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Knights Must Be Disciples Who Evangelize, Cardinal Says

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The theme of the 134th Supreme Convention, “A Light to the Nations,” offers all Knights of Columbus an opportunity to reflect on the call of Pope Francis for Catholics to become “evangelizing disciples,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C.

“Our Holy Father offers us the perennial wisdom of the Church on how we do this,” said the cardinal in his homily at the morning convention Mass, Aug. 3. “He tells us to go out, accompany those who should be more fully with us, and as we do this we evangelize.”

Cardinal Wuerl added, “It is precisely to be ‘A Light to the Nations’ that we are called as Knights of Columbus individually and as an Order to be a reflection of Jesus.”

A longtime member of the Knights of Columbus, Cardinal Wuerl celebrates this year his 50th anniversary as a priest, 30 years as a bishop, and 10 years as the archbishop of Washington.

Cardinal Gérald Lacroix, archbishop of Québec and Primate of Canada, was the main celebrant of the Mass, offered as a Votive Mass of the Mercy of God in honor of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. He was joined by cardinals, bishops and priests from throughout the world.

In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl outlined characteristics of a disciple who evangelizes. First, he said, the disciple must have courage to go into the world and witness to the faith in word, deed and the manner of his life. The second characteristic is a sense of urgency that “it is our turn now” to spread the Gospel. Third, a disciple also must be connected to the Church, not preaching or teaching his own version of the faith but in union with the Church, the cardinal continued.

The fourth characteristic of a disciple is a sense of joy, he said in conclusion. “My brothers and sisters, we announce a risen Lord,” he explained. “We have the words of everlasting life.”

The cardinal urged every Knight to use Columbia, the Order’s monthly magazine, as an evangelizing tool. “Here we find a rich treasure trove of information, inspiration and formation in our faith,” he said. Knights should read the magazine fully, and then hand it on to someone who may be interested in the faith.

In addition, Cardinal Wuerl said that Knights should be bold yet gentle in inviting people to the Catholic faith. “You can ask a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, ‘Would you ever consider coming to Mass with me on Sunday?’ In the same way, you can ask someone who is away from the faith, ‘Would you ever consider coming back to the Church, to the faith that once meant so much to you?’”