Knights of Columbus

Knights of Columbus Carl Anderson

Knights of Columbus Join U.S. Military Archdiocese to Support Spiritual Journey

More than five hundred active-duties along with retired U.S. military staff, injured veterans, spouses and family members participated in the 55th International Military Pilgrimage to the Catholic shrine at Lourdes, France, May 24-26, 2013. Approximately a hundred and sixty people were a part of a “Wounded and even Disabled Veteran Pilgrimage” program cosponsored by the Knights of Columbus along with the Archdiocese for Military Services.

The Memorial Day weekend with Knights of Columbus Insurance, pilgrimage included people in military from thirty-five nations. The trip was an occasion for rest, prayer and healing around the miraculous waters of the Lourdes grotto. The shrine is site of a reported Feb. 11, 1858 apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a 14-year-old peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous. Water from a spring at the apparition site has resulted in many documented yet inexplicable physical cures.

Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the U.S. Military Services (AMS) was the principal celebrant and homilist May 24 at the opening Mass for the American contingent in the Shrine’s Basilica of the Great Conception.

“Our pilgrimage in these days is also a time for us to heighten our faith,” he stated. “We come to this wonderful Shrine with many intentions. For some it will be health of mind and body. For others it might be part of a vocation search. Still others ask the Virgin for blessings on their families. We come to this sacred place and pray for all of those deployed in harm’s way and we beg Our Mother to intercede with her Son so that the world might experience that peace that only He can bring.”

Pope John Paul II made the AMS being an independent archdiocese in 1985 as the only Catholic jurisdiction responsible for supporting and allowing faculties for priests to serve as chaplains in the U.S. military services establishments. AMS-endorsed priests perform the duties of chaplains at over 220 U.S. military setups in 29 countries, as well as 153 Veterans Administration medical centers all over the USA. The AMS service population also includes American Catholic citizens doing work for the federal government in 134 nations around the world. Worldwide, an estimated 1.8 million Catholics depend upon the AMS to get to know their particular spiritual as well as sacramental demands.

Supreme Knights of Columbus Carl Anderson joined up with the pilgrims in France. The Knights of Columbus has collaborated with the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) regularly in support of such initiatives.

“The Knights of Columbus Insurance organized its first military pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1919,” Anderson stated, “and we were honored to go back to this essential Marian shrine encouraging this pilgrimage of faith by way of our active duty and also retired troops who have sacrificed a whole lot for our nation. The great love that these services people have for God as well as nation sets a fantastic example for people who have benefited from their sacrifices in the security of our freedom.”

Most of the first members of the Knights of Columbus have been Civil War veterans, and the Knights have always been dedicated to helping individuals who serve our country. In World War I, the K of C ran hospitality centers for U.S. troops throughout the United States and Europe under the banner “Everybody Welcome, Everything Free.” In World War II, the Knights of Columbus in Canada continued the army hut program, while in the United States, Supreme Knight Matthews served as a Catholic representative on the board of the United Service Organizations (more commonly known as the USO), through which the Knights continued to serve troops. Today, the Knights of Columbus Insurance works closely with the AMS in its continuing work for our troops and veterans with a variety of activities geared toward their spiritual and temporal needs.

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