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Monday 9, April 1973


We are happy to welcome to Rome and to the Vatican the members of the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus, led by their Supreme Knight, Mr John W. McDevitt, and accompanied by their Supreme Chaplain, Bishop Greco. You have come to Rome for a meeting of your Supreme Board in special observance of the fiftieth anniversary of your work in the Eternal City. Fifty years ago you responded in Christian brotherhood to the request for help voiced by our predecessor Benedict XV, and through the years your assistance has been unfailing and generous. Indeed, you have been brothers to the poor, to the sick, to the young, to the aged and to the underprivileged. In the name of all those whom you have helped by your brotherly compassion, we thank you from our heart.

The glory of the Knights of Columbus is not based on humanitarian works alone. Even more admirable have been your insistence upon the supremacy of God and your fidelity to the Vicar of Christ. In truth you can call yourselves "Brothers", because you call God your Father and have declared yourselves ready to do his will and serve his cause. We urge you to make ever deeper your resolve to serve God, in your personal lives and in the works you undertake. His laws must lead you; his children you must help. You can have no higher goal, no greater calling.

Finally, we encourage you to continue in your fidelity to the Pope. As you yourselves have publicly declared, in a resolution passed by the Supreme Council, your intention must ever be to adhere "to the pastoral direction of the Supreme Pontiff and of the bishops in all those matters pertaining to the . . . Christian faith and Christian morality . . .". If you do this, you will bring not only happiness to the Pope but peace to your own souls, a peace which carries within it a promise of that reward which awaits those who are faithful to the will of Christ.

Again we welcome you. We hope that your visit will be pleasant and that you will be especially pleased as you visit the various projects made possible by your generous and brotherly spirit. We assure you of our prayers and gladly impart to your families and to your Brother Knights wherever they are our Apostolic Blessing.


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