Michael J. McGivney
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2008)|
|Ven. Michael J. McGivney|
Father Michael McGivney
August 12, 1852|
|Died||August 14, 1890
|Cause of death||Pneumonia|
|Employer||Archdiocese of Hartford|
|Known for||Founding the Knights of Columbus|
Father Michael J. McGivney (August 12, 1852 - August 14, 1890) was a Roman Catholic priest and founder of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization. In March 2008, Pope Benedict XVI declared Fr. McGivney "Venerable".
Michael J. McGivney was born to Irish immigrants, Patrick and Mary (Lynch) McGivney on Aug. 12, 1852. He was the eldest of 13 children, six of whom died in infancy or childhood. His father worked as a molder in a Waterbury, Conn. brass mill. Michael Mcgivney attended the local Waterbury district school, but left at the age of thirteen to work in the spoon making department of one of the brass mills.
At the age of sixteen Michael McGivney entered Séminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada, in 1868. He continued his studies at Our Lady of Angels Seminary in Niagara Falls, NY (1871-1872) and at the Jesuit's St. Mary's Colleg in Montreal, but had to leave the seminary and return home to help finish raising his siblings, due to the death of his father in June 1873. He later resumed his studies at St.Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland and was ordained a priest on December 22, 1877, by Archbishop James Gibbons at the Baltimore Cathedral of the Assumption.
Founding of the Knights of Columbus
From his own experience as a member of the immigrant community, he saw first hand the devastating effect on families of the untimely death of the father and wage earner. On March 29, 1882, while an assistant pastor at Saint Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut, McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus with a small group of parishioners, to help strengthen the faith of the men of his parish and to provide financial assistance in the event of their death to the widows and orphans they left behind. He was also known for his tireless work among his parishioners.
McGivney died from pneumonia on the eve of the Assumption in 1890, when he was only thirty-eight years old. The order now has over 1.8 million member families and fifteen thousand councils. During the 2008-2009 fraternal year, $150 million and 70 million man-hours were donated to charity by the order.
Cause for canonization
In 1996, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford opened an investigation into Father McGivney's life, with a view towards formal recognition by the Church of his sainthood. Fr. Gabriel O'Donnell, OP is the postulator of McGivney's cause, as well as director of the Fr. McGivney Guild. The diocesan investigation was closed in 2000, and the case was passed to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Vatican City. On March 15, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI approved a decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Fr. McGivney, thus declaring him "Venerable".
- In honor of McGivney, the York Catholic District School Board in Ontario, Canada founded a school named Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy in 1989. It is located in Markham and currently houses 1,400 students.
- A biography by Douglas Brinkley and Julie M. Fenster of Fr. McGivney, Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism was published by William Morrow and Company in 2006.
- The Catholic University of America recently renamed a prominent building on their campus McGivney Hall.
- Roman Catholicism in the United States#American Catholic Servants of God, Venerables, Beatified, and Saints
- The McGivney Guild
- Third Class Relic of Father Michael J. McGivney
- History of San Salvador Council One - New Haven, CT
- Knights of Columbus Museum-New Haven, CT
- Brinkley, Douglas; Julie M. Fenster (2006-01-10). Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism. William Morrow Publishers. ISBN 978-0-06-077684-8.