In his first trip to the United States as the Secretary of State for the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone opened the Knight of Columbus 125th annual convention with a solemn Latin Mass. During his homily, Cardinal Bertone announced that he would personally push for the canonization of their founder, Fr. Michael McGivney.
The Mass, which was celebrated in Latin according to the new rite, included over 100 bishops and cardinals. The opening liturgy also included a choir accompanied by an orchestral arrangement.
Speaking about today’s Gospel in which Peter walks on the water to Jesus, Cardinal Bertone compared Father McGivney’s work in America to Peter’s struggle.
“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 Fr. McGivney, when the plight of Catholics 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.”
Straying from his prepared remarks, Cardinal Bertone said that he would personally advocate for the cause of Fr. McGivney’s canonization. "I hope this recognition (of sanctity) will arrive soon, and I'll personally work on this, so that this day will come soon.”
Fr. McGivney is currently a Servant of God and the Vatican is investigating his life to determine if he can be declared a Blessed, the final step before being declared a saint.
If the founder of the Knights of Columbus is canonized, he will be the first American-born priest to be declared a saint.
The Mass concluded, with Cardinal Bertone imparting the apostolic blessing of Pope Benedict XVI to all those gathered as “an expression of the Divine Mercy.”