Written by: Denise Serafini on Wednesday, May 17, 2017
On Tuesday, May 16, we presented our program to the parishioners of St. Thomas More Church in Cottonwood Heights. We were joined by a full contingent of Knights of Columbus Color Guard and a valued colleague that I had met during my career as an employee at the Supreme Office of the Knights of Columbus. He happens to be a member of this parish. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to reconnect.
The Knights of Columbus Color Guard is such a significant element in our presentations. They bring an element of ceremony to these events that demonstrates their commitment to the faith. Very much like St. Thomas More, they are a hallmark for standing up for solid Catholic principles. The Knights of Columbus is especially noted for their efforts to promote the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.
St. Thomas More is remembered in the Church as a man of tremendous integrity. The basis for his sainthood is ascribed to his martyrdom for opposing King Henry VIII’s separation from the Catholic Church. More refused to acknowledge Henry as Supreme Head of the Church of England and the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. More was convicted of treason and beheaded. More ascended the scaffold on July 6, 1535, joking to his executioners to help him up the scaffold, but that he would see himself down. He is also reported to have said: "I die the King's good servant, but God's first." According to David Hume, author of “The History of England”, another comment he is believed to have made to the executioner is that his beard was completely innocent of any crime, and did not deserve the axe; he then positioned his beard so that it would not be harmed. His beard became the outward sign of his dignity and integrity. So too do I see the regalia of the color guard as a demonstration of the dignity and integrity each of these sir knights hopes to achieve as exemplars of exceptional Catholic manhood.
The attendees at this event covered the full spectrum of ages and all approached the relics for veneration with genuine reverence. As it happens, my colleague Jean stands at the head of the line to hand out holy cards and guide the line for veneration.
When it came time for her to greet this one young man of about 10 years in age, he asked her for 38 cards and at least 8 books. When asked what he might need that significant a number of cards and booklets for, he simply replied, “I need to share these cards with my classmates and give the booklets to my teachers so they can see what we were doing here tonight. Now there’s one young man intent on evangelizing what he saw, heard and experienced. This young man was also fascinated by the regalia worn by the color guard and asked one of them to try on his hat and hold his sword. The sir knight happily complied and was proud to be standing beside this potential future sir knight in a photo for his parents. May God bless him greatly for stepping out to promote Jesus’ message of redemption in His Passion.
Also in the line for veneration, was a gentleman carrying rosaries that he wanted to touch to the relics. Jean asked if she could get a closer look at them. It seems they were handcrafted in a design to remind the user that the rosary is the best weapon we have against evil. They had beautiful crucifixes, Our Father beads made of shell casings and Hail Mary beads made of ox bone, definitely designed for a true prayer warrior.
St. Thomas More was definitely an example of true faith in giving his life in defense of his faith in God. However, what we saw here at this event were examples of individuals of all ages willing to step out and be an example for the faith in a kaleidoscope of aspects that essentially mirrored the same fervor St. Thomas had. That church, named in his honor, was filled with warriors for the faith.