Columbia March 2021

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Columbia MARCH 2021





Departments 3

For the greater glory of God Honored in a special way this holy year, the patron of fathers and protector of families is also our guide in the years to come.

By Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly

4 Learning the faith, living the faith Knights and their families will grow stronger in faith by turning to the husband of Mary and guardian of Jesus. By Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori

PLUS: Catholic Man of the Month

A statue of St. Joseph, whose solemnity is celebrated March 19, is pictured at the provincial house of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Rome. On Dec. 8, 2020, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis declared a Year of St. Joseph.


ABOVE: Photo by Antoine Mekary — ON THE COVER: Photo by Peter Škrlep/Tamino Petelinsek


Welcoming Our New Supreme Knight

Patrick E. Kelly has been elected to lead the Knights of Columbus in a new era.

11 Knights of Columbus News Knights of Columbus Sends Oxygen to COVID-Stricken Amazon Region • New Prayer Hour Celebrates K of C Founder • Order Launches Exclusive Webcast Series 26 Knights in Action Reports from councils and assemblies, representing the four pillars of the Faith in Action program model

Man of the Year

Proclaiming a Year of St. Joseph, Pope Francis has invited us to grow closer to the patron and protector of the Holy Family and of the Church.


St. Joseph is depicted in a detail of a mosaic by Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine’s Redemptor Hominis Church.

• Getting to Know Joseph By Mike Aquilina • A Father With Creative Courage From Pope Francis’ recent apostolic letter Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart)

• The Chivalry of St. Joseph By Tracey Rowland

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We March On

Through adapted demonstrations and virtual participation, pro-lifers stand up for the dignity of all human life.

• PLUS: Honoring a Lifetime of Pro-Life Witness

Our Blessed Uncle

Relatives of Blessed Michael McGivney reflect on his holy life and lasting influence. By Andrew Fowler

• PLUS: Father McGivney’s Invitation to Immigrants

Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See. This means that an applicant or member accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church. Copyright © 2021 All rights reserved

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March Gladness AS THE CHURCH prepares for Easter each year, we pause our Lenten penance to celebrate several feast days in the month of March, including the feast of St. Joseph on March 19 and the feast of the Annunciation on March 25. Knights of Columbus also observe March 25 as the Day of the Unborn Child; and four days later, we celebrate Founder’s Day — that is, the day Blessed Michael McGivney incorporated the Order in 1882. I would be remiss not to also mention the feast of St. Patrick, which has a particular significance to those who, like Father McGivney, are of Irish heritage. Among these March observances, the feasts of St. Joseph and the Annunciation objectively rise above the rest. They are solemnities, or feast days of the highest rank; in the liturgy, the purple vestments are put away, and the Gloria is sung, signifying that these are days of great joy. And this year, the solemnity of St. Joseph takes on even greater meaning than usual, since this past Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis proclaimed a Year of St. Joseph (see pages 3, 4, 12ff ). It has not always been the case, however, that St. Joseph has been widely held in such high esteem. Only recently in Church history has devotion to St. Joseph become prominent (see pages 14-16). But since the late 19th century, appreciation for him has grown immensely, as the Church has reflected on his unique role in salvation history as the husband of Mary and the guardian of Jesus.

In the first encyclical about St. Joseph, published on the feast of the Assumption, Aug. 15, 1889, Pope Leo XIII wrote, “From these sources have sprung his dignity, his holiness, his glory.” He then added, “As Joseph has been united to the Blessed Virgin by the ties of marriage, it may not be doubted that he approached nearer than any to the eminent dignity by which the Mother of God surpasses so nobly all created natures.” For Knights of Columbus and their families, the feast of St. Joseph is not the only March celebration that takes on an elevated significance this year. This year’s Founder’s Day is also especially meaningful, for it is the first since Father McGivney was declared Blessed. Like St. Joseph, Father McGivney was a man of humble, quiet strength and action, and devotion to him has developed over time. Finally, this month we also joyfully welcome our new supreme knight, Patrick E. Kelly, who recently took office March 1 (see page 6). I have known him for many years, since before either of us worked for the Supreme Council, and I can attest the Order is in very good hands under his leadership. In addition to the experience he brings, he has a strong relationship with Christ, and is a faithful son of Our Lady, St. Joseph and Father McGivney. Though we are amid a season of fasting in preparation for the great feast of Easter, there is still much to celebrate. B Alton J. Pelowski, Editor

Domestic Church Resource: St. Joseph: Our Father in Faith Among the saints, Joseph is the preeminent model for husbands and fathers; he is also a guide for all Christians, whatever their state of life. St. Joseph: Our Father in Faith (#328) by Father Frederick L. Miller features insightful reflections on St. Joseph’s faith, virtue and role in the world today. To order a copy of the booklet, which is part of the Building the Domestic Church series, or to freely download it and other Catholic Information Service resources in PDF or audio format, visit 2


PUBLISHER Knights of Columbus SUPREME OFFICERS Patrick E. Kelly Supreme Knight Most Rev. William E. Lori, S.T.D. Supreme Chaplain Ronald F. Schwarz Supreme Treasurer John A. Marrella Supreme Advocate

EDITORIAL Alton J. Pelowski Editor Andrew J. Matt Managing Editor Cecilia Hadley Senior Editor Margaret B. Kelly Associate Editor

Blessed Michael McGivney (1852-90) – Apostle to the Young, Protector of Christian Family Life and Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Intercede for Us. HOW TO REACH US COLUMBIA 1 Columbus Plaza New Haven, CT 06510-3326 ADDRESS CHANGES 203-752-4210, option #3 COLUMBIA INQUIRIES 203-752-4398 K OF C CUSTOMER SERVICE 1-800-380-9995

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St. Joseph, Pray for Us Honored in a special way this holy year, the patron of fathers and protector of families is also our guide in the years to come By Supreme Knight Patrick E. Kelly

Photo by Laura Barisonzi

IT IS WITH GREAT JOY and immense grati-

tude that I write my first Columbia column as supreme knight. I ask you to join me in thanking God for all the blessings he has poured out upon the Knights of Columbus, and in a particular way for the outstanding service of Past Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. I have served the Supreme Council for some 15 years of Mr. Anderson’s 20-year tenure, and they have been years of remarkable growth and deepening purpose for the Order. With God’s help, I hope to continue the legacy of my worthy predecessor in implementing the founding vision of Blessed Michael McGivney and further strengthening our great mission of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. I consider it a very special honor to take office as supreme knight during this Year of St. Joseph, the strong and faithful protector of Jesus and Mary, and an exemplar of masculine virtue. There are few things the world needs more right now than men in the mold of St. Joseph: faithful and virtuous witnesses to Christ and his Church. When you consider it, St. Joseph is the perfect model of who and what Knights of Columbus are called to be. He was obedient to the Father’s will, and he was completely devoted to Jesus and to Mary. Following angelic instructions that he received in dreams, he defended the infant Jesus from the slaughter that King Herod unleashed upon the most innocent children of his day. And as protector of the Holy Family, he was the protector of the Church in its earliest form. Like Joseph and with Joseph, we Knights must be completely devoted to Jesus and to Mary. We must defend and protect the Church and the most vulnerable of our day, including the unborn, the sick and the elderly. And in a specific way, we must care for families, for women and children,

even as our blessed founder called upon the Knights to defend the widows and orphans of his day. In fact, during the first year of his pontificate, Pope Francis spoke of St. Joseph in relation to the Knights of Columbus. Receiving the board of directors in audience in October 2013, he said, “I commend all of you in a special way to the intercession of St. Joseph, the protector of the Holy Family of Nazareth, who is an admirable model of those manly virtues of quiet strength, integrity and fidelity which the Knights of Columbus are committed to preserving, cultivating and passing on to future generations of Catholic men.” In today’s culture, a lack of “those manly virtues of quiet strength, integrity and fidelity” is widely apparent. The family has perhaps never been under greater attack, while men are discouraged and struggle to live authentic masculinity. I believe that this is part of the reason why Pope Francis proclaimed this Year of St. Joseph. And so, as I begin my tenure as supreme knight, I turn to St. Joseph, asking for his prayers for me and our entire Order, that he might inspire and intercede for all of us in our mission as men of Christ. May we become ever more deeply devoted to our Lord and his Blessed Mother — particularly under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. May we work to defend our Church and the most vulnerable among us. May we renew our commitment to building up our families in faith and charity while supporting our priests and bishops in strengthening our parishes and dioceses. And in so doing, may we be faithful and dutiful sons of our Father in heaven and to our nations on earth. And may all of this be done for the greater glory of God. Vivat Jesus!

‘There are few things the world needs more right now than men in the mold of St. Joseph: faithful and virtuous witnesses to Christ and his Church.’

