Day 6 – Shepherd of Souls
Tuesday, Oct. 27
For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel (1 Cor 4:15).
Intention: For priests who labor in parishes, apostolates, and missions.
Virtue: Zeal for the salvation of souls.
After seven years at St. Mary’s Church, Father McGivney was named pastor of St. Thomas Parish in Thomaston, 30 miles from New Haven, in the northern hills of Connecticut. On his final Sunday at St. Mary’s, people wept openly in the pews as he offered his farewell with tears filling his own eyes. He concluded, “Wherever I go, the memory of the people of St. Mary’s and their great kindness to me will always be uppermost in my heart.” The local newspaper noted, “Never, it seemed, was a congregation so affected by the parting address of a clergyman as the great audience which filled St. Mary’s.”
Relying on the grace of God, Father McGivney was the image of the Good Shepherd in his six years as pastor of St. Thomas Church. His sacramental records show a steady schedule of Mass, baptisms, confessions, anointings, weddings and funerals — the daily labor of a parish priest charged with the care of souls. Knowing the hard life of his people, he also planned for them regular periods of respite and recreation. Soon he was entrusted with a mission church four miles away, Immaculate Conception in Terryville. Ever faithful to his daily duties, Father McGivney would offer an early Sunday Mass in Thomaston, ride the horse-drawn carriage to Terryville for a mid-morning Mass, and return to St. Thomas Church for the noon Mass.
This tiring regimen, over rough roads and often in inclement weather, wore down his health. On one occasion, as a Thomaston resident related, Father McGivney lost control of the horse and his carriage crashed into a fence, and he was thrown some distance. Dusting off his cassock and shaking off the bruises, he thanked God for preserving his life and continued his journey. With the Lord leading, nothing would keep him from fulfilling his obligations to his people.
For pastors and all those who serve as shepherds of souls, that they may practice prayerful zeal in carrying out their duties, for the greater glory of God. R/ Grant our prayer, Lord, through the intercession of Father McGivney.
For laypeople, that they may offer friendship, support and prayers for priests, who battle on the front lines of spiritual warfare. R/ Grant our prayer, Lord, through the intercession of Father McGivney.
For many graces to come through the beatification of Father Michael McGivney, that by his example of virtue we may be inspired to put our faith into action for the good of our families, parishes and communities. R/ Grant our prayer, Lord, through the intercession of Father McGivney.
For the personal petitions of those who pray this novena, and for a miracle from God that will lead to the canonization of Father McGivney. R/ Grant our prayer, Lord, through the intercession of Father McGivney.
Prayer for the Canonization of Father McGivney
God, our Father, protector of the poor and defender of the widow and orphan, you called your priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, to be an apostle of Christian family life and to lead the young to the generous service of their neighbor. Through the example of his life and virtue may we follow your Son, Jesus Christ, more closely, fulfilling his commandment of charity and building up his Body which is the Church. Let the inspiration of your servant prompt us to greater confidence in your love so that we may continue his work of caring for the needy and the outcast. We humbly ask that you glorify your venerable servant Father Michael J. McGivney on earth according to the design of your holy will. Through his intercession, grant the favor I now present (here make your request). Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Get full novena here.
And see our coverage of Fr. McGivney here.
Father Pedro, the Polish priest who boats his way to serve the indigenous people of the Amazon