ARTICLE: Knights’ success built on founder’s desire for charity

Knights’ success built on founder’s desire for charity Father McGivney formed the Knights of Columbus in 1882; now it is the world’s largest Catholic men’s organization

  OSV Newsweekly


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In many ways, Father Michael J. McGivney was just one more of that band of hardworking Irish-American priests who spent themselves building up the Church in America in the latter years of the 19th century. But in one truly extraordinary respect, he was unique: Before he was 30, Michael McGivney had founded what was to become the largest Catholic men’s organization in the world: the Knights of Columbus.

That happened, largely unnoticed, in early February 1882 in New Haven, Conn., in the basement of St. Mary’s Church. The young curate had assembled 80 Catholic laymen — Irish-Americans like himself — who voted to launch the new group. No one, least of all Father McGivney, suspected that 132 years later the Knights of Columbus would grow to be an international body of 1.84 million Catholic men, with assets totaling more than $20 billion and an influence for good to match.

“Father McGivney is too modest to assume to himself any honor,” one of his lay associates later said. “But if this Order succeeds … the honor as its founder will be his.” History seconds that judgment . . . [Click the Above Link for the Full Story]

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