Did you know this about the IW Knights of Columbus?
Earlier this month KofC.org published an article on the anniversary of attempted assassination of Pope St. John Paul II. The following is an excerpt from that article.
“On May 13, 1981, St. John Paul II greeted nearly 15,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square during his weekly audience. After circling the square, the Holy Father headed toward his pontifical chair in an open pope-mobile. That is when an assailant fired multiple gunshots at the pope.
Then Supreme Knight Virgil Dechant was present that day as part of an international conference on vocations. He later recalled the crowd’s reaction — saying pilgrims dropped to their knees in prayer, and ‘many of the prayers were addressed to the Blessed Virgin.’ It was the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, marking 64 years since the first apparition of Mary to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal.
Later that day, Dechant, along with Enrico Galeazzi (the Order’s representative in Rome) and Father John V. McGuire (chairman of the Knights of Columbus Vocations Committee) met with Archbishop Andrzej M. Deskur, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and prayed with him in his private chapel for the pope’s recovery.
‘It was a tragic moment, a tragic hour, a tragic day,” Dechant said in the days that followed. ‘But the people here are optimistic that he will recover from this attack.’
Pope John Paul II did recover, and he learned the identity of his would-be assassin: a man by the name of Mehmet Ali Ağca, who had escaped from a Turkish prison. After his arrest, Ağca initially claimed that he acted alone, but he later testified that the assassination attempt was part of a conspiracy. Whatever Ağca’s motivations, the Holy Father forgave his attacker and later met with him at the Rebibbia Prison in Rome.
At the 99th Supreme Convention in August 1981, just months after the attack, the Knights of Columbus established the Vicarius Christi Fund to reaffirm its ‘respect for and defense of the priesthood, symbolized by our deep love and affection for our Holy Father.’ It was the largest charitable trust set up by the Order at the time, with a $10 million corpus.
‘That the Vicar of Christ, a man of love and peace, could be the target of anyone’s hatred and violence, was and is beyond belief,’ Dechant said during his annual report. ‘Had the Holy Father succumbed to his wounds, the Church would have gone on, down to the end of time as Jesus promised. But we all would have lost a special person in our lives, a charismatic pope whose pastoral journeys have brought the warmth of his personal touch into so many lives.’
The Order has produced several films about the Polish pontiff and his legacy, including John Paul II in America: Uniting a Continent, and Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism.”
Links Related to this week’s column:
40 Years Ago, St. John Paul II Was Nearly Assassinated One of the most impactful pontificates in history, strongly supported by the Knights, was almost cut short less than two years after it began. By Andrew Fowler, Knights of Columbus (5/11/2021) Click here for Documentary
Prayer for Protection in Time of Pandemic A Novena which seeks Our Lady’s Intercession for Protection in Time of Pandemic By His Holiness, Pope Francis (3/2020) A PRAYER FOR PROTECTION IN TIME OF PANDEMIC (PDF Version) Click here for the Prayer
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We would like to talk with you about becoming an IW Knight. Please visit us on-line at our web site at www.IWknights9981.com/AboutUs. Or call Rob Schultz at: (314) 973-2373.