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Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Kni...
The Knights of Columbus are not allowed to officially exist on Gonzaga's University's campus because they don't meet a criterion: that non-Catholics be admitted to the group. The decision by the University Student Life office was communicated by Sue Weitz with the help of Kassi Kain. The KoC is a fraternity (of men) who are practical Catholics.

The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 in New Haven, CT, by the Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney. It is a lay-run organization. As a fraternal benefit society the KofC provides an opportunity for Catholic men to serve the local and universal Church by defending the Catholic faith and doing works of charity. As a group, the KoC also promotes patriotism.

By the same criterion, the Jesuits would not be able to be an official group on Gonzaga University's campus. Imagine.

Perhaps it's time to formally re-evaluate whether the Society of Jesus will continue --in good conscience--to officially sponsor universities such as Gonzaga which is quickly loosing its Catholic character. Surely this act of the University does not cohere with documents of the General Congregations of the Jesuits.
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The Knights make me feel safe

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The emblem of the Knights of Columbus
The circumstances in Newtown, Connecticut, have raised the awareness of many with regard to human need: love, peace, fraternity, fidelity, acceptance, and safety. Sometimes we are unaware of our own human need, sometimes we are unaware of the person next to us, and sometimes we are unaware of the gifts given to us by God that are in front of us, like companionship. 

When I worked at Saint Rose of Lima Church several years ago I came into contact with several very impressive men and their families. These men were impressive because they weren't so different from me, or others that I knew, yet their regular faith, friendship and actions made difference in concrete ways. The concrete is always an expression of someone else at work: for me it is Jesus Christ.

I am proud member of the Knights of Columbus and I cherish my membership with other Knights. Why? In a recent email from the Grand Knight about the work he's calling brother Knights to do, and attending to what others need and feel for a greater good inspired me because of the one line in the letter (see below). See how important a presence can be? See how important THE Presence can be if we allow the Him to act in and through us?
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Hard to believe that 15 years have passed since John Paul's post synodal exhortation Ecclesia in America. It is a remarkable document in my opinion, even though it touches on many very serious problems that we need to face from Alaska to Argentina. We hear nothing of this document these days. Every so often we hear a reference to it when a hierarch wants to say something intelligent about the situation at hand in America. Perhaps we could go back to EA with fresh eyes. What is clear is to work on ways for greater communion and solidarity with the Christians across the boarders.

We need to continue to answer the thematic of the "Encounter with the living Jesus Christ: The way to conversion, communion and solidarity in America." We can't set tight with only what John Paul gave us to think on, and to work on. The strength of the Church in America rests not merely on our own solution to the matters at hand but also to our persistent call to holiness.

To honor the publication's anniversary events have been scheduled in Rome from 9-12 December. Among the presentations/dialogue we have:

  • the event in Guadalupe as the origin of evangelization in the New World
  • the post-Synodal Exhortation: prophecy, teaching and commitment
  • the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America with the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, star of the new evangelization and mother of the civilization of love
  • the meaning of the Year of Faith
  • Scenarios and proposals for communion and co-operation between Churches of the Americas and for solidarity among their peoples.
There will be Masses celebrated, rosaries said and other devotions prayed.

Happy to see that Carl Anderson, supreme knights of the Knights of Columbus was chosen as one the presenters for today's conference. He gives gravitas coupled with reasonableness. You may want to listen to Carl Anderson's interview with Vatican Radio it is here.

English: My photograph of an image of the tilm...
Mr Anderson's remarks:

It is indeed an honor for the Knights of Columbus to have the opportunity to help organize this conference on Ecclesia in America - together with the Pontifical Commission for Latin America - under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

As a lay organization that has been in the United States, Canada, Mexico - and other parts of Latin America - for more than a century, we are particularly aligned with the vision presented in Ecclesia in America, and are working with the Church in our hemisphere on the project of the New Evangelization.

In re-reading Ecclesia in America 15 years after the close of the Synod for America held here in Rome in November and December 1997, three things stand out to me as particularly important to our discussion here and at the conference next week.

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fdCapuccio_300.jpgIn 1882, Father Michael J. McGivney, a priest of the Diocese of Hartford, founded the Knights of Columbus. On this day, the Knights observe "Founder's Day", the on which the Connecticut Legislature recognizes the KofC as a fraternal benefit Society.

The Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGiveny's cause for canonization continues.

Let us pray for a deepening of the virtues of charity, unity and fraternity among the Knights and the world.

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Thumbnail image for Anderson with US flag.jpgCarl A. Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, gave a lecture in Boston's famed Faneuil Hall on President John F. Kennedy's faith known in the inaugural address. The President was a KofC member. Anderson uses history, philosophy and theology to demonstrate that our human rights come from God, thus they are sacred rights. The location of the talk was brilliant given the tensions between Church and secularism. Anderson's talk follows:

Your Eminence, Cardinal O'Malley; Your Excellencies, Archbishop Wenski, Bishop Lori and Bishop Kennedy; Reverend Fathers; Seminarians; Members of the Board of Directors and State Officers of the Knights of Columbus; Members of the Boston Leadership Forum; Brother Knights; Ladies and Gentlemen - fellow Citizens...

