A day for the Knights

This is one of those editions of The Catholic Post where several “page ones” are needed. The coronavirus spike and resulting difficult decisions by our diocesan leaders, the naming of the first African American from the United States as a cardinal, and a particularly contentious presidential election are among stories that could lay claim to front page status. Plus, it is harvest time and we have photos of Coadjutor Bishop Lou Tylka — a lifelong Chicago-area resident until his assignment here this summer — in the cab of a giant combine!

But last Saturday was a day for the Knights, as in the Knights of Columbus, as their founder was beatified and took a step toward sainthood. And with some 70 councils across our diocese and thousands of members, the Knights of Columbus are a major force in the Catholic Church of central Illinois.

We celebrate them and share in their joy in the beatification of their founder, Blessed Father Michael McGivney, a U.S. parish priest from Connecticut.

Like most areas of church and society, the Knights of Columbus have had a challenging year. Social and charitable activities have been canceled or altered because of the pandemic, while council meetings and new member exemplifications are taking place online.

But when Father McGivney lived, online had to do with wet clothes and harvesting was done mostly by hand or with horse or ox-pulled implements. He, too, was impacted by a pandemic — dying in 1890 of pneumonia complications at the age of 38 while tending to the faithful during the Russian flu. But on Saturday he was celebrated for his holiness and as an example of what an individual can do for the rest of the world.

Congratulations, Knights (and Ladies) of the Diocese of Peoria, and thank you for following in Blessed McGivney’s footsteps. — Thomas J. Dermody

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