Mass honors local Knights’ orders

Bishop Johnston reads the closing prayers for the Aug. 31 Mass honoring the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Malta, Knights of Peter Claver and the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — A Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Aug. 31 honored local members of the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem and Rhodes and of Malta; the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, the Knights of Peter Claver and the Knights of Columbus, for their service to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

The second annual Mass was celebrated by Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr., and concelebrated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and Archbishop Emeritus James P. Keleher. In his homily, Bishop Johnston expressed the hope that the orders “could work together for the greater good … a beautiful expression of fraternity.”

Referring to the Gospel reading for that day, Matthew 24: 42-51, he spoke of Jesus on the Mount of Olives exhorting his chosen disciples, Peter, James and John, to “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.

So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Of course, “the three disciples distinguished themselves in a negative way,” Bishop Johnston commented, “by falling asleep.”

The bishop remarked that people use various things to stay awake: alarms, stimulants like coffee and the help of others. He then told a story of a man sentenced to death for a crime who spent 20 years on death row. Every day of those years, he wrote a letter of love and thanksgiving to God. When new evidence finally cleared him, he was released from prison. “He prayed through those personal letters to God.” Staying awake.

He also recounted an article from The Catholic Key about a troubled marriage. The husband, after much soul searching, decided to try making his wife happier. He began asking her every morning, “What can I do to make your life better?” Skeptical, she finally said for him to clean out the garage. He went and cleaned it. It took a while, but his daily question and actions took effect. Eventually, she broke down and apologized for her attitude. Then slowly, they began starting over, and succeeded. The marriage is thriving. “That’s how he stayed awake,” the bishop said.

Alarms and stimulants keep us awake for a time, he added. But love, experiences and charity have a longer lasting effect. He spoke of the “acts of incredible charity” in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

He then told of a family whose son discerned a vocation to the priesthood. Sharing his experiences of the love and blessings of God, the son, who is now a priest, moved his parents to think of their own relationships with God. They had conversations about things they had never before considered. They felt compelled to strengthen that relationship and became very involved in their parish. “It all began with him. And his ‘yes’ to the Lord.” the mother said.

A true disciple leads others to becoming disciples too. That is staying awake with the help of others.

He thanked the Knights for their service, their love, their witness; the ways they stayed awake.

Following the Mass, a reception in Donnelly Hall on the Cathedral campus honored Archbishop Keleher and Sir Knight Walter L. Allen, Sr., Past Deputy Supreme Knight, Knights of Peter Claver. After welcoming comments by Sir Knight J. Victor Ammons, of the Knights of Peter Claver, Bishop Johnston led the assembly in Grace before meals. After the meal, there were greetings from each of the orders, Sir Knight Tom Weiford, Knights and Dames of Malta; Sir Knight Ed Blasco, Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher; Sir Knight Brad Grille, Knights of Columbus and Sir Knight Charles Jean-Baptiste, Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary.

Archbishop Naumann spoke about the two honorees, especially Archbishop Keleher, whom he succeeded as archbishop.

The Mass for the Knights orders is expected to become an annual event.


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September 26, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph