by Father Jonathan D. Kalisch, OP | Director of Chaplains and Spiritual Development
We are invited to reflect on the holy life of Father Michael J. McGivney at this moment in history.
Michael McGivney came of age just as soldiers were returning from the most bloody war fought on American soil. The eldest son of an immigrant family, he put off studying for the priesthood to support his family by working for three years in a spoon factory. Later, he attended the seminary, learning a foreign language to better serve the local people. The untimely death of his father foreshadowed a focus on family life that would become the hallmark of his priestly efforts.
When he became a parochial vicar, he was assigned to serving a parish in massive debt. He was just 29 years-old at the time, but he served his community well — by founding what would become one of the largest lay organization in the Catholic Church.
He was a priest whose zeal for souls led him to convert a convicted murderer. He was a preacher whose message of hope, charity and truth inspired the conversions of Yale undergraduates and the daughter of a Protestant clergyman. He was a man whom soldiers followed; a leader whose vision created room for new leaders to serve in new roles in the Church. He enjoyed baseball and skeet shooting, encouraged young adults to join drama and abstinence societies. He refused to permit the breakup of families.
As we prepare to celebrate the beatification of Father McGivney, I encourage you to preach about these aspects of the life of our holy founder. The Vatican-approved miracle on behalf of Mikey Schachle, the son of a brother Knight and General Insurance Agent Dan Schachle, provides additional focus for spiritual and pastoral engagement. Where possible, I hope you will work with your council to promote local and virtual events highlighting the life of Father McGivney, as well as lead a novena before his beatification.
May Father McGivney continue to intercede for each of us, and may his life and virtue call us to renewal of our own priesthoods.
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