Share this story

 | Knights of Columbus

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly Encourages Knights of Columbus to Grow in Their Calling to be 'First in Faith and Charity' at 141st Supreme Convention

August 2, 2023 | The Knights of Columbus 141st Supreme Convention continued today as Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly encouraged the more than 2,300 Knights and their families, members of the Catholic hierarchy and special guests in attendance to grow in their calling to be “First in Faith and Charity” in their parishes, homes, communities and around the world.

“It’s a pleasure to celebrate another great year. We had a year of faith in action and heroic charity,” said the supreme knight. “We stepped up in so many ways — all 2 million Knights of Columbus.”

Supreme Knight Kelly continued, “We donated $185 million to charity and devoted 49 million hours to volunteer service. We protected Catholic families with a record $121 billion of life insurance in force. And around the world, we rose to meet the biggest challenges — from saving unborn children to supporting the people of Ukraine. I’m grateful to God for the way he has worked among us and through us, and as we look back at the past year, I am confident Father McGivney is proud of us.”

First in Faith

Supreme Knight Kelly reminded guests that Father Michael McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus with one mission: to follow Christ.

“And he called us to fulfill it through faith and charity,” said the supreme knight. “For Father McGivney and the first Knights, faith and charity went hand in hand. They knew that spiritual poverty and material poverty both diminish human dignity — and both demand a strong response.”

The supreme knight stated that the Order’s mission is more urgent than ever today, as our culture is growing more hostile to the Catholic faith. He noted, “The two institutions that are most essential to human flourishing — the family and the Church — are facing mounting threats.”

In response to these growing threats to the family and the Church, the supreme knight challenged Knights to remain committed to the Order’s mission and point the world to Jesus Christ.

“In this new era, forming Catholic men must be our top priority,” he said. “If we get the man right, we get everything right — the marriage, the family, the parish, the community. We need men who say ‘yes’ to their God-given vocation.”

In an effort to strengthen Catholic men and help them grow in prayer, faith formation and fraternity, Supreme Knight Kelly announced a new initiative called Cor, which he described as “a game changer.”

The name “Cor” is inspired by the motto of John Henry Cardinal Newman: Cor ad cor loquitor, or “heart speaks to heart.” In fact, Cor is the Latin word for “heart,” which in turn is the root of the word “courage” in English.

The Knights have continued to create a number of resources to help Catholic men grow in their faith and that can be used at Cor meetings, including the new Men of the Word Bible Study program. Men of the Word — one of the first resources of its kind for Catholic men — offers an examination of God’s plan for men by studying the core Gospel message in Scripture. In particular, Men of the Word shows how the message of the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus proclaimed, needs to be heard and lived by men today.

“This Bible study will bring Scripture alive, and it has the power to transform our lives,” said the supreme knight.

Also debuting is a new video series on marriage, family and fatherhood called Into the Breach: The Mission of the Family. This five-part series proclaims the truth and beauty of the Catholic vision of family life and seeks to inspire viewers to live this vision.

Episodes will examine the place of the Catholic family in a post-Christian culture; the nature of marriage; the gift of children, forgiveness and healing in family life; and how to raise a faithful family.

As Supreme Knight Kelly noted, there is an urgent need in the Church for this video series. A recent poll found that only a third of Catholic parents care if their children keep the faith (Pew Research Center, January 2023, Parenting in America Today.)

“A relationship with Christ is the greatest gift we can offer the next generation,” said the supreme knight. “The Knights of Columbus has a duty to help parents grow in their faith and pass it on to their children. Our new video series will help.”

In addition, the Knights of Columbus is a major sponsor of the National Eucharistic Revival, supporting the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in their effort to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist.

In May 2024, one of the National Eucharistic Revival’s four cross-country processions will start in New Haven, Connecticut, at the tomb of Blessed Michael McGivney, “America’s Parish Priest.” The processions will culminate in Indianapolis, Indiana, for the National Eucharistic Congress in July 2024.

First in Charity

Supreme Knight Kelly then encouraged the Knights to use their faith to drive their charitable work by again turning to the mission established by Blessed Michael McGivney for guidance.

“Reaching new depths of faith will take us to new heights of charity,” he said. “Father McGivney showed us the way. His love for Christ led him to care for widows and orphans. Last year, in countless ways, we channeled our faith into charity.”

The Knights’ key worldwide charitable endeavors from the past year include:

  • Providing more than $33 million to aid persecuted Christians in the Middle East

  • Standing with Catholics in Indigenous communities through the Order’s Native Solidarity initiative, and by honoring the 10-year anniversary of Kateri Tekakwitha’s canonization at

    the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C.

  • Providing mobility to those in need, marking the 20th anniversary of the Order’s wheelchair


  • Directing more than $5.3 million in the wake of natural disasters

  • Continuing the Order’s enduring commitment to support priests and seminarians with


  • Contributing over $21 million to Special Olympics

  • Bringing blankets and food to the homeless and communities in cities such as Puebla, New

    Mexico, and Angers, France

  • Continuing the Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids program, which will donate its one-

    millionth coat to a child in need this winter

    Supreme Knight Kelly also provided an update of the Knights’ largest-ever relief effort — the Ukraine Solidarity Fund — which was established within 36 hours of Russia’s invasion. Today, the Ukraine Solidarity Fund has raised over $21 million dollars to assist Ukrainian refugees — mostly women and children — and their families. As a result, more than 9,000 Knights in Ukraine and Poland have distributed 7.2 million pounds of food, 3.6 million pounds of care packages, 85,000 pounds of medications and more to those affected by the war.

