Diocesan News

Knights of Columbus Celebrate Founder Ahead of Beatification

By Jessica Easthope

For the Knights of Columbus, Father Michael McGivney has always been viewed as a saint-like figure.

“He was just a parish priest, there was nothing special about him in the sense that he was someone,” said John Baer, a Grand Knight at the Monsignor Sherman Council in Glendale, Queens. “[He] already was like a Mother Teresa or someone like that who you could think of as a saint.”

Now Father McGivney is one step closer to official sainthood.

“It’s fitting that a man, a priest of this stature where miracles have taken place is being beatified,“ said Frank Kotnik, a fourth-degree Knight.

Last week, Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to Father McGivney’s intercession, paving the way to his beatification.

“There was a child that was in distress and it was healed in utero, the parents prayed to Father McGivney and the baby was healed and born perfect,” Father Michael Gelfant, Associate New York State Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, said of Father McGivney’s miracle.

Another miracle is needed for canonization before Father McGivney could be declared a saint.

Knowing the history of the organization’s humble beginnings, possible sainthood for its founder would be a dream come true according to Father Gelfant: “It’s huge, but what does God have to say about it, and sanctity comes in many different ways.”

Father Michael McGivney (Photo: Currents News)

Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882 to provide financial support to families, often immigrants, who lost their breadwinners.

“These new immigrants today not only have their own families if they’re here, but they have us as well,” Baer said.

The work of Father McGivney, who died at the age of 38 during a flu epidemic, has inspired the two-million-plus Knights across the world to take action during this pandemic.

“The Knights of Columbus in Brooklyn and Queens have assisted Catholic Charities in feeding thousands and thousands of people,” Kotnik told Currents News.

“We still want to continue, one way or another to help those in need,” Baer added, “and in Father McGivney’s name.”