Scores of icons of St. Joseph and the Christ Child were blessed Nov. 6 at the Midyear Meeting of Knights of Columbus State Deputies in Nashville, Tenn., officially launching a new pilgrim icon prayer program in honor of the saint. Over the next two years, the images will travel from council to council in each of the Order’s 77 jurisdictions, serving as a focal point for prayer and devotion in thousands of parishes.
Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore blessed the state deputies, as they held the icons at the conclusion of a special votive Mass of St. Joseph. Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly also led those present in praying the Litany of St. Joseph.
Since taking office as the Order’s 14th supreme knight last March, Kelly has consistently urged Knights to emulate the saint’s “creative courage” — thereby echoing Pope Francis’ 2020 apostolic letter Patris Corde, which announced the Year of St. Joseph. The supreme knight also consecrated his administration to St. Joseph when he was installed on June 11.
“During my installation, I knelt before a beautiful icon of our Lord’s foster father,” Supreme Knight Kelly recalled in his first annual report, delivered at the 139th Supreme Convention in August. “It is from St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montréal, and that image will be the centerpiece of our next pilgrim icon program. It will travel in every jurisdiction for the next two years. Seek it out. Ask for St. Joseph’s inspiration and intercession — for you, for your family, and for the Order.”
On Oct. 25, Pope Francis blessed the icon during a private audience with Supreme Knight Kelly at the Vatican. Later addressing state deputies during the Midyear Meeting, the supreme knight affirmed, “The Holy Father was grateful that we’ve made St. Joseph a central focus of our spiritual efforts.”
Archbishop Lori, in his homily during the Nov. 6 votive Mass, noted that the intent of the pilgrim prayer program is to spread devotion to St. Joseph and to inspire men to put faith in action.
“In choosing Joseph to care with a father’s love for the incarnate Son of God,” the supreme chaplain said, “the eternal Father recognized in St. Joseph a man of utmost integrity — a man who perhaps had no idea what God had in mind for him but nonetheless went about his daily life and work with honesty and reliability.”
Since its inception in 1979, the Knights of Columbus Pilgrim Prayer Program, featuring numerous sacred images as its centerpiece, has included more than 174,000 local council and parish prayer services, drawing some 22 million participants. The image of St. Joseph that was chosen for the current prayer program was created by iconographer Élizabeth Bergeron, based on a drawing by Alexandre Sobolev, and resides at St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montréal. Learn more and find resources by visiting kofc.org/pilgrimicon.