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NEW HAVEN, CONN. — Blessed Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, is the subject of two new documentaries produced by the Knights: Father Michael McGivney: An American Blessed and A Witness for the World: The Global Impact of Blessed Michael McGivney.
In May 2020, Pope Francis approved a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Father McGivney, paving the way for his beatification on Oct. 31. The half-hour documentary Father Michael McGivney: An American Blessed highlights Father McGivney’s remarkable life and legacy, from his childhood as the son of Irish immigrants to his founding of the Knights of Columbus. It also explores the heartwarming story of Michael McGivney Schachle, a child with Down syndrome who was healed in utero from a fatal disease through the intercession of his namesake.
“Over the years, Father McGivney has been honored with many titles: the model parish priest; a good Samaritan; protector of widows and orphans; apostle of Christian Family life; and, of course, founder of the Knights of Columbus,” said Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, the executive producer of both documentaries. “However, his witness goes beyond titles. He was above all a testament to the power of spiritual brotherhood and charity. That reality comes through in this documentary.”
As a Connecticut priest and founder of the New Haven-based Knights of Columbus, Father McGivney is often viewed as an American phenomenon. However, as seen in the half-hour film A Witness for the World: The Global Impact of Blessed Michael McGivney, his vision has spread across the world, touching millions of lives. From aiding children in war-torn Ukraine to disaster relief in the Philippines; from helping fulfill the revolution of Solidarity in Poland to evangelizing the culture in Mexico; from the institution of Knights of Columbus councils in Canada during the late 1890s to those established in Korea and France in recent years. This documentary explores Father McGivney’s all-encompassing vision for an empowered laity, spiritual brotherhood, the rejuvenation of parish life and the transformation of communities through mutual love and charity.
“Certainly, the beatification of Father McGivney will further his charism throughout the world,” Anderson said. “It is a significant step in demonstrating the universal appeal of his vision. For more than a century, millions have benefited from this vision — lived out by brother Knights and their families. In the years to come, we believe the lives of millions more will be transformed as Knights continue to follow Father McGivney’s path.”
EWTN will air the two documentaries on December 19 at 2 p.m., ET. They will also air on CatholicTV. CatholicTV has planned four 30 min-blocks next week for A Witness for the World: The Global Impact of Blessed Michael McGivney, including a showing on Dec. 22, the anniversary of Father McGivney’s Ordination. The showings will take place on Dec. 22 at 6 pm ET, and Dec. 23 at 2:30 am ET. Father Michael McGivney: An American Blessed will air on Dec. 26 at 6 pm ET.
These films can also be viewed by visiting kofc.org/beatification which will also include a schedule of future network broadcasts.
In addition, the films will be available digitally on multiple streaming services and DVDs will soon be available for purchase.
Born of Irish immigrant parents in 1852 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Father McGivney was a central figure in the dramatic growth of the Church in the United States in the late 19th century. Ordained in Baltimore in 1877, he ministered to a heavily Irish-American and immigrant community in Connecticut. At a time of anti-Catholic sentiment, he worked tirelessly to offer practical solutions to their many problems — spiritual and temporal alike. With a group of the leading Catholic men of New Haven, he founded the Knights to provide spiritual support for Catholic men and financial resources for families that had suffered the loss of their breadwinner.
Father McGivney died of pneumonia on Aug. 14, 1890 — two days after his 38th birthday — after falling ill amid a pandemic.
In March 2008, Father McGivney was declared a Venerable Servant of God by Pope Benedict XVI, who during his visit to New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral cited the “remarkable accomplishment of that exemplary American priest, the Venerable Michael McGivney, whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus.”
On Oct. 31, 2020, he was declared blessed by Pope Francis, who cited Blessed Michael McGivney for his “zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel and generous concern for his brothers and sisters” that “made him an outstanding witness of Christian solidarity and fraternal assistance.”
Two recent books tell the story of Father McGivney and his legacy: Parish Priest (2006), his biography, and The Knights of Columbus: An Illustrated History (2020).
More information is available at www.FatherMcGivney.org.
The Knights of Columbus is one of the world’s leading fraternal and service organizations, with 2 million members in more than 16,000 parish-based councils. During the past year, Knights around the world donated more than 77 million service hours and $187 million for worthy causes in their communities. The organization also offers extensive life insurance services to members and their families, resulting in more than $114 billion of life insurance in force. Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors offers investment services to individuals and institutions in accord with Catholic social teachings. From helping children in need, to providing wheelchairs for the disabled, to helping stock food banks, to offering top-rated and affordable insurance products to its members, the Knights of Columbus has supported families and communities for more than 138 years.
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