Profile of a Priest: Father Michael J. McGivneyby Peter John Cameron, O. P.
Father Michael J. McGivney (1852-1890) spent his shor priesthood protecting the poor and the oppressed, especially by founding the Knights of Columbus. One seminary rector expressed his doubts about McGivney's vocation, disguising his objections in Latin: "Mr McGivney is a very good and pious young man. But he is exceedingly sensitive,, usque ad lacrymas [even unto tears]." But wasn't this sensitivity the very source of Father McGivney's astonishing priesthood? Pope John Paul II tells us that priest "should be able to know the depths of the human heart, to perceive difficulties and problems." Father McGivney did this par excellence. An 1880 newspaper article captures Father McGivney's New Haven: "Hundreds of yours are growing up in our midst in abject poverty, in filth, wretchedness, and crime for want of help and sympathy." Father McGivney responded. He ransomed an orphaned teenager who would have bee sent to a public institution. His pastoral care of a murdered on death row was so effected that even the New Your Times was amazed at the inmate's serenity on the day of his execution. "All the difficult circumstances which people find in their path as Christians are sincerely suffered in the priest's heart" (John Paul II). A month after the death of Father McGivney at the age of thirty-eight, a board of directors of the Knights of Columbus adopted a resolution. One line is the epitome of praise for a priest: "He was our father."
"First and Always Catholic"
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