For many years the Knights of Columbus were often more secular than spiritual, a Catholic version of national organizations that serve the community and feature fellowship. The spiritual elements were there, but it was not emphasized as it should have been. However, under Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and his successor Patrick E. Kelly, the Knights of Columbus have become more spiritual and have had a stronger influence in the Church and in the popular culture. In the recent national convention, the current Supreme Knight, Patrick E. Kelly boldly described what the Knights of Columbus are all about. and what it stands for.in his report/speech to those attending and millions of viewers on EWTN television, the internet at www.kofc.org, and other outlets.
Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly making his annual report to the the 141st Supreme Convention August 1-3 in Orlando, FL He urged the 2300 knights attending and up to 2 million other knights all over the world watching on EWTN television and internet (www.ewtn.com) to respond to their baptismal calling and advance the Order's mission, pointing the world to Christ, aspiring that the Knights of Columbus be first in faith and first in charity.
FIRST IN FAITH. “As Knights, what we do reflects who we are. We are faithful Catholics — and disciples of Jesus Christ.” Blessed Father Michael McGivney, our founder, “gave us one mission — to follow Christ. And he called us to fulfill it through faith and charity.”
We must be credible witnesses to a living faith; our charity must evangelize; we must stand for the truth without apology without counting the cost. We must “point the world to Jesus Christ who is the light that shines in the darkness and He will shine through the Knights of Columbus.”
We are all called to be missionaries in little or big ways as opportunities arise in the New Evangelization. For photos and details of the Supreme Convention as well as the complete both oral and written text of the Supreme Knight’s report, go to https://www.kofc.org/en/events/supreme-convention/2023/index.html. Below are some of the highlights as a summary.
“Forming Catholic men must be our top priority……..If we get the man right, we get everything right — the marriage, the family, the parish, the community. We need men who say “yes” to their God-given vocation. And we know what happens when men respond in faith.” Having re-consecrated the order to Our Lady of Guadalupe, we must say “yes’ to Our Lady’s message of God’s redemptive love.”
The order is continuing with a new initiative called “Cor” which is focused on prayer, formation and fraternity. It is open to knights and non-knights alike. Its goal is to help men to become better husbands, fathers, and Catholics.
To that end, the order is introducing its first-ever Bible Study called “Men of the Word” designed specifically for Catholic men. “When it comes to deepening our faith, nothing is more effective than the Word of God”. This Bible Study will bring Scripture alive and it has the power to transform our lives.
Furthermore, Supreme is preparing to debut a new video series on marriage, family and fatherhood. It follows the model of Into the Breach which has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times on EWTN Catholic television and at https://www.kofc.org/en/campaigns/into-the-breach.html. You’ll find powerful testimonies and practical advice for living the faith as a family.
According to one survey, only one third of parents care if their children remain Catholic. That is the reason the Church is losing so many of its youth. “A relationship with Christ is the greatest gift we can offer to the next generation”.
The Knights of Columbus has a duty to help parents grow in their faith and pass it on to their children. This is the goal of these videos along with the 75 year old Catholic Information Service.
FIRST IN CHARITY. “Reaching new depths of faith will take us to new heights of charity”. He noted that “Mother Teresa shows us that faith leads to charity — and charity leads to faith.
“In the Middle East, we continue to aid persecuted Christians. Without our work, some of the most ancient Christian communities might have disappeared forever. But they’re still here, and since 2014, we’ve provided more than $33 million to help them build for the future.”
Since 2003 the knights have helped landmine victims in Afghanistan. Over the past two years, in partnership with the Global Wheelchair Mission, we’ve given more than 127,000 wheelchairs, the gift of mobility to those in need.
During the past year, we helped our priests and seminarians with more than $3.7 million in scholarships and support; in the last five years alone, brother Knights have contributed over $21 million to Special Olympics plus helping hands and encouraging words.
