Blessed Michael J McGivney


October 31, 2020 - A day that made K of C history - Father McGivney was beatified.

Feast Day August 13th 



The founder of the Knights of Columbus, Father Michael J. McGivney was a central figure in the growth of Catholicism in America, and he remains a model today. His example of charity, evangelization and empowerment of the laity continues to bear fruit and guide Knights of Columbus around the world.

In his Apostolic Letter that was read at the Mass for Beatification on Oct. 31, 2020, Pope Francis stated that Blessed Michael McGivney's "zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel and generous concern for the needs of his brothers and sisters made him an outstanding witness of Christian solidarity and fraternal assistance." The Holy Father set his annual feast day for Aug. 13, the day between Father McGivney's birthday (in 1852) and the day he entered eternal life (in 1890).

The beatification ceremony in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Conn., was a high point in a long process that began with the opening of the Cause for Canonization in December 1997. Shortly after Father McGivney was named a Venerable Servant of God in March 2008, Pope Benedict XVI cited him as a key figure in "the impressive growth" of the Church in the United States, stating, "We need but think of the remarkable accomplishment of that exemplary American priest, the Venerable Michael McGivney, whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus." Through the spiritual genius of Father McGivney, the Knights of Columbus has become a way for Catholic men to transform friends into brothers — brothers who care for one another.

Just as those in need sought Father McGivney's help in life, understanding that he was a "Good Samaritan" figure, more than 2 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families, and many others around the world, continue to seek out Father McGivney as a heavenly helper in times of need today. On May 26, 2020, Pope Francis approved a decree for a miracle attributed to his intercession, opening the way for Father McGivney to be beatified. A second approved miracle is needed for him to be canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church.

Those who knew him best in life saw in him both a "genial" countenance and a man with an "indomitable will" to achieve the good. In sum, his founding of the Knights of Columbus "attests to the love in which he held his brother man."


Priest launched international lay movement, died in 19th century pandemic

Timeline for the Cause of Father Michael J. McGivney

March 1982 – Early plans are made for considering a cause for canonization during the centennial observances of the Knights of Columbus, when the Vatican and McGivney family members permit the bodily remains of Father McGivney to be moved from the family plot in Old St. Joseph Cemetery in Waterbury, Connecticut, and interred in a sarcophagus in St. Mary's Church (where he founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882), where they now serve as a focal point of prayer and devotion.

May 1, 1997 – Most Reverend Daniel A. Cronin, archbishop of Hartford, recognizes the Knights of Columbus as the "actor" (promoter) in the canonization cause of Father McGivney and Father Gabriel B. O'Donnell, O.P., as postulator.

June 19, 1997 – Archbishop Cronin presents the cause of Father McGivney at a meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and receives the unanimous endorsement of the nation's assembled bishops.

Sept. 15, 1997 – An official Nihil obstare ("nothing obstructs") is received from the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints for the cause to commence. Father McGivney is accorded the title of Servant of God. The Father McGivney Guild, with Father O'Donnell as its director, releases the new "Prayer for Canonization."

Dec. 18, 1997 – Father McGivney's cause officially opens at the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Hartford, with Archbishop Cronin presiding at the ceremony and Supreme Knight Virgil C. Dechant in attendance. Archbishop Cronin appoints an archdiocesan historical commission to investigate all public and archival sources regarding the life of Father McGivney and an archdiocesan tribunal to record testimony on all aspects of Father McGivney's life, works and reputation for holiness.

March 6, 2000 – A ceremony for the closing session of a diocesan tribunal is held, with Archbishop Cronin presiding in the presence of Most Reverend Thomas V. Daily, bishop of Brooklyn and supreme chaplain, and Supreme Knight Virgil C. Dechant.

2002 – Father O'Donnell completes the official Positio, a 1,000-page document incorporating all the information from the historical commission and tribunal, which provides a "spiritual biography" of Father McGivney, focusing on his heroic virtue and holiness of life. The Positio is presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints with the following conclusions: Father McGivney was the "Saint of the Ordinary"; his spirituality was "sacramental" with a strong 2 ecclesial sense; he was a man of deep prayer and practical action who was always among the people of God and working for the people of God.

2008 – The Rome phase of the cause begins with Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson's appointment of Dr. Andrea Ambrosi as the new postulator. Father O'Donnell becomes vice-postulator and remains director of the Father McGivney Guild.

March 15, 2008 – Father McGivney is declared a Venerable Servant of God in a decree by Pope Benedict XVI that confirms his heroic virtue. The decree states, in part: "Concerning the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love both toward God and neighbor as well as the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude, and those others joined to them, they existed to a heroic degree in the Servant of God Michael McGivney, Diocesan Priest and Founder of the Fraternal Order the Knights of Columbus."

April 2016 – Research begins on a possible miracle in the case of a child who was healed in utero of a fatal condition after his family and others prayed to Father McGivney.

Sept. 2017 – Findings of the tribunal on the possible miracle are sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican.

April 27, 2018 – The congregation recognizes the juridic validity of the submitted miracle.

May 26, 2020 – After extensive medical and theological reviews at the congregation, Pope Francis approves the decree of validity for the miracle attributed to the intercession of Father McGivney, and the way is opened for the beatification of the Venerable Servant of God. The Vatican announced the pope's approval the next day, May 27.

Oct. 31, 2020 – Father McGivney's beatification Mass took place at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut. At that liturgical celebration, an apostolic letter from the Holy Father was read bestowing the title of Blessed on Father McGivney.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES: Joe Cullen 203-415-9314