NEW HAVEN, Conn., Aug. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ --Pope Francis extended gratitude and well-wishes to the Knights of Columbus during the opening Mass of the organization's 139th annual convention, held at St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut. The Holy Father also praised the convention's theme, "Called to Creative Courage."
"The theme of this year's Convention – Called to Creative Courage – takes up a challenge presented by the Holy Father in his recent Apostolic Letter Patris Corde on the figure of Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church," shared the letter from Vatican Secretariat of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, dated July 22, 2021. "Saint Joseph's example of 'creative courage' in the fulfilment of his vocation as father of the Holy Family makes him a particularly good model for all those men who, in these times of uncertainty and unrest, seek to persevere in fidelity to our Lord and his Church, entrusting their lives and the lives of their families to his providential guidance and care."
The message also acknowledged how the convention theme reflects the life of the Knights' recently beatified founder, Father Michael J. McGivney, saying, "Indeed, it was creative courage that characterized the life and ministry of Blessed Michael McGivney, who in 1882, with a small group of Catholic men, laid the foundations of the Knights of Columbus in response to the pressing spiritual and material needs of working men and their families. From seeds planted in a small but vibrant local parish, your Order expanded throughout the world in subsequent years, enriching the lives of countless men and contributing in signal fashion to the development of the modern lay apostolate in service to the Church's universal mission."
Father McGivney's beatification last October was also recognized as a "significant milestone in this distinguished history and represents a summons to renewed fidelity to the founding principles of faith, fraternity and charitable assistance to those in need."
Referring to the Knights as, "a premier Catholic organization of men and fathers," the Holy Father's message urged members to be men of courageous witness, faith, and integrity. "Men," it said, "committed to building up rather than tearing down, promoting healing and reconciliation in place of hatred and recrimination, and inviting all to undertake the 'journey of fraternity' that can lead to a world ever more in accord with God's saving plan for our human family."
Additionally, the papal message included the Holy Father's gratitude for the Knights' "unfailing support of our Christian brothers and sisters experiencing persecution for the sake of the Gospel," as well as their "manifold charitable activities" during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pope Francis also sent prayerful good wishes to Patrick Kelly on his "new responsibilities as Supreme Knight, and to the members of the Supreme Council." This convention marks Patrick Kelly's first convention as supreme knight since being installed earlier this year.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Knights of Columbus are holding their convention virtually Aug. 3-4, with members tuning in around the world to key convention events broadcast from the home of the Supreme Council headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut.
Founded in 1882 by Blessed Michael J. McGivney, The Knights of Columbus is one of the world's leading fraternal and service organizations with 2 million members in more than 16,000 parish-based councils. During the past year, Knights around the world donated more than 47 million service hours and $150 million for worthy causes in their communities. The organization also offers extensive life insurance services to members and their families, resulting in more than $116 billion of life insurance in force. Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors offers investment services to individuals and institutions in accord with Catholic social teaching and has nearly $29 billion in assets under management. From helping children in need, to providing wheelchairs for the disabled, to helping stock food banks, to offering top-rated and affordable insurance products to its members, to creating a legacy of giving, the Knights of Columbus has supported families and communities for more than 139 years. To learn more please visit us at kofc.org.