NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Knights of Columbus announced today a novena — nine days of prayer — to St. Joseph for Pope Francis to mark the 10th anniversary of his pontificate. The novena will begin on Sunday, March 12, and conclude on Monday, March 20 — the transferred Solemnity of St. Joseph. The novena will encompass the March 13 anniversary of the election of Pope Francis and the anniversary of his installation on March 19, 2013. (Ed. Note: In 2023, the Feast of St. Joseph is transferred to March 20 since March 19 falls on a Sunday of Lent this year.)
Pictured: Pope Francis blessed a St. Joseph pilgrim icon that was presented by Supreme Knight Kelly during a private audience at the Vatican on Oct. 25, 2021. (Photo by L’Osservatore Romano)
Each day, the Knights’ novena invites the faithful to reflect on a short prayer from Pope Francis, to offer a decade of the rosary, and to conclude with a special prayer for Pope Francis composed by Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore. The novena culminates March 20 with the Litany of St. Joseph, to which Pope Francis added seven new invocations on May 1, 2021, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. The new invocations may be viewed here. The daily reflection prayers are taken from Pope Francis’ cycle of 12 catecheses on St. Joseph, which he delivered during a series of General Audiences from Nov. 17, 2021, through Feb. 16, 2022. Those interested in receiving daily reminders with the novena prayers are invited to sign up at kofc.org/stjoseph.
“In the name of the 2 million Knights of Columbus around the world, I thank and congratulate Pope Francis as he marks his 10th anniversary as Bishop of Rome and spiritual leader of the Catholic Church,” said Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly.
“Every time I’ve been blessed to meet Pope Francis, he has asked that we pray for him,” Supreme Knight Kelly continued. “I know that I pray for him every day, and I call upon my brother Knights in every nation to pray with me for Pope Francis in a special way on the occasion of his anniversary.”
Since the beginning of his papacy in 2013, the Knights and Pope Francis have demonstrated a shared and growing devotion to St. Joseph.
On Oct. 10, 2013, Pope Francis received the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors for the first time in a private audience, and commended the Order to St. Joseph, “the protector of the Holy Family of Nazareth, who is an admirable model of those manly virtues of quiet strength, integrity and fidelity which the Knights of Columbus are committed to preserving, cultivating and passing on to future generations of Catholic men.” To view Pope Francis’ address to the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors, click here.
During Supreme Knight Kelly’s first meeting with Pope Francis, on Oct. 23, 2020, he presented to the Holy Father a St. Joseph icon from the Order’s Pilgrim Icon Program, which continues to promote devotion to St. Joseph around the world through opportunities for rosary-based communal prayer organized by local councils.
Following Pope Francis’ declaration of 2020-2021 as the “Year of St. Joseph,” the Knights convened for their annual Supreme Convention in 2021 under the theme “Called to Creative Courage.” On behalf of Pope Francis, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin conveyed an inspirational message to the event, writing, “The Knights of Columbus, as a premier Catholic organization of men and fathers, have chosen to celebrate this Year of Saint Joseph with an emphasis on his role as ‘Guardian of the Family.’ Throughout its history, your Order has distinguished itself, not only by its efforts to support and assist families in their God-given role as the primary educators of their children in the faith, but also by its principled public defense of the nature of marriage and the family, the inviolable dignity of human life, and the right to religious freedom. That witness remains today more precious than ever.” Click here to read this Papal Message.
In addition, the Knights of Columbus has produced a documentary titled St. Joseph: Our Spiritual Father, as well as numerous resources on St. Joseph, all of which can be accessed here.
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 provides investment services in accord with Catholic social teaching through Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors, which holds more than $25 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 kofc.org/join.
*As of December 31, 2022