By David Kilby
Since Pope Francis became pope, the way of life and the spirituality of Franciscans have received closer attention. With the pope’s announcement of the Year of St. Joseph, there has been even more focus on the spiritual life of those who are not priests. St. Francis of Assisi and St. Joseph help people see the many different kinds of spirituality one can have, as they show how the way to holiness does not have to involve celebrating Mass.
The Knights of the Holy Eucharist continue in that tradition of St. Francis and St. Joseph, following their Lord Jesus Christ “from the kind of selfless loyalty that can only be called noble”. As religious brothers, their unique vocation calls them to poverty, chastity, and obedience in a fraternal community that follows the rule of the Third Order Regular of Franciscans (TOR).
As these twelve brothers lead lives similar to the disciples of Christ and the followers of St. Francis, they look to transform the world with the Gospel message in the same way: through the witness of their lives. Through their brotherhood, they strengthen each other’s devotion to Christ.
Here are five practical ways they accomplish this:
- Encouragement and accountability from the other brothers
- A robust daily schedule including times of prayer and of manual labor in God’s creation
- Wholesome time for recreation with other members of the community
- Devotion to the Holy Eucharist
- A Code of Chivalry that embraces charity toward one’s neighbor and devotion to the Lord.
The Knights of the Holy Eucharist is not just a community that forms its members. They have gone to great lengths to evangelize and catechize through their website and beyond. Much like their foundress, Mother Angelica, they use media to spread the Eternal Word in various forms.
Mother Angelica founded the Knights of the Holy Eucharist on July 25, 1998. She gave the community its primary mission: fostering reverent devotion to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. Mother Angelica’s life of dedication to adoring Our Lord naturally spilled over into her founding of the Knights!
Her understanding of the importance of media also influenced the Knights’ apostolate. Despite their small size, the Knights have a relatively large and impressive library of multimedia offerings. They have a handful of video series, including a Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary series, a series on the Beatitudes, and one on the Litany of Loreto, all of which can be found on their growing YouTube channel.
The Knights continue in their dedication to the Eucharist with at least a daily Holy Hour in Eucharistic Adoration, and by devoting a large part of their apostolate to helping others become holy. On their website, the Knights offer a thorough examination of conscience for use before Confession and many prayer resources ranging from a consecration to Mary to short prayers like the Angelus, along with explanations for each.
Through their website, you can also learn about the spirituality of the Knights—a spirituality built on love for the Eucharist, devotion to Mary, loyalty to the Supreme Pontiff and the Church, and pursuit of the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi. The website also provides information about other Franciscan orders and what it means to be a religious brother.
The Knights strive to place Christ in the temple of their hearts. Just as the Eucharist is the heart of every church, Christ’s presence is also at the heart of personal holiness, as Christ’s heart speaks to our heart.
These Franciscan brothers invite young men to check out their community and way of life in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. Being a Knight is not for every young man, but it is a noble calling. To become a Knight, one must be a single Catholic man in good standing; have no legal responsibilities; have good physical and mental stability, and be a high school graduate 18-30 years old. The young man must have the ability to perform strenuous manual labor and the desire to serve and not to be served.
Aspirancy in the order is up to 6 months, followed by candidacy for 6 months, postulancy for 1-2 years, novitiate for 2 years, temporary profession for 5 years, and Final Commitment after 8 years. If you believe God may be calling you or someone you know to become a Knight of the Holy Eucharist, the brothers invite you to sign up for their newsletter and maybe even contacting them to schedule a visit!