Founder’s beatification Oct. 31 is inspiring local Knights of Columbus members

The beatification ceremony for Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, will be celebrated Oct. 31, 2020, in the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn. Father McGivney is pictured in an undated portrait. (CNS file photo)

Father Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, will be beatified on Oct. 31 during a special Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut.

Members of the Knights of Columbus in councils throughout the Diocese of Peoria are joining the celebration spiritually and virtually.

Jack Swan

Jack Swan, president of the Peoria Chapter of the Knights of Columbus, believes it is only a matter of time before Father McGivney — who will be declared “blessed” at his beatification — will be recognized as a saint.

“I have visited his crypt inside St. Mary’s Church in New Haven,” writes Swan — a past grand knight of Allouez Council No. 658 in Rock Island — in a personal reflection printed in full here. “You could sense the holiness of the man permeate all around the place reserved for this great saint to lay in rest,” he said, predicting the church in Connecticut where the Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 will one day become a shrine to St. Michael McGivney.

“NEEDED MORE THAN EVER”

The beatification Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Central time by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, attendance in the cathedral will be limited but the Mass will be livestreamed on EWTN and on the website of the Knights of Columbus, kofc.org.

Among those watching will be Mike Tomlianovich, grand knight of Father John D. Ring Council No. 574 in Bloomington.

“I am inspired by his beatification,” Tomlianovich told The Catholic Post. “We pray at our council meetings for intercession through Father McGivney, so having him beatified is wonderful.”

“I’m certain that Father McGivney would look at today’s Knights with pride,” said Louis Kanowski, grand knight of Spalding Council No. 427 in Peoria. He listed how the Knights support persecuted Catholics around the world, their many charitable functions, their promotion of vocations and support of local parishes.

“The Knights of Columbus are needed more than ever,” said Kanowski.

In Urbana, an announcement of the beatification will be made at all Masses, said Jack Parisi, grand knight of the Urbana council.

The son of Irish immigrants, Father McGivney (1852-1890) was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and was ordained a priest in 1877 for what is now the Archdiocese of Hartford. He founded the Knights of Columbus as a service organization to help widows and orphans. The fraternal order for Catholic men is now the largest lay Catholic organization in the world, sponsoring a wide range of educational, charitable and religious activities.

Mike Appell of the St. Clement Council No. 12407 in Peoria urged membership in the Father Michael J. McGivney Guild which is promoting his cause for sainthood. Membership is open to all and benefits include a newsletter and their intentions remembered in a weekly Mass. Applications are available online at fathermcgivney.org.

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