ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am very pleased to welcome the members of the Knights of Columbus and their families visiting Rome on pilgrimage, together with the Supreme Knight and the Supreme Chaplain. I greet all of you with affection in the Lord.
Your presence in the Eternal City, and our meeting this morning, are signs of the deep bonds of fidelity and filial affection binding the Knights of Columbus to the See of Peter. From its foundation, your Order has been committed to the material and spiritual well–being of its members and to the promotion of the Church’s mission in communion of mind and heart with the Successor of Peter. I assure you of my gratitude for the many ways in which these noble ideals have been realized in the abundant good works of your Order, particularly in your concern for the needs of your brothers and sisters throughout the world and in your defence of the sacredness of God’s gift of life.
As committed lay Catholics you are fully aware of society’s need for clear and courageous witness to the moral values taught by the Gospel. The Second Vatican Council called on the laity to make combined efforts to remedy institutions and conditions which are customarily an inducement to sin, so that society may more and more conform to the norms of justice and may favor the practice of virtue rather than hinder it (Cf. Lumen Gentium, 36). With gratitude for the many ways in which your organization seeks to promote higher moral standards in family and public life, I wish to encourage you to continue in this endeavor, knowing that the greatest service you can render to others, especially to the young, is to teach and promote a way of life in harmony with our dignity as God’s beloved children.
Dear friends: it is my heartfelt prayer that this Lenten pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul will deepen your faith in Jesus Christ, your love for the Church, and your resolve to live always as joyful and authentic witnesses of the Gospel. I commend you and your families to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in Christ her Son.
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