“He was a man of the people. He was zealous of the people’s welfare, and all the kindliness of his priestly soul asserted itself more strongly in his unceasing efforts for the betterment of their condition…Oh, Reverend Founder…that act alone which gave life to the Knights of Columbus has surely secured for thee everlasting joy and eternal peace.” 

Fr. Michael McGivney

“His close friendship with Michael Curran, the undertaker, brought him the first-hand stories of the poverty and heartache which plagued so many. … He sought to do more than merely offer words of consolation; he wanted some kind of adequate financial protection for the young families whose bread-winners were sticken by death.”

“He was a man of the people. He was ever zealous for the people’s welfare and all the kindliness of his priestly soul asserted itself most strongly in his unceasing efforts for the betterment of their condition.”

Edward Downesearly member of the Knights of Columbus who went on to become a priest himself

“…in the death cell, preparatory to the march to the scaffold, Father McGivney was deeply affected and extremely nervous, so much so that the condemned man begged him not to break down. ‘Father,’ he said, ‘your saintly administration has enabled me to meet death without a tremor. Do not fear for me, I must not break down now.’ Father McGivney did not recover for some time.”

in 1882 Father McGivney ministered to a young man, Chip Smith, who was being held in the New Haven jail on charges of murdering the city’s chief of police. Father McGivney visited the young man regularly in the weeks leading up to his hanging.

“In imitation of Christ the Good Shepherd, Father McGivney lifted the burden from the young man and shouldered it himself.”

“His idea was to found an organization that would direct young men to work in harmony on lines laid out that would conform to the teachings and practice of the Church. … [I]f we should go back and discover what was in the mid of the founder when he was getting it in shape it would be shown that his aim was to draw men nearer to the church and thus make them better Christians and more useful members of the state.”

“He was never known to cherish the slightest resentment toward those who differed with him, his great charity in this respect being one of the marked features of his whole life. He had no time for bickerings or contentions, his thoughts at all times being occupied with his priestly duties.”

“Father McGivney, though a man of unassuming character, was possessed of an indomitable will, by which, aided by the grace of God, he was able to face unkind and unjust criticism from all directions in his great effort to found a society for the benefit of young men and the glory of the church.”

Father W.J. Slocum1905 remembrance of Father McGivney



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