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Our Founder

The Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney (August 12, 1852 - August 14, 1890) was a Roman Catholic priest and founder of the Knights of Columbus. He was the son of Irish immigrants.

On February 2, 1882, while an assistant pastor at Saint Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut, Fr. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus with a small group of parishioners. He died from pneumonia on the eve of the Assumption in 1890, when only thirty-eight years old.

In 1996, the Archdiocese of Hartford opened an investigation into Father McGivney's life, with a stated goal of his beatification and canonization. Fr. Gabriel O'Donnell, OP is the postulator of McGivney's cause, as well as director of the Fr. McGivney Guild. The diocesan investigation was closed in 2000, and the case was passed to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican. On August 7, 2007, in his homily at the Opening Mass at the 125th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone pledged his assistance to this cause as Cardinal Secretary of State for the Holy See.

On March 15, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI approved a decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Fr. McGivney. The Pope's declaration significantly advanced the process toward sainthood. The declaration allows Catholics to refer to McGivney with the title "Venerable Servant of God".