“In this time of darkness, we need men of light,” Dominican Father John Paul Walker said in his homily at St. Joseph’s Church, one of two churches that make up St. Mary’s Parish where the Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882. “In this time of wickedness and sin, we need men of holiness and virtue. We need men who will be everything that the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney designed the Knights of Columbus to be.”
And that is the goal of the 200 men who consecrated themselves to St. Joseph in New Haven, Connecticut, where they were gathered for the 54th Knights of Columbus College Councils Conference.
The witness of these College Knights is truly countercultural. Earlier in the day, Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly—the organization’s second in command—told them the Knights of Columbus offers something secular culture does not.
“Where the culture urges selfishness, we strive for unity,” Kelly said. “Where our society praises rugged individualism, we strive for unity. And at a time when nearly half of your generation reports feeling lonely and alienated, we offer the joy and friendship that comes from fraternity.”
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As Dominican Father Jude McPeak suggested in a reflection prior to the consecration, St. Joseph is an exemplar of those virtues.
“Tonight we’re consecrating ourselves to St. Joseph as a model not just as a father, as a husband, but the model of man, the model of masculinity,” Father McPeak said. “St. Joseph who protected the innocent from danger. St. Joseph who guarded his purity and the purity of his wife.”
The consecration had great significance for the college-aged men, especially for Tyler Foreman — a senior at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and chairman of the College Knights’ student advisory board.
“[St. Joseph is] the poster child for what a Catholic man should be,” Foreman said. “Especially in today’s modern world, the Knights of Columbus need to be that poster child for what a Catholic man should be.”
During the conference, the students brought that light to people most in need in New Haven. Attendees spent their Sunday morning assembling care packages andin downtown New Haven.
“What I hope that these attendees will bring back is that fire to be that inspiration on their campus. And not just their campus, but their community, their church,” Foreman said.
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Knights of Columbus councils are present on nearly 400 campuses around the world. When Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights in New Haven in 1882, he envisioned an organization that would unite men in faith and serve those most vulnerable among us.
If these college students are any indication, Father McGivney’s vision is as strong and relevant as ever.
St. Joseph and Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney, pray for us!
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