Venerable Michael J. McGivney

The Beatification of Venerable Fr. Michael J. McGivney, Founder of the Knights of Columbus, will take place Saturday October 31st, 2020 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, CT. Members of the Knights of Columbus along with other faithful Catholic Clergy and Laity have been fervently praying for his eventual Canonization and eagerly anticipate this great milestone of his Beatification.

His Beatification presents an opportunity to learn about his good works in his brief time on earth that led to the worldwide charitable impacts of the Knights of Columbus since their founding in 1882.​

Below are resources gathered by the Knights of Columbus and the Diocese of Harrisburg.

Fr. Michael Joseph McGivney was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, on August 12, 1852.  He was the first of thirteen children.  His parents immigrated to the United States in the 19th-century from Ireland.
 

Life for Irish immigrants was not easy at that time.  Immigrant families often faced prejudice, social exclusion, and financial and social disadvantages. The pandemic at that time was tuberculosis. Fr. McGivney fell ill with tuberculosis and was stricken with severe pneumonia in January of 1890. His health deteriorated over the following months and he died on August 14, 1890 just two days past his 38th birthday.

 

Fr. McGivney was ordained by Archbishop James Gibbons on December 22, 1877, in Baltimore’s historic Cathedral of the Assumption, the nation’s first cathedral. Fr. McGivney was assigned to St. Mary’s Church, New Haven, Connecticut.  

 

Through all the trials and tribulations of his time and with his busy schedule serving the needs of his parish and community, Fr. McGivney saw a need for a fraternal organization to strengthen the faith and families of his fellow Catholics.

 

Fr. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in the basement of St. Mary’s church on March 29, 1882. The Knights of Columbus has grown to over 1.8 million members.  Over the past decade the Knights have made charitable donations of $1.5 billion dollars and have donated more than 700 million volunteer hours to charity. We actively support pro-life and have donated over 1,000 ultrasound machines throughout the US.

 

Fr. McGivney’s cause for Sainthood opened on December 18, 1997 in Hartford, Connecticut.  Pope Benedict XVI declared him a “Venerable Servant of God” on March 15, 2008.  Pope Francis authorized a decree regarding the miracle attributed to the intercession of Fr. McGivney on May 27, 2020. The miracle deals with an ultrasound showing a baby with a severe case of fetal hydrops, a life-threatening condition of an abnormal buildup of fluids in the tissue around the lungs, heart or abdomen or under the skin.  In addition, the baby had Down syndrome.  The Schachle family prayed to Fr. McGivney for the cure of the hydrops issue.  The baby’s name is Michael (Mikey) McGivney Schachle - he is now five years old and was born with Down syndrome.

 

How fitting for this miracle to be the one for beatification.  Ultrasound machine used to find the hydrops issue.  The 1,000 machines donated by councils raising funds and our Supreme Council matching them.
There are several things that parallel the life of Fr. McGivney and that of Mikey’s – worth mentioning is that Fr. McGivney was the first of thirteen children and Mikey is the thirteenth child for the Schachle’s.

 

For more information on the miracle, watch “The Schachle Story: Mikey’s Miracle.”

 

For more information on the life of Fr. McGivney please visit www.fathermcgivney.org and read the book “Parish Priest” by Douglas Brinkley and Julie M. Fenster.

 

All are invited to join the Fr. Michael J. McGivney Guild.  Membership in the Guild is open to anyone who wishes to share in this mission of making known the life and work of Fr. McGivney and of encouraging devotion to his memory.  The Guild is anxious to receive reports of favors received through his intercession.  Not only are miracles needed, but also witnesses to the power of the servant of God’s prayers before the throne of God.  Please email guild@kofc.org.

Resources on Fr. McGivney

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
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