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The Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney (August 12 1852 - August 14 1890) was a Roman Catholic priest and founder of the Knights of Columbus. He was the son of Irish immigrants.


Father McGivney entered Saint-Hyacinthe's Seminary in Saint-Hyacinthemarker, Quebecmarker, Canadamarker in 1868. He continued his studies at Niagara Universitymarker (1871-1872) and at St. Mary's Seminarymarker in Baltimore, Marylandmarker in 1873, but had to leave the seminary and return home to help finish raising his siblings, due to the death of his father. He later returned to the seminary and was ordained a priest on December 22 1877 by Archbishop James Gibbons at the Baltimore Cathedralmarker.

Founding of the Knights of Columbus

On February 2 1882, while an assistant pastor at Saint Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticutmarker, McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus with a small group of parishioners. McGivney died from pneumonia on the eve of the Assumption in 1890, when he was only thirty-eight years old. The order now has over 1.7 million member families and thirteen thousand councils. During the 2004-2005 fraternal year, $134 million and 68 million man-hours were donated to charity by the order.

Case for canonization and legacy

In 1996, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford opened an investigation into Father McGivney's life, with a stated goal of his beatification and canonization, or 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 diocesan investigation was closed in 2000, and the case was passed to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Vatican Citymarker. On August 7 2007, in his homily at the Opening Mass at the 125th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone pledged his assistance to this cause as Cardinal Secretary of State for the Holy See.

On March 15 2008, Pope Benedict XVI approved a decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Fr. McGivney. The pope's declaration significantly advanced the process toward sainthood. The declaration allows Catholics to refer to McGivney with the title "Venerable Servant of God".

In honor of McGivney, the York Catholic District School Board in Ontariomarker, Canadamarker founded a school named Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academymarker in 1989. It is located in Markhammarker 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 Americamarker recently renamed a prominent building on their campus McGivney Hall.

See also


  1. Knights of Columbus Founder Declared Venerable

External links

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