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The Year of St. Joseph Knights and their families will grow stronger in faith by turning to the husband of Mary and guardian of Jesus By Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori

ON THE MORNING of Dec. 8, 2020, I awoke

to learn that Pope Francis had dedicated the year ahead to St. Joseph, the man whom God the Father chose as the spouse of the Virgin Mary and guardian of his incarnate Son. This news delighted me because we so often overlook St. Joseph and the example he set for us — as a man of faith and integrity; as a model of fatherhood and family life; and as guardian of the household at Nazareth and of the Church. In fact, as Pope Francis reminded us, Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph the Patron of the Universal Church 150 years ago. The question for us today is what can we, as Knights of Columbus, learn from St. Joseph’s virtues? First, St. Joseph was a man of faith and integrity. Sometimes we forget how difficult St. Joseph’s unique vocation really was. He was betrothed to Mary when she was found to be with child. Normally, this would be the end of the relationship, and a woman in this situation would be exposed to shame. In the strength of his compassion, St. Joseph was unwilling for that to happen. But what should he do? In a dream, the Lord announced to him that he should have no fear of taking Mary as his wife, for her child was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was to be the long-awaited Messiah (see Mt 1:21-22). When Joseph awoke, he did as the Lord had asked. His deep faith led him to obey the Lord and to fulfill his special vocation with honor. Here was a servant upon whom God could rely to fulfill his purposes. Is this not what we pledged to be and to become as Knights of Columbus? Men who, with God’s grace, bring our Catholic faith from the periphery of our lives to the center; men who listen to the voice of God in prayer; men who respond to the specific challenges of our lives with honesty; men who reliably serve God and the needs of others?



Second, St. Joseph was the husband of Mary and the guardian of Jesus. As we recall the story of Jesus’ birth, let us take note of the pivotal role St. Joseph played. Scripture does not record his words, but it does convey the strength of his tender love for Mary and his fatherly care for the divine child of her womb. When the innkeeper told Joseph that he had no room, Joseph provided for his family as best he could. Imagine how he had to improvise to prepare a crude stable for the birth of the Christ Child. Imagine, too, his role in protecting his family not only against the elements, but also against the machinations of King Herod, who sought to kill the newborn Messiah. What must have gone through Joseph’s mind when, during the Presentation in the Temple, Simeon foretold that Jesus would be “a sign of contradiction” and that Mary’s heart would be pierced with “a sword of sorrow” (cf. Lk 2:34-35)? Returning to Nazareth, Joseph provided for his family by working as a carpenter and shared his daily work with Jesus. In all these things and much more, he remained strong and true as Mary’s spouse and Jesus’ guardian. The Knights of Columbus continues its founding mission, given by Blessed Michael McGivney, as it helps men to protect and serve their wives and families. And St. Joseph, by his intercession and constant and consistent example of faith, virtue and self-giving love, helps Knights become exemplary husbands and fathers today. Finally, just as St. Joseph watched over the household in Nazareth, so too he watches over the Church universal. At a time when the Church is beset by divisions and scandals, and people are falling away from the faith, we need St. Joseph’s prayers more than ever. As Knights, let us ask his prayers so that we may continue to be a source of strength and unity for the Church, now and in the years ahead. St. Joseph, pray for us! B

‘Joseph’s deep faith led him to obey the Lord and to fulfill his special vocation with honor. Here was a servant upon whom God could rely to fulfill his purposes.’

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Supreme Chaplain’s Challenge

Catholic Man of the Month

A monthly reflection and practical challenge from Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori

CARPENTERS do not usually work by

FROM TOP: St. Nicholas Owen by Tracy L. Christianson — The Last Supper by Juan de Juanes (ca. 1562), Museo del Prado/Wikimedia Commons — CNS photo/Vatican Media

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.” (Gospel for March 28, Mk 14:22-24) At the Last Supper, Jesus gave us the gift of himself in the Eucharist, our essential spiritual food and drink, which gives us the life of Christ. We live at a time when many Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist — the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. May we, brother Knights, never forget the true nature of the Eucharist nor lose our desire to receive Christ in the sacrament of the altar.

St. Nicholas Owen (ca. 1562-1606)

stealth at night building hiding places for hunted priests. Yet, St. Nicholas Owen did so with great ingenuity and saved numerous lives at a time when it was illegal to practice the Catholic faith in England. Born in Oxford during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Owen came from a devout, working-class family and became skilled in his father’s trade. He later served the Jesuit priest St. Edmund Campion, who was executed in 1581. For openly championing his innocence, Owen earned time in the Tower of London. By 1588, the diminutive Owen, known as “Little John,” was employed by the Jesuit superior in England. For the next 18 years, Owen traveled throughout the country constructing “priest holes” in the homes of Catholic families. During this time, he also became a Jesuit brother. Owen always received the Eucharist before starting a project, and he worked alone and at night so that no one else could be implicated. His craftsmanship was marked by imagination: disguised

Liturgical Calendar March 3

St. Katharine Drexel, Virgin (USA)

March 4

St. Casimir

entrances, underfloor passages, layers of false walls, fake fireplaces and attics. In 1594, Owen was captured with Jesuit Father John Gerard and imprisoned. After his eventual release, Owen masterminded Father Gerard’s escape across the Tower moat in 1597. When Owen was apprehended a third and final time in 1606, he was tortured. He died March 2 without betraying a secret. Father Gerard later wrote of him, “I verily think no man can be said to have done more good of all those that laboured in the English vineyard. … He was the immediate occasion of saving many hundreds of persons.” Nicholas Owen was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. B

Holy Father’s Monthly Prayer Intention

March 8 St. John of God, Religious

Challenge: This month, I challenge you to spend 10 additional minutes before Mass each Sunday preparing to receive the Eucharist, as well as 10 minutes after Mass in thanksgiving for this gift. Second, I challenge you to assist your brother Knights in the Faith in Action Sacramental Gifts program to help your fellow parishioners understand the great gifts of the sacraments.

March 9 St. Frances of Rome, Religious March 17 St. Patrick, Bishop March 18 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church March 19 St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary March 25 The Annunciation of the Lord March 28 Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Let us pray that we may experience the sacrament of reconciliation with renewed depth, to taste the infinite mercy of God. MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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Welcoming Our New Supreme Knight


n Feb. 5, the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors elected Patrick E. Kelly to become the Order’s 14th supreme knight. Supreme Knight Kelly’s election follows a distinguished career in the military, public service and the Knights of Columbus, where he has served as deputy supreme knight since 2017. Taking office as supreme knight on March 1, he has been charged to lead the Order and continue the mission established by the Knights’ founder, Blessed Michael McGivney, nearly 140 years ago. Carl A. Anderson retired Feb. 28, after more than 20 years of service as supreme knight, upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. He leaves a legacy of Christian witness and service to the Catholic Church, to the Knights of Columbus and to communities throughout the world. “The Knights of Columbus board has elected an extraordinarily well-qualified new supreme knight in Patrick Kelly,” affirmed Supreme Knight Anderson in a Feb. 5 statement. “He has served as deputy supreme knight for four years and is a well-rounded public servant with diplomatic and military experience. He is ideally suited to carry on the work of the Knights of Columbus as we enter a new era, faithful to our principles of charity, unity and fraternity, and in close 6

collaboration with the Holy See and the bishops throughout the world.” Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore likewise acclaimed the new supreme knight. “Patrick Kelly is a devoted husband, father of three young daughters, and a man of deep faith with many years of experience as a public servant,” Archbishop Lori said. “He possesses the knowledge, experience and commitment necessary to carry the Order forward in service to our brother Knights, their families, our parishes and our communities.” BBB Prior to his service as deputy supreme knight, Patrick Kelly served as the Order’s vice president for public policy for 11 years. He is also a past state deputy of the District of Columbia. As a longtime executive and fraternal leader, he has consistently strengthened the Knights’ record of charity, financial protection and membership growth. When the Knights purchased the former Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., in 2011, Kelly oversaw the renewal of the facility and was appointed the first executive director of what would soon become the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. During his tenure, the shrine

Photo by Matthew Barrick

Patrick E. Kelly has been elected to lead the Knights of Columbus in a new era

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Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archives

Opposite page: Then-Supreme Knight Carl Anderson greets Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly at the podium during the opening business session of the 137th Supreme Convention in Minneapolis, in August 2019.

became a premier pilgrimage site and a source of education and inspiration for Catholics throughout the United States and the world. Supreme Knight Kelly has served as the chairman of the board of directors of the March for Life since 2012; as a member of the board of directors of the National Catholic Bioethics Center since 2013; and as a consultant to several committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for more than a decade. After 24 years of active-duty and reserve service in the United States Navy, Kelly retired from the JAG Corps Reserve in 2016. As a judge advocate general, he specialized in international and operational law and served as the commanding officer of the international law unit at the U.S. Naval War College. Before his leadership roles with the Knights, Kelly also pursued a lengthy career of public service. He held advisory roles on the House Intelligence Committee and at the Justice Department, where he specialized in counterterrorism and national security. As senior advisor to the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom from 2005 to 2006, he served as the State Department’s principal liaison with the Holy See and helped to form U.S. foreign policy on religious freedom worldwide. Supreme Knight Kelly holds a master’s degree in theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C.; a law degree from Marquette University Law School; and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Marquette University, where he joined the Knights of Columbus in 1983. He and his wife, Vanessa, have three daughters. They live in Connecticut. B

The World Needs Knights Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly addressed the Feb. 5 meeting of the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors, during which he was elected the Order’s 14th supreme knight. Here are excerpts from his remarks. THIRD-GENERATION KNIGHT: “Inspir-

Patrick Kelly, then vice president of public ing the next generation of Knights policy for the Knight of Columbus, adis personal for me. I am a third-gendresses the 2012 National Catholic Prayer eration Knight. My grandfather Breakfast in Washington, D.C. joined the Order in 1915 before he left for World War I. My father was a faithful member of the council at our parish up until his death. And I joined the Order as a College Knight. I know how much we have to offer young men. And I know the Order’s mission is the same now as its was more than 100 years ago, when my grandfather joined. Our mission is to strengthen Catholic men.”

