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From Parish Priest to Blessed

By Bill Tillotson, Fort Worth Diocesan Deputy

Vol. 4, 2016-2017

When we think of saints, we often think of the big ones we studied as youngsters. Sts. Peter and Paul were early disciples and martyrs for their faith. Saint Patrick converted the entire nation of Ireland to Christianity. And in modern times, Sts. Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa were world renowned voices of Catholic faith.

While Father Michael J. McGivney is not a saint (yet), he has been designated as Blessed. This means a miracle has been attributed to the intercession of Father McGivney and is confirmation of his presence in heaven. But as a simple parish priest, is he worthy of the same reverence we show for those “major” saints mentioned above? I would argue – yes, if not more so!

The simple parish priest – that man working day in and day out in our parishes – is a most vital connection for us, the Faithful, with our Catholic faith. It is the parish priest who brings us and our families the sacraments and the saving graces they bestow.

While the writings of St. Pope John Paull II help form me, the parish priest forgives my sins in the name of Jesus Christ. While the life of St. Theresa inspires me, the parish priest brings me the infinite graces of the Eucharist each week. The parish priest baptizes my children, bringing them into the faith. He anoints our sick with the healing chrism of the church. The parish priest directly impacts my life and those of my family more than the greatest saints.

Of course, Bl. Father McGivney – simple parish priest – also founded our Order which has grown to over 2 million Catholic men striving to live their Catholic faith through charity, unity, and fraternity. But I think he would be happy to be remembered as a simple parish priest. I’m sure he recognized that as his greatest calling. I also think he would want us Knights to use his beatification as inspiration to strive to support the ministry of our parish priests.

Bl. Fr. McGivney would want us to help build up our local church. He would want us to paint classrooms that Father wants painted. He would want us give coats to the poor of our community that Father can only help so much. He would want us to fix Father’s car to help him get to his people.

Our parish priest has dedicated his life to the service of us, the Faithful. I think Bl. Father McGivney would want us to use his beatification for us the rededicate ourselves to supporting our parish priest’s mission. Of all our Order’s good works, there is no other more vital to our Church.

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