The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization that has spread across the world, are celebrating the 140th anniversary of its founding.
The Rev. Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus on Feb. 6, 1882. The state of Connecticut officially acknowledged the fraternal organization’s charter on March 29 of the same year.
The Knights celebrated the 140th anniversary of their founding at St. Mary’s Church, in New Haven, Conn., where it began when the church was seven years old. The first unofficial meeting of the organization was held in the basement of the church and four months later, the organization was officially formed.
The votive Mass, celebrated in honor of McGivney, was attended by a large number of Knights. McGivney is one step away from being canonized as a saint in the Catholic church and has the official title of “Blessed”.
National Catholic Register Reports:
Scores of Knights, some with their families, braved the blustery 39-degree day to attend the votive Mass in honor of their organization’s founder, Blessed Michael J. McGivney. The anniversary day was unlike that inaugural 1882 day, which saw a clear sky, light breeze and a bit higher temperature as Father McGivney and his newly formed Knights celebrated.
The Mass began with 42 Fourth-Degree Knights leading the processional to the altar, followed by several concelebrants, including Archbishop Emeritus Daniel Cronin of the Hartford Archdiocese, who began the blessed’s canonization process; Auxiliary Bishop Juan Miguel Betancourt of Hartford; Knights Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore; and Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford, the principal celebrant.
Archbishop Lori began his homily by asking for Blessed Michael’s intercession for St. Mary’s, the Archdiocese of Hartford, “which he served so lovingly and effectively as a parish priest,” and for the Knights of Columbus, “which he founded as a pathway for men to grow in their faith, to become better husbands and fathers, to serve as men of charity, unity, and fraternity, and to provide financial security for their families.”
The Knights’ founding took place at St. Mary’s, which was only three years old when Father McGivney arrived for the first time on Christmas Day 1877 for his first priestly assignment. Four years later, in the church basement, the 29-year-old curate held the first informal meeting of what, four months later in March, would officially become the Knights of Columbus.
Archbishop Lori also asked for the founder’s prayers, “that the Knights may experience continued growth in its mission to form men after the mind and heart of Christ, and that it may continue to practice with ever-increasing effectiveness in a charity that evangelizes, a charity that strengthens the Church at every level.”
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