Fondazione Cavalieri di Colombo
Italian English
Concerto Gospel Inaugurazione Largo Cavalieri di Colombo

May it please Your Eminence Cardinal Bertone and Your Honor Mayor Alemanno, the Knights of Columbus is profoundly grateful to be honored today by the establishment and dedication of Largo Cavalieri di Colombo.

For more than 90 years, we have had the privilege of working in the City of Rome to serve its children through the operation of five sport centers. We have done so as a not-for-profit activity especially directed to those who could not afford such programs. During this time our friendship with the people of Rome has grown greater.
Cardinal Bertone we are especially honored by your presence—so appropriate today as we think of our Holy Father who has made the theme, Deus Caritas Est, the hallmark of his pontificate and who reminds us so often that charity is essential to the Christian life.
It is our shared faith and shared focus on the virtue of charity – of love of neighbor – that has enabled the Knights of Columbus to perform its charitable work here in Rome, and has allowed the people of Rome to make the Knights of Columbus so welcome here – even in those dark hours when the United States and Italy found themselves at war.
It is a special joy to be able to sponsor this concert by the wonderful St. Thomas More Gospel Choir from Washington, D.C. Gospel music is a unique and distinctive American music. It expresses the joy and faith of a Christian people whose experience of hardship and poverty has led not only to beautiful music but to a beautiful witness.
Of all the songs in our concert today, my favorite is "His Eye is on the Sparrow" made famous by Ethel Waters—perhaps the most popular and respected African-American singer and actress of her generation.
Ethel Waters' mother was sexually assaulted at knifepoint when she was 12 years old and nine months later Ethel was born in 1900. She grew up without a father in the most desperate of circumstances of a black ghetto in Philadelphia. But her life was changed when she enrolled in a Catholic school in Philadelphia which—unlike so many other schools at that time—was open to both black and white children.
Her Catholic faith, she said, was the rock and the light that guided her life.
In her autobiography she wrote, "I was a Catholic now.

Il Cavaliere Supremo Carl Anderson

I felt that God would always be with me, helping as I battled my way through that wasteland of violent emotions and exploding egos in which I was growing up."
And throughout her life, the song "His Eye is On the Sparrow" became a testament to the power of her faith. Its words expressed her own life story: "Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely… When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me." The testimony of her life points to a simple truth: God sees greatness in the life of every child no matter how humble or desperate his or her circumstances. This truth is all too often overlooked by modern society. But it is a truth we dare not overlook as we prepare for Christmas.
For more than two thousand years, Rome has been one of the world's great cities—perhaps it's greatest. The Knights of Columbus is proud that in recent years we have made a small contribution to its life by serving many of its children.
We hope that Largo Cavalieri di Colombo will be a place where all who come will be reminded of the greatness that exists in every child and of the responsibility of each of us to take time to help a child in need.
Again, we are grateful to the Mayor of Rome who so clearly shares this vision and this commitment; and to all who have made this day possible

Thank you all very much
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson