.- The Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus believes that the universal Church will one day canonize Pope John Paul II, who died April 2 after a 26-year pontificate. “He was a man of great spiritual strength, great holiness,” Anderson said in an interview. “In think historians one day will call him John Paul the Great, and one day Catholics will call him St. John Paul.”
Anderson was in Montreal April 2 for a banquet in honor of Jean Vanier, the recipient of the Knights’ Gaudium et Spes Award. Only hours earlier, the world received the news that the Pope had died.
“It is a day of tremendous sadness, mostly for us,” Anderson said. “For him, he was always a man of faith, a man of hope. He spoke of crossing the threshold of hope and that’s what he did today. So those of us who have been praying for him these many days, I think many of us will begin praying to him, for his intercession and for his help.”
Anderson said he had many occasions to meet with the Pope, attend mass with him in his private chapel and share meals with him in the papal apartments. He also spoke of the relationship the Pope had with the Knights of Columbus and the numerous projects of the Pope, which the Knights supported.
“And perhaps the greatest blessings was to attempt to enter into his renewal that he was leading in the Church, whether that was the pastoral care of the family, helping to build the culture of life, devotion to Mary, devotion to Our Lord as Divine Mercy,” Anderson said. “All of these things were wonderful initiatives for him and enriched so many of our lives.”
“It’s clear that the Pope saw in the Knights an organization that is dedicated to Gospel values, charity and unity, dedicated to building a culture of life,” Anderson said. “I think it’s clear that he was very close to us and very supportive of what we were trying to do.”
Anderson and his wife will attend the funeral mass of Pope John Paul II at the Vatican Friday.