The Knights of Columbus announced plans to create a new pilgrimage center for visitors to encounter the spirituality of the order’s founder, Fr. Michael McGivney, who is set to be beatified in October.
The Blessed Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center will be created at the current Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Connecticut.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said the center will offer pilgrims the opportunity to learn more about the group’s founder.
“While the museum will continue to recount the Knights' history, it will also broaden its mission by focusing more on the spirituality and charitable vision of our founder and his legacy. A visit to the Blessed Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center will enhance the formative experience of a pilgrimage to Father McGivney's tomb at St. Mary’s,” he said.
Anderson made the announcement of the new pilgrimage center on Tuesday, during the Knights of Columbus' 138th annual Supreme Convention. It is the first annual convention to be held completely virtually, as ongoing limitations due to the coronavirus pandemic have restricted in-person gatherings.
McGivney's beatification Mass will take place on October 31 in Hartford, Connecticut.
Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to McGivney’s intercession in May. The miracle involved an unborn child in the United States who was healed in-utero of a life-threatening condition in 2015 after his family prayed to McGivney.
“For members of the Knights of Columbus and many others, the news of the beatification is a time of great joy and celebration. Father McGivney ministered to those on the margins of society in the 19th century, and his example has inspired millions of Knights to follow his example in their own parishes and communities,” said Anderson.
McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882. Today it is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, with nearly two million members in more than a dozen countries.
Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1852, McGivney was ordained a priest in 1877. He served a largely Irish-American and immigrant community in New Haven.
Amid an anti-Catholic climate, he established the Knights to provide spiritual aid to Catholic men and financial help for families that had lost their breadwinner.
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI declared McGivney a Venerable Servant of God. He said McGivney was an “exemplary American priest” whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus.
In a recent letter to the Knights, Pope Francis commended McGivney’s contributions to the world and Church. He said the priest’s service to the poor and vulnerable calls the Knights “to deepen their commitment to live as missionary disciples in charity, unity and fraternity.”
“His Holiness is grateful for these and for the many other countless ways in which the Knights of Columbus continue to bear prophetic witness to God's dream for a more fraternal, just and equitable world in which all are recognized as neighbors and no one is left behind,” the pope said.
Following his beatification, McGivney’s cause will require one more authenticated miracle before he can be considered for canonization.
Catholic News Agency