STRENGTHENING FAMILY LIFE: “We are advancing this mission in difficult times.

The family is under more intense pressure now than at any time in our history. Fathers are trying to build healthy marriages and raise their children in the faith amid a culture that is working against them. I believe the Lord is calling us to place an even higher priority on caring for the spiritual lives of men specifically as husbands and fathers. Blessed Michael McGivney established the Knights to strengthen Catholic families, and that is what we must do now in new ways.”

UNITY IN A TIME OF DIVISION: “The Order remains a symbol of unity within the Church. Now is the time to build on that reputation. We have long been known as the strong right arm of the Church, and with that strength, we can be a gentle but firm guide. … Unity is the Order’s second principle, and as Knights, we can, we must and we will be a source of unity in these divided times.” SUPPORTING COUNCIL ACTIVITIES: “We have a fundamental goal of supporting, strengthening and honoring every individual Knight and every council. The health of our Order lies there — in our brother Knights and in our councils. They are the ones who distribute coats to kids, sponsor free throw contests, raise money for ultrasounds and wheelchairs, and lead their parish in care for their neighbor. They are the core of our identity, the witness that serves as the foundation for everything else we do.” OUR FOUNDER’S WITNESS: “I would like to turn to the witness of Blessed Michael McGivney. And I would like to acknowledge with gratitude the work of our worthy supreme knight who skillfully led us to the moment of beatification. We are now actively engaged in praying and working for his canonization, if that be God’s will. His cause is a source of great passion and pride for all of us.” A BROTHERHOOD OF FAITH: “It is often said the Knights have what men need. I believe it’s also true that the Knights are what men want. We are a community of purpose — a brotherhood of faith — and a force for good for the things that matter most. The Order was made for the moment we are in, as a Church, as a country, as families and as men.” MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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Prepared to Lead and Serve An interview with Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly about his vocational journey

In the weeks leading up to Patrick Kelly taking office as the Order’s 14th supreme knight, the editors of Columbia asked him about his past experiences and the path that led him here. COLUMBIA: Can you share a little about your family up-

bringing and the role that faith played in your early life?


Mich., and I was blessed to be raised in a large Catholic family. My seven siblings and I learned the faith largely from the witness of our parents, who instilled in us a deep love for Christ and the Church. Our family was close friends with our pastor, and we frequently had him over for dinner. Faith was a central part of our everyday life. Eventually, I went to Marquette University in Milwaukee for my undergraduate studies. I had a great experience there due in large part to the friends I made and to several very impressive Jesuits I met.

Navy just seemed so incredible to me growing up, and to this day I think joining the Navy was one of the best things I’ve ever done. My time as a naval officer was extremely formative for me. You cannot beat the camaraderie that comes with military service, and I find so many reflections of that in my experience with the Knights of Columbus. In the Navy, great leaders taught me not only teamwork and integrity, but also the value of servant leadership, which clearly resonates with my Christian faith. We should “not come to be served, but to serve” (Mt 20:28). To quote another passage from Scripture, a foundational virtue of military service is the willingness to “lay down one’s life for one’s friends” ( Jn 15:13). As Knights, we are called to do the same. COLUMBIA: Why did you decide to

pursue a master’s degree in theology? What impact did your studies have on you and on your work?


The decision to study theology came at a point in my life when I wanted to discover more about the fundamenthe Knights of Columbus while tal questions of life. As a JAG (judge you were a student at Marquette? advocate general) officer in the Navy, SUPREME KNIGHT PATRICK KELLY: I sometimes worked with sailors who My father and grandfather were had gotten into trouble. Many of these both Knights and that gave me a Lt. Patrick Kelly stands aboard the USS Guam individuals were largely good people great sense of the Order growing off the coast of West Africa in 1996. Kelly was who had made very poor decisions. up, but I joined the Knights of deployed as the staff judge advocate for I saw that in many cases they had Columbus based on friendships. I Amphibious Squadron Two during Operation nothing guiding their lives — no faith, naturally wanted to be united with Assured Response amid the civil war in Liberia. no positive role models — so they just other men and to be strengthened went along with the crowd or followed by our shared values. I was blessed their passions. Reflecting on the gift to find good friends at Marquette, of my Catholic faith and the grace that I have received, I recand several of them were Knights. It became clear very ognized in our faith a consistent way of seeing the world that quickly that the Order would be a place where those bonds of brings order and joy to life. fraternity and faith could grow. At this time, St. John Paul II was pope and I found him to be a very compelling figure. I would read his words and COLUMBIA: What inspired you to pursue a career in the always came away saying, “This is the truth!” And so the path Navy? How did that experience influence who you are suddenly became clear for me. I left the Navy on a Friday, today? and on Monday I started classes at the Pontifical John Paul II SUPREME KNIGHT PATRICK KELLY: I was always attracted to Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington. military service and its heroic ethos. Here again, my father It was a radical change, and some of my fellow naval officers had a big impact on me; he had served in the Navy, and I didn’t get it at all. I understood why they thought it didn’t loved to hear him tell stories about his days in the service. One of my earliest memories was my dad taking us aboard the make sense, but as the saying goes, God writes straight with crooked lines. USS John F. Kennedy in the late 1960s. Everything about the COLUMBIA: What led you to join


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FROM TOP: Photo by Craig Spiering — Photo by Matthew Barrick — Photo by Vatican Media/L’Osservatore Romano — Photo by For the Love of Beauty/

Top: Patrick Kelly — then state deputy of the District of Columbia and K of C vice president for public policy — addresses a candlelight vigil outside the U.S. Capitol in June 2013, as Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori looks on. The event was part of the second Fortnight for Freedom organized by the U.S. bishops’ ad hoc committee on religious liberty, which Archbishop Lori led from 2011 to 2017. • Above left: Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and Archbishop Lori stand with Kelly, who served as executive director of the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, following the dedication Mass of the shrine’s Luminous Mysteries Chapel, April 2, 2016. The chapel is decorated floor to ceiling with mosaics and features a white marble altar that includes a unique, first-class relic of St. John Paul II as its centerpiece. • Above: Pope Francis greets Deputy Supreme Knight Kelly during the pilgrimage of the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors to Rome in February 2020. • Left: Cmdr. (later Capt.) Patrick Kelly and his wife, Vanessa, are pictured at their wedding at St. Matthew Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2008. MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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Supreme Knight Kelly and his wife, Vanessa, stand together with their three daughters in St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., where Blessed Michael McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882.

including the Justice Department and State Department, help to prepare you for your career with the Knights of Columbus? SUPREME KNIGHT PATRICK KELLY: My government service has given me a sense of Washington and the political process — experience that I have put in service to the Order and the Church as we advocate for public policy related to our most basic values. My work at the Justice Department involved counterterrorism, and at the State Department I focused on international religious liberty. I saw how Christians and other religious minorities were being persecuted around the world, and I worked to free prisoners and to put sanctions on countries that persistently violated religious freedom. This is directly relevant to the Knights’ efforts to defend religious freedom, and especially the role the Order has played in recent years to bring religious persecution to light and to aid persecuted Christians around the world. COLUMBIA: How has your life changed since you got

married, and how do you balance your many duties with being a husband and a father of school-age children? SUPREME KNIGHT PATRICK KELLY: Marriage has made my life infinitely better. My wife, Vanessa, is an incredible woman and we have three beautiful daughters. It is daunting — and humbling — to consider how impactful our interactions with our children are. My wife and I try to pour everything into laying a good foundation for them to grow in grace and 10

virtue. And we recognize that this starts simply with our witness to them — that we take our faith seriously, and that it affects every aspect of our lives. That’s key. Family life can be a great source of growth and purification, but it can also be a huge challenge. And in terms of my service to the Knights, the fact that I have young children helps me to understand what families are going through. Young fathers have it tough. They are trying to build healthy marriages and keep their kids Catholic in a culture that is working against them. I know this struggle firsthand, and it is my hope that the Knights can help fathers with the pressure they are under. In terms of balance, that too is a challenge, as I think it is for all men. Thankfully, my wife knows my clear intention in this regard and is great about reminding me when I start to slip. She’s a firm believer that we think better and make better decisions when we have a balanced life. COLUMBIA: What does it mean to you to be elected the

