Since the founding of the Order, Knights have had a strong devotion to the rosary. One of the few relics we have of our founder, Father Michael J. McGivney, is his rosary. While each Knight has a story behind the rosary he carries and prays, these seven men help remind their brother Knights of the power of the rosary.
Though Knights have always been devoted to the Blessed Mother, it was Supreme Knight Virgil Dechant who best showed how our identity as Knights is tied to the rosary.
“Mary with her Knights … what challenge can we not face?” said Dechant, confident in the power of the rosary to strengthen the Knights. Inspired by this confidence, Dechant began the Knights’ practice of giving each new member of the Order a rosary.
This rosary is a defining mark of every man who joins the Knights of Columbus. That is why every new Knight promises to carry his rosary with him at all times and to pray it as often as he can – a promise which strengthens his devotion to the Blessed Mother.
When Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego, she consoled him saying, “Am I not your mother? Are you not under the protection of my mantle?”
For Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, brother Knight and postulator for the canonization cause of St. Juan Diego, these words of Our Lady remind us that we are all one family, and that our charity to others is, in fact, an act of charity to our own brothers and sisters.
Msgr. Chavez, who coauthored Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love with Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, has championed devotion to The Rosary of Guadalupan Love.
Venerable Fulton Sheen — a famous Catholic preacher, televangelist and brother Knight — has helped many people to believe in Jesus Christ. His preaching was profound, communicating the Catholic faith in a way that touched the hearts of even the most determined atheist. Yet, Sheen always held that the rosary was a more powerful means of conversion than any of his sermons or television programs.
"If you wish to convert anyone to the fullness of the knowledge of Our Lord and of his Mystical Body, then teach him the rosary,” Sheen said. “One of two things will happen. Either he will stop saying the rosary — or he will get the gift of faith."
Sheen’s reminder serves as a double challenge for Knights: First, to pray our rosary often to strengthen our own relationship with Jesus, and, second, to encourage others to pray the rosary with us and help bring them closer to Christ.
When a shooter came into his classroom at STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7, 2019, Kendrick Castillo confronted the shooter. He lost his life, buying time for others to get to safety. The heroism of the young man, who was posthumously made a member of the Knights of Columbus at the 137th Supreme Convention, was testified to by all who knew him. But as his father, John Castillo, recounts, Kendrick’s heroism was not limited to his self — sacrificing act.
“I want people to understand and realize that it wasn’t that one act that he did that day,” John says. “But it’s how he lived and celebrated his life. He was my hero his entire life.”
How did Kendrick live and celebrate his life? Through prayer, especially in his devotion to the rosary.
“He prayed the rosary when he felt the need,” John Castillo said, “I never pried and asked when and why he did it, but he would pray.”
An honorary Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton exemplified the importance of the rosary. For him, the rosary didn’t just help one person, it helped the whole family.
“The family that prays together stays together” was Father Peyton’s famous phrase — and he didn’t want families to say just any prayer. As his nickname “the rosary priest” implies, Father Peyton dedicated his life to encouraging every family to pray the rosary.
The Knights continue the legacy of promoting the family rosary, especially by providing resources like A Scriptural Rosary for the Family to support families in their prayer. Especially in this time, when families are called to pray together in a special way as a domestic church, Knights can find inspiration in Father Peyton’s commitment to the family rosary.
Scott Hahn is known as a great Catholic scripture scholar, and his story of conversion from a Protestant minister to a Catholic theologian has inspired countless Catholics, many of whom are Knights of Columbus like Hahn himself.
In converting to the Catholic Church, Hahn discovered so many of the Church’s powerful prayers and spiritual treasures. In the “Prayer” episode of the Knights of Columbus’ new Into the Breach video series, available for free, Hahn shares why his devotion to the rosary is central to his life.
“More than Visa or American express, my rosary beads in my left hip pocket are the key,” Hahn says. ”And I look at life as spiritual warfare. They’re beads for the battle, like spiritual bullets.”
“And even if I can only get two or three Hail Mary’s out,” Hahn continues, “I feel as though the devil’s going to duck, if not run.”
St. Miguel de la Mora de la Mora was one of many priests who resisted anti-Catholic laws in Mexico during the Cristero War of early twentieth century. When Father de la Mora identified himself as a priest in front of government supporters, he was immediately arrested, and then sentenced to death.
Father de la Mora faced his martyrdom with faith and prayer. As his executioners readied the firing squad, he turned to his great consolation — the rosary. In the time of great distress, pain and fear, Father de la Mora knew that great comfort and strength can be found in devotion to the Blessed Mother through the rosary.
On May 21, 2000 — during the month of Mary — Father de la Mora was canonized as one of 25 Mexican martyrs, and is one of the six brother Knights recognized as saints for their martyrdom during the Cristero War.