NASHVILLE, Tennessee – As Knights of Columbus state deputies gathered for their biannual meeting last weekend in Nashville, Tennessee, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly encouraged Order leaders to grow in the faith , to increase the number of members of the Order and to advance the mission.
Kelly also presented the Order’s new Pilgrimage Icon Prayer Program, which features an icon of Saint Joseph holding the infant Jesus from Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, Canada.
The Knights of Columbus (KofC) is the largest Catholic fraternal organization in the world, with over two million members in 16,000 councils around the world.
The Pilgrim Icon Prayer Program is a long-standing tradition for KofC, in which every few years a new icon of a saint is selected to inspire Knights and their communities. The icon is distributed in each of the Knight’s 75 jurisdictions and moves from council to council.
Ward councils will use the icon as the centerpiece for “rosary-based” prayer services, according to a press release. Our Lady of Guadalupe was the first icon when the program was designed in 1979. Since the program’s inception, nearly 175,000 council and parish prayer services have been held with approximately 22 million participants.
Past images commissioned by the council have been icons of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Częstochowa, Our Lady of Pochaiv, Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Charity, Our Lady Help of Christians persecuted and the Holy Family.
After a votive mass in honor of Saint Joseph on Saturday November 6 celebrated by the Supreme Chaplain, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, Kelly announced the presentation of the icon of Saint Joseph, inspired by the apostolic letter of the Pope Francois, Patris Corde. Pope Francis’ letter announced the year of Saint Joseph which runs from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021.
Kelly, who received a private audience with Pope Francis last month, said the Holy Father was grateful that the Knights chose Saint Joseph to be “a focal point of our spiritual endeavors”.
Kelly was accompanied to the reunion by her predecessor, former Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, as well as Archbishop Lori.
The choice of the newly commissioned icon of Saint Joseph comes as no surprise, as Kelly has advocated for devotion to the saint since his installation as Supreme Knight.
During his month of June installation, Kelly devoted his administration to Saint-Joseph. “The example of Saint Joseph teaches us to be Knights of the Eucharist. He was the keeper of the first tabernacle – starting with Mary herself when she carried Christ in her womb, then in the house where he and Mary lived with Jesus, ”he said to his address. ‘installation.
Also, in October, the Knights published a new documentary on Saint Joseph, inspired by Pope Francis’ declaration of the Year of Saint Joseph.
In her address on Saturday, Kelly encouraged the Knights and their communities to confide in Saint Joseph again. Kelly implored men to “give thanks to God for the gift of his fatherly example and to ask Saint Joseph to be a father to us” as we seek to “grow in our own imitation of quiet strength, of l integrity and fidelity of Saint Joseph. . ”
Archbishop Lori declared that the obedient faith and reliability of Saint Joseph are “two virtues. [that] should stand out in us as Knights of Columbus, and especially in us who are leaders among our brother Knights of the Order.
“St. Joseph’s vocation to foster the earthly life of Jesus is, of course, unique, but we have all been called to the obedience of the faith,” Bishop Lori added. “Father McGivney saw his Knights first and foremost as men of obedient faith who, along with their wives and children, would fully live their calling.
“In choosing Joseph to deal with the love of a father for the incarnate Son of God, the Eternal Father recognized in Saint Joseph a man of the highest integrity, a man who perhaps had no idea of what God had in mind for him but who cared for him nonetheless. daily life and work with honesty and reliability, ”he said.
“A lot of men, especially young men, are looking for meaning and answers,” he said. “We offer both: a life of service and a life of meaning. Don’t just encourage men to embrace our initiatives; explain to them why our initiatives are important and how the Knights can help them be the kind of men God calls them to be, ”he said.
Speaking of the Knight’s founder, Blessed Michael McGivney, Kelly told state officials on Friday, November 5 that McGivney was a “man of action.” He said McGivney “stood up to face the struggles” of his parishioners and his community “head on”, and by creating the Knights of Columbus, he “gave men a place to stand as brothers, linked together in charity, unity and fraternity. . “
Kelly implored the Knights to complete the mission McGivney began in his day. Kelly also called on men to expand the membership of the Order by becoming “deeper, as men of faith.”
On November 7, at the meeting’s closing session, Kelly presented four Knights with the Saint-Michel Prize for exemplary service to the Order.
The four recipients were: former KofC chaplain director, Augustinian Father John Grace; former Supreme Director George W. Hanna; Supreme Master Dennis Stoddard; and Colonel Charles “Chuck” Gallina (USMC-Ret.), Supreme Knight’s Advisor on Military and Veterans Affairs.