'With Dignity and Authority'
By Christina Leslie | Correspondent
The Knights of Columbus Color Corps, clad in black tuxedos, flowing capes and colorful plumed naval chapeaus, clasped ceremonial swords and flags in their white-gloved hands as they led a procession of fellow Knights and clergy into St. Gregory the Great Church, Hamilton Square, July 14.
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., was principal celebrant for the Mass, during which the New Jersey State Council’s officers and district deputies for the Catholic fraternal organization were installed. Father Ian Trammell, pastor of St. Gregory the Great Parish, concelebrated along with auxiliary bishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Newark Bishop Charles J. McDonnell and Msgr. Michael Mannion of the diocese of Camden.
Dr. Daniel Rossi, a parishioner of St. Gregory the Great, was installed as the Knights’ state deputy; other state officers for the 2012-2013 year installed at the Mass were Andrew Lipenta, diocese of Camden, state secretary; Bruce DeMolli, diocese of Paterson, state treasurer; Dr. Anthony Moskal, diocese of Metuchen, as state advocate; and Robert Hatler, archdiocese of Newark, state warden.
In his homily, Bishop O’Connell drew parallels between the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, and Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the young Algonquin/Iroquois tribeswoman dubbed “the lily of the Mohawks” whose feast day the Church was celebrating.
“The path to sainthood, to sanctity, is never an easy one,” cautioned Bishop O’Connell. “But like [Kateri Tekakwitha] and Father McGivney, we are called by Christ, through our baptism as Christians to walk that path and live that life.”
The prelate urged the Knights, who hailed from all over the state, to adopt the young Native American woman as a model and patroness for the charitable works they were called to do. “Saints are the heroes of our faith, on fire with the love of Christ and neighbor,” Bishop O’Connell said. “They are the flame that lights our own path to sanctity and holiness. We pray today that you… may acknowledge our heavenly Father in all that you do in the work that is ahead.”
Following the homily was the Blessing of the Jewels of office. Bishop O’Connell prayed they might “bestow wisdom and authority …. be worn with dignity and authority.” Bishop McDonnell, newly installed as state chaplain, called each new officer and his wife to stand at the foot of the altar. The Knights promised to uphold the laws of the constitution, be unswervingly loyal to the Church and its hierarchy, and do all in their power to follow the principles of the order of the Knights.
One by one, the wives clasped the beribboned medals around their husband’s necks, then received a bouquet of roses and a kiss from their grateful spouse. Rossi led the District Deputies in a similar promise from their seats in the front pews.
In his post-Communion remarks, Rossi expressed appreciation for his fellow Knight officers. “You blazed the way for the rest of us to follow,” he said. “Together, we’ll leave a legacy which will make us all proud.” Rossi reminded the men of the goals they had set at a recent meeting: to grow the organization in size and faith, become stronger in their Catholicity, and assure the priests see the Knights as their right arms. “With God’s support, I pledge to do the very best I can to achieve these goals,” Rossi concluded.
The ceremony concluded with a gala reception at The Merion reception center in Cinnaminson.
The Knights of Columbus, established in 1882 by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, is the largest Catholic family fraternal service organization in the world. Last year, its nearly 1.8 million members in over 14,000 local councils donated more than $150 million and volunteered 70 million hours of their time to charity.[[In-content Ad]]