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129th Knights of Columbus Convention – Opening Statements & Papal Message

August 2, 2011
Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight: [singlepic id=66 w=320 h=240 float=right]
I am delighted to welcome all our guests, particularly those now joining us from around the world by watching these proceedings live on EWTN, Salt + Light Television and CatholicTV. We also welcome those listening on EWTN radio. As Supreme Knight, it is my privilege to declare this 129th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in open session.
With brother Knights and delegates representing all 50 states, every province in Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Cuba and Poland, we gather today as the spiritual sons of Venerable Michael McGivney.
Eighty years before the Second Vatican Council, our founder envisioned a fraternal association that would strengthen the faith and families of Catholic men and that these men — these Knights — would in turn strengthen the Church and their families. After 129 years, our founder’s vision remains as relevant as ever, and we find ourselves in this room, heirs to his legacy and guardians of its future as we reflect upon the achievements of the past year and set the course for a still greater year ahead.
We do so, always bearing in mind that our principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism — each rooted in the Gospel — guide our work in service to our communities, our countries and our Church.
I now call upon our Supreme Chaplain, Bishop William Lori, to invoke the Lord’s blessing upon our meeting.
Bishop William Lori, Worthy Supreme Chaplain:
Heavenly Father, look upon us with love
as we open this 129th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus.
Send your blessing upon us as this great family of faith gathers from many parts of
the world in a spirit of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism.
Bless our Worthy Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson, the Officers and Board of Directors,
our bishops and chaplains, and our delegates and family members from every jurisdiction,
as we reflect on the mission of the Order, confirm one another in friendship,
select our leaders, and plan for a future full of hope.
Confirm us, Lord, in our efforts to protect life, to defend marriage and family life,
to promote vocations to the priesthood, and to engage in a charity that evangelizes.
In the grace of the Holy Spirit, O Father,
may we do all these things in fidelity to your Son and our Savior Jesus Christ
and in a spirit of loving communion with our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI
and the Church throughout the world.
Through the Cross of your Son, Father of Mercies, you have given the world new hope.
Unite us to your Son and to one another more closely in charity and fraternity
so that through the witness and works of the Order the world may indeed have new hope.
In your loving kindness, O Father, take unto yourself Archbishop Pietro Sambi;
give him the reward of his labours, most especially his
service as Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.
With great confidence and affection, we commend to you also
the beloved Supreme Secretary of our Order, Emilio Moure.
We thank you for his unflagging hope in the resurrection
of your Son and for his loving devotion to the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
May he see you face to face and rejoice with all the saints in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Send your choicest blessings upon our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI
and upon all bishops and priests with whom we, the Knights of Columbus stand in solidarity.
In a special way, bless Archbishop Charles Chaput,
our gracious host here in the Archdiocese of Denver;
continue to guide & inspire him as he prepares for his service as Archbishop of Philadelphia.
We praise and thank you, Lord, for the beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul II,
even as we seek to honor his memory by embracing his vision for the Church in America
and we redouble our prayers for the beatification of our beloved Founder,
the Venerable Michael J. McGivney, whose pastoral love we still experience.
In company with our blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe,
we ask you this through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.
Amen.
May I ask that we now pray together the prayer for the beatification of our Venerable Founder, Father Michael J. McGivney:
God, our Father, protector of the poor and defender of the widow and orphan, you called your priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, to be an apostle of Christian family life and to lead the young to the generous service of their neighbor. Through the example of his life and virtue may we follow your Son, Jesus Christ, more closely, fulfilling his commandment of charity and building up his Body which is the Church. Let the inspiration of your servant prompt us to greater confidence in your love so that we may continue his work of caring for the needy and the outcast. We humbly ask that you glorify your venerable servant Father Michael J. McGivney on earth according to the design of your holy will. Through his intercession, grant the favor I now present. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Rededication to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight:
More than a decade ago, on February 3rd, 2001, in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, I was installed as Supreme Knight and, together with the Supreme Officers, dedicated the Order — and my administration of it — to the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Civilization of Love and model of the New Evangelization. As we do each year, as we begin this annual meeting I ask my brother Knights here assembled, by your standing applause, to join me in renewing the dedication of the Order, and my tenure as Supreme Knight, to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
At this time, I am also pleased to announce publically that tomorrow, at the conclusion of Mass, a special ceremony will inaugurate the Order’s latest Marian Prayer Program, and this program will be dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. It will bring her message of unity and love into thousands of councils and parishes around the world as her image is carried near and far by her loyal Knights.
Opening Remarks
At the beginning of our meeting, I want to take a moment to convey warmest regards to the Colorado Knights and families who host us for this 129th Supreme Convention. You have already given us all a ‘Rocky Mountain — Mile High City’ welcome and made us feel very much at home as we assemble from all corners of the globe. This is the fourth Supreme Convention to be convened in Colorado, with previous gatherings held in 1912 in Colorado Springs, and here in Denver in 1961 — fifty years ago — and again in 1984.