Order’s 14th supreme knight?


honored to serve as supreme knight and to lead this great organization of men who are devoted to Our Lord and his Church. When I was elected, I knew it was a life-changing moment. I gave my wife a hug and we both thanked the Lord, asking him to sustain us in all the challenges and equip us for what lies ahead. And then I sent a text message to my mom, thanking her for all she and my dad had done for me, and all her continued prayers to this day. B

Photo by Laura Barisonzi

COLUMBIA: How did your work in the U.S. government,

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Knights of Columbus Sends Oxygen to COVID-Stricken Amazon Region RESPONDING TO an urgent request

BOTTOM: CNS photo/Bruno Kelly, Reuters —TOP RIGHT: Painting by Antonella Cappuccio

from the archbishop of Manaus, Brazil, the Knights of Columbus has sent more than $200,000 in concentrated oxygen and personal oxygen concentrator devices to the Amazon regions of Brazil and Peru, where Indigenous populations have been hit hard by the COVID-19 virus. Then-Supreme Knight Carl Anderson began the process of delivering aid to the region immediately after hearing Archbishop Leonardo Steiner’s desperate plea via video in mid-January: “For the love of God, send us oxygen!” Archbishop Steiner, who became the shepherd of Manaus’ 1.7 million Catholics just before the outbreak of the pandemic, issued his plea as a new wave — and possible new strain — of COVID hit the area, overburdening the region’s hospital system, particularly its oxygen supply. While planning aid for the Archdiocese of Manaus, the Supreme Council learned of a similar need in the Territorial Prelature of Santiago Apóstol de Huancané, which includes a portion of

the Peruvian Amazon and reaches into the Andes mountains. “In solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Amazon region, we could not fail to act,” Anderson explained. “The Knights of Columbus, in this instance, had both the resources and the appropriate connections to respond rapidly to this critical need.” Noting the Order’s Leave No Neighbor Behind initiative, he added, “Now this help, on behalf of a remote and largely Indigenous people, speaks to the reality that, within the Body of Christ, our ‘neighbor’ stretches far beyond the borders of our own local communities.” Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly, who was elected Feb. 5 and took office March 1, has helped to oversee the ongoing effort. “The pandemic has hit vulnerable populations very hard, and oxygen is the difference between life and death,” Kelly said. “This was a clear call to reach out to families in dire need, and it has been a privilege to be able to help save lives.” B

New Prayer Hour Celebrates K of C Founder

THE BLESSED Michael McGivney Prayer Hour is a new prayer service developed to encourage devotion to America’s newest Blessed among Knights, their families and other Catholics. The rosary-centered prayer service incorporates reflections based on the life of Father McGivney and the writings of recent popes. It will count as a Faith program option for councils for the remainder of the 2020-21 fraternal year. Resources for the new prayer hour can be found at B

Order Launches Exclusive Webcast Series MEMBERS OF THE KNIGHTS of

Relatives of COVID-19 patients gather to buy oxygen from a private company in Manaus, Brazil, Jan. 15.

Columbus now have exclusive access to KnightCast, a new webcast series. Launched Feb. 25, the first episode featured Past Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly and Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori. To watch the first KnightCast, and register for future ones, visit B MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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A statue of the Holy Family stands beside San Francisco de Asís Church, a historic adobe mission church in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico.

Proclaiming a Year of St. Joseph, Pope Francis has invited us to grow closer to the patron and protector of the Holy Family and of the Church

Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images


n celebration of the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis has proclaimed a Holy Year in his honor. On Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Holy Father issued the apostolic letter Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart), calling on the Church to follow Joseph’s powerful example of quiet obedience, courage and tenderness and to pray to him for the “grace of graces: our conversion.” As part of the Year of St. Joseph, which extends through Dec. 8, 2021, the Church has granted plenary indulgences for a variety of prayers and devotions related to the saint, especially on his feast days, including the Solemnity of St. Joseph on March 19. “Each of us can discover in Joseph — the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence — an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble,” the pope wrote. “St. Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.” In the following pages, discover more about this great saint and his vital role in the Church today. B MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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GETTING TO KNOW JOSEPH The Church’s appreciation for the head of the Holy Family has developed over millennia By Mike Aquilina



College Knights gather for eucharistic adoration at St. Joseph’s Church in New Haven, Conn., during the College Councils Conference in September 2019. During the holy hour, the students recited together a prayer of consecration to St. Joseph.

of the religious order he founded, and St. Teresa of Ávila placed her reformed order under his patronage. In her autobiography she urged all those who took up the life of prayer to devote themselves to St. Joseph in a special way. It was in the New World, however, that devotion to St. Joseph came to flourish most fully. This is the conclusion of Father Joseph Chorpenning, OSFS, a great historian of devotion to St. Joseph. “A sizable segment of the population of the New World did not know what it meant to have a father,” Father Chorpenning explained in an essay on the evangelization of Mexico. The European conquest, and the diseases that came with it, devastated native populations and orphaned countless

Photo by Mike Ross

any Catholics might be surprised to learn that widespread devotion to St. Joseph is relatively new in the life of the Church. The feast of St. Joseph wasn’t widely celebrated until the 16th century, and his title as Patron of the Universal Church — not to mention the feast of the Holy Family — did not come until the late 1800s. Yet, perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised that it took so long for devotion to St. Joseph to develop, for he was never one to draw attention to himself. The New Testament records not a single word spoken by him. He appears briefly in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and only in their opening chapters. In John, he gets two drive-by mentions and in Mark none at all. The stories told by Matthew are riveting — compressed, seeming to invite deeper contemplation. But the earliest Christians missed the invitation, as they had more pressing priorities. Among the doctrines most often attacked by pagans and Jews were Mary’s perpetual virginity and her virginal conception of Jesus. Christians wanted to leave no room for doubt, so their devotional works often portray Joseph as a very old man, infirm and decrepit. In the Coptic History of Joseph the Carpenter, an apocryphal work dating to the sixth or seventh century, he is portrayed as 91 years old at his wedding to Mary — with grandchildren who are older than his bride! In other ancient fictions, he appears as something of a buffoon. Again, the authors seem to think that Mary would be exalted if her husband were humiliated. But for the most part, Christians of the first millennium chose to ignore Joseph. He required too much explanation, and they were occupied with other questions. Great bishops of the fifth century, St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom, spoke well of Joseph, emphasizing his role in God’s plan and expanding on the Gospel’s characterization of him as a “just man” (Mt 1:19). But these few sermons still fell short of what the Church calls veneration. That kind of notice came only with the ninth century, when Joseph began to appear in prayer books. In the later Middle Ages, he was still usually depicted in art as an old man, but preachers like St. Bernardine of Siena began to propose Joseph as a model for men to imitate, especially husbands and fathers. He came to the fore in the spirituality of the Catholic Reformation. St. Francis de Sales took St. Joseph as patron C O L U M B I A B MARCH 2021

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St. Joseph and the Christ Child (c. 1655–60) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Photo © Christie’s Images / Bridgeman Images

“AFTER MARY, the Mother of God, no saint is mentioned more frequently in the papal magisterium than Joseph, her spouse,” writes Pope Francis in his recent apostolic letter, Patris Corde. But this was not always the case. Devotion to St. Joseph was slow to develop throughout Church history, and most of the magisterial pronouncements have taken place in the past 150 years. Here are some of the most notable:

1870 — On Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Pius IX proclaims St. Joseph “Patron of the Universal Church.” 1889 — Pope Leo XIII publishes Quamquam Pluries, the first papal encyclical devoted to St. Joseph, on Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption. 1892 — In the apostolic letter Neminem Fugit, Pope Leo XIII affirms and promotes devotion to the Holy Family. A year later, he institutes the feast of the Holy Family, which dioceses may celebrate on the Sunday after Epiphany. 1921 — Pope Benedict XV makes the feast of the Holy Family an obligatory celebration of the universal Church. He also adds to the Divine Praises the phrase “Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.” 1955 — Pope Pius XII establishes the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, to be celebrated May 1. The feast promotes the true dignity of human labor in response to communist May Day celebrations. 1961 — Pope John XXIII declares St. Joseph the patron of the Second Vatican Council. The next year, he inserts St. Joseph’s name into the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I). 16

A statue of St. Joseph greets pilgrims to St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal in Montréal. The oratory was founded by St. André Bessette in honor of his patron in 1904, and the current basilica was completed in 1967.

1989 — On the 100th anniversary of Quamquam Pluries, Pope John Paul II publishes an apostolic exhortation about St. Joseph titled Redemptoris Custos (Guardian of the Redeemer). 2013 — Pope Francis, fulfilling the intentions of Pope Benedict XVI, inserts St. Joseph’s name into the other three Eucharistic Prayers of the Latin Rite. He also consecrates Vatican City to St. Joseph. 2020 — With the apostolic letter Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart), Pope Francis proclaims a “Year of St. Joseph” and marks the 150th anniversary of Pius IX’s declaration of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.

