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Cardinal Lacroix of Quebec Addresses KofC Supreme Convention

August 5, 2014
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Below is His Eminence Gerald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec's, address at the 132nd Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention, delivered on Orlando, Florida on August 5, 2014:
Bonsoir chers frères Chevaliers de Colomb,
Salutations chaleureuses de Québec et du Canada,
It is a blessing to be with you here in Orlando, Florida, to share in this 132nd Supreme Convention.
When I told my friends and family that I was coming to Orlando, many thought I had a rendezvous with Mickey Mouse at the Magic Kingdom! I told them that although it would have been great to spend some time in the theme parks and visit the Magic Kingdom, I had other plans for this week. An important theme was on my mind: building God’s Kingdom in brotherly love just as Jesus taught us in the Gospel. And that is more than magical; it is a holy endeavor and a wonderful mission.
Do you remember this song? It was very popular in the Church a few decades ago:
We are one in the Spirit,
we are one in the Lord,
We are one in the Spirit
we are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity
may one day be restored:
And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, by our love,
Yes, they'll know we are Christians
By our love.
We will walk with each other
we will walk hand in hand
we will walk with each other
we will walk hand in hand
and together we'll spread the news
that God is in our land:
And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, by our love,
Yes, they'll know we are Christians
By our love.
We will work with each other
we will work side by side
We will work with each other
We will work side by side
And we’ll guard each man's dignity
and save each man’s pride:
And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
By our love.
You will all be brothers: our vocation to fraternity. That is the theme that not only brings us together as brother Knights of Columbus this year, it is that same theme that sends us out to a world that needs to see this love in action through our daily lives, in every family, neighborhood, parish, council and assembly.
Pope Francis reminded us in his message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace this past January that:
The question naturally arises: Can the men and women of this world ever fully respond to the longing for fraternity placed within them by God the Father? Will they ever manage by their power alone to overcome indifference, egoism and hatred, and to accept the legitimate differences typical of brothers and sisters?
By paraphrasing his words, we can summarize the answer given by the Lord Jesus: “For you have only one Father, who is God, and you are all brothers and sisters”. [1]
In a particular way, human fraternity is regenerated in and by Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection. The Cross is the definitive foundational locus of that fraternity which human beings are not capable of generating themselves.[2]
From Day 1, our Order, with our Venerable Founder, Father Michael J. McGivney, has held up Fraternity as a fundamental value to live out our mission as disciples of Jesus Christ and as members of the Knights of Columbus. Charity, Unity and Fraternity.  And as we celebrate this 132nd Supreme Convention, these three guiding principles continue to inspire us.
But how can we truly promote fraternity in today’s world? How can we bring these life-giving principles to our everyday lives and help change the world we live in?
Have you heard of the conversation that took place one day in a Canadian forest? It took place in a maple forest. A leaf from a maple tree had a conversation with a root from the same tree. The beautiful green leaf is high up in the tree. It overlooks the forest, balancing in the wind and has a great view of the scenery. The root, as you can imagine, is pretty discrete, way down, mostly underground. The proud leaf engages in a conversation with the root and says: “Oh, hi there! What are you doing way down there?” “I am a root. I feed the whole tree. I send the sap and minerals up to the trunk, to the branches and to the leaves so that you will have life and grow.” “Oh”, responded the leaf, “that must be so boring. You down there and me way up here...” And the root responds: “Well, what do you say we continue this conversation when autumn comes around?”
You and I are filled with good intentions, beautiful desires to do a lot of good. But the only way to accomplish all of this is by being rooted in faith, in Christ. He is the One who sends us the Spirit, who continuously renews us and gives us the perseverance, the generosity, the love to build the Kingdom of God in today’s world through charity, unity and fraternity. We can’t do this by ourselves, counting only on our human strength.
Without God’s constant help and support, without our lives being rooted in the Word of God and fed by the Holy Eucharist, we could easily become self-centered and forget our call to share and give of ourselves. Pope Francis rightly recalls that:
Fraternity needs to be discovered, loved, experienced, proclaimed and witnessed to. But only love, bestowed as a gift from God, enables us to accept and fully experience fraternity.[3]
As every year we experience the somber days of autumn when the trees loose their leaves, we also experience our own autumns; storms, trials and tribulations, weaknesses, sin. Sometimes we feel like we’ve lost a lot of leaves. But if we are deeply rooted in Christ, our faith will allow us to experience a new spring, where life once again triumphs after a long winter. That is the experience of the Paschal Mystery, where the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ show us that life triumphs over death, love over hatred, peace over war, and solidarity and fraternity over selfishness and indifference.
Brother Knights: Do not underestimate the power of fraternity. Know that every act of fraternity can produce a lot of good fruits. Do not wait just to do great things, spectacular events that are noteworthy. Love as Jesus did, every moment of every day. Love every person that you encounter on your path. That is Jesus’ teaching: “And a new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”[4]
That is how the world will know that we are disciples of Jesus Christ. That is how we will become missionary disciples. And let us never forget that with Jesus Christ, spring is always around the corner. A new chapter in our lives, in our Order is always possible. A renewed world where fraternity reigns, where we live as brothers and sisters is possible, with God’s help and mercy. That is our vocation and we will continue to work to live it out fully.
And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
By our love.
[1]cf. Mt 23: 8-9
[2]Pope Francis, Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2014.
[3]Ibid.
[4]John 13: 35

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