Our Founder - Father Michael J. McGivney



Fr. McGivney for sainthoodThe Knights of Columbus was founded in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1882 in the basement of St. Mary's Catholic Church by Father Michael J. McGivney and a handful of Catholic laymen.

The aim of the founder and those first members was to set up a parish-based lay organization that offered insurance benefits. In an era when parish and fraternal societies were popular, Father McGivney felt there should be some way to strengthen the religious faith of his flock and provide financial support for families overwhelmed by illness or the death of the breadwinner.

The cause for Fr. McGivney's canonization as a saint has been granted a nihil obstat by Rome, meaning that the Holy See has determined that there are no serious objections or obstacles in the way. Just over a century after his death, the holiness and wisdom of the founder of the Knights of Columbus is shining through in the cause of his beatification through the efforts of the Father McGivney Guild.

Dominican Father, Gabriel B. O' Donnell, postulator, in a reflection on Fr. McGivney in the January 1998 issue of COLUMBIA, the monthly magazine of the Knights, presents the remarkable virtues of this priest, little known outside of the Knights and their families.

Although Fr. Michael McGivney lived a short life in human terms, he lived very long indeed, based on the legacy he has bequeathed to us who come after him. I cite from the article: "Long before capital was an issue and the inhumanity of prison conditions a social concern, Father McGivney was quietly ministering to the inmates of the New Haven City Jail with remarkable sensitivity and compassion. The wardens there remembered him long after his death and often recounted his visits to the prisoners . . . At the same time that he was ministering to the condemned man he was collaborating with other young men of New Haven in the foundation and organization of the Knights of Columbus . . . The spiritual and material needs of the yound were Fr. McGivney's constant concern . . . aware of how spiritually vulnerable the young are."

"Protecting Families for Generations" is a motto that captures the Knights' adherence to the legacy of its founder and fidelity to his vision.

THE FATHER McGIVNEY GUILD has begun distributing a newsletter, which is available to those who are not members of the KC. Now that the cause for Father McGivney has formally begun, your prayers are requested and help in promoting the cause for his canonization.


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