Since its founding at St. Mary’s Parish in New Haven, Conn., the Knights of Columbus have a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus. And during the current pandemic, the Knights’ devotion has not faltered. And now, as we enter May, which is celebrated as Mary’s month, it’s an excellent time to draw inspiration from the historic devotion of our brother Knights.
Rosaries are perhaps the most popular Marian devotion among the Knights. Every brother Knight is given a Knights of Columbus rosary when they first join a council and is urged to keep it with him at all times.
Throughout the history of the Church, many saints have recommended the rosary as a powerful way to pray and grow in holiness. Many famous Knights have also attested to the importance of praying the rosary, which you can read about here. You can also check out the top five reasons to pray the rosary and learn the individual prayers.
One way to dedicate yourself to the Blessed Mother is through making a “Marian consecration,” an act of dedication preceded by several days of meditation and prayer.
During this preparation, you’ll gain a deep appreciation for how perfectly Mary followed God’s will and be inspired to emulate her example — of complete surrender to our Lord — and better dedicate yourself to Jesus Christ and to his Church.
There are many different forms to choose from, all of which center on imitating the Blessed Mother’s virtue so closely that we become like “another Mary.” Some of the most popular forms include St. Louis de Montfort’s program “Total Consecration,” Father Michael Gaitley’s “33 Days to Morning Glory” and St. Maximillian Kolbe’s nine-day novena in honor of the Immaculate Conception.
Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Though many Knights choose to consecrate themselves to Mary, the Order as a whole was entrusted to Our Lady of Guadalupe by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in 2000.
When Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego in the early sixteenth century, she shared with him words of comfort that have resounded across the centuries: “Am I not here, I who am your mother?”
“At Guadalupe, the Mother of God came to be the Mother of the Americas,” Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles wrote in a preface to Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love, co-written by the supreme knight and Msgr. Eduardo Chavez.
“She is then a profound icon of the unity of humanity and the Church’s mission to create one family of God out of the world’s nations and races, people and languages,” he explained.
Through continuing devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Knights of Columbus, Knights internalize her message and strengthen their connection to Mary as her sons.
You have probably seen a scapular, even if you don’t know what it is. Scapulars are two pieces of cloth worn at one’s front and back much like a large apron. Today, lay Catholics tend to wear a smaller version, made up of a thin string connecting two quarter-size squares of fabric, which usually contain an image of the Blessed Mother and other saints.
The scapular is a sacramental — an object considered by the Church to raise our hearts to God, to increase devotion and to remit venial sin.
Though there are many types of scapular, the most common is the Brown Scapular, a devotion which began with St. Simon Stock. St. Simon received the first brown scapular from Mary in a vision, during which Mary promised her prayers and the graces of God to those who wear it.
The Medal of Our Lady of Grace, more commonly known as the “miraculous medal,” dates back to 1830 in France, when the Blessed Mother appeared before St. Catherine Labouré. Our Lady gave Catherine the design for the medal and tasked her with spreading the devotion, promising immense graces to anyone who wears the medal.
Knights have been spreading love of Our Lady through images through our Marian Prayer Program since 1979. Through the program, the Knights commission icons of the Blessed Mother during special prayer services.
More than 166,900 local council and parish prayer services have been held with some 20 million participants since the start of the program.