Evangelizing Culture with
Truth and Love
Supreme Knight commends John Paul II Institute graduates, urging them to guide and strengthen families in the face of today’s cultural challenges
Strengthening and forming families according to divine truth is a paramount contribution to the common good, Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly recently told the new graduates of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C. He said, “It is not too much to say that the survival of our society depends on your work.”
The supreme knight, a graduate of the Institute, spoke at the commencement of 12 students receiving graduate-level degrees in theology May 10. Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore celebrated the graduation Mass, which was held in the Redemptor Hominis Church at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, also in D.C.
“Marriage and family are the fundamental building blocks of all healthy human cultures, and you have a role in restoring the ancient and eternal foundations that modern life has forgotten,” Supreme Knight Kelly said in his remarks. “Insofar as you draw on the source of all wisdom, you are uniquely poised with human and spiritual resources to bring strength and light to the formation of families on the broadest possible scale.”
Recent protests sparked by the leaking of an early draft opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization have made clear “that the nature and dignity of the human person are no longer accepted, much less understood,” the supreme knight added.
Yet the struggle over abortion is far from the only example, he noted. “The widespread ignorance of what constitutes our human nature and dignity has created unprecedented challenges for our culture and future,” he observed. “As Pope Francis has said, we are not living in merely an era of change, but in a change of era.”
The supreme knight concluded, “The good news is that, as graduates of the Institute, you are uniquely equipped. In your various roles of teaching, ministering, leading and parenting, you will be bringing help and hope to our brothers and sisters who are doing their best to follow Christ in their vocation as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.”
In his homily, Archbishop Lori affirmed that the graduates have been well formed by their rigorous studies, grounded in the wisdom of the Church’s great intellectual and spiritual tradition, to evangelize a culture seemingly impervious to the Gospel.
“In every culture, even ours, there are openings for the Gospel, certain points of entry, some expanse of common ground however small it may be, deficiencies that cry out for remedy, a restlessness that cries out for more,” the supreme chaplain said. “Our task is not merely to win over individuals for Christ and the Church but to plant the seed of the Gospel in the heart of the culture so as to transform it from within.”
The North American campus of the John Paul II Institute was established with funding from the Knights of Columbus in 1988. Since 2008, its home has been McGivney Hall at The Catholic University of America. The Institute offers several programs, including degrees in marriage and family, biotechnology and ethics, and sacred theology. It has granted more than 600 degrees since it was established, and its graduates include laypeople, as well as several priests who have since become bishops.