Father Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus Catholic fraternal organization, will be beatified on October 31 in Hartford, Connecticut.
A miracle credited to the intercession of Father McGivney was approved by the Vatican and announced by Pope Francis on May 27. A child who was diagnosed as terminally ill in the womb was miraculously healed following prayers for the intercession of Father McGivney.
Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Connecticut, 1882. Initially, the organization was intended to assist widows and their families upon the deaths of their husbands. It has grown into a worldwide Catholic fraternal order, with more than 2 million members carrying out works of charity and evangelization across the globe. The Knights also offer life insurance policies to their members.
In 2018, the Knights’ 16,000 councils worldwide donated more than $185 million to charity and gave over 76 million hours of hands-on service, worth over $1.9 billion according to a valuation of volunteer work by the Independent Sector. Their volunteer work included support for the Special Olympics, coat drives, and food drives for needy families.
Between 2017 and 2018, the Knights raised and delivered $2 million for the Iraqi town of Karamles; the Knights have helped Christian survivors of the ISIS genocide in the town resettle in their homes and rebuild for the future.
In an audience granted to Supreme Knight Carl Anderson earlier this year, Pope Francis praised the organization’s “particular faithful witness to the sacredness and dignity of human life, evident at both the local and national levels.”
He also noted the Knights’ dedication to aiding, “both materially and spiritually, those Christian communities in the Middle East that are suffering the effects of violence, war and poverty.”
“In our world, marked by divisions and inequalities, the generous commitment of your Order to serve all in need offers, especially to young people, an important inspiration to overcome a globalization of indifference and build together a more just and inclusive society,” Francis said in February.
Beatification, being declared “blessed” by the Church, is the final step of recognition before a person can be declared a saint.
McGivney will become the fourth U.S.-born man to be beatified, joining Blessed Stanley Rother, Blessed James Miller, and Blessed Solanus Casey.
While the Church has recognized three women born in the United States as saints – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Katharine Drexel, and St. Kateri Tekawitha – there have been no U.S.-born canonized men.
Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1852, Father McGivney was ordained a priest in 1877. He served a largely Irish-American and immigrant community in New Haven.
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI declared McGivney a Venerable Servant of God. He said McGivney was an “exemplary American priest” whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus.
Following his beatification, Father McGivney’s cause will require one more authenticated miracle before he can be considered for canonization.
Catholic News Agency