MIKE AQUILINA writes from Bridgewater, Pa., where he is a member of Holy Child Council 12043. He is the author of dozens of books, including St. Joseph and His World (Scepter, 2020).

iStock / Getty Images Plus

A Growing Devotion

children. At the same time, many conquistadores had children with Indigenous women, but took little care for their offspring. Franciscan missionaries introduced devotion to St. Joseph in order to give these children a fatherly presence in their lives. “Most mestizos knew only their Indian mothers, but not their Spanish fathers,” Father Chorpenning wrote. “The Virgin Mary became their loving and compassionate mother, while Joseph became the father … who would protect and shelter them.” By the late 16th century, images of St. Joseph abounded in the art of South and Central America. The 17th-century poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a religious sister, proposed St. Joseph as an antidote to the machismo she found in Mexican culture. Chaste and silent, Joseph had renounced biological fatherhood in order to raise God’s son. There was no bluster in him. A second great movement of devotion would emerge in French Canada, culminating in the construction of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montréal. The project, begun by St. André Bessette in 1904, would expand and eventually become the world’s largest shrine dedicated to the Holy Family’s patriarch, who is also the patron saint of Canada. Veneration of St. Joseph, though virtually absent in the first millennium, found fulfillment at the second, especially as papal teaching and liturgical developments gave increasing prominence to him (see sidebar). St. Joseph has not changed, of course. What he was in the New Testament, he has remained through all Christian history: the earthly father of our Savior, the chaste and loving husband of the Virgin Mary, an iconic witness to the dignity of work, and an effective guardian of the Church throughout the world. As devotion develops over time, we can see all of this more clearly. B

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A Father With Creative Courage God trusted Joseph to love and protect Jesus and Mary, and calls us to do the same Editor’s Note: The following text is excerpted from section 5 of Pope Francis’ apostolic letter Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart).

CNS photo/Vatican Media

AS WE READ the infancy narratives,

we may often wonder why God did not act in a more direct and clear way. Yet God acts through events and people. Joseph was the man chosen by God to guide the beginnings of the history of redemption. He was the true “miracle” by which God saves the child and his mother. God acted by trusting in Joseph’s creative courage. Arriving in Bethlehem and finding no lodging where Mary could give birth, Joseph took a stable and, as best he could, turned it into a welcoming home for the Son of God come into the world (cf. Lk 2:6-7). Faced with imminent danger from Herod, who wanted to kill the child, Joseph was warned once again in a dream to protect the child, and rose in the middle of the night to prepare the flight into Egypt (cf. Mt 2:13-14). A superficial reading of these stories can often give the impression that the world is at the mercy of the strong and mighty, but the “good news” of the Gospel consists in showing that, for all the arrogance and violence of worldly powers, God always finds a way to carry out his saving plan. So too, our lives may at times seem to be at the mercy of the powerful, but the Gospel shows us what counts. God always finds a way to save us, provided we show the same creative courage as the carpenter of Nazareth, who was able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting always in divine providence. … At the end of every account in which Joseph plays a role, the Gospel tells us that he gets up, takes the child and his mother, and does what God commanded him (cf. Mt 1:24; 2:14, 21). Indeed, Jesus and Mary his Mother are the most precious treasure of our faith. …

Pope Francis preaches during a Mass on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, celebrated in the chapel of his residence May 1, 2020.

We should always consider whether we ourselves are protecting Jesus and Mary, for they are also mysteriously entrusted to our own responsibility, care and safekeeping. The Son of the Almighty came into our world in a state of great vulnerability. He needed to be defended, protected, cared for and raised by Joseph. God trusted Joseph, as did Mary, who found in him someone who would not only save her life, but would always provide for her and her child. In this sense, St. Joseph could not be other than the Guardian of the Church, for the Church is the continuation of the Body of Christ in history, even as Mary’s motherhood is reflected in the motherhood of the Church (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 963-970). In his continued protection of the Church, Joseph continues to protect the child and his mother, and we too, by our love for the

Church, continue to love the child and his mother. That child would go on to say: “As you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). Consequently, every poor, needy, suffering or dying person, every stranger, every prisoner, every infirm person is “the child” whom Joseph continues to protect. For this reason, St. Joseph is invoked as protector of the unfortunate, the needy, exiles, the afflicted, the poor and the dying. Consequently, the Church cannot fail to show a special love for the least of our brothers and sisters, for Jesus showed a particular concern for them and personally identified with them. From St. Joseph, we must learn that same care and responsibility. We must learn to love the child and his mother, to love the sacraments and charity, to love the Church and the poor. B MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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THE CHIVALRY OF ST. JOSEPH Today more than ever, the Church needs the noble strength and practical wisdom of the patron saint of fathers


n the third panel of the Mérode altarpiece, a 15th-century triptych also known as Annunciation with St. Joseph and Donors, St. Joseph is busy building a mousetrap. This is probably a reference to St. Augustine’s metaphor of the cross as a mousetrap set for the devil. St. Joseph is therefore doing his bit as guardian of the nascent Church by helping to construct a trap for the devil. In this and many other depictions of the domestic life of the Holy Family, St. Joseph is portrayed as a man who “sorts” problems in a practical way. He finds solutions by being both brave and prudent. He had to preserve Our Lady’s dignity when she was found to be with child before their marriage. He had to get his family to safety when Herod’s henchmen slaughtered the Holy Innocents. Like the medieval Christian knights who later made arduous journeys to protect pilgrims and sacred places in the Holy Land, St. Joseph had to face danger and deal with it. “In St. Joseph, justice is combined with tenderness, strength and decisiveness with flexibility and openness to the will of God,” said the late Catholic writer Stratford Caldecott in a 2002 address. “He is an adventurer, too, like the ‘questing knights’ of later legend.” Quoting the French poet Charles Péguy, Caldecott added: “There is only one adventurer in the world, as can be seen very clearly in the modern world — the father of a family. Even the most desperate adventurers are nothing compared to him.” Father Jean-Jacques Olier, who founded the Society of St. Sulpice in the 17th century, argued that St. Joseph is unique among the saints because of the mysterious bond that exists between him and God the Father. A multitude of saints have represented Christ in this or that aspect of their heroism, but only St. Joseph, among all the saints, has a special vocation to represent God the Father. Today, St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers — both fathers by nature and spiritual fathers, of whom priests are the obvious example. He is also the patron saint of those who grow up without a father, often as a consequence of the 18

devil’s war against the family — a war in which fatherhood is under systematic attack. If you want to attack the Logos, you need to attack fatherhood. If you want to attack the priesthood, you need to attack fatherhood. If you want to attack the family, you need to attack fatherhood. The powers of darkness have not yet abandoned their project to cripple humanity, their defeat at Calvary notwithstanding. The destruction of the family is their endgame strategy, as Sister Lucia of Fátima testified on the basis of the private revelations she received. The deepest meaning of chivalry is to use one’s strength to defend the faith and the vulnerable, and to do so without any regard for one’s own self-interest. Nobility exists precisely in self-surrender, which is clearly exemplified in St. Joseph, who was noble by disposition as well as by birth. St. Bernardino of Siena commented, “St. Matthew establishes the direct line of all the fathers from Abraham to the spouse of the Virgin, clearly demonstrating that all patriarchal, royal and princely dignity came together in him.” All chivalrous men, all children without fathers, all priests on the front lines of a cosmic battle, all women who wish they had a knight to protect them — all would do well to pray to St. Joseph as St. Teresa of Ávila did: O holy protector of the Holy Family, protect us children of the Lord Jesus Christ; keep far from us the errors and evils which corrupt the world; assist us from Heaven in our struggles against the powers of darkness. And as you once protected the Divine Child from the cruel edict of Herod, now defend the Church and keep it safe from all dangers and threats. B TRACEY ROWLAND holds the St. John Paul II Chair of Theology at the University of Notre Dame in Australia. She was appointed a member of the International Theological Commission by Pope Francis in 2014 and received the Ratzinger Prize for theology in 2020.

Annunciation Triptych (ca. 1427–32) by the workshop of Robert Campin/The Cloisters Collection, 1956

By Tracey Rowland

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A group of pro-life leaders marches to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the March for Life virtual rally Jan. 29.

We March On Through adapted demonstrations and virtual participation, pro-lifers stand up for the dignity of all human life

Photo by Jeffrey Bruno


ro-life advocates, including Knights of Columbus and their families, marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade for the 48th consecutive year, while adapting and limiting events in the midst of public health and security concerns. In place of the usual March for Life in Washington, D.C., a small group of pro-life leaders participated in a symbolic march through the city on Jan. 29, one week after the anniversary of Roe. The U.S. Supreme Court decision legalized abortion Jan. 22, 1973, and the first national march was held in peaceful protest one year later. Though there were no massive crowds this year, the 2021 march was marshaled, as it has been for decades, by Knights of Columbus from the Washington area.

