Jonathan Reyes, senior vice president of communications and strategic partnerships, interviewed Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly for Episode 3 of KnightCast, which premiered online April 29. Visit kofc.org/knightcast. The following text is abridged and adapted from their conversation about St. Joseph’s role in the Church today.
JONATHAN REYES: Why is St. Joseph so important for the Knights and so important for you?
SUPREME KNIGHT PATRICK KELLY: St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers, but he’s also the patron saint of the universal Church and is extremely important in our cultural journey today.
Pope Francis talks about the creative courage of St. Joseph. As men and fathers and Knights, we need that kind of creativity in our lives. St. Joseph was a man of obedience, which led him to be a man of action.
If you think about it, he didn’t have the Gospels in written form, but you could say he lived with the Gospel by living with Jesus. The Lord spoke to St. Joseph through dreams, too. But he didn’t have the full picture. Still, he obeyed, and it was that obedience which we can emulate ‘ an obedience that always leads us to action.
That’s a key point for us as men, fathers and husbands. When we’re obedient to the Lord, he always sends us on mission. He never wastes that obedience; the Lord is always moving forward, and wants us to be his instruments.
JONATHAN REYES: I’ve often heard it said that Christianity is not boring; it’s an adventure. When we say “yes” as Knights, husbands and fathers, the Lord is going to take us places we probably didn’t imagine.
SUPREME KNIGHT: Yes, the French author Charles Péguy said that in the modern world the father of a family is the great adventurer. And I think that’s really true. It is a challenging situation that we face in our culture today, and a father needs to protect his family.
It used to be that you protected your family by locking the doors and making sure everything’s secure at night. Well, now the intruder comes through the internet. I hope I’m not speaking too dramatically here, but that intruder comes with an agenda, and it is packaged for children. We have to be really vigilant about this with our children, because there are forces that want to have a greater influence on your children than you.
JONATHAN REYES: St. Joseph is called the Terror of Demons. Some people might think that title is simply medieval, but isn’t it actually very concrete and apt in this day and age, when so many don’t believe in spiritual warfare?
SUPREME KNIGHT: I think that’s right, because spiritual warfare is very real. If you don’t think it’s real, you may be in the midst of it.
Whenever we’re cooperating with the Lord, there will be resistance from the evil one. St. Joseph can really help us with this, for he was the closest to Jesus and to Mary and was their protector.
Today, fatherhood is under a systematic attack. The evil one wants to take out the family, because when you destroy the family, you hurt future generations. As fathers, we need to pray to St. Joseph, the Terror of Demons, to strengthen us against these attacks.
JONATHAN REYES: What are some of the things you do to honor St. Joseph or to make St. Joseph a part of your family life?
SUPREME KNIGHT: My devotion to St. Joseph has grown over the years, particularly as a husband and father.
Before I came to work for the Supreme Council, I did a 30-day novena to St. Joseph to help me discern my decision. I really credit St. Joseph with my working for the Knights.
Now, every morning I pray the prayer that Pope Francis says to St. Joseph. It was on a prayer card in the March issue of Columbia. It asks for St. Joseph’s help with the serious and troubling situations that we commend to him. I have it on my desk in the office, and I sometimes pray it throughout the day because I find it to be such a powerful prayer.
There’s another interesting devotion that my wife and I have — an older devotion that is regaining popularity. We have a statue of St. Joseph sleeping, and we write down prayer intentions and put them under the statue. So, St. Joseph is sleeping on these petitions, and we pray for his intercession. And it’s amazingly efficacious. You pull the prayer petitions out weeks later, and you think, yes, answered, yes, that was resolved. It really is an extraordinary devotion.
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