Every practicing Catholic has at least heard of the Knights of Columbus, but few know that it was founded by a Connecticut priest while still in his 20s – a priest with a heart for widows and orphans, a priest who would become known as an apostle of Christian family life, a priest who would found an organization that was a testament to spiritual brotherhood and charity. In a series of programs this week, EWTN invites you to learn more about this model priest and to watch as Father Michael McGivney becomes America’s newest Blessed.
Coverage begins with the Solemn Mass and Beatification, which airs live at 10 a.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 31 (with an encore at 8 p.m. ET) from the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford in Conn. (2:30 hrs)
- “Father Michael McGivney: An American Blessed,” which explores Father McGivney’s life, airs 9:30 a.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 31.
- “A Witness for the World: The Global Impact of Blessed Michael McGivney,” which explores the priest’s vision and impact, airs 5 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 31 and 11 p.m. ET, Sunday, Nov. 1.
Young Michael McGivney’s difficult early years would be essential to his later understanding of his parishioners’ problems and to his vision for solving them. His parents were Irish immigrants – at the bottom of the social ladder. At age 13, the young boy completed his studies and asked to enter the seminary. But, at his father’s behest, he went to work in a factory making spoons. At age 16, he was finally given permission to enter a seminary in Quebec.
However, his father died, and the young seminarian had to move back home to help support his family. Fortunately, the Bishop of Baltimore later arranged for him to complete his studies and McGivney became a parish priest.
Learn how Father McGivney reached out to parish youth; to male parishioners who were being lured away from their faith by the promise of riches; to a young man in prison who would be hanged for shooting a police officer while drunk; and to widows and orphans, going so far as to accept guardianship of a widow’s child so he could stay with his family after his father died. That young child would on day become a graduate of Yale Law School.
But most of all learn how he founded an organization that was able to provide both spiritually, materially and fraternally for his parishioners, an organization that is still impacting millions today – and about the miracle attributed to Fr. McGivney’s intercession.
Father McGivney died of the Asian flu two days after his 38th birthday, which was common for overworked priests in those days. Even before his death, his parishioners considered him to be a saint. Why?
Powered by his deep prayer life, Father McGivney not only preached the faith, but lived it by transforming friends into brothers who were concerned about and who cared for one another. As St. John Chrysostom famously said: “A martyr dies once. A pastor dies daily for his people.”
Don’t miss a moment of this great priest’s story, which will appeal to young and old and everyone in between.