Michael McGivney

Father McGivney 300

Veneration: 2008

Born: August 12, 1852

Died: August 14, 1890


Michael McGivney was born into a poor family in Connecticut in 1852. His parents were immigrants from Ireland. People in their community treated them harshly because they were Catholic. They had thirteen children, and only seven of these survived childhood. Michael was the oldest.

Father McGivney was an excellent student. He graduated three years ahead of his class. He went to work making spoons in a brass factory when he was thirteen years old. He knew from a young age that he wanted to be a priest. At sixteen, he began his studies to become a priest. The archbishop ordained him in 1877, and he was sent to St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut.

There were many wealthy families living in New Haven, but the Catholic parishioners at St. Mary’s were mostly poor and struggling Irish immigrants. They were just like the people Father McGivney grew up with. He organized baseball games and social events to bring people together as a community. It was during this time that Father McGivney held the first meeting of the Knights of Columbus.

The idea for the Knights of Columbus came about because Father McGivney was concerned about what happened to the families in the parish when a husband or father died. If a man died or could no longer work, his wife and children often lost everything. The Knights of Columbus promised to take care of these families in their need. It also provided a community for men to grow in their faith and do works of charity.

Father McGivney was sent to a new parish after several years at St. Mary’s. He continued to work hard as a holy and selfless priest. In 1890, a flu pandemic came to the United States. Father McGivney contracted the flu, which later turned into pneumonia. He died just two days after his thirty-eighth birthday.

Father McGivney was declared “Venerable” by Pope Benedict in 2008. Pope Francis approved the miracle for his beatification in 2020. On October 31, 2020, Father McGivney was named Blessed Michael McGivney.