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Small world gathers at Mass for Catholic Knights


Knights of the Southern Cross process into St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth, holding flags from around the world for the concluding Mass of the International Alliance of Catholic Knights. PHOTO: Ron Tan Photography

By Marco Ceccarelli

Surrounded by numerous flags representing all the corners of the world, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe this month celebrated the closing Mass for the 26th meeting of the Council of the International Alliance of Catholic Knights (IACK), hosted by the Knights of the Southern Cross Australia.

Held on Wednesday, 9 September at St Mary’s Cathedral and attended by more than 150 people, the Mass was concelebrated by IACK Chaplain and Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey, and chaplains from the Order of the Knights of Southern Cross Australia, including Mgrs Peter O’Keefe and Brian O’Loughlin.

Other dignitaries present included outgoing IACK President David Huppatz, together with the incoming leadership team, President Fredron DeKarlos Blackmon from the Knights of Peter Claver.

Also present were Deputy President Colin Walsh, Knights of the Southern Cross Australia, and Secretary General from the Knights of Columbanus, Niall Kennedy, as well as representatives from the USA, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, Ireland and New Zealand.

In his homily for the occasion, Archbishop Costelloe SDB spoke about the importance of Catholic lay organisations such as the Knights of the Southern Cross and praised the efforts of its members who provide support to their parishes and work to build Christ’s Kingdom on Earth.

The Archbishop emphasised the need for the proclamation and development of Christian values and ethics in today’s society and pointed to the fundamental value of community as the binding agent which allows these values to be upheld.

“The Christian tradition will remind us that, from the very beginning of creation, God created us to live in communion, harmony and mutual reliance. We are not totally independent persons without responsibility for each other.

“Rather, we are made for each other, are responsible for each other, and are most fully the people we are created to be when we move away from self-concern and move towards an understanding of ourselves as intimately intertwined,” the Archbishop said.

He also stated that for the transformation, or “re-Christianisation”, of our society to take place, Christian values need to be seen in practice.

“This is our vocation – your vocation as Knights of the Southern Cross,” he said.

The special Mass was held to conclude the International Alliance of Catholic Knights, a conference held from 6 to 9 September which focused on a number of issues of concern to the Alliance.

Among the more prominent issues discussed were the challenges currently facing Catholics on a global scale, support for the sanctity of human life, the dignity of the person at every stage from conception to natural death, religious tolerance around the world and issues linked to social justice.

Reflecting on both the conference and the Mass, State Chairman of the Knights of the Southern Cross WA, John Dwyer, stated that holding the IACK conference in Australia was a rare occasion through which local delegates and observers could be exposed to the people and agendas of Knight organisations throughout the world.

“Knights here in the West have worked hard for a number of years in bringing the Conferences to Perth and all are to be commended for the way in which the conference was run and fellow Knights from around the word were hosted,” Mr Dwyer said.

The Order of the Knights of the Southern Cross is a foundation member of the International Alliance of Catholic Knights; a non-governmental organisation officially recognised by the Vatican in accordance with the Code of Canon Law.

The Order promotes vocations, provides support for seminarians and assists with the implementation of projects at the National and State level and within local parishes.

Within the wider community, the Order supports and assists the aged, infirmed and youth through financial and non-financial means.