and household items by reaching out to parishioners and maintaining a drop-off rack at the local ShopRite. Going beyond material support, council members also donate time; in one year, they volunteered nearly 700 hours, assisting with deliveries to homebound people and working with pantry clients.


Dr. E.T. Monroe Council 2689 in Hartford, Wis., and guests enjoyed a day in the sun with Special Olympics athletes and raised $2,160 for Washington County Special Olympics. The inaugu-


St. Cleophas Council 15756 in Barre, Mass., served more than 130 pancake breakfasts, raising more than $700 for the St. Francis of Assisi Parish Annual Holiday Fair. Members also helped set up and break down the facilities for the fair, which netted about $10,000 to support parish operations and programs.

Members of Msgr. John Cawley 3629 in Lakewood, Calif., prepare spaghetti for a dinner benefiting Charles Balamaze, a council member and seminarian from Uganda currently studying at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo. The $6,000 raised by the council will enable Balamaze’s parents to attend his ordination as a deacon.

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Father Downey Council 4934 in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., spearheaded a drive that raised $10,000 toward spinal surgery for a local 6-year-old who was afflicted with a painful muscular disease that requires the use of a walker. The funds were raised in collaboration with the parish bingo committee, the Council of Catholic Women and the sale of a vehicle donated to the council. The child is on the road to full recovery. VOWS RENEWED

Seven couples — three of whom were celebrating 50 years of marriage — renewed their vows during a ceremony organized by St. Patrick Council 10567 at St. Patrick Catholic Church

in Adamsville, Ala. The vow renewal, which the council sponsors annually to celebrate marriage and family life, took place during Sunday Mass and was followed by a festive reception featuring cakes baked by Father Vernon Huguley. Bishop Joseph Durick Assembly in Bienville provided an honor guard and the ladies’ auxiliary coordinated the reception. JOHN PAUL II REMEMBERED

Five councils of District 19 in Alberta united to raise over $7,500 for the renewal of a St. John Paul II memorial in Elk Island National Park. The newly expanded memorial, consisting of two new trailhead signs and a bench with three plaques,

Rich Mich, grand knight of Divine Mercy-St. Anne Council 16022 in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., places a statue of St. John Paul II beside an image of the Divine Mercy. Aided by an anonymous donation, the council funded the construction of a corner devoted to Divine Mercy in St. Anne Church, which also includes a statue of St. Faustina Kowalska, a votive candle stand and two kneelers.

commemorates the saint’s visit to the park in 1984, during which he prayed the rosary, read his breviary and meditated. The revised memorial includes more information and provides visitors with an opportunity to reflect on the life of St. John Paul II and his impact on the Catholic Church and the world. A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

Jerry Hogue (left), Norman Rottler and Greg Jasper of Mary Mother of God Assembly in Harrison, Ark., drill a hole for the installation of a flagpole in the church graveyard. Nine members of the assembly worked together to erect poles flying the American flag in honor of deceased and retired veterans.

Aware that St. Mary’s Church was in need of a new heating and air conditioning system, St. Mary’s of the Assumption Council 14531 in Stockton, Calif., provided an engineering design, assessed contractors and donated $10,000 and many hours of service, bringing the cost of the project down to $55,000. Removing the old system freed up more room for parking outside the church and restored a portion of a stained glass window portraying Our Lady.

A FRIEND IN NEED St. Christopher’s Council 10718 in Hobe Sound, Fla., served a roast pork dinner, the total proceeds of which were given to a neighboring parish, Mary Mother of the Light Maronite Catholic Church in Tequesta. Many appreciative members of the Maronite parish, whose church was urgently in need of multiple repairs, attended and helped with the dinner, which raised $3,154. TAKING CARE

St. Veronica Council 12579 in Chantilly, Va., held a personal items drive that collected nearly two tons of hygiene and personal care items — which, though necessary staple items, cannot be purchased with food stamps. Madison Emergency Services Association Inc. picked up the items, as well as fuel gift cards, for its ministry of distribution to people in need.

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value and included a lunch that the council provided for all the volunteers. PARISH MISSION

Bob Tafares of St. Michael the Archangel Council 14823 in Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., surveys the garden work accomplished by council members on the grounds of the Missionaries of Charity. Knights spent a Saturday cutting grass and trimming branches, as well as preparing, serving and cleaning up after a meal in the sisters’ soup kitchen.


