Keeping with the theme of Saint Joseph, Kelly focused on two of the saint’s roles, first as “guardian of the family” and also as the “guardian of the truth.”
The dual roles “both align with the vision of our founder and provide a model for how we as Knights must witness to the world,” he said.
Kelly highlighted St. Joseph’s humility and obedience in his fatherly sacrifice and service to his family. Quoting Pope Francis’ apostolic letter on St. Joseph, Patris Corde, he noted the saint’s “creative courage,” referencing the “unexpected challenges” he faced in his life.
Kelly connected St. Joseph’s challenges to those faced in modern times.
“Catholic families are struggling to live out their faith and raise their children amid a culture that is increasingly hostile to our beliefs,” he said. “Catholic husbands and fathers, especially fathers of young children, need the encouragement and support of the Knights of Columbus.”
Kelly assured the Knights that they can inspire fathers with the courage to nourish their families in the faith.
“They need our witness and example to guide them in embracing their vocation to heroic generosity and self-sacrifice, for the good of their wives and children,” he said. “So let us, like St. Joseph, embrace our role as guardians of the family.”
Speaking about St. Joseph as the “guardian of truth,” Kelly acknowledged “the truth that Joseph protected had a name: Jesus Christ, who is the truth incarnate.”
Kelly proclaimed that the Knights must also serve Jesus as the truth. Noting the difficulty of serving the truth in the modern era, Kelly called the present a “time of bigotry and intolerance.”
“Key truths — truths about marriage, about life in the womb, about the nature of the family and the meaning of freedom — are often denied and even vilified,” he said. “Yet, this makes our commitment to truth all the more important.”
Kelly said the Knights will continue to be a sign of unity by standing for the truth. Referencing the Second Vatican Council, Kelly said that the truth is grounded in the Eucharist.
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“We know that Jesus Christ is really, truly present — body, blood, soul and divinity — in the Blessed Sacrament. Committed to our principle of unity, let us strive to serve Christ in the Eucharist,” Kelly said.
He said the Knights are called to have a special reverence for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Kelly concluded by asking for the intercession of Blessed Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights who was beatified last fall and whose tomb was in the back of the church. He also asked for the intercession of St. Joseph so that the Knights may have the courage to lead in these “challenging times.”
Following Kelly’s address, Archbishop Lori blessed the medals of the supreme officers who were installed. New Deputy Supreme Knight Paul G. O’Sullivan and new Supreme Secretary Patrick T. Mason were also installed on Friday.
17 supreme directors and 56 state deputies were also installed at the celebrations. Following the installations, the archbishop led the new officers to McGivney’s tomb in the back of the church and prayed for his canonization.
This article was updated on June 11 with new information.