Father Michael J. McGivney: A Saint for America
From the May 25-31 issue of National Catholic Register:
Father Michael J. McGivney (1852-1890) is a saint for America today, particularly regarding immigration and the renewal of the priesthood after the abuse crisis.
So said Msgr. Robert Sarno, an official at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. This spring, Pope Benedict XVI approved a decree recognizing the heroic virtue of the 19th-century parish priest and founder of the Knights of Columbus. He now has the distinction of “Venerable Servant of God” and, if canonized, would be the first American-born priest to be so honored.
Edward Pentin spoke with Msgr. Sarno in Rome.
At what stage are we in the beatification process of Father McGivney?
At this point, Father McGivney has been declared to have lived a life of heroic virtue. This means he’s now given the title of Venerable Servant of God. What then is required for eventual beatification is one miracle granted by God through his intercession and confirmed as such by investigation and study and then confirmation by our Holy Father. At the present time, there is a case that is under study and, with the help of God, hopefully it will have a positive outcome. It’s still in the process of being studied at this point.
What were his great heroic virtues, his personal qualities?
First and foremost, he was a holy priest. And more than ever, as the Holy Father has mentioned recently in his trip to the United States, the holiness of priests is so essential, of course holiness of all people. But in a special way he is looking to priests to look towards a certain holiness of life.
Father McGivney, in being declared venerable by the Church, is basically giving us that message: that holiness of life and service to the ministry is essential to a priest.
The second point of course in which Father McGivney is so prophetic was his care for the laity, particularly the immigrant community. Now, when we look at the history of the Church in America and just the history of life in America, the political debate going on with the immigration question, Father McGivney once again comes to us as a prophetic voice on that whole question. He founded the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal order to help people not just spiritually but also physically, in their living in a new country, in what, to them, would have been a foreign land, which would soon become their new home. And that they would be able to live happily and have a good life and hopefully achieve the goals of their faith, in other words salvation...
[More - Subscription required]
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Decree on Heroic Virtues of Fr. Michael McGivney, Founder of Knights of Columbus