Knights of Columbus Mid-Year Meeting
Most Rev. William E. Lori, Supreme Chaplain
November 18, 2020
As this important Mid-Year meeting comes to its conclusion, we are on the cusp of celebrating the Feast of Christ the King. If ever this feast day were more welcome and necessary, the year 2020 has to be it! This is a year for us to acknowledge our dependence upon the strength and wisdom that can only be found in the One who is the world’s Savior, in the One who is ‘the Alpha and Omega,’ the One who ‘through whom and for whom all things were made,’ the One ‘who is seated at the right hand of the Father to plead for us.’
This year, we have come face to face with our vulnerability. In spite of our technical and medical advances, the world ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. And while there are signs of a promising vaccines and treatments, we nonetheless recognize that we are not the masters of our fate, and that nature can throw down the gauntlet in ways that still confound us. We do well to acknowledge the One who is our Lord and Master, commending to him those who have died amid this pandemic and acknowledging him as the Lord of life and of love. Let us recognize that in Christ, who opened for us the gates of heaven, in Christ, whose kingdom is not of this world, no disease, no natural disaster, no economic forces can ultimately conquer us. If, in charity and fraternity, we are loyally united to Christ the King, nothing will ultimately overcome us, dear fellow Knights!
So too, it has been a year of unrest and political upheaval in many parts of the world, including here in the United States of America. We have gone through a very divisive political contest and the acrimony is far from over. We have seen the streets of our cities explode with violence and we have grieved over the destruction of human life and violence. While we must work earnestly to create a society that is a civilization of truth and love, we must recognize that, unaided, our efforts will always fall short. Rather than ‘putting our trust in princes’, we must put our full trust in the One who is Lord of lords and King of kings, the One whose contemplative gaze overlooks no one, whose love leaves no member of the human family behind. We must lead our respective homelands back to a religious faith, to a trust in God’s wisdom, power, and love, if we would help create a better world and a more hopeful future.
And what a year it has been for the Church, culminating with the release of the long-awaited McCarrick report. Those 461 pages make for some pretty discouraging reading as we see how a master manipulator climbed the ladder of ecclesial “success” only to fall from grace and to shake the faith of many. A glance at the long history of the Church, however, bids us not to be discouraged. From the very start, there have been scoundrels in the Church’s life, starting with Judas, and there always will be 5th columnists in the Church’s life. At the end of the day, only one among us is truly holy and the source of all holiness, namely, Christ our King, Christ our good and gentle shepherd, Christ who is the source and font of mercy. If we would reform the Church, you and I must make reparation to Christ the King, spending time before the Blessed Sacrament, asking for the Church he died for to be healed and renewed in its leadership and in its membership. Only Christ can conquer the forces of sin and death. In him we shall do bravely.
Father McGivney could have been a mediocre priest if he had wanted to. He could have said, “The Bishop sent me to a debt-ridden parish with a pastor who is so ill that he can hardly function, to a people who are poor and little-regarded by the world around them – and besides all that my physical constitution is not robust and the dangers of dying young are always before me.” He did none of that! He put his absolute trust in Christ his Lord, his King, his brother, and in the Lord he became a magnificent priest whose all-too-brief priestly ministry was like a comet in the night sky, illuminating the darkness, overcoming it with light and joy and strength. Brothers, that’s who we are called to be and that’s why you and I need to put all our stock in Christ the King as we resume the work of leading and growing our jurisdictions for the remainder of this fraternal year.
Finally, let me say a word of deepest appreciation for our Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson. Our Supreme Knight has been one of my closest friends since I was a young priest. Through the years, I have learned much from his wisdom and example and I continue to admire how he has led our Order to new heights in his twenty years of service as our Supreme Knight. I thank you, Worthy Supreme Knight, as I thank your dear wife Dorian, for your friendship and for your example of fidelity and love. May the Lord bless you with health, joy, and holiness in the years ahead and may God bless us all and keep us in his love. Blessed Michael Joseph McGivney, pray for us Vivat Jesus!