byFather Robert M. O'Grady
BOSTON — Some 500 guests packed the Marriott Newton April 17, Patriots’ Day, for the annual Lantern Award presentation and dinner. The Massachusetts state Council of the Knights of Columbus honors an outstanding citizen with its prestigious Lantern Award each year.
Given in recognition of the recipient’s contributions to society, the award has been presented to senators and judges, priests and prelates, doctors and diplomats.
This year the Massachusetts members of the international Catholic fraternal organization honored Raymond Flynn who served as mayor of Boston on its city council and more recently as the American ambassador at the Holy See during the Clinton administration.
Flynn has never been shy about issues and he has spoken widely and often against the grain of the mainstream Democratic Party, especially on life issues and principally on abortion. Flynn has been staunchly pro-life and has been particularly vocal in his defense of the Church’s obligation and right to participate in the public forum.
He has also been a kind of conscience of Catholics in the midst of the clergy sexual abuse crisis calling for the recognition and affirmation of the numerous good priests who have served blamelessly while not shying away from the scandal caused by the guilty.
Flynn concluded his remarks to his brother knights by encouraging them to stay committed to the Church and the work of Christ. “Three things stood out for me this Easter season which gives me reason to hope as a Catholic. One, we are a caring and loving people, concerned about the needy. Two, we are people who know and love Christ and want others to know Him. Three, we are resilient, just when we feel a little down on ourselves and about to call it a day, we bounce back and do our best work,” he said.
“Members of the Knights of Columbus, your history is rich and glorious. You and all those who came before you certainly helped make our Church the loving Church it is today. But our job is even more challenging today than it has been in a long time. But we have a long and proud history of determination, commitment and a willingness to fight back. We have a truly remarkable leader in Seán Cardinal O’Malley. He is a man of God who will never let us down. He needs our support. Challenge anyone who criticizes him or the Church. Stand up tonight and say, you’re a Catholic — and proud of it,” said Flynn.
Among the bishops present were Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, Fall River Bishop George Coleman, Springfield Bishop Timothy McDonnell, Boston Auxiliary Bishop John Boles, Archbishop Cyril Boustros, eparch of Newton and Bishop Emeritus of Worcester Daniel Reilly, KFC’s state chaplain.