ROME – The Vatican today (May 27) announced that Pope Francis approved the promulgation of a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, a Connecticut priest who served his flock during the pandemic of 1890, before himself becoming ill and dying of pneumonia.
The pope’s action means that Father McGivney can be declared “Blessed,” the step just prior to sainthood. An additional miracle attributed to Father McGivney’s intercession will be required for his canonization as a saint.
McGivney is best known for founding the Knights of Columbus in 1882. Nearly a century before the Second Vatican Council, his prescient vision empowered the laity to serve Church and neighbor in a new way. Today, the Knights of Columbus is one of the largest Catholic organizations in the world with 2 million members in North and Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe.
The miracle recognized as coming through Father McGivney’s intercession involved an unborn child in the United States who in 2015 was healed in utero of a life-threatening condition after prayers by his family to Father McGivney.
A date will soon be set for the beatification Mass, which will take place in Connecticut. It will include the reading of an apostolic letter from the Holy Father and the bestowing of the title “Blessed” on Father McGivney.
Earlier this year, in an address to the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors, Pope Francis said the organization has been faithful “to the vision of your founder, Venerable Michael McGivney, who was inspired by the principles of Christian charity and fraternity to assist those most in need.”
“Father McGivney has inspired generations of Catholic men to roll up their sleeves and put their faith into action,” Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said. “He was decades ahead of his time in giving the laity an important role within the Church. Today, his spirit continues to shape the extraordinary charitable work of Knights as they continue to serve those on the margins of society as he served widows and orphans in the 1880s. Father McGivney also remains an important role model for parish priests around the world and left us a transformative legacy of effective cooperation between the laity and clergy.
Born of Irish immigrant parents in 1852 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Father McGivney was a central figure in the dramatic growth of the Church in the United States in the late 19th century. Ordained in Baltimore in 1877, he ministered to a heavily Irish-American and immigrant community in the then-Diocese of Hartford. At a time of anti-Catholic sentiment, he worked tirelessly to keep his flock close to the faith in part by finding practical solutions to their many problems – spiritual and temporal alike. With a group of the leading Catholic men of New Haven, he founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882 at St. Mary’s Church to provide spiritual support for Catholic men and financial resources for families that had suffered the loss of their breadwinner.
The fledgling group soon became a major force in the areas of evangelization, charity, racial integration, and the defense of religious freedom.
Father McGivney spent his entire priesthood in parish ministry and died of pneumonia on August 14, 1890— two days after his 38th birthday – after falling ill amid a pandemic. Recent scientific evidence indicates that that pandemic – like the current one – may have been caused by a coronavirus.
Known by his contemporaries for his devotion to the faith and his embodiment of the characteristics of the “Good Samaritan,” his cause for sainthood was opened in the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1997. St. John Paul II – who was pope at that time – lauded Father McGivney’s principles, stating in 2003, “In fidelity to the vision of Father McGivney, may you continue to seek new ways of being a leaven of the Gospel in the world and a spiritual force for the renewal of the Church in holiness, unity and truth.”
In March 2008, he was declared a Venerable Servant of God by Pope Benedict XVI, who during his visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral cited the “remarkable accomplishment of that exemplary American priest, the Venerable Michael McGivney, whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus.”.
You know the feeling. You pray and pray and nothing seems to happen. The bad in your life may even get worse, or the one thing you really want from God doesn’t come through.
What do you do? Double up on your prayers? Give up? Find another God? These are serious questions that get to the heart of the matter. When you pray, what do you expect? We all want miracles, but would you settle for amazing?
Here are 5 amazing facts about prayer:
1. Prayers are Always Answered
Sometimes God says no, but more often he answers our prayers in ways we don’t expect or fully understand. Prayer is not like a candy dispenser where you insert a petition and out pops a favor. It is a conversation with God, a relationship of great intimacy with the one who created us. We often go to God asking for one thing, whereas he wants to give us so much more; ultimately, to give himself. So when we pray to God in good faith we always receive the answer of his love and an invitation to a deeper relationship. And sometimes we do get that favor.
2. Prayer is Powerful
Using a graphic image, Jesus said that with faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move a mountain. What does that power mean for our lives? Harder to move than a mountain at times is the human heart caught in negative cycles such as anger, envy, greed and lust. Prayer softens the heart and raises our thoughts to God, who is ready to offer forgiveness and healing.
