The faithful departed were held in prayerful memory during the annual Memorial Mass Aug. 4, the final day of the 134th Supreme Convention. Offered by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the Mass began with a procession of holy relics of numerous saints, including those who were members of the Knights of Columbus, and St. John Vianney, on whose feast day the liturgy was celebrated.
In his homily, Archbishop Lori paid tribute to the selfless sacrifice of a young Knight, Brian Bergkamp, a seminarian who lost his life while rescuing a woman who had fallen into the rapid tide while kayaking on the Arkansas River a month earlier. Bergkamp was a second-year student at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore and a member of Conception Seminary College Council 13750 in Conception, Missouri.
“Brian was not yet a priest,” the archbishop said, “but already he manifested the kind of love that is at the heart of the priesthood: the self-giving love of our great high priest, Jesus.”
Archbishop Lori also cited “the self-giving love of our beloved founder, the Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney,” who “gave himself endlessly to his parishioners.”
“We, the Knights of Columbus, are the fruit of his pastoral labors that embraced families, the sick and the dying, the poor and the outcast,” he added. “He laid down his life for others after the example of Christ, the High Priest, and so he continues to exert a profound influence on all of us.”
After the homily, Deputy Supreme Knight Logan Ludwig read the Necrology, the names of Knights of Columbus fraternal leaders, and members of the hierarchy in the countries where the Order is present, who passed away in the previous 12 months.
Archbishop Lori said, “We commend them to the Lord of mercy with confident hope, even as we ask those who have died to pray for us and our loved ones, that in our time, we might be a light to the nations, united in that charity poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”
The procession of relics included those of the Mexican martyrs who were killed in the early 20th century during the government’s persecution of the Church; Jeanne Jugan, founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor, whose sisters received the Gaudium et Spes Award two days earlier at the States Dinner; St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be canonized; Canadian Jesuit martyrs, whose remains are preserved at the Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, Ontario; St. Faustina Kowalska, who was a patron of the recent World Youth Day in Poland, where the Knights of Columbus sponsored the Mercy Centre; St. John Paul II, patron of the Order’s Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C.; and Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, who was a close friend of the Knights and will be canonized by Pope Francis in Rome on Sept. 4.