Many believe Joe Reali was a "saint."
In many ways, Joe Reali was just like any other 26-year-old living in New York. As an article in Columbia Magazine describes, “he was also a regular guy who enjoyed hosting parties, going dancing with his friends or blasting music while canning tomatoes with the family. He had a playful side, with a fondness for pranks and fireworks.” He loved football and was popular with girls.
Yet, Joe wasn’t “average” and spent his short life on earth serving God and his neighbor. He prayed the Rosary, attended daily Mass and frequently brought other people to church. His evangelical joy attracted many people, which is why 3,000 people attended his funeral when died from a heart condition in 2015.
Shortly before he died Joe joined the Knights of Columbus, though he never lived to be initiated. On account of his amazing life, the local Knights of Columbus decided to name their new council after him, the Joseph Mario Reali Council 16261. Since then, the council has grown tremendously and the men continue to be deeply inspired by Joe’s witness of faith.
His life was very similar to that of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, another young man who enjoyed life and brought others closer to Christ. Not surprisingly, Joe’s sister Luciana called him while he was on retreat and alerted him to Frassati, saying, “Joe, I found your perfect saint!”