“It's terrible to see this kind of vandalism,” Kelly added.
The Future of the Knights
Kelly said the organization is placing a priority on reaching out to young men.
Kelly said that the Knights have piloted an evangelization and discipleship initiative in a few states in which they are training their councils how to evangelize, speak about the faith, and bring people in.
Kelly emphasized that when young men understand their faith, it has an “exponential” effect on their family.
“That's the No. 1 thing you could do for the family is to get the man to really own his faith and really understand his role as a Catholic man, as a provider, as a father, and as a husband,” Kelly said.
But young Catholic men are not the only priority of outreach for the Knights.
Kelly said the organization is planning to redouble their efforts in reaching out to the Hispanic community as well. There are many Hispanic knights, he said, but because of the growth of the demographic within the United States, “we need more Hispanic knights.”
In order to stay true to the vision of Blessed Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights, reaching out to new communities is imperative, he said.
One of the ways the Knights are reaching out to a younger demographic is through online videos. The Knights’ video series “Into the Breach” was viewed more than 1 million times, he said. Another video series is coming next year on marriage and family life, he added.
“Where ‘Into the Breach’ focused on masculine identity, the series on marriage and family is going to focus on man's role in his marriage and man's role as the leader of the family,” he said.
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The Knights in Ukraine
The Knights are still supporting Ukrainian refugees, Kelly said, and their fundraising efforts have achieved immense success.
Within 48 hours of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Knights implemented a fundraiser called the Ukraine Solidarity Fund. That fund has amassed $19 million for refugees, Kelly said.
Kelly said those funds are being used to ship food, water, clothing, shelter, and healthcare to refugees in trucks coming out of Poland called KofC Charity Convoys.
Kelly, who visited Ukraine in April, said it was a deeply moving experience.
Joseph Bukuras is a journalist at the Catholic News Agency. Joe has prior experience working in state and federal government, in non-profits, and Catholic education. He has contributed to an array of publications and his reporting has been cited by leading news sources, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Catholic University of America. He is based out of the Boston area.