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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Saints for Today: Blessed Michael McGivney

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Dr. Jean Lee
Dr. Jean Lee
Jean M. Lee, M.A., D.Min., is a licensed behavioral health and substance abuse counselor, founding a nonprofit, state-licensed behavior health counseling agency and Christian gift/book store. Volunteer work includes: Jail ministry, Legion of Mary membership, door-to-door evangelization, and writing a weekly newspaper column titled “Faith and Inspiration: Encyclopedia of Saints for Today.” A Catholic revert after 32 years away from the Church, she is devout in the Catholic faith, loves the saints, and lives a deeper spiritual/religious and more joyful life since returning to the Church.

Assigned to St. Mary’s Parish in New Haven, CT, Father McGivney was very active in parish and civic affairs. He saw a need for lay Catholic men to establish a mutual aid society to provide financial assistance for families in need if the primary wage earner died. Protestant fraternal groups already provided this type of life insurance protection for their members.

In 1882, Fr. McGivney formed the Knights of Columbus among a small group of St. Mary’s parishioners to promote charity, unity, and fraternity, assisting widows and orphans. Because of the Knights’ emphasis on serving Church, community and family, the organization grew and did not remain strictly parish-based.

Reflection

Father Michael Joseph McGivney was a genuine pastor who, in the words of Pope Francis, was unafraid to share “the smell of his sheep.” He promoted families whose members were strong in their faith expressed through generous following of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. In a decree read at the beatification Mass, Pope Francis praised Father McGivney’s “zeal and the proclamation of the Gospel and generous concern for his brothers and sisters.” These “made him an outstanding witness of Christian solidarity and fraternal assistance.”

Resource(s): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/blessed-michael-j-mcgivney/

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