Remarks by State Deputy Tim Saccoccia following Columbus Day 2015 Mass Christopher Columbus Statue at the Church of Holy Rosary
October 11, 2015
Father Marchetto, Fr. DeRosa, Brother Knights, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today, and on behalf of the more than 2,900 Knights of Columbus in the District of Columbia, I wish to express my deep gratitude to our friends at the Lido Civic Club for being our partners in this very special day. I also wish to express my gratitude to Fr. Marchetto and the Holy Rosary family for your continued and gracious hospitality and to Fr. DeRosa for taking the time today to celebrate the beautiful Mass. Finally, I wish to thank the National Columbus Day Association for their continued commitment to celebrating the legacy of the Admiral of the Ocean Sea.
Last week, the Knights of Columbus celebrated, not our official founding, but rather that night in 1881 when the Venerable Michael McGivney assembled the men of St. Mary’s parish to discuss the founding of a new organization of Catholic families who would stand united for the ideals of their faith in a hostile world. In this way, these working class men and their parish priest established an organization which exemplified what Saint John Paul II would call nearly a century later – the new evangelization.
But, for their name and their focus, these men looked back four centuries to a hero of one of the last chapters of the old evangelization – Christopher Columbus, the Christ-bearer to the New World.
Indeed, Columbus knew that a successful expedition would open new trade routes and increase the economic prosperity of Western Europe. However, he also knew that these same trade routes would open the way for the Gospel. It was for this very reason that, prior to his expedition, Columbus wrote to Pope Alexander VI requesting missionaries by saying, “I trust that, by God’s help, I may spread the Holy Name and Gospel of Jesus Christ as widely as may be.”
As Knights of Columbus, we too follow this model of our patron. That is to say that our service to our parishes and communities can provide great temporal benefits – we feed and clothe the poor, we assist our churches with various tasks, we volunteer at charitable events. However, in doing this, we are an example of what it is to be a Christian. In doing this, we are living as true agents of the new evangelization.
Four hundred years after Columbus’ triumphant expedition, and 10 years after the chartering of the Knights of Columbus, Pope Leo XIII recognized the important contribution of Columbus is his encyclical, Quarto Abeunte Saeculo, writing:
“…it is fitting that we should confess and celebrate in an especial manner the will and designs of the Eternal Wisdom, under whose guidance the discoverer of the New World placed himself with a devotion so touching”.
Let us then, Knights of the great Christopher Columbus, and all Christian men and women of good will, celebrate the example of Christopher Columbus, both this weekend and throughout the year, by placing our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, at the center of all our endeavors.
May Mary, the Star of the New Evangelization, and her blessed spouse Joseph pray for us and intercede in all our efforts.