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Mass for the Family Opens Convention

Highlighting a centerpiece of the Knights of Columbus’ new Building the Domestic Church initiative, Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore led Knights and their families at the 134th Supreme Convention in a prayer of Consecration to the Holy Family. Invoking the intercession of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the prayer concluded, “May our home, O Holy Family, truly become a domestic church where we reflect your example in our daily life.”

The act of consecration came at the end of the convention’s Opening Mass in Toronto, August 2. As he led the prayer, Archbishop Lori was joined by 11 cardinals, dozens of archbishops and bishops, 100 priests and some 2,000 Knights and their family members who attended the Mass in the grand ballroom of the convention hotel.

The main celebrant and homilist for the Mass was Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, who welcomed the annual convention to his archdiocese and prayed for the success of the proceedings. He also offered prayers for Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, archbishop emeritus of Kraków, who passed away in Poland earlier in the day. Cardinal Macharski was instrumental in establishing the Knights of Columbus in Poland 10 years ago.

Drawing from the day’s readings, Cardinal Collins said in his homily that amid the many storms of life, when events seem to be spinning out of control in our own lives and in the larger world, Christians must turn to faith and prayer.

Citing the Gospel account of Jesus walking on the sea and calming the waters as the frightened Apostles were tossed in the boat, Cardinal Collins said, “We are sent to sail the stormy sea, where we contend with forces that really are too great for our human strength, but where … we are more able to recognize our vulnerability and our need for God.”

He added, “The Lord who sends us is the Lord who saves us,” and urged the faithful to utter the words of Peter, “Lord, save me,” when difficulties arise.

Alluding to the first reading from the prophet Jeremiah, the cardinal said, “Evil is real, but we face it with songs of praise of God, only because we can recognize the hand of God.”

Among recent examples of “unspeakable evil,” the cardinal pointed out, was the killing of Father Jacques Hamel in a French village church while he was offering a weekday Mass for a handful of parishioners. He “offered also the holy sacrifice of his life in martyrdom,” the cardinal said.

The liturgy was celebrated as a Votive Mass for the Family, and Cardinal Collins made special mention of Christian families, which are threatened by social, legal and cultural pressures. He noted, “The Knights of Columbus has a noble tradition of support for the family, upon which we must constantly build. Our Order is an anchor of strength in a stormy world, because our eyes are set on Jesus. That is why we come together for Mass, and why we find refuge in the storm, in adoration before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.”

“We need to think through the challenges we confront, and appreciate our faith more deeply, which is one reason why in the midst of these stormy waters, the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family is such a treasured beacon of hope,” he continued, referring to the institute in Washington, D.C., that is supported by the Knights of Columbus. “We need to address courageously, with clarity and charity, the challenges of our secular world.”

In closing his homily, Cardinal Collins led the congregation in praying the Angelus, asking for the intercession of the Blessed Mother. He asked all the faithful to offer the prayer three times a day, morning, noon and night, for the protection of their family.