It was the miraculous cure of an unborn child from a life-threatening condition that cleared the way for Father Michael J. McGivney’s beatification this October, but countless others who have sought his intercession attest that he has granted them favors as well.
Among those favors reported to the Father McGivney Guild comes one from Jeffrey Hawarden, a current district deputy and past grand knight of St. Theresa’s Council 14615 in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., who said he survived a serious form of cancer last year due to the Knights of Columbus founder’s intercession.
“I was diagnosed with Stage IV head and neck cancer with a 50/50 chance of survival,” Hawarden said. “My brother Knights and I prayed daily for the intercession of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, asking for the good father to intervene on my behalf, asking just to be able to survive.”
The prayers gave him confidence. “I knew I was going to be okay prior to starting treatment,” he said.
After months of treatment, he got the “all clear” last October.
“God is great,” Hawarden said. “Prayers were answered.”
John Palmieri, a past grand knight of Father James F. Donaher Council 3733 in North Haven, Conn., was admitted to Backus Hospital in April and diagnosed with COVID-19. At high risk due to factors including age, diabetes and a triple heart bypass, his situation was so critical that he was placed on a ventilator and put in a medically induced coma.
“I was told by a doctor that the chances for my recovery were less than 1 percent,” Palmieri said.
Three days later, his wife, Alana — who also contracted COVID-19 and was then in the recovery ward of the same hospital — was informed by a nurse that his condition had worsened.
“Alana had been praying and continued to pray to Father McGivney for my recovery,” Palmieri said. “One night, two nurses brought my wife down to the ICU floor to say goodbye to me. They didn’t think I was going to make it through the night. She refused to say goodbye and sat there, holding my hand and praying to Father McGivney.”
Another doctor even called their son to ask whether he had power of attorney since they thought Palmieri was near death. Yet Palmieri rallied and survived. After 10 days on a ventilator and 18 days in the hospital, he was discharged on May 12. He is still on the mend, but he feels he is improving.
“I firmly believe it was by Father McGivney's intercession that I am alive,” he said.
Carole Rowland, a psychologist in Wyandotte, Mich., got a double dose of good news that she attributes to Father McGivney’s influence.
“I received the reconciliation with my sister, who finally contacted me,” Rowland said. “Also, my daughter-in-law got a good diagnosis for her breast cancer.”
Rajan Arasaratnam was having trouble selling his townhouse in 2018. A move to a condominium was necessitated due to his wife’s health, but they had no takers, even after changing agents and dropping the listing price.
“The year 2019, we listed the house again,” said Arasaratnam, a member of St. Aidan’s Council 11332 in Scarborough, located 17 miles northeast of Toronto, Ontario. Success still eluded them. Utterly frustrated, he turned to Father McGivney for his intervention.
The results astounded him.
“Trust me, the very next day, a lady came and offered our price, and the deal was closed in one week,” Arasaratnam said. “Since then, I pray to Father McGivney daily, and I am receiving small mercies even now.”
Bill Horoshak, a member of Frank A. Mancina Council 2583 in Eveleth, Minn., became a Knight a short time before the birth of his great-grandniece. When the little girl was born, it was found she had three holes in her heart along with cystic fibrosis.
“The physician said the small one would heal, maybe the middle one too, but the largest one would need surgery,” Horoshak said. “Because of the cystic fibrosis and low body weight, the surgery would have to wait until at least six months of age but [needed to be done] before 18 months.”
Immediately after his great-grandniece’s birth, Horoshak took the Father McGivney prayer card that he had received when he joined the Knights and began to pray daily for the founder’s intercession. He continued this prayer for a full year.
Her doctors marveled at the results. “After one year, they were amazed that all three holes were completed healed, and she didn't need surgery!” Horoshak said.
He continues to pray to Father McGivney daily with requests for favors for people he knows.
“Father McGivney's upcoming beatification proves to me that her miracle was because of Father McGivney,” he said. “It only increases my resolve to pray even more to ask his help with other matters.”
Palmieri, who resides just a few miles from where Father McGivney founded the Order, also finds his beatification meaningful. “To know that someone who walked and talked so close to where we live and has the chance to become a saint is a blessing,” he said.
Now settled in to his new home, Arasaratnam encourages others to take up devotion to Father McGivney to seek his intercession and advance his cause for canonization.
“Pray daily to Father McGivney, and keep the faith growing!” he said.
Gerald Korson, a veteran Catholic journalist, is a Knights of Columbus member in Indiana.
Have a devotion to Father McGivney? Report favors received through Father McGivney’s intercession to the Father McGivney Guild.
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