Here at Faneuil Hall, in this historic setting, the injustices of the colonial system were first addressed. It was here that the Sugar Act was protested more than a decade before the Declaration of Independence. Here that the Tea Tax was protested. And here the Boston Massacre was recounted. Here too was born the idea that there should be "no taxation without representation."

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Some seats are still available:

RSVP to or call 203-752-4483

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Judge John Roll.jpgNEW HAVEN, CT--Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson today expressed "profound sadness" at the shooting deaths of U.S. District Court Judge John M. Rolland five others in Tucson on Saturday.  He asked the 1.8 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families to pray for the recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 other people who were seriously injured in the attack, and for the repose of the souls of those who died.

Judge Roll, who was the chief judge for the District of Arizona, was a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, and was a charter member of Deacon Raphael Longpre Council 10441, and a member of Msgr. Hughes Assembly 2392, both in Tucson.  He had been a member of the Knights of Columbus for 24 years. Members of the Fourth Degree will provide an honor guard at his funeral next week.

"The senseless carnage in Tucson is a terrible tragedy for the victims, their families, the people of Arizona and people of good will everywhere," Anderson said. "We feel a tremendous sense of loss at Judge Roll's death, and for all, young and old, who lost their lives in this attack. We pray for God's mercy on all who have been touched by this tragedy."

"At a time like this, it is tempting to respond with anger, and for some, to attempt to use the tragedy to stoke the fires of division. That would only compound the tragedy," Anderson continued.  "As the late Senator Robert Kennedy said following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 'What we need in the United States is not division . . . not violence or lawlessness, but love and wisdom and compassion toward one another.' Judge Roll, a faithful Catholic who had just attended daily Mass before stopping to greet Rep. Giffords at her community meeting, was a dedicated public servant who understood this very well. Let us honor his life and service by embracing those qualities of 'love and wisdom and compassion'."
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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


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!

McGivney Catholic High School.jpgMy friend Robin in Glen Carbon, IL, let me know about a fund raising opportunity for a new Catholic high school, Fr McGivney Catholic High School.

To my surprise, a new school is named for the Venerable Servant of God Michael J. McGivney, the priest who founded the Knights of Columbus here in New Haven.

May the Venerable Servant of God Michael J. McGivney intercede for this crucial endeavor.

The news agency gave its readers a previously unpublished letter sent by Pope Pius XII to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Aug. 30, 1943, after the Allied Forces bombed Rome. The letter surfaced from the archives of the Knights of Columbus given that it has worked in Rome since 1920. The KofC has recently opened a retrospective exhibit of its work for the Church and humanity in Rome. An unexpected gifts. Why? Because the letter to Roosevelt shows that Pope Pius did advocate for the needs of the defenseless in a dark period of history and that neither Italy nor the Church were free to freely act. Also, the exhibit shows the kind solicitude the KofC has had and continues to have for the work of Christ and the Church.

Your Excellency,

Recent events have naturally focused the world's attention for the moment on Italy, and much has been said and written on what policy she would or should now follow for her own best interests. Too many, we fear, take for granted that she is entirely free to follow the policy of her choice; and we have wished to express to Your Excellency our conviction that this is far from true. Of her desire for peace and to be done with the war, there can be no doubt; but in the presence of formidable forces opposing the actuation or even the official declaration of that desire she finds herself shackled and quite without the necessary means of defending herself.

If under such circumstances Italy is to be forced still to bear devastating blows against which she is practically defenseless, we hope and pray that the military leader will find it possible to spare innocent civil populations and in particular churches and religious institutions the ravages of war. Already, we must recount with deep sorrow and regret, these figure very prominently among the ruins of Italy's most populous and important cities.

But the message of assurance addressed to us by Your Excellency sustains our hope, even in the face of bitter experience, that God's temples and the homes erected by Christian charity for the poor and sick and abandoned members of Christ's flock may survive the terrible onslaught. May God in His merciful pity and love hearken to the universal cry of his children and let them hear once more the voice of Christ say: Peace!

We are happy of this occasion to renew the expression of our sincere good wishes to Your Excellency.

From the Vatican, August 30, 1943


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Yesterday, May 3rd, marked the 10th Anniversary of the entrance into eternal life of John Cardinal O'Connor.

Many of you were able to be present -and others were present through EWTN--and shared prayer with us for the Cardinal's eternal peace and God's mercy. In case you want see the video coverage, you may watch it here and I suspect that EWTN will run the program again.

At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Timothy Dolan launched and introduced a new effort of the Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life called the National Prayer for Life Campaign

Please join us in praying this prayer every day and give it to others; all of us are hoping that it spreads throughout our nation so that a Culture of Life may be fully restored!

XVI and cross 19 Ap 05.jpgThe Knights of Columbus has begun a novena of prayer for Pope Benedict XVI beginning today, Divine Mercy Sunday, April 11, and ending on Monday, April 19, the anniversary of election as Supreme Pontiff. 2010 is the 5th anniversary of the Pope's election.

Let us join in this time of prayer. The novena prayer is here.

Saints Joseph, Benedict, Peter and John Vianney, pray for us.

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A Civilization of Love - What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World (2008) by Carl Anderson, the head of the Knights of Columbus has a new edition, Una Civilta dell'Amore.

Watch the book launch (video clip) in Rome and read a CNA news brief and a review of the book.

I also recommend the book.

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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John Henry Newman is the previous category.

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