Kelly explained that the Knights are going to continue with the campaign to assist refugees, given the possibility of an extended ground war, coupled with the need eventually to rebuild. “Right now there are currently 1.2 million refugees and experts are expecting that number to quadruple,” Kelly said.
“We have gone out to all of our members encouraging them to continue to pray, fast, and give alms, so as to respond to Pope Francis’ request,” he said. You can learn more about the relief effort in the Knights of Columbus video below.
Kelly anticipates that his team will reach out personally to each council during Lent and that most will be able to respond in a communal way to help Ukraine. “Many people feel very helpless when they see this war machine rolling into Ukraine, but praying, fasting and providing funds for the humanitarian situation is a very real, very concrete way to help,” he said.
“Blessed Father Michael McGivney founded our fraternal organization to help the vulnerable. At that time they were widows and orphans, but the vulnerable may change, and in this situation the vulnerable are the Ukrainian families, women and children, and we as Knights are responding accordingly.”
Regarding the worldwide shift that the Russian invasion will bring, the Supreme Knight explained that “we will still have to see how things develop, but some of the first lessons are that we can’t take democracy or free elections for granted; and specifically from the perspective of the Knights of Columbus, we are being confirmed in the need for solidarity and unity and the way in which that universal entity, that is the Church, can bring it to the world.”
Kelly was asked his thoughts on his first year as Supreme Knight being marked by such an unexpected crisis.
“When you are in a leadership role, you never know the situation you will be dealing with. You have to trust in God because we could never anticipate that Russia would be going into Ukraine,” he said.
“So from a spiritual perspective, it is all trusting in the Lord. For me personally, God has been so good to me in the last year in terms of assistance. I start every day on my knees and that’s what sustains me, because our faith is in Jesus Christ and all we do is work to do His will,” he said.
“We cannot plan everything, the Lord has His ways and all we can do is respond.”
Kelly concluded the interview with CNA by recounting a recent personal experience of entrusting all to the Lord.
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“I was recently at the Vatican and I had the opportunity to go to Mass in the chapel of Saints Benedict, Cyril and Methodius, the co-patrons of Europe, in the Vatican grotto. The Knights helped to restore that chapel and we went there specifically to pray for Europe and to pray for the end of the tensions between Ukraine and Russia. But within days we saw the invasion,” he said.
“So, in this defining moment of history, we are here for the long haul. It will take a long time for the world to digest this and see how to respond,” Kelly said. “Meanwhile, the Knights will not relent in our humanitarian response to this aggression.”