Thousands of others were able to participate virtually in the March for Life and related events, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Prayer Vigil for Life and the annual rally, via livestream and television. Local pro-life demonstrations — in many cases, car caravans or scaled-down marches — still took place throughout the month of January in cities across the country. In her closing remarks to the virtual rally, March for Life President Jeanne Mancini emphasized the importance of this widespread, grassroots activism for life. “As hostility toward life in Washington increases,” she said, “these state-by-state efforts become even more vital for the success of our cause to end abortion.” B MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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Photos by Spirit Juice Studios

From top: Knights, their families, and other pro-life activists rally in front of the Vermont State House in Montpelier after a march from city hall Jan. 23. • Members of University of Florida Council 13900 in Gainesville watch the livestreamed March for Life rally together Jan. 29. • A Knight prepares to take part in the car procession organized by March for Life Chicago on Jan. 23. The procession made its way through downtown Chicago to a pregnancy resource center in Evergreen Park, where participants dropped off donated diapers. C O L U M B I A B MARCH 2021

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Honoring a Lifetime of Pro-Life Witness Supreme Knight Carl Anderson receives legacy award from the March for Life Education and Defense Fund

BOTTOM: Photo courtesy of National Right to Life Committee


arl Anderson has advocated for the dignity and rights of unborn children for more than 50 years. On Jan. 29, as he neared the end of his tenure as supreme knight, his decades of work for the pro-life cause were recognized by the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, which honored him with its 2021 Pro-Life Legacy Award. March for Life President Jeanne Mancini presented the award during the organization’s 39th annual Rose Dinner, held virtually this year. “No one has done more to advance the pro-life cause than Carl Anderson,” Mancini said. “He is a true pro-life warrior, and his work and tireless dedication to the cause is an example to us all.” In accepting the award, Supreme Knight Anderson said, “All of us have our own reason why we are part of this great pro-life cause. For me, it’s best summed up by the saying, ‘Whoever saves one life, saves the world.’” Under Supreme Knight Anderson’s leadership, the Knights of Columbus has become a preeminent defender of life in the United States and in many countries around the world — through education, advocacy and various charitable initiatives. But his pro-life advocacy began long before he was elected supreme knight in 2000. Anderson worked in government and public policy in the 1970s and ’80s and held several positions in the White House under President Ronald Reagan. During his years in Washington, he advocated strongly for pro-life policies, such as the Hyde Amendment, and helped develop the Mexico City Policy — which barred U.S. foreign aid dollars from being used to promote abortion overseas. In addition, Anderson is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, appointed by Pope John Paul II in 1998 and reappointed by Pope Francis in 2017. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities since 2002, and Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family in 2008. As supreme knight, Anderson established the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative on Jan. 22, 2009, the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Since then, K of C councils have donated more than 1,300 life-saving ultrasound machines to pro-life pregnancy centers throughout the United States. Supreme Knight Anderson has called the initiative “the greatest humanitarian achievement in the history of the Knights of Columbus.” In his Rose Dinner remarks, he expressed confidence in the American democratic system to right the wrong of legalized abortion.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson addresses the Virtual Rose Dinner Gala after receiving the March for Life’s Pro-Life Legacy Award on Jan. 29. • Anderson stands with pro-life champion Dr. Mildred Jefferson at the fourth annual state convention of North Carolina Right to Life, Inc., in 1977. Also pictured are convention committee members Bill Eastwood and Emma O’Steen.

“No matter how entrenched, no matter its claim to stability, in America no unjust law is sustainable,” he said. Roe v. Wade is not settled law, he continued, pointing out the strong bipartisan consensus to significantly restrict abortions, as revealed by the Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll — a survey of public opinion on abortion conducted annually since 2008. Supreme Knight Anderson also urged the pro-life movement to remain committed to its foundational principles: justice, truth, democracy and compassion for vulnerable mothers and children. “The strength to offer a helping hand and the courage to love another — especially when that person is in need — is often hidden from public view, but it is nonetheless very real,” he said. “A culture of compassion and love quietly permeates the pro-life cause. It is the wellspring from which all else flows.” B MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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Relatives of Blessed Michael McGivney reflect on his holy life and lasting influence By Andrew Fowler

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ohn Walshe, Margaret Ransom and Sister Louise Finn stood applauding among the congregation as a banner depicting Father Michael J. McGivney was unveiled. Moments earlier, the title “Blessed” had been officially bestowed upon the Knights of Columbus founder during the Mass of Beatification at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Conn., Oct. 31. But for these descendants of the McGivney family — all great-grandchildren of Father McGivney’s sister Rose — he was, and would always remain, “Uncle Mike.” Moreover, the long-awaited day only confirmed what they already knew from family stories and his impact on their spiritual lives: Father McGivney was an ordinary person who did extraordinary things for love of God and neighbor. “He represents what Pope Francis calls for constantly and consistently,” said Sister Louise, a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame. “The love of the Father drove Father Mike to ignore no one, to exclude no one. He lived a Catholic way of life that modeled God’s love for sinner and saint, for all of us.”

Close relatives of Blessed Michael McGivney join Father James Sullivan outside the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury, Conn., where Father Sullivan serves as rector. Father McGivney was born and raised in Waterbury, and Immaculate Conception was his childhood parish. His relatives pictured are Margaret Ransom, with her husband, Bob, and sons, Michael and Kevin; Eileen and Marcia Rice, Margaret’s sister and mother; John Walshe and his wife, Kay; and Sister Louise Finn.

Photo by Christopher Beauchamp


John Walshe has been steeped in Father McGivney’s legacy since he was a child. In 1957, he had a starring role at the Order’s 75th anniversary celebrations. A new monument to the Knights of Columbus founder was dedicated in Waterbury, Conn., and 12-year-old John unveiled the statue to the crowd of 10,000. As a teenager, Walshe was taught how to drive by Msgr. Leo Finn, his granduncle. Msgr. Finn — Rose’s son and Father McGivney’s nephew — succeeded Father McGivney’s brothers as supreme chaplain from 1939 to 1960. The driving lessons became family history lessons as well. “He wouldn’t let me play Elvis Presley or the Everly Brothers on the radio, so he told me family stories and Knights of Columbus stories,” Walshe said. For example, Walshe learned that Father McGivney wanted to learn French, but had trouble doing so during his two years at Sainte-Hyacinthe Seminary in Québec. “The story is, he came back not knowing French because the kids up there wouldn’t speak French to him,” Walshe said. “They wanted to learn English from the American.” Decades before Father McGivney’s cause for canonization opened in 1997, Walshe and Sister Louise heard family testimonies about the virtues of their hardworking, deeply spiritual great-granduncle. They also heard lighthearted stories about how Father McGivney’s family teased him when the opportunity arose. MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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One anecdote that entered family lore — though Sister Louise claims it is only “partially true” — took place soon after Rose’s wedding. Father McGivney celebrated the nuptial Mass at St. Thomas Church in Thomaston, Conn., where he then served as pastor. While Rose and her husband, Edward J. Finn, were en route to their honeymoon, they spotted Father McGivney on the same train. The priest was probably heading to New York City to rent supplies for his parish’s theatrical shows. “But the family joke was that he so loved his sister, he went on her honeymoon with her and his newly acquired brotherin-law,” Walshe said with a chuckle. “Forty years later, the grandnieces were still telling the story.” Like Walshe and Sister Louise, Margaret Ransom grew up hearing tales about her great-granduncle, including his founding of the Knights of Columbus and ministry to Chip Smith. She also felt connected to him because she lived in Waterbury — the town where he was born, went to school and got his first job — until she was 12 years old. WHAT WOULD FATHER MCGIVNEY DO?

For all three relatives, the family stories acquired more significance as they got older and began to appreciate Father McGivney’s role in shaping the Catholic Church in America. “I knew about the relationship and his importance to the Knights of Columbus, but I didn’t really understand his importance until I was an adult,” Ransom said. Her personal relationship with Father McGivney developed through the years, largely inspired by the example of 24

the Knights of Columbus. She has attended the Supreme Convention for nearly 20 years with her husband, Bob, a longtime Knight and Supreme Council employee. “I began to understand his impact through their devotion to him,” she said. That devotion, and Father McGivney’s modesty, has influenced her own spiritual life, and even her approach to raising her and Bob’s two sons. “Through the years, I found myself thinking more about his life and example and even found myself asking, ‘What would Father McGivney do?’” she said. When Sister Louise entered religious life in 1947, her vocation was not inspired, at least consciously, by Father McGivney. But his impact on her spiritual life has grown over time. “The more I learned about Uncle Mike, the more I realized that I would like to live my religious vocation as he lived his calling,” she said. Sister Louise said she admires Father McGivney’s business acumen in establishing a fraternal benefit society from scratch — but much more, she admires the bold faith and concern for others that motivated him. “His deep spirituality gave him an ability to see the needs of those around him,” she affirmed, “and his love for God’s people gave him the ability to respond to these needs as best he could, not worrying about whether he would succeed, but simply remaining faithful.” In the years since his car rides with Msgr. Finn, Walshe has also grown closer to Father McGivney. He joined Park City Council 16 in Bridgeport, Conn., in

Photo by Aaron Joseph/Archdiocese of Hartford

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of Newark and representative of Pope Francis, presents a copy of the apostolic letter bestowing the title “Blessed” on Michael McGivney to representatives of the McGivney family — John Walshe, Margaret Ransom and their spouses — during the beatification Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Conn., Oct. 31, 2020.