Chad Richmond of La Salette Council 5755 in Westlake, La., and Garrick Soileau of St. Joseph Council 3857 in Deridder cook a meal following severe flooding in southeast Louisiana, a relief project also joined by St. Theodore Council 3622 of Moss Bluff. Knights and parish volunteers cooked and served more than 2,000 meals for disaster workers and flood victims; raised more than $3,000; and provided clothes, cleaning supplies and household items. Knights even cleaned mud out of homes and washed clothes and other personal belongings. 28 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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Immaculate Heart of Mary Council 13621 in Grand Junction, Colo., donated $5,802 from its annual golf tournament to THE HOUSE, an organization that provides up to three weeks of housing for homeless teenagers. During their stay, the teens are counseled with the intent to get them back home or otherwise accommodated. THANK YOU, SISTERS

St. Jerome Council 13005 in Waco, Texas, hosted its 10th annual appreciation dinner for religious sisters. Eleven sisters from three different orders and four countries were honored and thanked for their lives of devotion. WALKING FOR WHEELS

Sunrise Council 6607 in Bohemia, N.Y., held its third annual 5K race/ walk fundraiser, supporting Independence Corps. The $2,000 in proceeds from the

Lake Worth (Fla.) Council 3393 supported a parish mission that coordinated a three-week camp in Les Irois, Haiti. The camp provided meals, medical and dental screening, religious education and many activities for 300 children. Four members traveled to work at the camp, the last week of which included a Knights of Columbus Soccer Challenge. Five boys and three girls earned champion certificates.

event went toward the All Terrain Wheelchair Initiative, which provides mobility for wounded veterans. The donation brings the council’s contribution to the program up to $8,000. STAYING HEALTHY

Kawanggawa Council 9189 in San Pedro, Luzon, held a medical mission, providing inexpensive testing for a wide variety of conditions to 211 patients. The program also offered free eye checkups. TAKE A SEAT

Sacred Heart Council 11545 in Bakersfield, Calif., stripped and repainted 52 park benches at Sacred Heart Church during a workday. The event also included the planing down of uneven cement and the installation of a new church sign. Donations of supplies and machinery by the Knights totaled roughly $1,045 in

Bill McBride (left), Randy Kinsey and Grand Knight Mike Colosi of Father Nicholas Rausch OSB Council 1643 in Olympia, Wash., work on the foundational forms for a new playground. Council members put in a hard day’s work at a build for Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity, during which the forms were set and squared, and the new playground was graded, leveled and squared for installation. The council also made a $1,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity.

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St. John the Baptist Council 10232 in Madison, Ala., began a partnership with the parish St. Vincent de Paul Conference, which assists with minor home repairs. Potential projects are identified during the SVdP home visits, and after an assessment, Knights use their construction expertise and materials provided by the SVdP to fix the issues. The partnership has led to the building and repairing of ramps and plumbing, the installation of a new bathroom floor in a mobile home, and many more projects, helping make homes safer for people in need.

An honor guard of 16 members of Florentino N. Vergel de Dios Assembly in Baliuag, Bulacan, walk in the annual March for Life in Malolos City. The six councils affiliated with the assembly also participated in the march.


Star of the Sea Council 4245 in Hollidaysburg, Pa., partnered with a car dealership to raffle off a Mustang Shelby Super Snake. The proceeds of the raffle allowed the council to make repairs on an eroding riverbank near their barbecue facility, ensuring that the council can continue to support many area charities through chicken barbecue

Marty Foye (left) and Andy Palumbo of Star of the Sea Council 7297 in Rehoboth Beach, Del., present Hayward Evans of the Dewey Lions Club (center) with a donation of several hundred pairs of eyeglasses, lenses and spectacle cases.

fundraisers. The winning raffle ticket was chosen at a “Cruise-In and Picnic,” a community event at which the council gave $24,750 of the raffle proceeds to a wide array of charities. REDUCING THE RISK

Brazosport Council 3365 in Freeport, Texas, held its first Breast Cancer Awareness BBQ Fundraiser. A long day of cooking brisket, chicken, pork ribs, turkey legs and sausage raised $4,000 for the Mermaid Project, an initiative that provides free breast cancer screenings to qualifying low-income, uninsured people. Leftovers from the barbecue were given to the Salvation Army shelter. WALKING TOGETHER

St. Timothy Council 10802 in Escondido, Calif., manned the registration booth for the Church of St. Timothy Life Walk 2016. The Knights also provided a

barbecue lunch for the more than 125 walkers who raised funds for Culture of Life Family Services (COLFS) and the Lamb of God Maternity Home in Escondido. CHALICES RESTORATION

