Father McGivney’s Beatification a Family Blessing in Hopewell Junction

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John and MaryAnn McGivney watched the Beatification Mass of Blessed Michael McGivney from St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hartford, Conn., Oct. 31 with keen interest as relatives and active members of the organization begun by Blessed McGivney.

Blessed McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Conn., in 1882 to provide financial support for widows and orphans of immigrant and working-class Catholics. The Knights of Columbus are now global with 2 million members.

John and MaryAnn, parishioners of St. Columba in Hopewell Junction, are active members of the St. Mary’s Council 4065 in Fishkill. John, a 74-year-old distant cousin of Blessed McGivney, is district deputy of the Knights of Columbus, and MaryAnn, 77, is vice president of the Columbiettes, the women’s auxiliary affiliated with the Knights.

“It’s wonderful. We’re very excited,” Mrs. McGivney told CNY shortly before the Mass. “I’ve never been that close to a Beatification Mass, especially with family relationship or family ties. I’m sure we’ll have chills down our spine and shed a few tears like last night (during a prayer vigil) listening to how wonderful a man he was and such a simple soul.”

The McGivneys, who have been married for 45 years, moved to Hopewell Junction from the Bronx 42 years ago. They are the parents of two grown children, Mary Kate Muller and John McGivney Jr.

“They’ve asked about his life and how we’re related to him,” Mrs. McGivney said. “I can’t wait until the grandkids are old enough to tell them.”

Mrs. McGivney, 77, served the archdiocese as director of religious education at St. Columba, and principal of St. Joseph’s School, New Windsor; St. Joseph, Kingston; Sacred Heart, Newburgh; and Holy Trinity, Poughkeepsie.

John, 74, was an insurance salesman for the Knights of Columbus and served his Knights council as past grand knight.

“It’s the idea of supporting our pastors, supporting our Church and the men, we’re all friends and meet at Mass,” John said. “We socialize together. It’s a whole community of friends and believers.

“We are extremely excited for the next 138 years for the Knights of Columbus to do more and touch more people.”

A prayer vigil kicked off the beatification weekend Oct. 30 at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., where Blessed McGivney served as a parish priest.

“If there was one thing I learned (from the prayer service), he stepped back from organizing the Knights of Columbus,” Mrs. McGivney said. “He just became chaplain in the early stages of the Knights and he gave the administration over to the lay people in the parish who were interested in it. He became their spiritual advisor, and let the men organize it themselves.”

The Beatification Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, N.J., opened with a procession of deacons, priests, bishops and cardinals, including Cardinal Dolan.

“It’s a boost for our beloved Knights,” said Cardinal Dolan of the beatification in a video posted Oct. 31 on his website. “It’s a great affirmation to the Catholic family of the United States. It’s a wonderful affirmation of working with the immigrants and it’s a booster shot to parish priests, diocesan priests throughout the country. 

“For all that, I say this Halloween is especially blessed. Blessed Michael McGivney, pray for us.”

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