139th Anniversary Founder’s Day 

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Founder's Day

The McGivney PrayerThis month offers us an opportunity to recall the origins of our Catholic faith in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as well as the founding of the Knights of Columbus by a priest who lived and died united to that sacrifice. Due to a convergence on the calendar, we start Holy Week on March 29, the day we also observe as the Order’s Founder’s Day each year.

On March 29, we pay tribute to Father McGivney and the handful of laymen who gathered in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., to find practical solutions to the problems Catholics faced. As their spiritual father, Father McGivney helped these first Knights realize the meaning of their often difficult lives through union with the suffering Christ. Together, these men founded a lay movement in which they could serve God and neighbor as more faithful husbands, fathers and men of the Church.

It was with great joy that we celebrated the Beatification of our beloved Founder, Blessed Michael McGivney. Holy Mother Church has confirmed what we have known from our own devotion: that Blessed Michael McGivney is a model of holiness whose life and ministry is an example for us all. His beatification is an invitation for all of us to better understand and live out the principles with which he founded the Knights of Columbus: charity, unity and fraternity.  

In his earthly life, Father McGivney was a priest ahead of his time who recognized the potential for the laity to actively participate in the mission of the Church. Holiness is not simply for priests and religious; rather, each one of us is called to become a saint and to proclaim the Gospel in the world around us. By founding the Knights of Columbus, Father McGivney gave Catholic laymen an ideal structure through which to grow in holiness, surrounded by brothers working as one and performing acts of charity.  

Although he lived more than a century ago, Father McGivney’s life and work show him to be of particular relevance today. Faced with anti-Catholic bias, Father McGivney directed the Knights of Columbus to the path of authentic civil participation without compromising the Catholic faith. Inspired by our Founder’s example, we have stood side by side with those whose dignity and rights have not been fully recognized or upheld by civil authorities.  

In heaven, Blessed Michael McGivney has not ceased being our own parish priest whose intercession for the Knights of Columbus is evident not only by our growth around the world but also, and more importantly, by our continued commitment to the principles of charity, unity and fraternity. The extraordinary miracle that led to his beatification should be a source of inspiration for us to turn to Blessed Michael McGivney in our own times of need, whether that need is great or small.  

Holy Hour of Prayer

You are invited to join in praying the rosary, Monday March 29th at 7 PM, while meditating on the example of Blessed Michael McGivney. Let his devotion to Our Lady inspire you to draw close to her Immaculate Heart, where we will encounter her son, Jesus Christ. Only in that encounter will we be able to meet the challenge that Father McGivney places before us: to live a life of heroic virtue according to the principles of charity, unity and fraternity.