Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 22, 1960 when ground was broken for St. Philip Church, East Windsor.
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mcgivney 5 web calNEW HAVEN – A Mass to mark the 125th anniversary of the death of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus and a candidate for sainthood, was celebrated today at St. Mary’s Church.

The Mass was  celebrated by the fraternal organization’s supreme chaplain, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson attended the Mass together with other officers and members of the Knights of Columbus.

The Knights of Columbus Museum, located at 1 State St., is offering special tours highlighting Father McGivney at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. today through Saturday. For more information about the museum, visit www.kofcmuseum.org.

A native of Waterbury, Father McGivney was serving as parish priest at St. Mary’s when he gathered a handful of men in the church basement to found the Knights of Columbus in 1882. The K of C has since gone on to become the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization with nearly 1.9 million members in North and Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe. Continuing Father McGivney’s mission, the Knights has become one of the most active charitable organizations in the United States, donating more than $173.5 million and 71.5 million hours of service worldwide last year.

In founding the Knights, Father McGivney was responding to the needs of his parishioners for a society that would promote charity and protect the livelihood of widows and orphans, and the unity of their families, in the event of the untimely death of their breadwinner. With no social safety net to speak of, families who lost their father were often split up if they could not show financial stability.

“In just 13 years as a priest, Father McGivney’s tireless work and his compassion won the love and esteem of those he served,” said Mr. Anderson. “At a time when Catholics were viewed with suspicion, the organization also made clear that one could be both a good Catholic and a good citizen. From the moment he began the Knights of Columbus, the organization helped Catholics grow in charity and in their faith, and it strengthened the families of his parishioners financially and spiritually – a work that continues to this day, inspired by our founder.”

Father McGivney was transferred in 1884 to Thomaston, where he served as pastor of St. Thomas Parish and Immaculate Conception in nearby Terryville. While ministering to the poor and sick, Father McGivney became ill himself and died peacefully two days after his 38th birthday, on Aug. 14, 1890.

In 1982, to help mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Knights of Columbus, Father McGivney’s remains were brought from Waterbury to St. Mary's in New Haven, where they now lie in a granite sarcophagus inside the church. A place of pilgrimage for Knights of Columbus and others from around the world, prayers are said daily in the church for the canonization of the founder.

As part of the canonization process, the Vatican declared Father McGivney a Venerable Servant of God in 2008. More information on his life is available at: http://www.fathermcgivney.org/en/index.html.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.