Putting faith into action should be the goal of every member of the Knights of Columbus. While Knights are known for countless charitable activities in their parishes and communities, some have made the ultimate sacrifice as martyrs for the faith and others have been recognized for their heroic virtue.
The challenge for every Knight is to live as a saint, and eventually to be one with God in heaven. This isn’t impossible. There are Knights, whose reputation for sanctity has been recognized by the Church and whose causes for beatification and canonization have been opened.
There are steps toward a declaration of sainthood – Servant of God, Venerable, Blessed, Saint. To reach canonization, two miracles attributed to a candidate’s intercession must be recognized by the Vatican and approved by the pope.
Here are where Knights’ causes stand:
Monsignor Bernard John Quinn
Msgr. Quinn fought against the rise of nativism and racism in the 1920s. He established the first parish for black Catholics in the Diocese of Brooklyn. He also rebuilt an orphanage not once, but twice, after the first one was burnt down by the Ku Klux Klan. Msgr. Quinn exhibited great love for his parishioners, saying, “I would willingly shed to the last drop my life’s blood” for each one of them, regardless of race.
After a nine-year investigation, the Bishop of Brooklyn has advanced Msgr. Quinn’s cause, submitting it to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
According to his biography, Irving Houle received the stigmata — bodily wounds and pain corresponding to Christ’s passion and crucifixion — on Good Friday 1993. He was told by Jesus and the Blessed Mother to begin a ministry to convert sinners. A family man in Michigan, Houle dedicated the rest of his life to praying with tens of thousands of people, some of whom were apparently healed of physical and spiritual illnesses.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops unanimously supported the advancement of his cause on the diocesan level in June 2019.
Cardinal Terence Cardinal Cooke
During his tenure in New York, nine nursing home were completed and sixty percent of the abandoned and neglected children in New York City were cared for.
He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 2010, and his cause for sainthood advanced.
Father Edward Flanagan
Father Flanagan founded Nebraska’s Boys Town, a community for orphans and others in need, to “save boys from being the derelicts of tomorrow.” In a 1928 issue of Columbia, he said, “I saw the need for a home for homeless boys after trying to take care of jobless and poor men. It was my direct association with down-and-outs which made me think that if these men had been trained and cared for while they were young they would not have been in the circumstances in which I found them.”
He helped at least 10,000 boys during his life, and inspired the establishment of 80 other similar communities.
Father Michael McGivney
Father McGivney is the founder of the Knights of Columbus, the largest Catholic fraternal organization in the world. A parish priest in New Haven, Conn., he gathered a handful of laymen to create the Knights to make sure no family would become destitute if the breadwinner died, which was a harsh reality in the late 1800s.
Father McGivney was declared venerable in 2008, which means that he displayed “heroic virtue” in his life. There are many testimonials that he has interceded on behalf of peoples’ prayers. A miracle through his intercession is needed for his beatification.
Father Patrick Peyton
Known as the “Rosary Priest,” Father Peyton was the founder of the Family Rosary Crusade and Family Theater Productions. He produced more than 800 radio shows and 83 TV specials that featured stars like Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Stewart and others.
He would end every show with the motto he popularized: “The family that prays together, stays together.” Father Peyton was declared Venerable by Pope Francis on Dec. 18, 2017.
Carlos Manuel Rodríguez
Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Rodríguez was a Knight of deep spiritual insight who was largely self-taught in matters of the faith. At the University of Puerto Rico’s Catholic Center, he was committed to young people, sponsoring days of fellowship and prayer called “Christian Living Days.”
After approving a miracle, in which Rodríguez interceded in curing a case of non-Hodgkins malignant lymphoma, St. John Paul II beatified him on April 29, 2001.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Archbishop Sheen was one of the most influential Catholics of the 20th century. He hosted The Catholic Hour on NBC and the television shows, Life is Worth Living and The Fulton Sheen Program. Roughly 30 million weekly viewers watched the two-time Emmy winning program as he evangelized using the technology of the day.
Pope Francis recently approved a miracle attributed to Archbishop Sheen, which involved the recovery a newborn who was believed to be stillborn after showing no vital signs and he soon will be beatified.
Father Andrés Solá Molist, Father José Rangel Montaño and Leonardo Pérez Larios
Father Molist, a Spanish Claretian missionary; Father Montaño, a Mexican diocesan priest from Leon; and Larios, a layman, were executed for their faith on April 25, 1927, in Rancho de San Joaquin, Mexico. Tens of thousands of Mexican Catholics were killed during the country's revolutionary period, especially between 1926 and 1929, when the Mexican government carried out systematic persecution of the Catholic Church.
Six Mexican Martyrs
Of the 25 Mexican martyrs whom St. John Paul II canonized in 2000, six were priests and members of the Knights of Columbus. All of them were killed during the Mexican government’s persecution of Catholics in the early 20th century.
• Luis Bátis Sáinz
• José María Robles Hurtado
• Mateo Correa Magallanes
• Miguel de la Mora de la Mora
• Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán
• Pedro de Jesús Maldonado Lucero
St. Rafael Guízar y Valencia
Known as the “bishop of the poor,” Valencia lived through the Mexican revolution in 1910 and the government’s persecution of Catholics in the 1920s. In 1910, he went underground, disguised as a junk dealer to continue his ministry. Valencia went on to serve in Guatemala and Cuba. As bishop, he founded a clandestine seminary to train future priests, and escaped death several times.
He was canonized on Oct. 15, 2006, by Pope Benedict XVI
These men strived to be a saint, and exemplify what being a Knight is all about. They are examples everyday Knights can turn to and pray to, asking for their intercession.
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