THE MASS OF BEATIFICATION of Blessed Michael McGivney, celebrated Oct. 31, 2020, at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Conn., was truly the culminating moment of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson’s tenure.
In his first column for Columbia as supreme knight 20 years ago, he wrote, “The greatest resource we have today is the spiritual strength we have inherited from Father McGivney. Through his continued intercession and, we pray, his eventual beatification, that strength gives us the ability to do even greater things in the future.”
Months later, in his first annual report, Anderson called the spirituality of Father McGivney “a source for vitality and renewal in the Order,” adding, “Certainly it is our duty to communicate the vision of Father McGivney to the whole Church.”
The year 2002 then marked a massive leap forward in the promotion of the Knights of Columbus founder’s life and spirituality. In May, a 1,000-page positio document laying out the case for Father McGivney’s holiness was submitted to the Vatican. Then, on Aug. 12, the 150th anniversary of Father McGivney’s birth, the Order began a yearlong initiative to promote the founder’s cause, as well as to promote vocations, with the motto “We Know One Good Priest Can Make a Difference.”
Over the past two decades, membership in the Father Michael J. McGivney Guild has grown dramatically, and Supreme Knight Anderson has written and spoken extensively about the “prophetic vision” and “spiritual genius” of the founder, who recognized the irreplaceable role of the laity and gave Catholic men a practical path to holiness.
To further promote Father McGivney’s cause and spirituality, the supreme knight has authorized several documentary films as well as an official biography, Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism, which has been translated into several languages since it was first published in 2006.
Pope Benedict XVI approved a decree of heroic virtue for Father McGivney in March 2008, declaring him Venerable, and last May Pope Francis approved the miracle that opened the way for his beatification.
Addressing the midyear meeting of state deputies in November, after Father McGivney was declared Blessed, Supreme Knight Anderson called the beatification “a great gift to us and to the universal Church.” He then added, “As with all gifts from the Lord there come responsibilities. The gift of Father McGivney’s beatification presents to us a great responsibility — to be faithful and productive stewards of his legacy.”
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