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Pope Francis Beatifies Knights of Columbus Founder

Blessed Michael McGivney is now on his way to sainthood.

Another faithful has joined the ranks of the blessed!

Fr. Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, was beatified on October 31 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut. He will now be known as “Blessed Michael McGivney,” with his feast day observed every August 13.

Fr. McGivney was formally beatified through an apostolic letter from Pope Francis that was read on Saturday by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark. Cardinal Tobin was the appointed representative of Pope Francis and the principal celebrant of the beatification Mass.

Knights of Columbus

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, and members of the Schachle family pay their respects to the remains of Blessed Michael McGivney. (Photo from CNS photo / Aaron Joseph, Archdiocese of Hartford / The Catholic Sun)

“Fr. McGivney’s life is an illustration of how a holy priest can provide the necessary and intimate connection, so crucial in the life and mission of a parish,” Cardinal Tobin said. He described McGivney as a priest who loved his flock, and was happy to see them work together as a community. (Read: Miracle Baby’ Sends Knights of Columbus Founder Closer to Sainthood)

“The signature accomplishment for which he is remembered, founding the Knights of Columbus, grew out of his ministry as a parish priest,” Cardinal Tobin added. “This great brotherhood of 2 million now spanning the globe was born from the pastoral ingenuity of a parish priest to respond to the twin challenges faced by the people he served. Because he knew his people well, so well.” (Read: “Gift of God” returns to Nigeria to set up home for abandoned children)

Pope Francis said that Fr. MacGivney’s “zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel and generous concern for his brothers and sisters,” that “made him an outstanding witness of Christian solidarity and fraternal assistance.”

Blessed Michael McGivney

An image of Fr. Michael McGivney as a parish priest (Photo from Vatican News)

Blessed Michael McGivney was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s cathedral in 1877.

Born to Irish immigrant parents, Patrick and Mary McGivney, he was the eldest of 13 children—six of whom died in infancy or childhood. Michael attended the local Waterbury district school but he stopped schooling at 13 to work in the spoon-making department of one of the brass mills.

He entered the Seminaire de Saint Hycainthe in Quebec, Canada, and continued his studies at Our Lady of Angels Seminary in New York and at the Jesuits’ St. Mary’s College in Montreal, Quebec. However, the death of his father forced Michael to return home. (Read: ‘Almusalita’ by This Vlogger Priest Is What We Need for Everyday Positivity)

He later resumed his studies at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, and was ordained a priest on December 22, 1877. He founded the Knights of Columbus as a way to help immigrant families in 1882.

He died from pneumonia at the age of 38.

The date selected for McGivney’s feast, August 13, is the day between his birth, which was August 12, 1852, and his death, which was August 14, 1890.

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