.- A contingent from the Knights of Columbus making a pilgrimage to Rome for the occasion of the Year of St. Paul was received in an audience by Pope Benedict this afternoon at the Vatican. The Holy Father praised the men’s organization for its work to seek holiness and renewal in the Church.
Addressing them in English the Pope recalled his own recent pastoral visit to the United States, noting how he had sought to encourage the lay faithful "to recommit themselves to growth in holiness and active participation in the Church's mission.”
This same vision was what inspired the foundation of the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal association of Christian laymen, the Holy Father noted, adding that “it continues to find privileged expression in your order's charitable works and your concrete solidarity with the Successor of Peter in his ministry to the Universal Church.”
"That solidarity," he continued, "is manifested in a particular way by the 'Vicarius Christi' Fund, which the Knights have placed at the disposal of the Holy See for the needs of God's people throughout the world. And it is also shown through the daily prayers and sacrifices of so many Knights in their local councils, parishes and communities. For this I am most grateful."
The Pope left the Knights with the challenge to “discover ever new ways to serve as a leaven of the Gospel in the world” and to become “a force for the renewal of the Church in holiness and apostolic zeal.” The Pontiff also expressed his appreciation for the Knights’ efforts to provide “a solid formation in the faith for young people, and to defend the moral truths necessary for a free and humane society, including the fundamental right to life of every human being."