To continue to tell the story of Father Michael McGivney, the Knights of Columbus have produced an exceptional documentary as an introduction to his life.
Looking for something to thank God for in 2020? Undoubtedly one of the greatest blessings was the beatification of the American priest, Michael J. McGivney. Having died at the age of 38 from complications during a 19th-century flu pandemic not unlike today’s novel coronavirus, Father McGivney’s short life is a testament to extraordinary virtue and charity. Father McGivney was a parish priest who is best known for founding the Knights of Columbus.
The day after Father McGivney’s beatification, Pope Francis told the universal Church in his Sunday Angelus address, “Yesterday, in Hartford, in the United States of America, Michael McGivney, diocesan priest, founder of the Knights of Columbus, was declared Blessed.” The Holy Father continued, “Dedicated to evangelization, he did everything possible to provide for the needs of the needy, promoting mutual aid.” Pope Francis concluded his remarks about Father McGivney with these challenging words, “May his example be an impetus for us to witness ever more to the Gospel of charity.”
Blessed Michael McGivney is the perfect patron for our day. Not only does his death speak to the situation we are presently experiencing, but his virtues illuminate and ease our own concerns as well.
Father McGivney was a champion of the Catholic family. Knowing the distress that would befall a family should the breadwinner die (an altogether too common occurrence in industrial New England), Father McGivney worked to provide for families to care for their material needs. Pope Francis teaches, “The family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.” To work for the unity of families is to fight the fragmentation and isolation of our age.
But Father McGivney not only worked to keep families together, he worked to keep them Catholic. Pope Francis teaches, “The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family.” Family life nourishes faith. Parents, who are the first teachers of their children, pledge at the baptism of their sons and daughters to raise them in the faith. This means handing on what is believed. When the light of faith burns in our families, it can then illuminate our world.
Father McGivney nourished the life of faith in families by making his parishes centers of community. He hosted festivals, ball games and outings. He wrote and staged plays for parish youth. In fact, young people were drawn to him. Father McGivney has the special ability to encourage young Catholics in their faith. By the intentional cultivation of his parish as a place of vibrant community life, the faith flourished among his parish families.
As we continue to ask ourselves how we might better serve the Church, we would do well to imitate the example of Father McGivney. By responding to the needs of his community, he lived the twin pillars of faith and charity. He taught and fostered faith among his people, and he served those most in need by a heart of compassionate charity.
To continue to tell the story of Blessed Michael McGivney, the Knights of Columbus have produced an exceptional documentary, as an introduction to his life:
Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate the gift to the Church of Father McGivney’s beatification. Take a seat, relax, and learn more about America’s newest beatus!