"Who of us has not had similar pastoral relationships that had similar effect on us while at the same time offering us a deeper and richer insight into the meaning of our vocation as diocesan priests," asked Donnelly. "It strikes me that Father McGivney poured out his life for those he served."
Fr. Gabriel O'Donnell, O.P., spoke about McGivney's charity, noting that the priest cared for others with "unusual intensity and unstinting self-sacrifice."
"The climactic expression of his priestly charity was the founding of the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal benevolent society entirely based on the virtue of charity," said O'Donnell. "Charity among the members, brother to brother; charity within the Church in collaboration with the priest; finally, an unbounded charity towards all those in need, regardless of race or creed."
O'Donnell said McGivney collaborated with lay Catholics in order to tackle the issues facing the Church at that time.
"This spirit of cooperation and a certain sense of equality between priest and layman must be considered a unique aspect of McGivney's spirituality," he said. " He spoke of his fellow Knights as 'friends' and had an ability to treat them as such without diminishing the 'apartness' of his priestly consecration and identity."
McGivney's spirituality, said O'Donnell, was centered on "a reverence for the human person; the dignity of work; and the sacredness of marriage and family."
Priests today can look to McGivney for an example of how to persevere through difficulty and a culture that is hostile to the Church, said O'Donnell. Now, more than ever, priests "need one another for encouragement and strength to cling to the high ideal of holiness in the midst of real life that so inspired Father McGivney."
"As inheritors of McGivney's wisdom we must never forget our need to collaborate with the lay faithful," said O'Donnell. "They have much to teach us as they look to us for strong spiritual leadership."
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The third lesson of the night was unlike the others, as it featured not an excerpt from McGivney's life on earth, but a testimony of his intercession from heaven.
Daniel Schachle, the father of Michael McGivney Schacle, discussed the miraculous intervention of McGivney in saving his unborn son in utero from a fatal condition.
When his wife Michelle found out that her 13th child not only had Down syndrome, but fetal hydrops--an uncommon, typically fatal condition where fluid builds up around the vital organs of an unborn child--she and her husband appealed to Fr. Michael McGivney for his prayers.
The unborn Schachle was given "no hope" for survival due to the combination of fetal hydrops and Down syndrome, and the Schachles were told that continuing the pregnancy could harm Michelle. Out of desperation, and what Daniel described as his "agony in the garden" moment, the Schachles decided to ask their friends to pray for the intercession of McGivney.
In the meantime, Daniel explained, the family had won a trip through the Knights of Columbus to go to Fatima. While they did not tell many people on the trip about their need for a miracle, they continued to pray for McGivney's intercession. Michelle had a sonogram done before leaving for Europe, which showed fetal hydrops.