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Introducing the
2010 Gaudium et Spes recipient tonight the Supreme Chaplain, Bishop William Lori,
quoted the opening words of the Vatican II document by the same name reminding us that: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this
age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys
and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ” (Gaudium
et spes, 1).

Lori continued by saying that faith is more cherished when
challenged which has been particularly true for the people of Cuba and
certainly for the honoree tonight, Jaime Lucas Cardinal Ortega y Alamino, 73,
Archbishop of San Cristobal de la Habana.

Steadfast in his witness to Jesus
Christ with apostolic zeal and courage, Cardinal Jaime Ortega was ordained priest in 1964 (he celebrated his 46th anniversary on August 2); he’s been a bishop for 31 years
and a cardinal for 15. In 1998, Cardinal Ortega welcomed Pope John Paul II to
Cuba which paved the way for warmer relations between the Church, Cuba and the
world. Himself imprisoned for his Catholic faith he’s been an outspoken
advocate for the oppressed and poor. In November, Cardinal Ortega will open new
the San Carlos y San Ambrosio National Seminary to train men for the priesthood
in Cuba. Jaime Lucas Cardinal Ortega y Alamino is the 8th recipient of the
Knights of Columbus Gaudium et Spes Award.

This award was established by the Knights in 1992 to recognize those people who made outstanding contributions to both the Church and to society. The award is a gold medal with an honorarium of $100,000. The intellectual and spiritual orientation of this award is based on the belief that Christians and all people of good will ought to be united, that is, to live in solidarity with all of humanity with its joys and trials. The hope of the Church for all of her children to live a life of total self-giving for Christ and our sister and brother. All of life, as the Vatican II Council Fathers exhorted, ought to “be aroused to a lively hope –the gift of the Holy Spirit– that some day at last they will be caught up in peace and utter happiness in that fatherland radiant with the glory of the Lord” (GS, 93).

The citation is here and Cardinal Ortega’s address can be read here.

Past Gaudium et Spes recipients:

  • Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 1992
  • John Cardinal O’Connor, 1994
  • James Cardinal Hickey, 2000
  • William Cardinal Baum, 2001
  • Patriarch Michel Sabbah, 2002
  • Jean Vanier, 2005
  • Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, SDB, 2007