It is with much joy that I bring you greetings from the Philippines. I am certain that the numerous Filipino members of the Knights of Columbus, their families, parishes and communities of ministry are one with us in prayer.
This is my first opportunity to attend a Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus. Reflecting on my among you, I realized that I am here not only as the Archbishop of Manila but as the son of a former Grand Knight. I still recall how impressive my father looked with his coat and sword after being inducted into the fourth degree. My younger and only brother is a third degree Knight in Virginia. Far from home, he has considered his council as extended family. I am here also in the name of the Columbian Squires of my home parish of which I was a member and later president. My belonging to the group brought me closer to the Church and to the call to mission. After high school I entered the philosophy seminary as a Fr. George Willmann, S.J. scholar of the Knights. So I stand before you as one who has been formed, guided and inspired by the ideals and spirit of the Knights of Columbus.
As I thank the Knights of Columbus for what the Order has done for me and for the Church, I urge you to intensify your communion with the poor through a dialogue of life and love with them. The abandoned and neglected should experience the caring of true brothers from us. Then they will know that the Church is indeed the family of God where the Holy Spirit enables us to see in everyone a brother or sister deserving of our love and service. This demands a formation centred on Jesus, His teaching, His humility, His docility to God’s will and His heroic service to all. Only by being rooted in Jesus can every Knight be a true brother to others and a defender of the poor.
So I also stand before you in the name of the lonely, lost, weary and wounded people of the world. Let us be brothers to them. Let us be Jesus’ love to them.
Photo courtesy of the Knights of Columbus