The Colorado area has a rich history marked by the cultures of the different people who settled, passed through, or staked a claim here. Denver streets — like Cherokee, Osage, Quivas and Navajo — remind us of the original Native American influence. Not far away we look up to Pike’s Peak, which recalls the American drive for adventure and westward expansion after the Louisiana Purchase, and we also see in the golden Capitol dome a monument to the Gold Rush of the 1850s.
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the San Luis Valley, in the southern Rockies, recall the state’s early Catholic foundations, when fearless Spanish explorers and missionaries were the first Europeans to set foot on this rugged land. Later came the frontier parishes that formed the outline for the three current Colorado dioceses — Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo — which combined are home to nearly 750,000 Catholics today.
Of course, one of the most significant events in Denver’s history occurred relatively recently, when Pope John Paul II — whom we happily now call Blessed John Paul II — came here for World Youth Day 1993, the first World Youth Day in North America. Many will vividly remember how the city was alive with the enthusiasm of more than 500,000 young Catholics from near and far, who gathered to be confirmed in the faith by their beloved Polish pontiff. The Knights of Columbus in Colorado dates back to the very beginning of the past century. The state’s first council was chartered in 1900 right here in Mile-High City — Denver Council 539 — and the Colorado State Council was organized two years later on August 28, 1902.
A number of Knights of Columbus leaders have hailed from Colorado, including the first Supreme Master and essentially the founder of the Order’s Fourth Degree, John H. Reddin, who served in that capacity for 30 years, from 1910 to 1940. Supreme Director George M. Turner served on the Board from 1956 to 1967. E. Price Hatcher served as Supreme Warden from 2004-2005, and joins us this week as a co- chairman of this 129th Supreme Convention. We are indeed privileged to be here in Denver, so near to the great and scenic Rocky Mountains, as we look to the future and plan for the Order to reach majestic new heights.
Greetings to the Host Ordinary
As we begin our convention here within the Archdiocese of Denver, I also wish to express gratitude to His Excellency Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. Normally at these meetings we greet our “Host Ordinary” but it seems that the Holy Father has his own plans, so now it is our great pleasure to greet our Host Diocesan Administrator!
Your Excellency, we are so grateful that, even in these very busy days as you prepare to be installed as Archbishop of Philadelphia, you have made time to be with us during this convention. I’m not sure if anyone has broken the news to you quite yet, but the 133rd Supreme Convention in 2015 will be held in Philadelphia, so we look forward to having you as our Host Ordinary in a few years! His Excellency has been a member of the Knights of Columbus for more than 30 years and belongs to Denver Council 539, and John H. Reddin Assembly 87, which were the first council and assembly established in Colorado, respectively.
I also take this opportunity to thank His Excellency for the truly beautiful Mass which opened this Supreme Convention, in particular for his inspiring homily. We also look forward to hearing from Archbishop Chaput again at our States Dinner this evening. Please join me in thanking our Host Diocesan Administrator for welcoming us so warmly to this great Archdiocese of Denver.
 Greetings to the Hierarchy
Each year, our Supreme Convention is graced by the active participation of many distinguished members of the hierarchy. And this is again the case this year, as we welcome 11 cardinals and 75 other archbishops, bishops and abbots from near and far, representing every nation in which the Order is present, and the Vatican.
Your Eminences, Graces and Excellencies, your presence here means a great deal to us, as does your support throughout the year.
On behalf of Knights everywhere, I thank all the bishops with us in person, and those with us in spirit, for your friendship with the Knights of Columbus, and I ask my brother Knights assembled here to join me in an expression of that gratitude.
Welcome of distinguished guests
We also will have with us a number of distinguished clerical and religious guests:
  1. MONSIGNOR RONNY JENKINS, the new General Secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
  2. MONSIGNOR PATRICK POWERS, the General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, here for his first Supreme Convention;
  3. MONSIGNOR WALTER ROSSI, Rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception;
  4. MONSIGNOR EDUARDO CHAVEZ, Postulator of the Cause for Canonization of Saint Juan Diego;
  5. FATHER MICHAEL BRANSFIELD, Assistant General Secretary, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
  6. HILARIO G. DAVIDE, Retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, and Retired Ambassador of the Philippines to the United Nations; and
  7. DR. JOHN GARVEY, the new President of The Catholic University of America.
Papal Message
First and foremost is the Papal Message, conveyed this year through a letter from the Vatican Secretary of State, His Eminence Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, S.D.B.
To read this Papal Message, it is my pleasure to call upon His Excellency Archbishop Henry Mansell, the Archbishop of Hartford, where the Supreme Council is headquartered, and a brother Knight for 44 years. According to tradition, please join me in standing while the Papal Message is delivered. Your Excellency...
Archbishop Henry Mansell:
From the Vatican, 8 July 2011
Dear Mr. Anderson, [singlepic id=68 w=320 h=240 float=right]
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was pleased to learn that from 2-4 August 2011 the 129th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus will be held in Denver, Colorado. He has asked me to convey his warm greetings and good wishes to all in attendance, together with the assurance of his prayers for the fruitfulness of these annual deliberations.
