Knights ask Catholics to pray novena for national unity, end to racism

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, is seen in Washington in this 2017 file photo. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn) Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, is seen in Washington in this 2017 file photo. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn) 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CNS) -- The Knights of Columbus called on the nation's Catholics to participate in a novena beginning June 7 to pray for national unity and an end to racism amid the unrest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

"We ask all people to come together in solidarity to forge a path forward -- free of discrimination and hate -- for our nation," said Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson. "The Knights join Pope Francis in urging all to express their anger and cries for justice in nonviolent ways to end the sin of racism."

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June 7 is Trinity Sunday, which the Knights chose as the start of the novena "because of its inherent theme of unity," said a June 3 news release. A "Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity" for the novena can be found at www.kofc.org/en/resources/communications/national-unity-novena.pdf. The last day of the novena is June 15.

The novena prayer asks God "to bring together in your love all whom hatred and racism have separated."

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"We must show love for one another, praying that all people come to understand that injustice to any black person is injustice to all persons and that all of us, regardless of our differences, are children of God made in his image and likeness," Anderson said.

For the Knights' 2 million members worldwide and their families, "this understanding starts with prayer."

"May we pray for the strength to learn from the courageous example of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and from the leadership of our Holy Father, and to continue to work to build a society that recognizes the dignity and brotherhood of all," he added.

According to the Knights, since its founding in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney, the Catholic fraternal organization "has been open to all races and nationalities." In World War I, it was the only organization to run integrated facilities.

In the 1920s, the Knights commissioned a black history by W.E.B. Dubois, an influential African American sociologist, historian, educator and rights activist during the early 20th century, while it also was "openly opposing the racial and religious intolerance of the Ku Klux Klan," the news release said.

On May 27, the Vatican announced Pope Francis had approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Father McGivney, clearing the way for his beatification. It did not announce a date for the beatification ceremony.

The sainthood cause of Father McGivney (1852-1890), was formally opened in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1997, and he was given the title "servant of God." In March 2008, the Catholic Church recognized the priest heroically lived the Christian virtues and gave him the title of "venerable."

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