The following is an excerpt of a speech given by Father J.H. O’Donnell to a group of Knights visiting Father McGivney’s grave on June 10, 1900.
Father O’Donnell was the author of a history of the Archdiocese of Hartford and knew Father McGivney personally. Father O’Donnell encouraged Knights to take up Father McGivney’s example and clearly laid out Father McGivney’s virtues, as well as his commitment to faith and to faith in action.
Following our founder’s example in caring for the spiritual and physical well-being of our neighbor is as relevant today as it was 120 years ago.
“Well shall it be with the Knights of Columbus as an order, if its individual members possess the spirit that dominated its founder.
Genial, approachable, of kindly disposition, cheerful under reverses, profoundly sympathetic with those upon whom had fallen the heavv hand of affliction. a man of strict probitv and sterling integrity in his business transactions.
He was charitable to a fault, if I may so speak. The poor found in him a good Samaritan, and were the frequent recipients of his bounty. … the years spent by Father McGivney in the sacred ministry were replete with deeds that honor his name. ...
There are few clergymen in my recollection who enjoyed in a greater degree than he the respect of his “colleagues and the reverence of the people. His life was an open book, whose pages all might read, and the influences that radiated from his active, energetic and zealous personality, brought many a poor wanderer to the house of God, back to the faith of his childhood, and to the sacred tribunal of penance where with faith, contrition and humility, he became reconciled to his Heavenly Father.
Father McGivney was nothing, if not active. His energy was restless, ever seeking new outlets. And to this disposition are we indebted for the existence of the Knights of Columbus.”
Share your story of how your council is helping strengthen people’s faith and offering support during this time. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in a special bi-weekly edition of Knightline, a resource for K of C leaders and members. In addition, Father O’Donnell’s speech was originally printed in the Waterbury Times, June 10, 1900. A digital archived copy can be found here.
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