Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pope approves 'heroic virtues' of Knights of Columbus founder

Just in, but scarcely reported as of this morning. Here, the Canadian Press gives the story....

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict on Saturday set the founder of the Knights of Columbus, one of the world's largest lay Catholic groups, on the path to possible beatification and sainthood, the Vatican said.

The Pope recognized the "heroic virtues" of reverend Michael McGivney, who in 1882 created a fraternal society for Catholic men who suffered discrimination because of their religion and immigrant origins.

A miracle performed through McGivney's intercession must be certified by the Vatican before beatification, which is the last formal step before the sainthood process can begin.

McGivney was a 29-year-old assistant pastor at St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Conn., when he founded the group, which now has 1.7 million members and in 2006 collected nearly $144 million in contributions for charity.

The organization's 1.7 million members are in countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Poland and the Philippines.

Its charitable work includes substantial support for the Vatican. The group funded the restoration of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica during the 1980s, and annually underwrites the cost of satellite TV broadcasts of liturgical celebrations from Vatican City, including the Christmas midnight Mass.

McGivney was born in 1852 to Irish immigrants in Waterbury, north of New Haven. He died of pneumonia at age 38.

The effort to canonize him was opened in 1997. That process received important support last year, when the Vatican's No. 2 official, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, celebrated mass at the Knights of Columbus annual meeting in Tennessee and said he would work to have the priest declared a saint.

You can read the life of Fr. McGivney in this book, which also makes a great gift for the Knight in your family!

More info on Fr. McGivney and the Knights of Columbus

Life and Legacy of Fr. Michael McGivney

Homepage for the Knights of Columbus

Fr. Z reports that it was in l'Osservatore Romano

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