Frank Giacoio, a Knight from Cardinal Hayes Council 3995 in Yonkers, N.Y., is recovering from COVID-19. He experienced a 101-degree fever, headache, coughing, loss of sense of smell and other flu-like symptoms. He’s now quarantined at home for several weeks. But even though he’s at home, Giacoio is helping his community in an important way — through prayer.
Giacoio lives in New York, where dioceses across the state have canceled public Masses. So his council began looking for a way they could experience both parish community and prayer life, while best observing proper social distancing. That’s when they began researching the types of telecommunications software. Giacoio and two of his brother Knights, Joe Razza and Greg Callozzo, quickly chose a telecommunications service and provided members of their parish and local community access to it. They meet remotely every evening to pray and the number of participants in the prayer group continues to grow.
“We first started with the novena prayer for Protection in Time of Pandemic suggested by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson,” Giacoio said. “But even though we passed the first nine nights of the novena, we are continuing to pray until this crisis comes to an end.”
Their prayers also include the Prayer to the Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Prayer for the Canonization of Fr. Michael J. McGivney, the Annunciation Novena, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and any prayers requested by the other attendees. On Friday nights, they also pray the Stations of the Cross and the rosary.
“My hope and my prayer is for people to tune out the grim predictions you see on the TV and to have trust and faith in God,” Callozzo said. “That when they come to the prayer group, they feel God’s power and love and know that no matter how far apart we are, we’re all united in the body of Christ.”
Giacoio has found the virtual prayer group helped him remain calm throughout the course of his illness. Not only was he a recipient of the group’s prayers, he was also a recipient of their charity, since the group also encourages checking in with their neighbors to see if they have enough food.
“It felt strange that I was asking our prayer group to check on others, and now my neighbors are dropping fresh produce at my door because I can’t leave,” said Giacoio. “But this is exactly why Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus — for the community to take care of each other.
“Many people are not aware, but our Order was founded in very similar circumstances,” he said. “Our founder died as the result of a pandemic, but his legacy lives on in the Order. The work of our prayer group is just another manifestation of the millions of things the Order does to continue his mission.”
Cardinal Hayes Council 3995 proves that no matter what limitations we must endure because of COVID-19, Knights can still serve through prayer and faith.
For those who can leave their homes, the Knights of Columbus recently launched a new initiative called Leave No Neighbor Behind. This initiative encourages Knights to engage in service much like what Cardinal Hayes Council is doing: feeding the hungry, participating in blood drives and supporting brother Knights, parishes and communities while following health guidelines.
Share your story of how your council is helping strengthen people’s faith and offering support during this time. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in a special bi-weekly edition of Knightline, a resource for K of C leaders and members. Access Knightline’s monthly archives.
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