Bishops praise Knights of Columbus for work to support church teachings

By Steve Wideman | For The Compass | April 30, 2015

State KC convention held April 25 in Green Bay

GREEN BAY — Standing as devoted defenders of the faith and supporters of the new evangelization are two of the most important tasks facing the Knights of Columbus now and in the future, state bishops said during the 114th annual gathering of the Wisconsin Knights on April 25.

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, left, Bishop David Ricken, State Knights of Columbus chaplain Fr. Richard Heilman and Madison Bishop Robert C. Morlino, concelebrate Mass during the Knights’ annual convention held April 25 in Green Bay. (Steve Wideman | For The Compass)
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, left, Bishop David Ricken, State Knights of Columbus chaplain Fr. Richard Heilman and Madison Bishop Robert C. Morlino, concelebrate Mass during the Knights’ annual convention held April 25 in Green Bay. (Steve Wideman | For The Compass)

Green Bay Bishop David L. Ricken, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki and Madison Bishop Robert C. Morlino joined to concelebrate Mass during the group’s convention at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Green Bay.

“The Knights of Columbus help the dioceses greatly, first as good examples of family men and their families committed to wanting the Catholic way of life,” Bishop Ricken said following Mass attended by nearly 1,400 Knights and their families.

All three bishops praised the Knights for work to support numerous charities, parishes and pastors throughout the state and for defending increasing challenges to church teachings.

“If they (Knights) weren’t here we would be limping along more than we are,” Bishop Ricken said.

Archbishop Listecki said the Knights’ greatest contribution to the church “is their statement of faith in these times.”

“It’s important the Knights stand to live and support the church, which is facing many challenges, including to freedom of faith, at this time. In a national sense, the Knights work to support teachings of the church, which are expressions of our faith,” the Milwaukee archbishop said. “Obviously, they are also known for their good works in support of Catholic education and special needs of the church, as well as supporting vocations and pro-life activities.”

The Knights are always performing works of corporal mercy and spiritual works of mercy, said Ron Faust, state deputy of the Wisconsin State Council of the Knights of Columbus.

“That has not gone unnoticed by the ordinaries of Wisconsin. They very much appreciate the work we do in all the communities. We are helping take care of God’s work,” Faust said. “The bishops come each year to our convention to honor these Knights and the men honor the bishops.”

During the three-day convention, the Knights, who annually raise more than $1.5 million in support of state charities, considered several resolutions, including promoting a marriage prayer, an embroidered copy of which will be presented to Pope Francis, and maintaining the words “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency.

The Knights’ greatest contribution to parishes is to bring about a greater awareness of what it means to be a man of Christ, Bishop Morlino said.

“I am so deeply grateful of the Knights’ work to bring about a greater sense of what it means to be a father in Christ. Everyone sees our society has lost some of that sense. It’s important for the Knights to continue working to restore the dignity of Catholic masculinity,” Bishop Morlino said.

As challenges to Christianity grow, Bishop Morlino said it’s important that Knights do anything they can to help themselves and others grow in holiness.

“The closer we grow to Christ, the deeper the Gospel message will be in us,” Bishop Morlino said. “The Knights need to grow in holiness to go out and more effectively witness the good news in the public arena. We (Knights) have to give a very strong and organized witness to Christ.”

The Knights need to continue supporting and upholding the sanctity of marriage, Archbisop Listecki said.

“If you have any place where you need to practice evangelization it is at home where you have a mother and father transmitting the faith to their children,” Archbishop Listecki said, adding that the Knights “need to remain active in supporting church teachings surrounding marriage and family.”

Archbishop Listecki said the new evangelization means transforming.

“We need to transform our culture, which is currently imbued with secularism,” he said. “It will take church teachings to reform the culture.”

Bishop Ricken said the Knights will be critical to the new evangelization

“They help enable our parishioners to be good witnesses to the faith by being practicing Catholics, by giving good example and by helping families return to prayer in the home with family and individual prayers,” Bishop Ricken said.

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