Litany of Venerable Fr. Michael J. McGivney

(For the cause of his canonization)

Biography as the Call to Holiness (Lumen Gentium p. 39)

Michael McGivney was born on August 12, 1852, the first of 13 children born to Patrick and Mary McGivney in the brass mill town of Waterbury, CT. Six of the children died in infancy. He learned early about the powers of love and faith in a nurturing family life. He went to school in a working-class neighborhood. After the Civil War he left school at age 13 and went to work in a brass factory to help his family's survival. In 1868 at age 16 he began studies for the priesthood in Quebec, Canada. While at the Jesuit-run seminary in Montreal his father died in June of 1873. Following the funeral he began four years of studies at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, MD. He was ordained on December 22, 1877 in the historic Cathedral of the Assumption by Archbishop (later Cardinal) James Gibbons.

He began his priestly ministry on Christmas Day in 1877 as curate at St. Mary's Church in New Haven. He showed great pastoral care of inmates in the city jail. He worked closely with the young people of the parish, teaching catechism classes and organizing an abstinence society to fight alcoholism. He was also concerned about strengthening religious faith and providing financial help of families stricken by illness or death of the breadwinner. The Bishop of Hartford gave his blessings to Fr. McGivney's vision of a Catholic lay benefit society.

Initially called "Sons of Columbus" in order to bind Catholicism and Americanism together, later the name was changed to "Knights of Columbus" to apply a noble ritual in support of the growing cause of Catholic civil liberty. The Connecticut legislature granted it a charter on March 29, 1882 giving it the status of a legal corporation. The initial principles were "Unity" and "Charity." Fr. McGivney personally installed the first officers of San Salvador Council 1 in New Haven in May 1882. By the end of 1885, there were 31 councils in Connecticut.

In November 1884 he was name pastor of St. Thomas Church in Thomaston, CT. It was a factory town, serving working-class parishioners with little resources beyond their faith. For six years he wrestled with the church debt with great devotion and charitable concern for his flock. On August 14, 1890 he died of pneumonia at the age of 38. In his short priestly life he won the hearts of those he loved and served.

The Knights of Columbus today is a worldwide order committed to charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. More than 12,000 fraternal councils are active in 13 countries. At St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Father McGivney's granite tomb enthroned inside a totally restored church, now has become a shrine for pilgrim Knights where the Order began.

Pope John Paul II formally opened the cause of his canonization to sainthood on December 18, 1997. Pope Benedict XVI declared him Venerable on March 16, 2008.


Almighty God, author of all life.................................Lord, have mercy on us
Jesus Son of God, good shepherd of all souls.............Christ, have mercy on us
Holy Spirit of God, fire that makes all things new......Lord, have mercy on us

Michael McGivney, the first child of devout parents.................Intercede for us.
Michael McGivney, who knew poverty early in life..................Intercede for us.
Michael McGivney, who became a child factory-worker
Michael McGivney, who studied hard in college
Michael McGivney, who cared for his family

Fr. McGivney, ordained a priest for the Hartford diocese..............Inspire us.
Fr. McGivney, curate at St. Mary's in New Haven........................Inspire us.
Fr. McGivney, shepherd of inmates in the city jail
Fr. McGivney, catechist of the young
Fr. McGivney, visionary of a Catholic benefit society

Venerable Fr. McGivney, a priest of life values.......................Pray for us.
Venerable Fr. McGivney, a priest of good counsel..................Pray for us.
Venerable Fr. McGivney, a priest of bold vision
Venerable Fr. McGivney, a priest of genuine kindness
Venerable Fr. McGivney, a priest of the people of God

Lamb of God, source of charity, you take away the sins of the world............
Have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, source of unity, you take away the sins of the world........
Have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, source of fraternity, you take away the sins of the world.....
Have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, source of patriotism, you take away the sins of the world.....
Have mercy on us.

Let us pray,
God of prophets, in Father Michael McGivney, you gave the Church a voice and a visionary who fortified Catholics in their faith and sowed the seeds of a new lay society as founder of the Knights of Columbus. His priestly soul, full of genuine kindness and pastoral care, aided the betterment of all the people he served. While he enjoys everlasting joy and eternal peace we pray that his cause to sainthood may bring peace to a fractured world, and renewed hope to all people. We make this pray in union with the Sacred Heart of your Son, Jesus Christ, the good shepherd who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit as the Triune God who receives all the glory through the saintly life of Venerable Fr. Michael McGivney. Amen.

Composed by Rev. Paul G. Mast for The 10th year of his cause for canonization - Not to be copied without permission.

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Composed by: Rev. Paul G. Mast
Protected by Copyright - © 2007