Hon. Charles Mario Henry Sr., a newly minted Knight of Columbus, recently embarked on a life-changing pilgrimage to Lourdes, France. This sacred journey marked the 64th annual holy pilgrimage, drawing 14,900 pilgrims from 35 nations, including active duty soldiers and clergy.

Henry, deeply honored by his recent induction into the Knights of Columbus, was not only a participant but also a proactive recruiter, bringing three new members into the fold. His dedication to his faith and community was evident as he shared the profound impact of this experience.

“This was a life-changing experience from beginning to end,” Henry remarked. “I am proud to have gone on this journey with the priest and the active duty soldiers. It was a humbling and inspiring experience to witness so many people coming together in faith and solidarity.”

The pilgrimage to Lourdes, a site renowned for its miraculous healings and spiritual significance, provided an opportunity for Henry and his fellow pilgrims to reflect, pray, and connect with others from around the world. The presence of active duty soldiers added a layer of reverence and honor, as they, too, sought spiritual solace and strength.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the pilgrimage was the unparalleled camaraderie shared among the brothers and sisters. “The camaraderie we shared was bar none,” Henry noted. “The bonds we formed and the support we offered each other throughout the journey were truly special.” The connections Henry formed with Italians, Germans, and, most beloved, the Spanish military, where Cpl. Henry’s mother hails from, have blossomed into lifelong friendships.

In addition to his recent achievements, Henry is a decorated veteran and a prominent figure in the nonprofit and community space. Over the past 15 years, he has received multiple awards for his tireless service, having supported over 10,000 veterans through his own funding via Henry & Co. Consulting. His dedication to veterans’ welfare and community service underscores his commitment to making a positive impact on those around him.

Henry’s participation in this pilgrimage not only deepened his own faith but also strengthened his commitment to the Knights of Columbus. His efforts in recruiting new members highlight his dedication to fostering a supportive and devout community.

Adding to the significance of his journey, Henry was one of only two Americans selected out of the 14,900 pilgrims to serve as a lector for a Mass hosted by the Archbishop. This distinct honor further highlighted his dedication and service, allowing him to play a pivotal role in the spiritual life of the pilgrimage.

Beyond his military and religious commitments, Henry is also a passionate advocate for minority youth through the House of Henry Foundation. As a San Antonio native by way of Chicago, he has witnessed firsthand the injustices and shortcomings in Black and Hispanic communities. This experience has driven him to dedicate his life to ensuring minority youth have opportunities beyond military service. The foundation provides financial literacy training, youth sports nights, and culinary training events, equipping young people with valuable skills and alternatives for their future.

The House of Henry Foundation, established in 2021, is committed to creating lasting change in the lives of young minority future leaders by providing college scholarships, entrepreneurship training, and mentorships. Their work aims at achieving a more just and egalitarian society, ensuring that young people are well-equipped for their academic and business endeavors. Learn more about their mission and support their causes here.

As Henry and his fellow pilgrims returned home, the transformative experience of Lourdes remained etched in their hearts. For Henry, this pilgrimage was a testament to the power of faith, the importance of community, and the enduring spirit of the Knights of Columbus.