    Supreme Knight Kelly then explained how the Knights’ support for the Ukrainian people continues to expand, such as through its new partnership with the Pontes Foundation, which protects Ukrainian women and girls from human trafficking.

    “The Knights of Columbus is fighting human trafficking for a simple reason,” said the supreme knight. “As Catholic men, we protect vulnerable women and children. Every human being is made in God’s image. And no human being should ever be bought or sold.”

In addition to faith and charity, Supreme Knight Kelly recalled that since the Order’s founding, Knights have fought to defend freedom, human dignity and equal justice wherever they live. He noted that today, religious liberty is especially under threat — to the point where the Order’s beliefs are being labeled as “hate speech.”

Supreme Knight Kelly said, “Let me be clear: There is nothing hateful about the sanctity of marriage, the reality of biological sex, or the humanity of the unborn child. And the Knights of Columbus will never apologize for defending the truth!”

Insurance & Investments

Supreme Knight Kelly also congratulated the achievements of the Knights’ insurance and investments divisions.

“As Catholic men, we all have a duty to protect families,” he said. “Father McGivney built the Knights around this truth. And he charged us with caring for widows and orphans through our life insurance program.”

Knights of Columbus Insurance continues to earn superior ratings from AM Best (A+) and Standard & Poor’s (AA+). And, for the second consecutive year, Forbes has recognized Knights of Columbus Insurance as one of America’s best life insurance companies.

The Knights of Columbus also strives to be first in Catholic finance. Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors empowers Catholics to invest according to their faith and today manages more than $2.3 billion for Catholic families, religious communities and dioceses.

Additionally, individuals and families have entrusted more than $100 million to the Knights of Columbus Charitable Fund, allowing them to support charitable causes that fully uphold the Catholic faith.

Defending the Culture of Life

The past year also witnessed many milestones as the Knights again stepped up in defense of the culture of life.

Last year, Supreme Knight Kelly announced a new pro-life initiative called ASAP (Aid and Support After Pregnancy) and challenged Knights to raise $5 million for pregnancy centers and maternity homes. “We didn’t meet that goal — we exceeded it, by more than $1 million!” the supreme knight announced.

Additionally, the Knights have now donated 1,745 ultrasound machines to pro-life pregnancy centers, helping mothers see their babies and choose life.

Supreme Knight Kelly also acknowledged the 50th anniversary of the March for Life. This year, the Knights co-hosted the first-ever “Life Fest” event with the Sisters of Life, which drew over 4,000 high school and college students.

“As I marched with my brother Knights in January, I felt a renewed sense of hope,” said the supreme knight. “It came, in large part, from the people who filled the streets in every direction. Our movement is young and passionate and filled with energy. And we have justice on our side. My hope hasn’t dimmed since then. In fact, it’s grown even stronger.”

Supreme Knight Kelly reminded the Knights, however, that the overturn of Roe v. Wade does not mean the end of the pro-life movement. The fight for the defense of life is far from over and will now continue in the states.

A New Era of Impact

Supreme Knight Kelly’s address also highlighted major milestones in the Order’s growth. Today, the Order has more than 2 million members around the world in 16,672 councils.

He applauded the Knights on reaching new generations and setting the stage for a “new era of impact.”

“Why do we continue to grow? Why, at a time when the Catholic Church faces serious demographic challenges, is the Order expanding year after year?” the supreme knight asked his guests. “I believe the reason is simple. In this age of mediocrity, the Knights of Columbus invites men to greatness; to sacrifice themselves for the good of others; to commit to a higher call with a band of brothers; and to stand strong in the breach, side by side, instead of being swept away by the culture, one at a time.”

About the Knights of Columbus

In 1882, Blessed Michael McGivney, a young parish priest in New Haven, Connecticut, founded the Knights of Columbus to serve the needs of a largely immigrant Catholic community. What began as a small fraternal benefit society has since grown into the world’s premier lay Catholic men’s organization, with more than 2 million members in over 16,000 local councils. As one of the world’s leading international charitable organizations, Knights around the world donated approximately 48 million service hours and nearly $154 million for worthy causes in their communities in 2021. The Knights of Columbus also offers extensive life insurance products to members and their families. Knights of Columbus currently has more than $121 billion* of life insurance in force and was named by Forbes as one of America’s Best Insurance Companies 2023. In addition, the Knights offers investment services in accord with Catholic social teaching through its wholly owned subsidiary Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors, which holds more than $26 billion in assets under management. Based on the founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity, the Knights of Columbus is committed to strengthening Catholic families and parishes and to practicing faith in action through service to all in need. To learn more or to join the Knights of Columbus, please visit

*As of March 31, 2023