NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, Sept. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Our Lady of Guadalupe is at work today in the Church in the United States through the faith and action of her numerous followers, Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told the Fifth National Encuentro for Hispanic/Latino Ministry that concluded Sunday in Grapevine, Texas.
Anderson told the audience at the conference that "She is very relevant today and there is a Guadalupe miracle today in our country." He added, "That miracle is the appearance of millions of Guadalupanos and Guadalupanas in this country that can shape the future of our Church."
Anderson noted that the Encuentro gathering is an opportunity "to tell the other Catholics in our country that Hispanic Catholics have gifts to give you."
A key objective of the Encuentro, which followed smaller, regional meetings, is to challenge Latino Catholics to go further and "better respond as missionary disciples in service to the entire Church," according to organizers.
Hispanics comprise about 40 percent of Church membership in the United States, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Latino Church population is particularly large among youth and young adults. Fifty percent of American Catholics ages 14 to 29 are Hispanic, and 55 percent of Catholics under 14 are Hispanic.
The Knights of Columbus has long recognized the devotion of Hispanic Catholics and their important contributions to the Catholic Faith. K of C councils were instituted in Mexico as early as 1905 and first primarily Hispanic council in the U.S. was founded in Los Angeles in 1927.
Today, the Knights of Columbus has hundreds of Spanish-speaking councils, and thousands of Hispanic members, said Anderson, who recalled the advice of Pope Francis to Latino Catholics during his 2015 visit to the United States.
"[Pope Francis] said, first, you have many gifts to give to the nation," said Anderson. "And, second, do not be afraid, do not be ashamed of your traditions."
For Hispanic Catholicism, those traditions are closely associated with Mary and the impact on evangelization prompted by the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, said Anderson, Upon becoming supreme knight of the K of C in 2000, Anderson declared Our Lady of Guadalupe to be patroness of the Knights of Columbus, placing every Knights council everywhere in the world under her protection.
Anderson is also the co-author, along with Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, of "Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Civilization of Love," on how Our Lady of Guadalupe's message is both historically significant and speaks to contemporary issues confronting the people of the American continents.
"The future of America is the future of Guadalupanos and Guadalupanas," said Anderson of Our Lady of Guadalupe's ongoing impact that reaches far beyond the hilltop in Mexico City where she first appeared. "That's the miracle today."
Our Lady of Guadalupe's image appeared on the cloak of indigenous Mexican convert Juan Diego in 1531. The cloak revealed important elements of the Christian faith through native symbols easily recognized by the indigenous people, resulting in the conversion of millions to the Catholic faith.
About the Knights of Columbus
Founded in 1882, the Knights of Columbus is a 1.9 million-member fraternal organization and Fortune 1000 insurance company. The K of C is known for its contributions to communities and parishes, and its reach extends to the rest of the world, as well. Whether it's donating food and clothes, providing support for disaster relief, helping persecuted Christians in the Middle East, volunteering to help children with special needs with the Special Olympics or supporting mothers of unborn children, Knights demonstrate the power and impact of men turning their faith into action every day. 2017 was a record-setting year for Knights of Columbus charitable work with an unprecedented $185.6 million in donations and 75.6 million hours of volunteer service provided worldwide. For more information, visit www.kofc.org.
SOURCE Knights of Columbus