Pat Korten
Vice President of Communications

April 16, 2008

Pat Korten - White House welcome

Today's welcome for Benedict XVI at the White House was an extraordinary affair for many reasons. Usually, visiting heads of state are welcomed in front of a few hundred people assembled on the South Lawn of the White House. Today's welcome featured the largest-ever welcome crowd, at least 12,000 wildly enthusiastic guests, two bands, and a contingent of Fourth Degree Knights appearing at a White House ceremony for the very first time. The weather was magnificent - spring in Washington is the very best time of the year - sunny and warm, but not too warm.

The pope's remarks, delivered in perfect if accented English, were right on the mark. "I come as friend, a preacher of the Gospel, and one with great respect for this vast pluralistic society," he said. And his conclusion, a hearty "God bless America," was perfect. It's easy to become jaded with the pomp and ceremony of Washington - having lived here for some 33 years before joining the Supreme Council staff I thought I'd seen it all. But I hadn't. Not until today. And I'll never forget it.

Supreme Knight - Welcome to our blog

As head of the Knights of Columbus, I welcome you to the blog we have created for the historic trip of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States. Although he visited this country as a cardinal, this is Pope Benedicts first U.S. visit since becoming pope three years ago, and American Catholics are very excited to have him here in the United Sates.

As the popes visit approaches, and important events of the next several days (April 15-20) unfold, I invite you to post your comments, questions and observations, and above all, to listen to the popes message for us, and to keep the success of Pope Benedicts trip in your prayers.

I think it is a wonderful opportunity for this country that Benedict is coming to meet and introduce himself personally to the American people