Father McGivney was a man decidedly positive and optimistic in outlook. He suffered the ravages of rejection and criticism, and the possibility of failure as we all do. His physical health was adversely affected by the heavy burden he bore as he sought ways to relieve the sufferings of his parishioners. His conviction that Catholic men needed to band together under the banner of the Gospel to confront all that threatened family life and true Catholic manhood was not readily heard by fellow priests and bishops. In the first years of its existence, the Knights of Columbus came close to death, to disappearing into a long line of failed projects in the late 19th century. The primary reason the Order did not fail was the hope and confidence of one parish priest whose optimism rested upon the rock of Christ and his Church — and the Catholic men who listened to him and took up his challenge.
Progress in Father McGivney’s cause for canonization is surely a sign from God and a signal from the Church that we can trust his vision and accept the mission he has entrusted to his Knights: a commitment to Catholic manhood and a commitment to Catholic family life. Father McGivney’s vision was of a Christian manhood that flows from one’s adherence to Christ and his commandment of love. What follows is reverence for every human life and a recognition of the dignity of each person.
It is for these basic truths that Father McGivney’s Knights will wage manly war. This is the mission: to embrace Catholic family life in a way that includes not only the fundamentals of reverence for life and the dignity of the human person, but the intention to transform the world by living each life in the light of this vision and these principles.
Ours is the mission to change society by living in it according to principles that the very society we seek to transform does not recognize or accept. Indeed, it has become hostile to the Judeo-Christian tradition that is the foundation of Father McGivney’s spirituality. As his Knights, we faithfully show up to cast our ballots. We continue to help those in need. We lead our families to a greater commitment to what is right, what is just and what is compassionate. This we must continue to do because Venerable Father McGivney’s Knights belong to Christ and to his Church.