EDITOR’S NOTE: The following text was first published in the March 2021 issue of Columbia.
This past fall, I was honored to participate in the internationally broadcast beatification Mass of Father Michael Joseph McGivney by reading one of the prayers of the faithful in Spanish. The beatification was an occasion of great joy for me as a Knight of Columbus, a spiritual son of this holy priest, and also as an immigrant to the United States.
Father McGivney, the son of Irish immigrants, grew up in a society that was more hostile to the Catholic faith and more prejudiced toward immigrants than today. His parents, Patrick and Mary, surely experienced both religious discrimination and xenophobia. And, like many immigrant parents, they may have had aspirations for their children to become doctors, lawyers or businessmen. These professions, beyond opening greater opportunities, signify assimilation in a society that will no longer discriminate against them.
In this light, Michael McGivney’s fiat to his priestly vocation is particularly inspiring. He — and later, two of his brothers — bravely said “yes” to the call of God to labor in the most essential profession, for the salvation of souls. His response is also a compelling invitation to today’s first-generation Americans to respond as he did. What can have a greater global impact than building the Body of Christ, feeding humanity’s deepest hunger and providing spiritual healing through the sacraments?
As a Hispanic immigrant and parent, I realize the great need that exists today in our community for priests who aspire to holiness. For this reason, I have entrusted to Holy Mary of Guadalupe my infant son, Joseph Michael, so that she may teach him to say “fiat” if God wills to call him to the priesthood. I also turn to Blessed Michael McGivney, who knows well the struggles and needs of immigrant families, to grant holy priestly vocations among us Hispanics, to work in the abundant vineyard of our Lord.
The exemplary life of this son of immigrants, and his vision for the Order he founded, are a great witness for the whole Church — and especially for Hispanic immigrants, whom I invite to join the work of the Knights of Columbus, helping us build a civilization of love.
Padre Miguel McGivney, pray for us!
LUIS F. GUEVARA is the Knights of Columbus director for Latin America and a member of Santa María de Guadalupe Council 15891 at the basilica in Mexico City.