During his homily Saturday morning at the Mass for Clergy and Religious at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Pope Benedict XVI made special mention of “that exemplary American priest” Venerable Michael J. McGivney, founder of the New Haven, Connecticut-based Knight’s of Columbus.
On March 15, Pope Benedict declared Father McGivney a “Venerable Servant of God.” The priest’s cause for canonization is presently being considered at the Vatican. Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882 in New Haven to strengthen the faith of and to provide financial assistance for Catholic men and their families.
In his Saturday morning homily, Pope Benedict told America’s clergy that the “secret of the impressive growth of the Church” was a “unity of vision and purpose – rooted in a faith and a spirit of constant conversion and self-sacrifice.”
“We need but think of the remarkable accomplishment of that exemplary American priest, the Venerable Michael McGivney, whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus,” Pope Benedict said.
Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, issued a statement on Saturday responding to the Pope’s praise for Father McGivney, whom Anderson called a “prime example” of an American cleric.
“The Pope’s selection of Father McGivney as a role model for today’s priests and religious is very important for us,” Anderson said. “Thousands of priests are among the 1.7 million members of the Knights of Columbus, including Cardinal Egan and hundreds of others in the Archdiocese of New York.
“Each and every day, all of us in the Knights of Columbus look to Father McGivney’s vision and example as a guide to our work of charity and evangelization.
“At a time when our priests are in need of our support more than ever, the Pope’s promotion of Father McGivney as a role model for clergy everywhere is both timely and enormously appreciated. We pledge our fervent support for his call to revitalize and renew the Catholic Church here and around the world.”
Carl Anderson has outlined his vision for Catholic renewal in his recent book “Building a Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World.”