Patrick E. Kelly elected as new Supreme Knight
The Knights of Columbus Board of Directors elected Patrick E. Kelly as the next Supreme Knight on Feb. 5, to continue the mission of charity, unity and fraternity established by the Order’s Founder, Blessed Michael McGivney, almost 140 years ago.
Carl A. Anderson will retire February 28, after more than 20 years of service as Supreme Knight and upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. He leaves a legacy of Christian witness and service to the Catholic Church, to the Knights of Columbus and to communities throughout the world.
Patrick Kelly’s tenure as the Order’s 14th Supreme Knight will commence March 1.
Statement by retiring Supreme Knight Carl Anderson:
“The Knights of Columbus board has elected an extraordinarily well-qualified new Supreme Knight in Patrick Kelly. Patrick has dedicated his life in service to the Church, his country, and the Knights of Columbus. He has served as Deputy Supreme Knight for four years and is a well-rounded public servant with diplomatic and military experience. He is ideally suited to carry on the work of the Knights of Columbus as we enter a new era, faithful to our principles of charity, unity and fraternity, and in close collaboration with the Holy See and the bishops throughout the world. As Deputy Supreme Knight, Patrick has played a leading role in several major initiatives, including our international religious freedom efforts, our pro-life Ultrasound Initiative, and our new public initiation ceremony. He also served as Executive Director of the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, leading its transformation through the creation of its worship spaces and world-class exhibit on the life of St. John Paul II. Most recently, Patrick led the Knights’ grassroots response to the COVID-19 pandemic titled “Leave No Neighbor Behind.” Through this initiative, brother Knights around the world are serving those isolated and alone in quarantine, supporting food banks and blood centers in need of vital supplies, and providing other essential services. Patrick has the experience and strong faith necessary to lead the Knights into the future.”
For over a decade, Patrick Kelly has worked at a senior level on the frontlines of the Knights’ work in charity, advocacy, and the management of the organization’s multibillion-dollar insurance and investment operations. Mr. Kelly joined the Knights as a university student in Wisconsin in 1983 and later served as State Deputy in the District of Columbia from 2012-2013. He was named the Knights’ Vice President for Public Policy in 2006 and was elected Deputy Supreme Knight in January 2017.
Statement by Archbishop William E. Lori, Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus:
“The Knights of Columbus board has elected a brilliant new Supreme Knight with whom I have had the pleasure of working with for more than a decade. Patrick Kelly is a devoted husband, father of three young daughters, and a man of deep faith with many years of experience as a public servant. He possesses the knowledge, experience and commitment necessary to carry the Order forward in service to our brother Knights, their families, our parishes, and our communities.”
The newly elected Supreme Knight is a retired Navy Captain with 20 years of military service. In 2016, he retired from the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps Reserve, where he specialized in international and operational law and served as the Commanding Officer of the international law unit at the United States Naval War College. Previously, Mr. Kelly had a long career of public service that included advisory roles to Congress and the Department of Justice. Mr. Kelly also served as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the State Department. His responsibilities included serving as the Department’s principal interlocutor with the Holy See and other nations on religious freedom issues.
Mr. Kelly holds a law degree from Marquette University Law School and a master’s in theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America.
Acceptance Statement by Supreme Knight-elect Patrick Kelly:
“I am honored, thankful and blessed. I am honored to be called to serve as Supreme Knight. I am thankful to my wife and family, and to my brother Knights for affording me this honor and privilege. I am blessed to have worked beside Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who has done so much to strengthen the Knights of Columbus and fulfill our mission through acts of love, kindness, compassion and prayer that have helped countless people here at home and around the world. Carl has long been a friend to me, and while I count myself among our many colleagues who will miss his daily collaboration, I know that he will continue to contribute much to the good of the Order as Past Supreme Knight and a member of the board of directors. I wish Carl, his wife Dorian, and the entire Anderson family the very best and thank them for everything they have done in service to the Knights and the Church.”
“I look forward to continuing Carl’s great work and will strive to guide the Knights of Columbus by the principles of charity, unity and fraternity according to the vision of Blessed Michael McGivney. These principles are as important today as they were almost 140 years ago at our founding. They are a proven path to deepen our Catholic faith, and build strong families, strong parishes, and strong communities that work together for the common good and recognize the dignity and worth of every human being. I ask for prayers as I endeavor to advance the great history and traditions of the Knights of Columbus in service to the Lord, his Church, our brother Knights and their families, our parishes and our communities.”