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1965. He later became a Fourth Degree Knight, and believes his Fourth Degree lapel pin, given to him by Msgr. Finn, might have belonged to one of Father McGivney’s brothers. Today, Walshe prays often for his great-granduncle’s intercession and finds inspiration in his selfless service. “The beauty of Father Mike is that he could have gone to work in his uncle’s rubber factory or any number of things. But he didn’t. Instead, he went into the seminary,” he said. “He became a priest because he wanted to help the people he was serving. And that’s why he started the Knights of Columbus.” When it was announced that Father McGivney would be beatified, his relatives were elated but not surprised. “He’s probably the best sort of person to be made a saint

— one who’s too humble to even want to be recognized as one,” said Ransom. Still, the experience of seeing him raised to the honor of the altars as a witness for the whole Church had a profound impact. Ransom admitted that she wasn’t sure it could live up to her heightened expectations, but her worry was unfounded. “The Mass was beautiful and so moving,” she said. “I remember thinking at the time that this would be something I’d remember for the rest of my life.” B ANDREW FOWLER is a content producer for the Knights of Columbus Communications Department.

Father McGivney’s Invitation to Immigrants Our founder’s holy witness is a call to his fellow first-generation Americans By Luis F. Guevara

Photo by Spirit Juice Studios

THIS PAST FALL, I was honored to participate in the inter-

nationally broadcast beatification Mass of Father Michael Joseph McGivney by reading one of the prayers of the faithful in Spanish. The beatification was an occasion of great joy for me as a Knight of Columbus, a spiritual son of this holy priest, and also as an immigrant to the United States. Father McGivney, the son of Irish immigrants, grew up in a society that was more hostile to the Catholic faith and more prejudiced toward immigrants than today. His parents, Patrick and Mary, surely experienced both religious discrimination and xenophobia. And, like many immigrant parents, they may have had aspirations for their children to become doctors, lawyers or businessmen. These professions, beyond opening greater opportunities, signify assimilation in a society that will no longer discriminate against them. In this light, Michael McGivney’s fiat to his priestly vocation is particularly inspiring. He — and later, two of his brothers — bravely said “yes” to the call of God to labor in the most essential profession, for the salvation of souls. His response is also a compelling invitation to today’s first-generation Americans to respond as he did. What can have a greater global impact than building the Body of Christ, feeding humanity’s deepest hunger and providing spiritual healing through the sacraments? As a Hispanic immigrant and parent, I realize the great need that exists today in our community for priests who aspire to holiness. For this reason, I have entrusted to Holy Mary of Guadalupe my infant son, Joseph Michael, so that she may teach him to say “fiat” if God wills to call him to the priesthood. I also turn to Blessed Michael McGivney, who knows well the struggles and needs of immigrant families, to grant holy priestly vocations among us Hispanics, to work in the abundant vineyard of our Lord.

Knights and family members of St. Joseph Council 15002 in Hawthorne, Calif., pray the rosary outside a local fire station with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Members of Council 15002, which is associated with the bilingual St. Joseph Catholic Church community, gather periodically at fire stations, hospitals and police stations to pray for first responders.

The exemplary life of this son of immigrants, and his vision for the Order he founded, are a great witness for the whole Church — and especially for Hispanic immigrants, whom I invite to join the work of the Knights of Columbus, helping us build a civilization of love. Padre Miguel McGivney, pray for us! B LUIS F. GUEVARA is the Knights of Columbus director for Latin America and a member of Santa María de Guadalupe Council 15891 at the basilica in Mexico City. MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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Members of Michigan Technological University Council 17237 in Houghton attend Mass in an “ice chapel” constructed by the Knights and other members of St. Albert the Great University Parish. The council has helped build the chapel for the university’s winter carnival for the last few years.

Daniel Patrick Sullivan Council 10208 in Hot Springs Village, Ark., implemented an online fundraiser after its annual Seminarian Support Dinner was canceled due to COVID-19. The council raised more than $46,000 for its education fund, which supports 30 seminarians in the Diocese of Little Rock. HOLY GROUNDSKEEPING

Members of Our Lady of the Desert Council 12877 in Sparks, Nev., and other parishioners put in two workdays sprucing up the grounds and garden of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Knights also collected and bundled food for the parish food pantry and delivered items to people in need. BROUGHT TO THE TABLE

Members of Bishop Ruocco Council 9275 in Chelmsford, Mass., assisted at two outdoor first holy Communion Masses at St. Anne Church in Littleton. The Knights helped with setup, parking, ushering and cleanup for the 26

Masses, which had been postponed for several months due to the pandemic. The council has also assisted weekly with drive-thru confessions at St. Anne’s since summer 2020. BIBLIAS PARA NIÑOS

Members of Holy Ghost Council 16523 in Knoxville, Tenn., helped the mission organization One Heart Colombia apply for grants to obtain children’s Bibles to distribute in South America. Lawrence R. Roussell Sr. Council 8396 in Athens and Father John Savoca Council 12633 in Lenoir City joined Council 16523 in covering more than $1,400 in shipping costs for the Bibles.


Members of Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle Council 11302 in Washington, D.C., distributed approximately 1,000 Miraculous Medals at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church on the feast day of St. Catherine Labouré, whose Marian vision inspired the devotional.


Members of St. John Neumann/Good Shepherd Council 12571 in Lords Valley, Pa., and its associated women’s group participated in the blessing of a new crucifix at St. Ann’s Church in Shohola. Knights carried the cross — crafted from an original floor beam of a historic local Catholic church — in procession and set it up near the altar.

Grand Knight Vicente G. Arbo Jr. of St. Anne Magarao Council 9027 in Camarines Sur, Luzon South, repaints a Ten Commandments monument at St. Anne Church.

TOP LEFT: Photo by Spirit Juice Studios


When members of St. Pius X Council 11101 in Greensboro, N.C., asked the principal of St. Pius X Catholic School if the school needed U.S. flags for its classrooms, he requested rosaries instead. The council purchased 180 rosaries and distributed them to the students.

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Members of Sharpsburg Council 12862 in Newnan, Ga., answered a call for help from the Marine Corps League to staff collection tables for its annual Toys for Tots Campaign. Council members and their families worked three-hour shifts for four consecutive weekends.

Members of Foxboro-Sharon (Mass.) Council 6063 delivered three boxes of coats to Self Help Inc., a nonprofit that serves low-income families. The Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids® contribution helped make up for a decline in donations due to the pandemic. SNOW GEAR FOR KIDS

Atlantic (Iowa) Council 1164 donated snow boots and snow pants to Schuler Elementary School to be distributed to students in need. School staff had requested the winter gear instead of coats. FAMILY ROSARY

Bradford (Pa.) Council 403 organized a family rosary for Knights and other parishioners of St. Bernard Church. Father Raymond Gramata, pastor, and Father James Gutting, associate pastor and council chaplain, led the group in prayer.


Members of Bellingham (Wash.) Council 829 helped install new playground equipment at Assumption Catholic School, replacing old structures that had become worn and dangerous. 100 FOOD BASKETS

Members of Msgr. Jean Eyraud Council 2436 in Reserve, La., collected food from Knights and other parishioners of St. Peter and St. Hubert Parishes to assemble into food baskets. They delivered more than 100 packages to local families in need. WELCOMING DOORS

Members of St. Scholastica Council 14485 in Lecanto, Fla., together with their wives, spent five days painting more than 70 interior doors at St. John Paul II Catholic School.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Photo by Evert Nelson

Bruce Taylor, Grand Knight Anthony Durant and Financial Secretary Stephan Warnat (with his son, Simon), members of Bozeman (Mont.) Council 1413, buy food for firefighters who were battling a blaze in the nearby Bridger Foothills. INCLINED TO HELP

Members of Milford (N.H.) Council 3035 built a 12foot ramp at the home of a member, whose wife has Parkinson’s disease and had recently broken her leg.

Mark Laird, a member of Topeka (Kan.) Council 534, leads a group of runners, including Grand Knight Ben Schmitz (right), at Shawnee North Community Park. The council’s “virtual” K of C Family 5K race allowed Knights, family members and other parishioners of Mother Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Church to run or walk the distance at a location of their choice. More than 40 people participated, raising over $1,000 for the council’s projects. MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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Members of Father Lawrence Carroll Council 8636 in Calgary, Alberta, unpack boxes of food at the St. Vincent de Paul Society food pantry at St. Michael Catholic Church. The council regularly assists the parish pantry in accommodating increased demand due to the pandemic.

