Michael J. McGivney
|Ven. Michael J. McGivney|
Father Michael McGivney
|Born||Michael Joseph McGivney
August 12, 1852
|Died||August 14, 1890
Cause of death
|Employer||Archdiocese of Hartford|
|Known for||Founding the Knights of Columbus|
Father Michael Joseph McGivney (August 12, 1852 – August 14, 1890) was an American Catholic priest. He founded the Knights of Columbus, which became the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization. In March 2008, Pope Benedict XVI declared 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, Connecticut 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 College 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.
The Knights of Columbus was among the first groups to recruit blood donors, with formal efforts dating back to 1937. The order now has over 1.8 million member families and fifteen thousand councils. During the 2012 fraternal year, $167 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 guild now has 150,000 members.
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". A miracle attributed to the intercession of McGivney is under investigation at the Vatican.
- 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.
- A stained-glass window depicting Father McGivney was dedicated Sept. 12, 2009, at St. John Fisher Seminary in Stamford, Connecticut, by Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport. The window was created by Rohl’s Stained and Leaded Glass Studio of New Rochelle, New York. 
- Roman Catholicism in the United States#American Catholic Servants of God, Venerables, Beatified, and Saints
- Knights of Columbus Founder Declared Venerable Zenit.org
- "Early Years", The Venerable Michael J. McGivney, Philippine Edition
- "Father Michael McGivney", Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network
- "Knights set record for giving $167 million, 70 million volunteer hours, in 2012", Catholic Philly
- "Annual Report of the Supreme Knight" (PDF). Knights of Columbus. August 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy
- "McGivney Institutions and Memorials", Father McGivney Guild
- 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.
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