PROVIDENCE — A large contingent of the state’s Knights of Columbus brought an added measure of pomp and circumstance to the celebration of the solemnity of Christ the King Sunday at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, with the varied hues of plumage worn by the Fourth Degree Knights providing a colorful backdrop as Bishop Thomas J. Tobin processed down the center aisle between the raised swords of the honor guard.
For the past several years the Knights have turned out in force at the cathedral for the annual celebration, one made extra special this year with their generous gift in honor of the upcoming 25th anniversary of Bishop Tobin’s ordination to the episcopacy.
The bishop welcomed nearly 70 Knights and their families to the 10 a.m. Mass.
“It’s always nice to welcome the Knights to our cathedral. It’s an opportunity for all of us to thank the Knights for all that they do for the Church and in our community,” he said.
“I want to commend them and thank them for their good work and for their commitment to such important values as the dignity of human life, the importance of vocations in the priesthood and religious life and all the great works of charity you do in our state and diocese and individual councils and parishes. I’m proud of you and grateful for all the work you do.”
In his homily, Bishop Tobin spoke of how God is the shepherd who takes care of all and presides over the final judgment at the end of history.
Despite the differences observed among the many different peoples of the world, the bishop said that in the end none of that will matter as all will stand in judgment.
“All the nations together will come before the throne of God,” he said.
What will matter most at that time is what individuals have done to help the least of their brethren in their time of need.
The bishop cited some of the charitable works being performed to this end within our own diocese, speaking of the outreach done by various diocesan ministries to offer services for immigrants and refugees, respite care for caregivers, shelter for the homeless and sustenance for the poor and hungry through food pantries and clothing lockers.
“The Church offers these works of justice and charity in your name and you should be proud of it,” he said.
On an individual level there is also much that can be done.
Bishop Tobin challenged the congregation to prepare for their judgement day by getting involved wherever they can, in ways as simple as visiting someone alone in a nursing home to bringing a food basket to a neighbor in need to seeking reconciliation for a long-running dispute.
“Are you ready to face God one-on-one, face to face?” he asked.
Following the Mass, the Knights held a collation downstairs in the cathedral’s hall, an area brightened by the bounty of their generosity and urge to give back for the gifts they’ve been given.
In honor of the 25th anniversary of Bishop Tobin’s ordination as a bishop, the Knights purchased 25 60-inch round tables and 240 chairs to serve the needs of those using the hall for various functions throughout the year, as well as rolling trolleys to ease the setup and breakdown process depending on the event.
“They’re lightweight, but very durable,” said State Deputy Michael A. Benson, who thanked Cathedral Rector Msgr. Anthony Mancini, Business Manager Christine Daneault and Knights District Deputy Bob Moniz, who sings with the Gregorian Choir, for helping to organize the procurement of the tables, a project supported by the efforts of Knights from across the state.
“All the councils organized to do this,” he said of the project. “Our motto is charity, unity and fraternity, and this was a combination of all three of those virtues.”
Benson also presented the bishop with a special lapel pin that he and his wife Lee Ann helped to design to honor the Marian Year with Mary Our Mother proclaimed by Bishop Tobin during 2017 in the diocese.