The theme of this year's Supreme Convention – "So That The World May Know New Hope" – was fittingly inspired by the great Prayers for Families with which Blessed John Paul II concluded his Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America. It was precisely so that "the world may know hope" that the late Pontiff tireless called upon the lay faithful to work for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the renewal of society in accordance with its liberating message. Today, before the increasingly evident signs of a growing forgetfulness of God, a rejection of most basic principles of morality and a breakdown in the very foundations of social life, no committed follower of Christ can fail to heed this urgent summons to work for the rebuilding of our communities in accordance with the enduring values grounded in the natural law, confirmed by the Gospel and enshrined in the Christian vision of life's true meaning, beauty and purpose.
For this reason, the Holy Father expresses his deep gratitude to the Knights of Columbus for their continuing contribution to responsible public debate about the great ethical issues which will shape the future of our democratic societies. He sees in the valued service to the common good an outstanding example of the lay apostolate which consists, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, in "building up the Church, sanctifying the world and imbuing it with the Spirit of christ" (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 16). Such a clear and courageous moral witness is all the more necessary in the light of a proliferation of legislative initiatives which not only undermine such basic institutions of society as marriage and the family, but also threaten the fundamental human rights of conscientious objection and religious freedom. As part of its response to these increasingly serious challenges, His Holiness encourages your Order to renew and reinforce its praiseworthy programs of catechesis and continuing formation in the faith and in the principles of Christian morality, so that each Knight can be prepared to offer a reasonable account of his deepest convictions.
In his Encyclical Spe Salvi, the Holy Father recalled that the most effective testimony to Christ is given by men and women whose closeness to the wellsprings of divine love in prayer and in the sacramental life of the Church transforms them and makes them living icons of hope. In this context he thinks especially of the impressive witness to hope given by the Knights of Columbus as they help so many young men to grow to Christian maturity, teaching them to let their lives be shaped by the things that really matter (cf. Phil 1:10) and offering countless quiet examples of the masculine virtues of fidelity, hard work, generosity and self-sacrifice. In the local Councils, in parishes and in local communities, the Knights represent a privileged "setting of Christian hope" (cf. Spe Salvi 32ff.), where the Catholic faith and its deepest values are embodied and passed on through friendship, fraternal charity, volunteerism and good works. His Holiness encourages all of you to reflect with gratitude on this often hidden yet very real charism of your Order and to foster it as a significant resource for the renewal of the Church and society at every level.
Finally, the Holy Father expresses his profound satisfaction for the continuing fidelity of the Knights of Columbus to the vision of Father Michael McGivney, who desired that the Order should be the embodiment of Christian charity through its manifold works of fraternal solidarity and mutual aid. This commitment has always been shown first and foremost on the level of the local Councils, in the many quiet ways in which Knights have always sought to help one another, especially in difficult times such as the present economic downturn. It has also found privileged expression in your Order's institutional programs of insurance and financial planning, which have brought stability and hope to so many individuals and families, and in your charitable outreach to the poor throughout the world, particularly in the wake of disasters such as those which recently struck Haiti and Japan. His Holiness is likewise grateful for the unswerving support which the Knights have given to the Successor of Peter in his ministry to the universal Church. He sees in the great symphony of charity a testimony to the catholicity of our faith and to the breadth and depth of our hope in Christ's saving promises.
With these sentiments, the Holy Father invokes upon all assembled in Denver the Spirit's gift of wisdom, understanding and good counsel. Commending all the Knights and their families to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, he cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in Jesus her divine Son.
Adding my own prayerful good wishes for the work of the Supreme Convention, I remain,
Yours sincerely,
Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone
Secretary of State
Carl Anderson:
Now to conclude this opening session with a prayer, I call on our Worthy Supreme Chaplain Bishop Lori.
Bishop William Lori:
Prayer for the Families of America Ecclesia in America
We thank you, Lord Jesus,
because the Gospel of the Father's love,
with which you came to save the world,
has been proclaimed far and
wide in America as a gift of the Holy Spirit
that fills us with gladness.
We thank you for the gift of your Life,
which you have given us by loving us to the end:
your Life makes us children of God,
brothers and sisters to each other.
Increase, O Lord, our faith and our love for you,
present in all the tabernacles of the continent.
Grant us to be faithful witnesses
to your Resurrection
for the younger generation of Americans,
so that, in knowing you, they may follow you and find in you their peace and joy.
Only then will they know that they
are brothers and sisters
of all God's children scattered
ùthroughout the world.
You who, in becoming man,
chose to belong to a human family,
teach families the virtues which filled with light the family home of Nazareth.
May families always be united, as you and the Father are one,
and may they be living witnesses to love, justice and solidarity;
make them schools of respect, forgiveness and mutual help,
so that the world may believe;
help them to be the source of vocations to the
priesthood and the consecrated life, and all the other forms
of firm Christian commitment.
Protect your Church and the Successor of Peter, to whom you,
Good Shepherd, have entrusted the task of feeding your flock.
Grant that the Church in America may
flourish and grow richer in the fruits of holiness.
Teach us to love your Mother, Mary, as you loved her.
Give us strength to proclaim
your word with courage
in the work of the new evangelization,
so that the world may know new hope.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, pray for us!

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