On April 18, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly was presented with the Lantern Award — which honors those who reflect the religious and patriotic ideals of the Founding Fathers — from the Massachusetts State Council at the 120th Annual Patriots’ Day Dinner in Framingham, Mass. Upon accepting the award, the supreme knight told attendees that he believes the recognition is meant not just for him, but for all members of the Knights of Columbus.
“They come from across the United States and many other countries, yet whichever nation he calls home, a brother Knight is a patriot,” Supreme Knight Kelly said. “He serves his homeland; he preserves life and liberty; and he proclaims the truth.”
The award has been given annually by the Massachusetts State Council since 1957, and is named for the lanterns placed in Boston’s Old North Church on April 18, 1775. The lanterns served as signals to American colonists of the British Army’s advancement during the latter’s attempt to capture an arms stockpile, which led to the Battles of Lexington and Concord — the opening salvo of the Revolutionary War.
“Today, there may be no lanterns lit in the Old North Church. But there are signal fires burning near and far, and they are summoning us,” the supreme knight said. “New struggles are upon us. And like the patriots of 1775, we cannot afford to be complacent.”
Supreme Knight Kelly then shared about his Holy Week visit to Poland and Ukraine, where he met with Knights who are providing aid to refugees and families displaced by the war
“I had a window into the patriotism of one nation in crisis and another nation that is bravely assisting in this hour of need,” he said. “Father McGivney’s concern for ‘the needy and the outcast’ has remained our mission, and it is being lived out in a profound way by our brother Knights who are caring for the women and children fleeing the war in Ukraine.”
While visiting Ukraine, the supreme knight ceremonially installed Ukraine State Deputy Youriy Maletskiy and gave him the authority to welcome men into the Fourth Degree. He did so due to the many Knights in the country who have recently sought to have the degree conferred upon them.
“One such request came from a young man who is fighting at the front,” Supreme Knight Kelly explained. “He told Youriy that he knows that he may die, and he is willing. But if he dies, he wants it to be known to all that he dies as a Catholic gentleman, a Knight, a patriot.”
The supreme knight added, “Our brothers in Ukraine are an inspiration. And they are not alone. The entire Order has stepped up to support them.”
Within 36 hours of the Russian invasion, the Supreme Council established the Ukraine Solidarity Fund, which has raised more than $12 million to provide essential aid, including shelter, food, medical supplies and clothing, for refugees and displaced people.’
“This is our mission: to be men for others,” the supreme knight said. “May we be true to this mission and always fight for the things that are worth defending, like the patriots we commemorate today.”
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