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 CNS Story:

KNIGHTS-OPENING Aug-5-2008 (570 words) xxxn

Cardinal thanks Knights of Columbus for spreading Gospel of life

By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service

QUEBEC CITY (CNS) -- Using the recent 49th International Eucharistic Congress as his inspiration, Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet said members of the Knights of Columbus invoke the spirit of love, devotion, commitment to charity and service to which the Eucharist calls each person.

In his homily Aug. 5 at the opening Mass of the Knights' 126th convention, Cardinal Ouellet thanked members of the Catholic fraternal organization for their involvement and support of the eucharistic congress, also held in Quebec City in June, as well as for their continuing efforts to promote life issues across a wide spectrum of activities and events.

He called the work of the worldwide Knights a prime example of Christian love as expressed in St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians and lived in the life of Blessed Frederic Janssoone, whose feast was celebrated during the Mass.

Father Janssoone was a French Franciscan friar born in 1838 who came to Canada first in 1881 and then permanently in 1888 as a preacher and a promoter of charities benefiting the Holy Land. Beyond preaching, he used various means to bring the Gospel message to laypeople; they included leading pilgrimages to the Holy Land and writing numerous publications that were widely distributed. He died in Montreal in 1916 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

"As an international Catholic fraternity, the Knights of Columbus have a special role to play in witnessing the love of Christ in today's world under the wise leadership of Pope Benedict XVI," Cardinal Ouellet said.

The cardinal reminded the 2,000 people at the liturgy about the 40th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical, "Humanae Vitae" ("On Human Life"), and urged the faithful to revisit the document and "to realize how prophetic it was and still is."

"The message has not yet been truly received despite the confirmation that came from the evolution of the culture toward divorce, abortion, homosexuality and destruction of marriage and family," he said.

Citing the Knights' work to end abortion and promote marriage and strengthen families, Cardinal Ouellet said the organization's efforts have led to a spiritual awakening in many communities.

"It is not easy to embody those values in today's context especially in Canada where the culture of death is making further steps of domination by rewarding publicly an activist of abortion," he added, referring to Dr. Henry Morgentaler recently being named to the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honor. Morgentaler led a 19-year legal battle to lift the country's restrictions on abortion.

"May our reaction to the sad events in the world not be of 'little faith' but of a new faith commitment to hold firmly the church teaching on human life and love and to engage with courage the cultural challenges by promoting more strongly a culture of life and civilization of love," Cardinal Ouellet said.

Prominent near the altar for the Mass in the massive Quebec City Convention Center was a contemporary Ark of the New Covenant, representing similar arks throughout history. The ark held the Eucharist for worship during the eucharistic congress. Knight councils in Canada played a major role in bringing the ark to each Canadian diocese during a three-year period leading up to the congress.

More than 60 archbishops and bishops and six cardinals joined Cardinal Ouellet in concelebrating the opening Mass.

END


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