Vol. 4, 2016-2017
This month we remember our Founder Fr. Michael J. McGivney as a caring pastor who had the vision and strength of character to start a movement within his Catholic community, a fraternal benefits society aimed to protect families and to bolster the faith of its members. His birthday is on the 12th of the month and the 14th is set as his memorial. When we commemorate his memorial, consider this of this Venerable Servant of God: he lost his own father at a very young age. What went through his young mind as the principal wage earner for the family was no longer there to care for the family? What might that do to a young person’s belief system? As a strong young man of faith he found a way to help his family and to stay true to his discerned vocation. We can get a very good insight into his life and struggles by reading “Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism” by Douglas Brinkley & Julie M. Fenster.
His bold plans of involving the laity in the work of the Church was a remarkable achievement in that it really hadn’t been done much at all. Though at the onset, the Order of the Knights of Columbus met with opposition and slow growth, within a couple of years the Knights of Columbus were firmly established in unity and charity and were affecting numerous households for the good. Our Founder, Fr. Michael J. McGivney may not have foreseen how the Order would grow, but he was convinced and convicted that his Order of Catholic Gentlemen was the answer to right the ship of injustice of sure poverty and to set the course true with Catholic brotherhood. So bound together in Charity, Unity, and Fraternity Catholic brothers now world-wide are helping each other, and so many others to support families and the Church.
As our leaders and delegates from all the jurisdictions meet and convene for their annual Supreme Convention, they will learn of goals achieved, the good works informed by faith which are making an impact throughout our world. They will be encouraged to bring back the message of renewal and commitment to our principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. They will return to their jurisdictions with the message of the new Evangelization in building the Domestic Church by our Faith in Action. And they will bring back the message of a new model not only in showing our faith constantly, but in inviting a more youthful membership through online membership. Meeting men of faith where they are was part of the vision and insight of Fr. McGivney at the beginning and is still a vision for the future of the Order.
Councils are now equipped with goals, resources, and newly elected leadership. If they are mindful of the past, focused on the future, and properly set and in useful knowledge of their parish community, together in unity with their pastors and bishops they can accomplish great things. Although we often hear of the tremendous generosity and charitable giving of the Knights (over $185 million this past year and 78 million man hours of service), what gets attention is what we do for our families and our parish communities. It just makes sense that the more members we have, the more we can do.
The challenge now is to continue building on the vision of Venerable Fr. Michael J. McGivney, to meet men of faith where they are and to invite them to join the largest lay fraternal Catholic organization in the world. We need to proudly proclaim and live our faith so that there is no doubt that the Knights of Columbus stand in solidarity with our priests and bishops. We need to pray for intercession and for the canonization of our Founder. We need to remember his vision always of supporting and protection our brothers and families.
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