At his annual Knights of Columbus Mass at San Fernando Cathedral Aug. 12 Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, praised the Knights of Columbus’ continued efforts to aid and rebuild persecuted Christian communities in the Middle East, which they recently reaffirmed at their 2018 Knights of Columbus convention in Baltimore.
Unveiled at that gathering was a new pilgrim icon, “Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians,” created for the Knights by Italian artist Fabrizio Diomedi. The icon will travel from parish-to-parish across the country to raise awareness, show solidarity, and inspire support for persecuted Christians.
The Knights of Columbus have played a pivotal role in supporting Christians in the Middle East, where they have committed more than $20 million since 2014 to provide food, shelter, and clothing to those who lost everything in Iraq.
The Knights of Columbus have been challenged to raise $1 million this year to finish a project to provide housing for both Syriac and Chaldean Christian families. The 140-unit apartment building will be called the McGivney House, in honor of Father Michael McGivney, the Connecticut priest who founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882.
Last year the Knights raised $2 million for the rebuilding of the Iraqi town of Karamles, which has been a Christian town for centuries before ISIS overran it, drove out its inhabitants, destroyed their homes, and desecrated their churches.
Archbishop Gustavo challenged the Knights and their families to live in accord with the Word of God, day in and day out. “You are to bring light to the darkness of our world,” he said. “You are to be the eyes, voices, and hands of the risen Lord — carrying on Jesus’ mission and ministry in a world that desperately needs transformation and redemption, a return to our basic values and way of life.”
Catholic News Agency contributed to this report.
This article was originally published in the August 17 issue of Today’s Catholic Newspaper.