IT IS WITH GREAT JOY and immense gratitude 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.
‘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.’
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.
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