Supreme Knight Carl Anderson offered a reflection on Father McGivney following the Mass, noting that during the late 19th century when McGivney founded the Knights, the United States was still considered "mission territory" for the Church.
The 1880s and the decades after were a time of virulent anti-Catholicism in much of the U.S., Anderson noted. The late 19th century was a time of prosperity for many Americans, but of abject poverty for many others. Priests in America's urban centers knew this well, and confronted these challenges on a "daily basis."
"McGivney was determined that the social evils of his day would not overwhelm his parishioners. He strove tirelessly to overcome evil with good, by putting a Catholic ethic of charity at the center of their lives."
Anderson said it is worth reflecting on how "innovative and extraordinary" was McGivney's vision of a fraternity of Catholic laymen, based on charity, especially in such a difficult time to be Catholic in the US.
By founding the Knights, McGivney created a "practical path for millions of men" to put their faith into action, anticipating by nearly a century the Second Vatican Council's call for laypeople to "transform society in the light of the Gospel."
"Blessed Michael McGivney's great achievement was to find a practical means to strengthen the [Church's] center, while extending its reach into the peripheries," he said.
"His greatest charity was the gift of himself."
Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, the appointed representative of Pope Francis, was principal celebrant of the beatification Mass at Hartford's cathedral Oct. 31.
While the Church has recognized three women born in the United States as saints- St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Katharine Drexel, and St. Kateri Tekawitha- there have not yet been any U.S.-born canonized men.
After his Nov. 1 Angelus address, Pope Francis noted McGivney's beatification the day before.
"Dedicated to evangelization, he did everything possible to provide for the needs of those in need, promoting reciprocal aid. May his example be an impetus for us to always be witnesses of the Gospel of charity," he said, asking for a round of applause for the new blessed.
McGivney's sainthood cause officially opened in 1997 in the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI declared the American-born priest a Venerable Servant of God in recognition of his life of heroic virtue.
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In 2000, an investigation into a miracle attributed to McGivney's intercession was completed. But in 2011, the Vatican ruled that the event was not miraculous in nature.
In 2012, another possible miracle was reported and placed under investigation.
Pope Francis announced May 27 an approved miracle credited to McGiveney's intercession. A child who was diagnosed as terminally ill in the womb was in 2015 miraculously healed following prayers for McGivney's intercession.
Now that he has been beatified, McGivney's cause will require one more authenticated miracle before he can be considered for canonization.
He would not be the first member of the Knights of Columbus to be canonized. A group of six Mexican members of the organization were martyred during the Cristero War of 1926-29 and its aftermath.
In 2018, the Knights' 16,000 councils worldwide donated more than $185 million to charity and gave over 76 million hours of hands-on service in 2018, worth over $1.9 billion according to a valuation of volunteer work by the Independent Sector. Their volunteer work included support for the Special Olympics, coat drives, and food drives for needy families.
Between 2017 and 2018, the Knights raised and delivered $2 million for the Iraqi town of Karamlesh; the Knights have helped Christian survivors of the ISIS genocide in the town resettle in their homes and rebuild for the future.