Holy Name of Mary Council 14201 in Rockwood, Ontario, answered their pastor’s request to fund the refurbishment of two chalices and a ciborium used in the celebration of Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic School. The council covered the total cost of $1,755 by using a part of the proceeds from their annual “Coulson Cup” parish golf tournament. VIETNAM VETERANS SALUTED

Father Joseph T. O’Callahan Assembly in De Soto, Ga., in collaboration with other ministries, recognized the 76 Vietnam-era veterans of St. Brigid Catholic Church. At the dinner, each veteran was

presented with a Vietnam Service lapel pin and personalized certificate of honor signed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Commissioner of Veterans Service Mike Roby. Those honored included a veteran of the Republic of Vietnam Air Force and a Marine veteran who was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal for his service 50 years earlier. A NEW FOUNDATION

Father Albert Lacombe Council 8969 in Lacombe, Alberta, presented a check for $10,000 to the St. Stephen’s Pledge Campaign Building Committee for the construction of a new church. The old church was demolished due to severe hail damage. The council raised the money through Oktoberfest, performances by the Cow-Patti Theatre Company, and garage sale events. Knights also collected 40 bags of food for the Lacombe Food Bank.

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for Life. The contributions of parishioners at Divine Mercy Parish totaled over $3,500 to support the ministry of Access Pregnancy Center. DINNER, SCHOLARSHIP

A color guard of Knights from assemblies in Idaho and Washington help to open the 44th annual North West Regional Special Olympics in Lewiston, Idaho.


Msgr. Adam A. Micek Council 8410 in Harrison, Ark., collected almost 100 used cell phones for Hopeline, a Verizon project for domestic violence prevention. Hopeline supplies phones with voice and text capabilities to nonprofits that serve the victims of domestic vio30 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

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lence, offering them a safe line of communication to support services, loved ones, or those who can help in an emergency. ON DISPLAY

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Council 6810 in Lancaster, Pa., donated glass panels and shelves toward the construction of a custom-built cabinet for St. Leo the Great School. Warden Steve Rozell, a master carpenter, lent his expertise to design and construct the case, which is placed in the parochial school’s lobby to showcase its achievements as a Catholic school. FUND DRIVE FOR LIFE

Divine Mercy Council 14822 in Kenner, La., sponsored a baby bottle drive to coincide with the archdiocesan commitment to 40 Days

Vicki Montalbano (right), director of Mother Marianne’s Westside Kitchen, holds a clean plate, accompanied by Grand Knight Richard Dziekowicz (left) and Jerome Donovan of William E. Burke-Utica (N.Y.) Council 189. After an inspirational visit to the grave of St. Marianne Cope, Donovan asked the council to help him fund a dishwashing system for the soup kitchen named in her honor. The donation allowed Mother Marianne’s Westside Kitchen to accomplish its goal of eliminating the expense and environmental impact of using Styrofoam items.

Special Olympics photo by Joseph Zahnle Photography


St. Paul the Apostle Council 15725 in Davenport, Iowa, welcomed 130 guests to its annual “Abbondanza Dinner” (“Abundance Dinner”). The four-course Italian meal, prepared by the council, was accompanied by music, dancing and a raffle. The dinner raised $3,500, which will primarily be used to help fund the RSVP Seminarian Program, the annual Blue Mass and Project 15:12, a local charity.

St. Thomas More Council 5530 in Baton Rouge, La., provided a BBQ chicken dinner to St. Thomas More Catholic Church parishioners. The parish community was heavily affected by the August 2016 flooding in the region, and the dinner was greatly appreciated by all those unable to cook at home. That same evening, the council conducted a collection for the St. Thomas More Catholic School Tuition Assistance Fund; the generous response of parishioners provided $2,005 for children at the parochial school, especially those from families affected by the August floods.

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Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Council 8995 in Doral, Fla., donated 1,000 rosaries to the students and catechists of the Office of Religious Formation at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, which serves over 900 children and young people. The council raises money throughout the year for items necessary to beautify the church and enhance religious formation.

St. John Council 11281 and Arthur J. Corr Assembly, both in Naples, Fla., collaborated with VFW 7721 to procure 30 grave markers for the veterans’ section of Lake Trafford Cemetery in Immokalee. In order to provide commemoration for those buried without proper markers, the gravestones were acquired at cost with help from a funeral home.



St. Joseph Highland Creek Council 11525 in Scarborough, Ontario, and St. Martin De Porres Council 12909 in Toronto joined forces to run Bingo & Chili Night, an event which raised $2,000 for local charities. Council 12909, displaced from its parish due to renovations, was invited by Council 11525 to join in the night of fun and have equal shares of the money raised for their specific charities. Over 160 parishioners from both parishes enjoyed the evening, which reflected the unity and brotherly love of the councils.