3. The Rosary is a ‘Weapon’
Those who consider the rosary as long and boring don’t know its deeper essence. St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) called the rosary a “weapon” for our times against the devil. Why? The rosary is dedicated to the Blessed Mother, the Queen of Heaven, who brought God’s plan for salvation to fruition by accepting Jesus into her womb. Her obedience undid the disobedience of our first parents, who fell to the devil’s temptations. St. Louis de Montfort taught that when we say “Mary,” she says “Jesus.” When we pray the rosary, the devil flees at the constant repetition of these two holy names.
4. Prayer is Dying to Self
It is fine to ask God for some good or favor. But we must ask ourselves if we are ready to receive what God truly seeks to give us. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked his Father to take away the cup of suffering. But by adding, “Not my will but thy will be done,” Jesus died first to his self before giving his life for us on the cross. This message is not easy to accept, yet handing over our will to God is an essential step of authentic prayer.
5. Prayer Makes Us More Like God
By uniting our thoughts and will to God through prayer, we become closer to him in spirit. We will show forth more clearly the image of God within us, and see more clearly the image of God in others. While our Catholic faith rejects the notion that we will actually become God in our nature, or be subsumed into God, we do know that we will become united with him in heaven. In a somewhat mysterious statement, St. John explains, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2).
As Knights, we have many heavenly intercessors, including six saints who were martyrs in Mexico and members of our Order, and our founder, Venerable Father Michael McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is open at the Vatican. Pray to them in times of need.
As you are aware, the Bishops of Ohio have “temporarily suspended all publicly celebrated Masses and Liturgies, at least through the celebrations of Holy Week and Easter.” (from the Bishops statement issued yesterday afternoon.) This is a rapidly changing situation (in fact the letter sent to all parishioners yesterday is already outdated!). For St WIlliam Parishioners, the best way to continue the mission of the parish and church under these unusual circumstances, is to subscribe to the app. This is an effective way to remain in contact with the actions St William Parish is taking and receive updates and information. Please click link below to subscribe! Or you can join the APP by texting APP to 88202…download the app and select our parish after opening. There are easy installation instructions also on the parish website, and they can call the parish office for assistance.
The Knights of Columbus is an international Order of Catholic men who are called to lead with faith, protect our families, serve others and defend values !
We are everyday people helping people every day. Whether it’s aiding the less fortunate, local volunteering, networking with others of shared values and beliefs, or participating in fun, family-inclusive events!
Knights fulfill their desire to spend meaningful time with their family, to serve their community and Church, and to grow in their faith.
Joining the Knights of Columbus provides these men and their families with opportunities to participate in community, council and church activities that accomplish goals to strengthen our families.
Whether you can help with our fundraising activities, volunteer your time, or recruit another Catholic gentleman, your talents are greatly needed by the Knights of Columbus.
From the moment of our founding in 1882, charity has been the first principle of the Knights of Columbus. We are Catholic men of faith and men of charitable action.
2017 was a record-setting year for Knights of Columbus charitable work with an unprecedented $185.6 million in donations and 75.6 million hours of service provided worldwide. The monetary value of K of C’s service hours is valued at $1.9 billion based on an estimate by Independent Sector, a network for nonprofit foundations that values a 2017 volunteer hour at $24.69.The K of C’s 2017 survey of charitable giving also showed that monetary donations increased $8 million from 2016 (+4.5 percent) and service hours grew by 527,550 (+0.7 percent). Year-over-year annual growth in both categories has been consistent over the past two decades.
Our charitable activities encompass an almost infinite variety of local, national and international projects. Our own unique charities include the Christian Refugee Relief Fund, Disaster Relief, Ultrasound Initiative, and Coats for Kids. We also partner with international charities including Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission and Habitat for Humanity.
Through our Building the Domestic Church initiative, Knights and their families have greater opportunities to participate in a variety of activities that deepen their faith, promote the New Evangelization, and strengthen our parishes.
"We are answering Pope Francis’ call to go to the peripheries,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said. “We can reach half way around the globe to help those in need and we can reach to our neighbor next door. And we do that every day. That makes us witnesses to the faith."
If you’d like to be a part of an international organization of nearly 2 million Catholic men whose principal work involves helping others in need, we'd like to meet you and invite you to join us.