Reverend John T. Weyer Council 11343 in Sugar Land, Texas, organized a curbside food collection at St. Laurence Catholic Church to replenish the parish food pantry, depleted by increased demand during the pandemic. Knights collected more than 1,600 pounds of nonperishable food, plus nearly $5,800 in donations. Father Truong Son Nguyen, a member, greeted and blessed each donor. ST. MARY OF THE LAKES ON THE GREENS

St. Mary of the Lakes Council 6520 in Medford, N.J., hosted its 13th annual charity golf tournament, raising more than $55,000. The funds will benefit three family poverty relief organizations: 1st Way of Burlington County, Family Promise of Burlington County and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. CHOWDER CHAMPS

Mount Carmel (Ill.) Council 1343 held its chowder sale at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, a tradition dating back at least six decades. The Knights 28

began with a prayer at 2 a.m. before cooking more than 400 gallons of their signature dish. The fundraiser, which members adapted this year to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, yielded $7,000 for council projects. FOR EAGLE ROCK VETERANS

Members of three North Carolina councils — St. Aloysius Council 6451 in Hickory, St. Joseph the Worker Council 9746 in Newtown and Holy Trinity Council 17510 in Taylorsville — worked together to help Eagle Rock Camp, a retreat center for veterans and military families, renovate its office in Newton. In just a few days, the Knights pulled up old carpet, laid flooring, installed drywall and painted. ASSISTING IN THE REOPENING

Members of Immaculate Conception Council 14782 in Baclayon, Visayas, assisted in reopening Immaculate Conception Church following a COVID-19 lockdown. Knights took churchgoers’ temperatures and implemented other measures to comply with safety regulations.

John Dashiell, State Deputy Bill Chrisman and Joseph Malen, members of Archbishop Seghers Council 5011 in Fairbanks, Alaska, stand with Father Joseph Hemmer outside St. Theresa Catholic Church in the remote Athabaskan Indian village of Kaltag. The Knights spent six days remodeling the church, replacing floors and insulation and installing cabinets and appliances. Father Hemmer, who has served the parish since 1988, celebrated Mass for them each day.

TOP LEFT: Photo by Bryce Meyer


Members of Most Holy Trinity 17396 in Bandon, Ore., cleaned up the grounds of the local post office. U.S. Postal Service regulations had delayed the hiring of a lawn service, so the Knights helped out, pulling up weeds and vines, trimming hedges and cutting the grass.

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Councils throughout Los Angeles have been providing supplies to those in need during the pandemic through the “Hearts to Serve” hotline, an initiative of the Knights of Columbus and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Knights have manned the phones and delivered food and medicine. SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SENIORS

St. Therese of Lisieux Council 11957 in Shelby Township, Mich., established a scholarship fund at SarahCare, an adult daycare center in Sterling Heights that serves seniors with impairments and their families. Special consideration is given to scholarship applicants who are veterans.

Past Grand Knight Tom Donnelly of Daniel Patrick Sullivan Council 10208 in Hot Springs Village, Ark., briefs recipients on protocol at a COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Approximately 20 Knights from Council 10208 and Father Victor A. Bieberle Assembly 2316, also in Hot Springs Village, helped to coordinate the event.


To mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, members of St. Vincent Ferrer Council 13996 and Loyola Assembly 2003, both in Delray Beach, Fla., attended a diocesan prayer service outside the county courthouse in West Palm Beach. Bishop Gerald Barbarito of Palm Beach, a member of Palm Beach Gardens Council 6988, led the service, during which participants prayed all 20 decades of the rosary.

TOP RIGHT: Photo by Katy Wreyford


Puerto Rico State Deputy José Luis Vázquez Padilla donates blood at a drive sponsored by Santo Domingo de Guzmán Council 14383 in Yauco Costa Sur, in partnership with Banco de Sangre de Puerto Rico, a regional blood bank.

St. Mary of Huntley (Ill.) Council 11666 organized a Mass for people with special needs at St. Mary Catholic Church. Father Max Striedl, council chaplain, celebrated the Mass, assisted by Deacon Jim Conrey, the council’s faith director. Members provided free transportation to and from the liturgy to encourage participation. COLORADO CARE

Joseph T. McDonough Council 1296 in Salida, Colo., and Christ on the

Mountain Council 7640 in Lakewood together donated more than $17,000, matched by a donation from the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative, to purchase an ultrasound machine for the Pregnancy Resource Center in Salida. The councils also raised $4,000 for machine training and setup costs. HIGHLANDS BLOOD DRIVE

Rev. Joseph J. Donnelly Council 11660 in Highlands, N.J., hosted a two-day blood drive at the Charles Hesse III Parish Center in Atlantic Highlands, collecting 55 units of blood in cooperation with Vitalant, a New Jersey blood bank.

See more at Please submit your council activites to MARCH 2021 B C O L U M B I A

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ince Blessed Michael McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882, the Order has grown to 2 million members, with local councils spanning three continents. Putting their faith into action in their parishes and communities, Knights throughout the world are united in service to the Church, to families and to neighbors in need.



Members of Saint Jean-Paul II Council 16909 in Garches stand in the side chapel they recently restored in their parish church, Saint-Louis de Garches.

Members of St-François-Xavier Council 2383 in Magog, Québec, pause while collecting food donations from local shops. The Knights delivered the groceries to Le Partage St-François, a shelter and poverty relief center in Sherbrooke. Grand Knight Yvon Bélair and other members have brought food to area charities nearly every week for more than 20 years.


TOP RIGHT: Photo by François Régis Salefran — BOTTOM: Photo by Michelle Boulay

Andriy Boiko, a member of Blessed Mykolay Charnetsky Council 16848 in Zolochiv, hands out Blessed Michael McGivney prayer cards during a council event for young people with disabilities. Council 16848 regularly raises funds to provide medicine, medical equipment and other gifts to approximately 50 local children with special needs.

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TOP LEFT: Photo by Tom Tracy — BOTTOM: Photo by Five Corners Film & Video

Gustavo Torres, a member of San Isidro Council 16980 and Edward O’Neil Assembly 1534, both in Pompano Beach, Fla., stands with his wife and daughter after assisting with a Marian procession at San Isidro Catholic Church. The Knights provided an honor guard as the refurbished statue of Our Lady of Fatima was carried in procession to the church’s new grotto. Father Wilfredo Contreras, pastor and council chaplain, blessed the parishioners and invoked Mary’s protection.


Members of Sta Krus Council 15387 in the City of Caloocan, Luzon North, gather in the Father McGivney Memorial Garden they planted and maintain on the grounds of Sta. Krus Catholic Church in the Diocese of Novaliches. The Knights recently installed a plaque about Father McGivney (left) in honor of his beatification.


Members of Matka Boża Częstochowska Królowa Polski Council 14004 in Radom unpack approximately 400 thermoses to distribute to local people in need, in partnership with the Missionaries of Charity.

Knights from four councils in the Diocese of Querétaro load food boxes to be delivered to a local nursing home and families in need. The Mexico Central State Council regularly collaborates with local Knights to purchase and distribute groceries to food pantries and other groups.

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Join the Father McGivney Guild



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FOUR WEEKS, FOUR ROUNDS Each week, watch two items go head-to-head to compete for your purchases. Help decide the most popular item each week, and you just may win one of our collegiate hoodies or other Knights Gear! Head over to to help decide… COLUMBIA MAR 21 ENG KIA 2_16 B.indd 32


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Knights of Charity Every day, Knights all over the world are given opportunities to make a difference — whether through community service, raising money or prayer. We celebrate each and every Knight for his strength, his compassion and his dedication to building a better world.

Cardinal Juan de la Caridad García, archbishop of Havana, Cuba, presents a relic of Blessed Michael McGivney for veneration at San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary in Havana. Cardinal García celebrated Mass on Feb. 8 for the seminarians and members of San Agustín Council 1390, which was chartered in 1909 and was recently reinstituted. The Knights of Columbus provided significant financial support to construct the seminary, and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson attended its dedication in November 2010.

To be featured here, send your council’s “Knights in Action” photo as well as its description to: Columbia, 1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510-3326 or e-mail: COLUMBIA MAR 21 ENG COVERS 2_14 FINAL.indd 3

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‘My vocation is the greatest gift.’

Sister Alexia Maria Zaldivar Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary Miami


Photo by David Gonzales

During middle school, people often asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. The Holy Spirit gave me the grace to ask a more fundamental question: “Who do I want to be?” I realized that I simply wanted to be as joyful and free as my religion teacher. One day, I worked up the courage to ask her, “What makes you so happy?” Her response transformed my life: “My relationship with the Lord,” she said. “He wants to be your friend, too.” I began to have a personal relationship with Jesus, and the Lord would often say to me in prayer, “You are mine, but do you want to be mine?” Over time, I came to understand my vocation — an invitation to be his bride and a spiritual mother, bearing Christ in many hearts through unconditional service. Upon graduating high school, I entered religious life and embraced our Marian charism and fourth vow of total Marian identification and availability. My vocation is the greatest gift God could have ever given me!

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