Finally, there’s Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids since 2009 to give children the gift of warmth in the coldest months. And this winter, we will distribute our one-millionth coat to a child in need. “When it comes to charity, we do much more than just donate money and goods. The time we give is even more meaningful”.
When Hurricane Ian hit Florida, the knights were there; when Russia invaded Ukraine, the knights of the U.S., Ukraine, and especially Poland were there to help refugees and establish the Ukraine Solidarity Fund that raised $24 million stateside. That help includes protecting Ukrainian as well as Filipino women from human trafficking.
“And to this day, I am struck by the words of Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv. Reflecting on Russian atrocities, His Beatitude spoke of the duty to cultivate love. For as he said, “hatred gives birth to criminals, but love gives birth to heroes” and there are many in Ukraine.
“On behalf of the entire Order, I made a promise to that family and every refugee I met: You are not alone. We are with you.” For more detail and background, see (263) Knights of Columbus Front and Center to Help Ukrainian Refugees and Victims of the War Plus Background for Understanding the War
(264) The War Rages On in Ukraine as Refugees Keep Coming and the Knights Keep Helping
PATRIOTISM AND FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP. “Our principle of charity compels us to serve the most vulnerable. And our principle of patriotism leads us to serve our country”……to defend freedom, to hold strong principles of human dignity, religious freedom, and equal justice — regardless of race, religion or nationality.
“There is nothing hateful about the sanctity of marriage, the reality of biological sex, or the humanity of the unborn child. And the Knights of Columbus will never apologize for defending the truth! We stand for the truth because it’s right — even when it leads to ridicule and scorn.”
We’ve endowed a new chair at the Columbus School of Law Catholic University of America. The Knights of Columbus provides prayer books for the military, supports the training of chaplains, and since 2014 has sponsored the Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage for healing of active duty military and veterans. See (265) Soldiers & Veterans From 40 Nations Make an Annual May Pilgrimage to Lourdes For Healing https://paulrsebastianphd.blogspot.com/2022/05/265-soldiers-veterans-from-40-nations.html
INSURANCE AND INVESTMENTS. The Knights of Columbus insurance program was originally established to protect widowed families. For years it has received superior ratings from the rating agencies as one of the very best insurance organizations for financial soundness. Any surplus goes to policy holders and Knights of Columbus charities, not stockholders.
The Knights of Columbus also continues to help families secure their financial futures through mutual funds. Members may also contribute to a Charitable Fund. “Today, we manage more than $2.3 billion for Catholic families, religious communities, and dioceses.”
MEMBERSHIP. “We now have more than 2,084,000 knights in 16,672 councils” (the largest lay Catholic men’s organization in the world), including Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Poland, Ukraine, France, the Philippines, Korea, 300 college councils and 100,000 men, who became members on-line.
“The Knights of Columbus invites men to greatness: to sacrifice themselves for the good of others; to commit to a higher call with a band of brothers; and to stand strong in the breach, side by side, instead of being swept away by the culture, one at a time…..And in a world that offers apathy and anger, we invite men to lives of meaning and mission.”
PRO-LIFE. The Knights of Columbus have now donated 1,745 ultra sound machines to pregnancy centers, making it easier for moms to choose life.
Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly shows a woman being able to see her baby in utero through a KofC donated ultra sound machine at a pregnancy center.
The Knights initiated the new ASAP (Aid and Support After Pregnancy) program with $6 million for pregnancy centers and maternity homes, caring for both mother and child before and after pregnancy. Year after year the KofC is very much involved in the March For Life to “win more hearts, change more minds, and enshrine the right to life in the laws of the land.” Post-Roe v. Wade the battle continues state by state, particularly in Ohio this coming November.
“Pope Francis called on the Knights of Columbus to continue advancing the Church’s mission. This is a challenge we gladly accept. We will continue to take up the mission of evangelization — in our hearts and in our communities. And we will continue our mission of charity — a charity that evangelizes.”