Knights of Columbus Founder to be Beatified in October

The priest’s beatification Mass is expected to be celebrated in his native Connecticut where the Knights of Columbus first began.

Father Michael McGivney.
Father Michael McGivney. (photo: Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0).)

VATICAN CITY — Fr. Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus Catholic fraternal organization, will be beatified on October 31, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints announced this week. 

The congregation made the announcement on its website and Twitter page July 20. 

A miracle credited to the intercession of McGivney was approved by the Vatican and announced by Pope Francis on May 27. A child who was diagnosed as terminally ill in the womb was miraculously healed following prayers for the intercession of Fr. McGivney. 

The priest’s beatification Mass is expected to be celebrated in his native Connecticut. 

Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Connecticut, 1882. Initially, the organization was intended to assist widows and their families upon the deaths of their husbands. It has grown into a worldwide Catholic fraternal order, with more than 2 million members carrying out works of charity and evangelization across the globe. The Knights also offer life insurance policies to their members. 

In 2018, the Knights’ 16,000 councils worldwide donated more than $185 million to charity and gave over 76 million hours of hands-on service in 2018, worth over $1.9 billion according to a valuation of volunteer work by the Independent Sector. Their volunteer work included support for the Special Olympics, coat drives, and food drives for needy families. 

Between 2017 and 2018, the Knights raised and delivered $2 million for the Iraqi town of Karamles; the Knights have helped Christian survivors of the ISIS genocide in the town resettle in their homes and rebuild for the future.

In an audience granted to Supreme Knight Carl Anderson earlier this year, Pope Francis praised the organization’s “particular faithful witness to the sacredness and dignity of human life, evident at both the local and national levels.”

He also noted the Knights’ dedication to aiding, “both materially and spiritually, those Christian communities in the Middle East that are suffering the effects of violence, war and poverty.”

“In our world, marked by divisions and inequalities, the generous commitment of your Order to serve all in need offers, especially to young people, an important inspiration to overcome a globalization of indifference and build together a more just and inclusive society,” Pope Francis said in February.

Beatification, being declared “blessed” by the Church, is the final step of recognition before a person can be declared a saint. 

Father McGivney will become the fourth U.S.-born man to be beatified, joining Bl. Stanley Rother, Bl. James Miller, and Bl. Solanus Casey. 

While the Church has recognized three women born in the United States as saints--St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Katharine Drexel, and St. Kateri Tekawitha--there have been no  U.S.-born canonized men.

The Vatican also announced this week that the beatifications of two others, Benigna Cardoso and Fr. Giuseppe Ambrosoli, will be postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Their beatifications had previously been scheduled for October 21 and November 22, respectively. Cardoso was set to be beatified in Brazil, one of the hotspots of the virus, and Ambrosoli in Uganda, where he served as a missionary priest.

Rohingya Muslim refugees gather during the Eid al-Fitr holiday inside their temporary settlement on May 14, 2021 in New Delhi, India. A lockdown is in effect as COVID-19 cases have surged in India, causing a shortage of oxygen supplies across the country.

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