On May 21-22, the Knights of Columbus State Convention in Poland took place in Lichen XI. The main Holy Mass was presided over by Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, chairman of the Polish Bishops' Conference.
Meet the brothers at the feet of the Mother
This year's meeting, which had to be held partially remotely due to the pandemic, was attended by over a hundred people, incl. chaplains of local councils from all over Poland and delegates of state councils. The participants summed up the last year of activity, and exceptional works of knights and the family of the year were awarded and awarded. The Knights of Columbus set new goals for the next fraternal year and elected members of the State Council. "We have an extremely difficult, pandemic year" - said the State Deputy Krzysztof Zuba - "It is worth turning to the Mother, that's why we are at Our Lady of Licheń. We remember our meeting from two years ago, which was attended by about 500 people. It is a unique place. In the daily hustle and bustle, Licheń gives you a chance to break away, calm down, come closer to God, pray, and at the same time also give you the conditions to meet your brothers. "
The central moment of the Convention was the solemn Holy Mass celebrated in the basilica under the leadership of Archbishop. Stanisław Gądecki. The liturgy was inaugurated by the procession of bringing the relics of St. Faustina Kowalska, St. John Paul II and the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Bl. Fr. Michael McGivney. On behalf of the caretakers of the Lichen sanctuary, the gathered were greeted by Fr. Bogusław Binda, MIC, superior of the Lichen religious community: “We wish that you could entrust to the Mother of God and the Church all that you are on a pilgrimage with and that you may experience this meeting as deeply as possible. You are at the Mother's House. She wants to stay in your hearts and lead to Christ, said the Marian.
The chairman of the Polish Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki emphasized that the association is a sign of "how the largest Catholic organization in the world can arise out of nothing". The hierarch presented the history of the order founded on the initiative of the parish priest, Fr. Michael McGivney. The association, which now has approximately 2 million members, began on October 2, 1881. Then a small group of men met in the basement of a church in New Haven, Connecticut. “Members helped each other in their every need from the very beginning. They created a bond resulting not only from joint charity work "- said Archbishop Gądecki -" They came to Our Lady of Licheń to draw the maternal spirit that is needed in every family and organization that would like (...) to create strong bonds of mutual brotherhood, to be in the service of One, they could still be in the service of all. "
Brotherhood, unity, mercy and patriotism
The homily during the solemn liturgy was delivered by Fr. Dr. Paweł Rytel-Adrianik, director of the Foreign Communication Office at the Secretariat of the Polish Episcopal Conference. “The Knights of Columbus is ready to fulfill their mission and service at all times. Moreover, they help others to be ready to serve. I experienced it myself, ”said the homiletic. “Brotherhood, unity, mercy and patriotism are the four pillars of the Knights of Columbus. (...) Let's not be afraid to ask ourselves if we have deserted or escaped, instead of standing in the breach. Because men today often desert. That is why Catholic men's organizations are so important, as they support each other in a spirit of brotherhood. Even if someone deserted, fell, the Knights help him rise. "
Fr. Rytel-Adrianik drew attention to the gift of beatification of Fr. McGivney. "It is no coincidence that the miracle for his beatification is the healing of an unborn child," he said, emphasizing that the Knights of Columbus buy ultrasound equipment for pregnant women. How many lives! This is something very specific. And today there is a bell with us here, the Voice of the Unborn, which will ring as a sign of concern for life that the Knights of Columbus do not desert! (...) We are faced with the challenge that we not only use the sacraments ourselves, but also, as Knights, invite others to the Church and the sacraments out of concern. "
The priest conveyed the words of the Knights of Columbus State Chaplain, Fr. Archbishop. Wacław Depo, who could not come to the meeting. The Hierarchy asked to convey to the Knights a message of unity, which is unusual throughout the journey of the Knights of Columbus in Poland, who came to our homeland at the request and at the suggestion of St. John Paul II.
During the Eucharist, sacrifices were collected for Catholics in Ukraine. After the liturgy in the basilica, there was a summary of the past year. thanks and awards for individual councils. The thanks were given, among others. Archbishop. Gądecki, handing over the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is the patron of the Order. More than 200 council programs in addition to what they normally do have been entered into the state awards this year. “The Knights of Columbus is not considering whether to help, but how to help,” explained Krzysztof Zuba. In total, 20 State Councils were awarded for unique actions in four categories (faith, community, family, and life).
The Family of the Year award was given to Michał and Andżelika Steciak from Karsznice (Kielce diocese), involved in the life of the Church, social, cultural and voluntary activities. The couple that launched the '' Wioska Aniołów '' foundation to help children and seniors faced the problem of infertility. Willing to start a family, they adopted Piotr a year ago, whom their biological parents abandoned because of Down's syndrome, and this year - Marysia. In the process of adopting the boy, 9 previous marriages did not even decide to meet him because of his disability. Every day, the spouses make a great effort to rehabilitate their son and raise little children.
The participants of the meeting had the opportunity to ring the bell "Voice of the Unborn" blessed in September 2020 by Pope Francis. “Anyone concerned about the defense of life has the opportunity to ring this bell. This is not a normal punch. It is a commitment to stand for life, 'explained the organizers.
Among the congratulatory letters from Polish hierarchs and foundations with which the Order cooperates, there was, among others, letter of the Archbishop. Wacław Depo, State Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus. “Thanking God for your presence and service in Polish lands, we want to confirm today the work of fraternal unity and charity for the needy. As an expression of our love, at the same time we hope that our personal formation following the example of Blessed Fr. Michał McGivney and through his intercession, will contribute to an even deeper personal bond of each of the brothers with Christ, wrote the Metropolitan of Częstochowa.
The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternal welfare organization for men who help with a variety of needs. They undertake joint work in the field of charity, education, religion, society or helping others in the event of a war or a catastrophe. There are over 2,000,000 men in the Order around the world who serve the Church by putting faith into action. There are about 7,000 Knights in Poland, including about 700 priests. Adult male practicing Catholics in spiritual communion with the Holy See may become members of the Knights of Columbus.
Lichen Stary, May 22, 2021