By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ
Christians around the world are preparing to celebrate the Easter Triduum amid the coronavirus pandemic. In order to help as many people as possible participate in the liturgies from the Vatican, the Knights of Columbus will provide financial support for the global broadcast of the Way of the Cross on Good Friday, and the Easter Mass on Sunday.
In a statement released on 8 April, the Knights communicate that they will underwrite the cost of broadcasting both the Good Friday Stations of the Cross on 10 April led by Pope Francis, and the Pope’s Easter Sunday Mass and Urbi et orbi blessing on 12 April. The funding will cover costs related to the satellite transmission of these events.
On 27 March, the Knights of Columbus sponsored the broadcast of Pope Francis’ extraordinary Moment of Prayer and Urbi et orbi blessing (to the city of Rome and the rest of the world) which took place in St. Peter’s Square.
Donation to hospital
In a separate initiative, the Knights are donating $100,000 to the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital in Rome. This donation will be used to transform a space in the hospital’s neonatology department into a treatment room for infants and newborns who are infected with the Covid-19 virus.
The unit will be named after the founder of the Knights of Columbus, the Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney. It will feature ventilators and other specialized equipment associated with the treatment of coronavirus’ respiratory symptoms.
The Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson, noted that “these projects are particularly timely given the global pandemic…With so many in Italy and around the world currently homebound, our support of Vatican broadcasts will allow our Holy Father to join in prayer with Catholics from every corner of the globe during this critical time.”
The Knights of Columbus have worked in Rome at the request of the Popes for 100 years. “Our support of Bambino Gesù hospital continues that tradition of service,” the Supreme Knight said.
The Knights of Columbus
The Knights of Columbus were founded by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney in Connecticut, USA in 1882. The organization established its presence in Rome in 1920 at the invitation of Pope Benedict XV. The Knights have been supporters of the telecommunications efforts of the Vatican. In 1965, the organization funded a shortwave transmitter for Vatican Radio. They have also sponsored Vatican satellite broadcasts since 1977.