Founder’s Day

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Mass celebrates beginning of the Order

Assembled around the sarcophagus of Venerable Michael McGivney after Mass are (l. to r.): Father Joseph Marcello; Father Jonathan Kalisch, O.P.; Father John Paul Walker, O.P.; Supreme Knight Carl Anderson; John Walshe, great grandnephew of Father McGivney; Supreme Secretary Charles Maurer; Supreme Advocate John Marrella; Supreme Director Scott Flood of Connecticut; Assistant Supreme Secretary Ronald Tracz, and Connecticut State Deputy Thomas Vita.

At a Mass on March 29 in St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council marked the 134th anniversary of the founding of the Order by Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney. Among those attending the Mass were relatives of Father McGivney, supreme officers and Knights from Connecticut.

Founder’s Day is celebrated annually on March 29, the day when the Connecticut legislature approved the charter of the Knights of Columbus in 1882.

Father John Paul Walker, O.P., pastor of St. Mary’s, was main celebrant. In his homily, he said that Father McGivney took a leadership role for Catholic men of his day, adding “he did so boldly, clearly and emphatically. He saw the untapped potential of the men and provided leadership." The beginnings of the Order go back to the first time Father McGivney gathered a handful of men in the basement of St. Mary’s, he added.

Father McGivney guided members "to live for the Lord Jesus and the Church, and also led them to be outward looking, encouraging these men to live their lives for others, the most needy," Father Walker noted.

Concelebrating the Mass were Father Jonathan Kalisch, O.P., the Knights’ director of chaplains and spiritual development, and Father Joseph Marcello, pastor of St. Catherine’s Church in Trumbull, Conn.

Two relatives of Father McGivney participated. John Walshe, great grandnephew of Father McGivney, served as lector, while the responsorial psalm was led by Robert Ransom, an employee at the Supreme Council, whose wife, Margaret, is great grandniece of Father McGivney.

After Mass, Father Walker led supreme officers to the tomb of Father McGivney located in the rear of the church, where they recited the Prayer for Canonization along with the congregation. Father McGivney was declared Venerable in 2008, when the Vatican recognized his heroic virtue. A miracle attributed to his intercession is needed for him to advance to beatification.