Multiple Ontario councils provided funding for Jerusalem Students, which funds the education of 65 Christian students in need in the Holy Land. Jesus the King Arab Christian Council 15045 in Markham built a website for the project, jerusalemstudents.org, in addition to providing $28,250, supporting six students. RESPONDERS RECOGNIZED

St. Cloud-Kissimmee (Fla.) Council 6624 honored first responders with a “Hero of

Members of St. Catherine of Siena Council 9923 in Kennesaw, Ga., grill burgers as part of a lunch for 775 people at the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s training day for catechists. After being asked to provide a meal for the catechists, the council made a detailed plan for transit; the setup of tents, tables, grill and other supplies; and a boxed lunch assembly line. With so many burgers to cook, the lunch crew had to use a little creativity and pans of broth to keep the meals hot and ready to serve, but everyone got through the line in time and enjoyed a picnic lunch before returning to training.

the Year” award, recognizing an outstanding member of each of the agencies that protect and serve in the region. Those honored were representatives from local police, fire and highway patrol departments; sheriff ’s offices; and EMS units. CATECHIST TRAINING

Members of Spanish Jesuit Martyrs of Virginia Council 14034 in Quinton, Va., test out a wheelchair ramp they built to assist their retired pastor. After a long conversation with the priest, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, the council concluded that a ramp would help alleviate his difficulties with transportation. Eight Knights, joined by three teenaged sons of members, built the ramp over three Saturdays with help from a Virginia Knights of Columbus Charities grant.

The Central New York Chapter provided scholarship funds for catechists, Catholic schoolteachers, parents and others in the Diocese of Syracuse to help them prepare to teach faith formation to children on the autism spectrum. The scholarships will enable them to enroll in the Autism in Faith Formation course which is offered online by the University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation.


Aiding an initiative of their parish pastor, Father Devaraju Arockiasamy, Ascension Council 9285 in Manassas, Va., contributed $17,000 to a water treatment facility in Tamil Nadu, India. The facility provides fresh water to Melapatti, home village of Father Arockiasamy, where agriculture and public health have declined due to a diminished water table and poor water quality.

kofc.org exclusive See more “Knights in Action” reports and photos at www.kofc.org/ knightsinaction

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In compliance with the requirements of the laws of the various states, we publish below a Valuation Exhibit of the Knights of Columbus as of Dec. 31, 2016. The law requires that this publication shall be made of the results of the valuation with explanation as filed with the insurance departments.

ASSETS — Actual and Contingent 1. Admitted Assets of the General Account Fund, item 26, page 2 of Annual Statement: $23,626,969,334

LIABILITIES — Actual and Contingent 2. Old System Reserve — including additional reserve: $ 115,015 3. New System Reserve — including D.I. and Dis. W. (net of reins): $ 13,186,384,361 4. Reserve for accident and health certificates: $ 452,368,948 5. Total per item 1 and 2, page 3 of Annual Statement: $ 13,638,868,324 6. Deduct liens and interest thereon, not included in Admitted Assets, and not in excess of required reserves on the corresponding individual certificates: None 7. Balance — Item 5 less item 6 above: $ 13,638,868,324 8. Liabilities of the General Account Fund, except reserve (items 3 to 22 incl. page 3 of Annual Statement): $ 8,040,582,029 9. Liabilities — Actual and Contingent — sum of items 7 and 8 above: $21,679,450,353 10. Ratio percent of Dec. 31, 2016 — 108.98% Assets — Actual and Dec. 31, 2015 — 109.03% Contingent (Item 1) Dec. 31, 2014 — 109.70% to liabilities — Actual Dec. 31, 2013 — 110.25% and Contingent (Item 9) Dec. 31, 2012 — 110.45%

