One of the highlights on Tuesday was the Opening Mass with the Holy See's Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. In his homily, Cardinal Bertone praised Father Michael McGivney, the American priest who established the Knights of Columbus.
Father McGivney is currently considered a Servant of God and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints is examining his life with, as Cardinal Bertone stated in his homily, "a view to recognizing his sanctity and presenting him to the faithful as a model Christian, worthy of imitation. " As Salt + Light associate producer Michele Nuzzo reported from Nashville on Tuesday's Zoom
, Cardinal Bertone even veered from his homily text adding that he was personally going to endorse Father McGivney 's cause. As expected, this drew great applause from those in attendance! Father McGivney is a hero to the Knights, and an excellent role model to all the faithful.
The Cardinal drew comparisons between Father McGivney and the Apostle Peter in the day's Gospel. The Gospel account (Matthew 14:22-36) tells us of Peter's ability to walk on water while focusing on Christ. When Peter's faith wavers for a moment, and he loses focus on our Lord, Peter sinks. The Cardinal said:
In many respects the storm-tossed boat on the Sea of Galilee seems an apt image for the situation of the local Church at the time of Father McGivney, when the plight of Catholics in America was far from easy. This holy priest, however, like Peter in the Gospel story, found the faith and the courage to walk steadfastly towards Christ, and to inspire others by his leadership. Everyone who had the privilege of knowing Father McGivney was impressed by the dynamism of his personality and his pastoral zeal. He guided the organization he founded with prudence and wisdom, firmly trusting in Christ. He recognized the need to promote the mutual support and solidarity of the Catholic community, and nothing would deter him from pursuing this noble goal.
The support and solidarity that Father McGivney promoted was also a means to sanctity for the faithful. Cardinal Bertone continued:
This was the key to his apostolic vision in founding the Knights. He recognized the material and spiritual poverty of so many members of the Catholic community, and he understood that it was part of the lay vocation to become actively involved in offering assistance to brothers and sisters in need. He knew that it is not only priests and religious who have a vocation, but that every Christian is called by Christ to carry out a particular mission in the Church. He left a lasting legacy in the organization that he founded which has continued to provide opportunities for countless lay Catholics to play their part in building up the Kingdom of God.
It's a strong lesson, and an important reminder to all of us: that each of us is called to holiness and that "every Christian is called by Christ to carry out a particular mission in the Church."
In these humid days in August, when many of us take life a little easier, and relax a little bit more, perhaps we should look to Father McGivney's example, take some of our down time and evaluate what God is asking of us. What mission is God calling us to... and how well are we responding?