Patrick E. Kelly
Deputy Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus
Patrick E. Kelly, a Past State Deputy of the District of Columbia, became Deputy Supreme Knight on Jan. 1, 2017, following appointment by the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors. He previously served as the Order’s Vice President for Public Policy and as the first executive director of the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C.
Kelly was elected to the Order’s Board of Directors in 2013. In 2016, he retired with the rank of Captain from the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps Reserve, where he specialized in international and operational law and served as the Commanding Officer of the international law unit at the United States Naval War College. Previously, Kelly had a long career of public service that included advisory roles to Congress and the Department of Justice. Kelly also served as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the State Department. His responsibilities included serving as the Department’s principal interlocutor with the Holy See and other nations on religious freedom issues.
As executive director of the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, he oversaw the renewal of that facility, previously known as the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, which was purchased by the Supreme Council in 2011. During his tenure, the Shrine developed a world-class permanent exhibit, called “A Gift of Love: The Life of Saint John Paul II,” and created two new worship spaces that feature the mosaic artwork of Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik — the Redemptor Hominis Church and the Luminous Mysteries Chapel, which enshrines a first-class blood relic of St. John Paul II.
He holds a law degree from Marquette University Law School and a master’s in theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America. He and his wife, Vanessa, have three young daughters.