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Pope praises Knights of Columbus seeking St. Joseph’s “creative courage”


U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Summers Jr./Released

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 08/04/21

Pope Francis says the newly beatified founder of the KofC, Michael McGivney, also lived this virtue.

Pope Francis is encouraging the Knights of Columbus in their efforts to learn from St. Joseph, “a particularly good model for all those men who, in these times of uncertainty and unrest, seek to persevere in fidelity to our Lord and his Church.”

The Knights of Columbus are having their 139th annual convention, held at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut.

The theme this year — “Called to Creative Courage” — is taken from the Pope’s reflection on St. Joseph, Patris Corde.

If the first stage of all true interior healing is to accept our personal history and embrace even the things in life that we did not choose, we must now add another important element: creative courage. This emerges especially in the way we deal with difficulties. In the face of difficulty, we can either give up and walk away, or somehow engage with it. At times, difficulties bring out resources we did not even think we had.

The Holy Father’s greeting to the Knights of Columbus came through a letter from his Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

“Saint Joseph’s example of ‘creative courage’ in the fulfilment of his vocation as father of the Holy Family makes him a particularly good model for all those men who, in these times of uncertainty and unrest, seek to persevere in fidelity to our Lord and his Church, entrusting their lives and the lives of their families to his providential guidance and care.”

Newly beatified founder

The message also acknowledged how the convention theme reflects the life of the Knights’ recently beatified founder, Father Michael J. McGivney, saying, “Indeed, it was creative courage that characterized the life and ministry of Blessed Michael McGivney, who in 1882, with a small group of Catholic men, laid the foundations of the Knights of Columbus in response to the pressing spiritual and material needs of working men and their families. From seeds planted in a small but vibrant local parish, your Order expanded throughout the world in subsequent years, enriching the lives of countless men and contributing in signal fashion to the development of the modern lay apostolate in service to the Church’s universal mission.”

Father McGivney’s beatification last October was also recognized as a “significant milestone in this distinguished history and represents a summons to renewed fidelity to the founding principles of faith, fraternity and charitable assistance to those in need.”

Referring to the Knights as, “a premier Catholic organization of men and fathers,” the Holy Father’s message urged members to be men of courageous witness, faith, and integrity.

“Men,” it said, “committed to building up rather than tearing down, promoting healing and reconciliation in place of hatred and recrimination, and inviting all to undertake the ‘journey of fraternity’ that can lead to a world ever more in accord with God’s saving plan for our human family.”

Persecuted Christians

Additionally, the papal message included the Holy Father’s gratitude for the Knights’ “unfailing support of our Christian brothers and sisters experiencing persecution for the sake of the Gospel,” as well as their “manifold charitable activities” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pope Francis also sent prayerful good wishes to Patrick Kelly on his “new responsibilities as Supreme Knight, and to the members of the Supreme Council.”

This convention marks Patrick Kelly’s first convention as supreme knight since being installed earlier this year.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Knights of Columbus are holding their convention virtually Aug. 3-4, with members tuning in around the world to key convention events broadcast from the home of the Supreme Council headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut.

You can watch it online from, EWTN Live and Catholic TV.

Knights of ColumbusPope FrancisSaint Joseph
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