EXPLANATION The above valuation indicates that, on a basis of the A.E., A.M. (5), 1941 C.S.O., 1958 C.S.O., 1980 C.S.O., 2001 C.S.O., 1937 S.A., 1971 Individual Annuity Table, Annuity 2000 Table, 2012 IAR – S G2 table and 1983 “a” Tables of Mortality with interest at 9%, 8.75%, 8%, 7%, 6%, 5%, 4.5%, 4%, 3.75%, 3.5%, 3%, 2.5%, the future assessments of the society, at the net rate now being collected, together with the now invested assets of the General Account Fund are sufficient to meet all certificates as they mature by their terms, with a margin of safety of $1,947,518,981 (or 8.98%) over the above statutory standards. STATE OF: Connecticut COUNTY OF: New Haven The officers of this reporting entity, being duly sworn, each depose and say that they are the described officers of the said reporting entity, and that on the reporting period stated above, all of the herein described assets were the absolute property of the said reporting entity, free and clear from any liens or claims thereon, except as herein stated, and that this statement, together with related exhibits, schedules and explanations therein contained, annexed or referred to, is a full and true statement of all the assets and liabilities and of the condition and affairs of the said reporting entity as of the reporting period stated above, and of its income and deductions therefrom for the period ended, and have been completed in accordance with the NAIC annual statement instructions and accounting practices and procedure manual except to the extent that: (1) state law may differ; or, (2) that state rules or regulations require differences in reporting not related to accounting practices and procedures, according to the best of their information, knowledge and belief, respectively. Furthermore, the scope of this attestation by the described officers also includes the related corresponding electronic filing with the NAIC, when required, that is an exact copy (except for formatting differences due to electronic filing) of the enclosed statement. The electronic filing may be requested by various regulators in lieu of or in addition to the enclosed statement. Subscribed and sworn to before me this 17th day of February 2017. MARIANNE PUGLIESE, Notary Public CARL A. ANDERSON, President MICHAEL J. O’CONNOR., Secretary RONALD F. SCHWARZ, Treasurer SEAL

OFFICIAL MAY 1, 2017: 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.


32 ♦ C O L U M B I A ♦

M AY 2017

Sport Sunglasses The Slazenger™ Multi-Lens Sport Sunglasses are ideal for the active Knight. Packed in a high-quality zippered carrying case featuring the emblem of the Order, these glasses come with three different shades of lenses — tinted, yellow and clear — and are perfect for every condition. $25 each

Nike® Micro Pique Polo – Personalized This 4.4-ounce, 100% polyester Nike® shirt is engineered with the moisture management technology of Dri-FIT fabric. The design features a flat knit collar, three-button placket and open hem sleeves. The contrast Nike Swoosh trademark is embroidered on the left sleeve, and the full-color emblem of the Order or Fourth Degree emblem is featured on the left chest. The shirt is personalized with your council or assembly name and number, so please allow 10-12 business days for production. Available in small through 4XL. S-XL: $45, 2XL: $47, 3XL: $48, 4XL: $49 Also available in tall sizes. L-Tall or XL-Tall: $47, 2XL-Tall: $49, 3XLTall: $50, 4XL-Tall: $51

Classic Crew Sweatshirt This crewneck athletic heather sweatshirt is made of comfortable 9-ounce, 50/50 cotton/poly fleece and is great any time of year. The black-and-white emblem of the Order across the chest contributes to the collegiate look. Made with air jet yarn for a soft, pill-resistant finish. Available in medium through 4XL M-XL: $25, 2XL: $27, 3XL: $28, 4XL: $29

Order these and other items online at:

knightsgear.com Questions? 1-855-GEAR-KOC (855-432-7562) Additional shipping costs apply to all orders. Please call before mailing in an order.

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Building a better world one council at a time

Photo by Blair Landry

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




Leonard Hebert (left) and E.J. Stelly of Sacred Heart Council 7557 in Broussard, La., prepare food for the council’s 30th annual BBQ, while fellow Knight Justin Gary checks a jambalaya pot in the background. The council’s largest fundraiser, the BBQ attracts some 1,500 people and nets approximately $10,000, which funds various charitable projects throughout the year.

“K NIGHTS IN A CTION ” H AVEN , CT 06510-3326


M AY 2017


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SISTER KELAI RENO Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother Jacksonville, Fla.

Photo by Rya Duncklee

It will take all eternity for me to thank God for everything he has done for me! I was baptized at age 9 in a nondenominational church, but afterward I slowly separated myself from God. Years later, at age 19 I entered the Catholic Church and made my first confession. This confession broke down the wall of my sins. I was given a new heart, mind, eyes and understanding. After I said my penance in the adoration chapel, Jesus said very clearly in my heart: “You’re mine, you’re all mine, and you’re only mine.” I started saying “thank you,” and I couldn’t stop. And I still can’t. Every day, I thank Jesus that I am his, and I want to thank him for all eternity. I entered as a Servant Sister in 2007 and made my perpetual vows in 2015. Before I was a sister, I loved to fly small planes. I saw many beautiful places and things that showed the greatness and beauty of their Creator. But I have never seen anything so beautiful as Jesus in the Eucharist.

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