Knights of Columbus: August 2010 Archives

JP and Ortega.jpg

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


Taking Pope John Paul II's various exhortations throughout his pontificate (and that of the teaching of Pope Benedict) the Knights of Columbus takes seriously the exercising the ministry of charity as part of an overall method in bringing the Kingdom of God. Making Christ known through works of charity, the Knights of Columbus anchor their mission in the words of the Second Vatican Council where the Council Fathers stated:

the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer" (Lumen gentium, 31).

Some of the ways in 2009 in which the laity cared for the temporal affairs of society through the work of the KofC whose principles are charity, unity and fraternity:

  • $151 million in charitable giving
  • the promise of giving all Haitian children needing prosthetic limbs as a result of the earthquake, about a 700 to 800 children in need
  • 69 million in volunteer hours
  • $17 million for youth programs
  • Support of Project Rachel initiatives
  • $1.6 million coupled with local and state councils to purchase 53 ultrasound machines
  • $1.6 million to Pope Benedict for his charitable work
  • $4.3 million given through the McGiveny Scholarship support of vocations since 1992
  • $887,000 given over 13 years through the Dailey Scholarship
  • RSVP gave $2.8 million in 2009 and in 28 years it gave $47 million to seminarians
  • various church loan programs
  • Villa Maria Guadalupe, a retreat house owned by the Knights and administered by the Sisters of Life in Stamford, CT
  • collaboration in purchasing a handicap bus for VA patients without legs in order to get out of the hospital
  • various faith-based and evangelization programs in the US, Mexico, Canada and the Philippines

MOST notable are the four Knights who died in the past year in Iraq and Afghanistan, giving their life for the nation.

What unites the KofC is faith Christ and we are our brother's keeper.

Vivat Jesus!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Knights of Columbus category from August 2010.

Knights of Columbus: July 2010 is the previous archive.

Knights of Columbus: January 2011 is the next archive.

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