Saturday, October 31, 2020, Beatification Mass in Hartford, CT
On Saturday, October 31, 2020, a beatification Mass was held in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Conn. Father Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, was declared “Blessed,” and his feast day will be set. Father McGivney was the first U.S.-born priest who spent his entire priestly ministry in a parish to be beatified. This is a great boost to the priesthood and to the Catholic Church in America.
He was a central figure in the growth of Catholicism in America, and he remains a model today. Decades ahead of his time, Father McGivney had a keen sense of the layman’s unique vocation, needs, and potential contributions, and he drew his people into the life and activities of the parish. This respect for the laity led Father McGivney to found the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal organization for Catholic men, in 1882.
Father McGivney’s special vocation was to develop Catholic manhood, to bind into one conspicuous solidarity all the elements that make for strength of character, and to bring out that solidity of character prominently in its strength before the world. Thanks to his labors, the Society of the Knights of Columbus was organized in 1882. His example of charity, evangelization, and empowerment of the laity continues to bear fruit and guide Knights of Columbus around the world.
Father McGivney lived in times not unlike now. He died in the Asian Flu Pandemic of 1890. He is known to intercede especially in four area of contemporary concern:
- Employment and finances. Just as parishioners looked to Father McGivney for help when “No Irish need apply” was often included in job postings, today many receive help when they are laid off or seeking a better job.
- Substance abuse. In Father McGivney’s day, alcoholism afflicted the immigrant population, and many now find relief from drug or alcohol abuse after praying to him.
- Family reconciliation. Father McGivney helped immigrant families struggling to stay together and to make ends meet. Today, Father McGivney continues to respond to the prayers of families.
- Return to the faith. Father McGivney founded the Order to keep men from joining anti-Catholic societies. Today, many Catholics receive favors when calling upon him to help their fallen-away children return to Mass. (from Columbia magazine)