It is a general custom at the annual Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus that the ordinary of the diocese or archdiocese where the convention is held celebrates the opening Mass.
This year in Philadelphia for the Aug. 4-6 convention the Knights got a twofer, because Philadelphia happens to have two sitting Catholic Archbishops. On Tuesday, Aug. 4, Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia celebrated the opening Mass at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
On Wednesday, Aug. 5, Archbishop Stefan Soroka, of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia and the Metropolitan Archbishop for Ukrainian Catholics in the United States, celebrated the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in the same venue.
It was only the second time in the Knights’ history that a Ukrainian Catholic liturgy was celebrated at their convention; the first was in 1988, the millennial year of the Christian conversion of Ukraine.
In this case the altar area took on the look of an Eastern Christian sanctuary, with a large icon of the Theotokos (Mary the Mother of God) dominating, a central feature in Eastern Christian theology.
For those unfamiliar with the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Archbishop Soroka explained they are “one of 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in union with the See of Peter, of which 18 serve their faithful in the United States.”
In his homily the archbishop explained some of the points stressed in Eastern theology, including “the divinization of man beginning at baptism.”
In a special way, he said, “men who choose to become Knights of Columbus following in the footsteps of our founder, Father Michael McGivney, also experience special transformation as they are transfigured on this path to divinization.”
Archbishop Soroka related how some years ago when he was a parish priest he helped organize a K of C council in the parish. Men who had never been active in parish programs and appeared shy and hesitant nevertheless joined the council, and were transformed into energetic leaders both in the parish and the community.
“They became so bold, so confident, that they were not hesitant to even advise me as to what I should be doing,” he said. “Their natures changed. The power of fraternal prayer and works of charity in an atmosphere with a patriotic love for God, Church and country transformed these men and their families.”
Very clearly Archbishop Soroka endorses the Knights of Columbus. He could even write their recruitment brochures.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Knights of Columbus hear of Christian persecution in Middle East
NEXT: Catholic, Lutheran partnership to help area’s migrant children
Share this story