I am a member of the Knights of Columbus and have been for almost 20 years. I am always amazed at the good works performed and money raised for charity; the sheer volume of hours, and the staggering amount of money raised every year impresses me.
Ordinary men and their families doing heroic charitable acts makes up the bulk of the activity of the Knights of Columbus and this translates to many people served and many people taken care of because of these folks who are just like you and me.
The Knights of Columbus is so much more than a club for men or a “Catholic Elks.” I am proud to call them my brothers. So, I wasn’t surprised when the Knights of Columbus produced a wonderful short documentary series called Everyday Heroes. The series shows the actions, both large and small, of a diverse group of men who touched other people’s lives profoundly and the effect those actions had on the people around them, namely their family and friends.
But the story of Joe Reali of Long Island, New York, really stands out. It is as uplifting as it is heartbreaking. It’s the tale of selfless and charismatic young man who played high school and college football and who desired to be a priest. When Reali’s mother was stricken with cancer, he quit the sport to take care of her.
The documentary shows how important Reali’s Catholic faith was to him. On Sunday morning, he’d knock on the doors of his buddies to make sure they went to Mass after hanging out with them the previous night. He always made sure to invite his football teammates to Mass every week, too. Truly he was a man of the new evangelization! I cannot think of an act that is more about evangelization than simply inviting people to Mass. Unfortunately, Reali never made it to ordination but you’ll have to watch the film to see why.
This kind of heartwarming short series is not made much anymore and I hope that will change in the future. This is well-produced and should be seen by many. These stories can change lives. I was truly inspired by Reali’s story and many of the other stories that the filmmakers told.
Everyday Heroes begins airing May 19 for six weeks on selected ABC affiliates. Check local listings for airtimes or visit KofC.org/HeroesFilm. Running time is 59 minutes.