The Knights of Columbus will sponsor major celebrations of the double canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII in several U.S. cities, in addition to providing financial and logistical support in Rome.
“These two saints have each left very important legacies for the Church, and important examples of holiness for all of us,” Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said April 22.
Anderson noted that John XXIII “led the Church into the Second Vatican Council,” the 1962-1965 ecumenical council that aimed to respond to the challenges of the modern world.
The supreme knight described John Paul II as the council’s “key interpreter” who left a “profound legacy” that is still shaping Christianity.
The Catholic fraternal order will host broadcasts of the April 27 canonization ceremony and hold related events in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and New Haven, Conn.
In Washington, D.C., on the weekend of April 26-27, the Knights will host several events at the National Shrine of Pope John Paul II, including a live broadcast of the ceremony early Sunday morning. Events begin at 7:30 p.m. local time April 26 with a showing of a documentary on John Paul II. The schedule includes a religious procession, a midnight Mass, a rosary, Confessions and Eucharistic Adoration. The veneration of a relic of the Pope will begin as soon as he is officially canonized.
The shrine will be renamed the Saint John Paul II National Shrine on April 27 at a 9:30 a.m. ceremony.
The Knights of Columbus is also a major sponsor of the Los Angeles archdiocese’s celebration at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, which will last from 7-11 p.m. local time on April 26. The event will include a rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, and music from artists like Tony Melendez, who performed for John Paul II during his 1987 visit to Los Angeles. Several people will speak about how John Paul II changed their lives.
The Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven – where the Knights’ headquarters are located – will begin its celebrations at 10 a.m. Sunday with showings of video biographies of the two newly sainted Popes.
The museum will also host tours of its papal gallery. A shuttle will be made available for travel to St. Stanislaus Church for a 3 p.m. prayer service. Participants will then depart the church in a procession with a relic of John Paul II. The relic is a fragment from the Pope’s bloodstained cassock worn during the 1981 assassination attempt.
The procession will end at the Knights of Columbus Museum, which will allow veneration of the relic until 7 p.m. Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the following Monday and Tuesday.
At April 28 at 5:30 p.m., the museum will host Archbishop emeritus Daniel A. Cronin of Hartford for a talk about his personal memories of the two Pope saints.
The Knights of Columbus has donated almost $100,000 for Vatican Television’s broadcast of the canonizations. Additionally, the organization has opened two of its sports fields in Rome to host campsites for a thousand pilgrims who are attending the canonizations.
There are more than 1.8 million members of the Knights of Columbus worldwide in more than 14,000 local councils.