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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Father McGivney and The Knights of Columbus

In 1852 Michael McGivney was born to immigrant parents in Connecticut. He was one of 13 children born to Mary and Patrick McGivney. After working in a factory as a young teen to earn money for the family [in the years following the Civil War], in Waterbury Connecticut, he traveled to Canada to pursue his dream of becoming a priest by first attending the College of St. Hyacinthe. He later attended Our Lady of Angels Seminary in New York and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimare, Maryland after the death of his father. He was ordained in 1877 and returned home to Connecticut to begin his priesthood at St. Mary's Church in New Haven where he was well loved and admired for his hard work and dedication. In the early 1880's Fr. McGivney began to explore the possibility of a laymen organization to help the poor and needy. This was the birth of the "Knights of Columbus" and by the end of 1885 there were over 30 Knights of Columbus councils in Connecticut. Just five years later, in August of 1890 the 38 year old priest died after a long illness with pneumonia and poor health. The Knights of Columbus continued to thrive after his death. Currently there are more than 12,000 councils in over a dozen countries serving people as Fr. McGivney dreamed. On Saturday, March 15, 2008 Pope Benedict XVl approved a decree that allows Catholics to refer to Fr. McGivney as "Venerable Servant of God" and advances him toward sainthood.

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