As Florida State Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus, I take pride in the recent announcement from the Vatican that Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Father Michael J. McGivney, paving the way for beatification of the founder of the Knights of Columbus. Born in 1852, in Waterbury, Connecticut, Father McGivney played a critical role in the growth of the Catholic Church in the United States in the latter part of the 19th century. After his ordination in Baltimore in 1877, he served a largely Irish-American and immigrant community in New Haven. He founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882. Amid an anti-Catholic climate, he established that organization to provide spiritual aid to Catholic men and financial help for families that had lost their breadwinner. Today it is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, with nearly two million members in more than a dozen countries on three continents.
It was in 2008, that Pope Benedict XVI declared the American-born priest a Venerable Servant of God in recognition of his life of heroic virtue. Now his beatification will take place in Connecticut (on a date not yet determined). Following his beatification, Father McGivney’s cause will require one more authenticated miracle before he can be considered for full sainthood. Though he would not be the first member of the Knights of Columbus to be canonized (a group of six Mexican members of the organization were martyred during the Cristero War of 1926-29 and its aftermath), he could become the first non-martyr U.S.-born male to be canonized.
Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said: “Father McGivney has inspired generations of Catholic men to roll up their sleeves and put their faith into action. He was decades ahead of his time in giving the laity an important role within the Church. Today, his spirit continues to shape the extraordinary charitable work of Knights as they continue to serve those on the margins of society as he served widows and orphans in the 1880s. Father McGivney also remains an important role model for parish priests around the world.”
This weekend we honor 43 graduates from our St. Vincent Ferrer School’s 8th grade. Though their graduation ceremony will be performed virtually, we will include a special broadcast at the conclusion of our 11:30 a.m. Pentecost Sunday Mass. Their accomplishments are many, their honors great and their parents and teachers proud to acknowledge their achievements. My hope is that they will have learned enough about their Catholic Faith as to cherish it and keep it in the forefront of their minds and hearts, promising to practice it, including weekly (and not weakly) participation at Sunday Mass. Though they will go off to different schools in the coming academic year, and we do not yet know the format in which they will participate in the educative process, we wish them much success in all their endeavors and pray that our efforts in preparing them for the future will bear much fruit.
We honor, too, all our graduates from high school, college and all other levels of schooling that toughed it out during the latter part of the school year. It’s not easy for the students to be concluding their learning “on line,” and we pray that their continuing advancement in academia or search for real employment in the job market may not be adversely affected by the unusual disruption of their 2019-20 school year.
ATTENTION! ATTENTION! ATTENTION! Please note that, beginning next weekend, there will be a change in our Weekend Mass Schedule! The only Mass on Saturday afternoon will be at 4:00 p.m. On Sunday morning, there will be 3 Masses scheduled: 7:00, 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. (to meet early morning, mid-morning and late morning needs). The Life Teen Mass at 5:30 p.m. will remain intact. I ask that you follow the instructions of the ushers in seating arrangements, so that you don’t create confusion and violate our social-distancing operations. It will be one way we have to avoid chaos and confusion. Please do not try to rearrange the seating patterns, as they have been set up to facilitate a good and safe method for getting you in and out of church and assisting our maintenance team in sanitizing the church between Masses. The ushers will hand out a pamphlet that has all the guidelines and protocols needed. PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES AND STAY SAFE!