August – Fr. McGivney

David “Reggie” R Vasquez, Visions Chairman

This month we honor our founder Fr. Michael J. McGivney.

Fr. McGivney had a peculiar and even somewhat unique vision for his times. He captured and capitalized a new leadership model for Catholic laymen. Seeing the world from the perspective of a parishioner and not just as a priest, he was bold enough and visionary enough to found the Knights as a lay group sanctioned by the Church. A revolutionary concept for the time, yet today it is understood as an integral part in the mission of the Church.

Many today think that the role of the laity is to just help out around the parish and that they are not called to play an integral part in the mission of the Church. But in fact, the actual teaching of the Church is that the laypeople have a distinct and very real role in spreading the gospel, and the Church desperately needs them to carry out that role with the authority, creativity, and power that the Holy Spirit has given them in Baptism. The Church teaches that, in dignity, laypeople are absolutely equal to those in ordained and religious life. The laity can be described as the faithful (except those in Holy Orders or religious status) who are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ; and have their own part to play in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and the world.

Over a hundred and thirty-five years ago, Fr. McGivney understood that the initiative of the laity is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. Our Founder may not have foreseen how the Order would grow, but he was convinced and convicted that this Order of Catholic Gentlemen was the answer to right the ship of injustice and set the course of true Catholic brotherhood. Fr. McGivney died on August 14, 1890 just two days past his 38th birthday. By that time 57 councils of the Knights of Columbus had been chartered.

How can we honor the vision of this humble parish priest who believed in a lay organization capable of inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities of a Catholic benefits society? We can, and must grow this society by asking every available practicing Catholic gentleman to join with us and play that integral part in the mission of the Church and consequently of the Order. Fr. McGivney understood that in living out the principles of Charity, Unity, and Fraternity, the laity would be participating in spreading the gospel in its own unique way. He also understood that as a Catholic benefits society, the Order would care for its members in a way no other institution could. Commit to inviting at least one new Catholic gentleman and his family this month to honor the vision of this saintly servant of God, Fr. Michael J. McGivney.

Vivat Jesus!Viva Cristo Rey!

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