News

10 Things you didn’t know about the founder of the Knights of Columbus

by Andrew Butler | Mar 30, 2019

We remember Father Michael J. McGivney as a timeless witness to the faith.

Maybe you already knew that Father Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Connecticut in 1882. Maybe you already knew that he envisioned a Catholic order that would help Catholic men to remain steadfast in faith while providing insurance for their families.

But you might not have known these facts:

1. Protestants were also inspired by Father McGivney’s witness of faith.

Alida Harwood, the daughter of a prominent Episcopal minister in New Haven, frequented Mass at St. Mary’s Church where Father McGivney served. When Alida contracted malaria at the age of 25 and lay on her deathbed, it was Father McGivney she asked to see.

2. He was a heck of a baseball player.

We know that in one game with his seminary team he scored three runs, contributing to a big victory with a score of 23-6. He paved the way for a long history of baseball players who would join the Knights, including these MLB legends.

3. More forward-thinking than Yale? Father McGivney pushed the boundaries as a theater director.

At a time when, according to Parish Priest, nearby Yale University was limiting theater to only male actors, Father McGivney welcomed women to perform when he directed his parish’s St. Patrick’s Day play in 1880.

4. He helped young people take charge of their lives and create a better future.

Father McGivney saw that many young men were neglecting their religion and turning to alcohol abuse. In response, he founded St. Joseph’s Total Abstinence and Literary Society, a group that helped young men stay strong in the faith and become active in their communities. They organized and participated in sports and theatrical productions. McGivney offered members a meeting space with books, magazines, newspapers and a piano. No doubt, Father McGivney’s experience with this group prepared him when he later founded the Knights of Columbus.

5. His vision for the role of the laity was very unusual for the time.

Seventy-seven years ahead of the Second Vatican Council, the idea that a Catholic organization could be led by laymen was quite extraordinary. Yet that was Father McGivney’s vision for the Knights of Columbus.

6. He ministered to inmates.

Father McGivney was responsible for ministering to inmates in the city jail. One inmate was 21-year-old Chip Smith, who — while drunk — shot and killed a police officer. Smith was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to be hanged.

Father McGivney visited him daily, and, on the day of Smith’s execution, the priest was filled with sorrow. Just before he died, Smith comforted him: “Father, your saintly ministrations have enabled me to meet death without a tremor. Do not fear for me, I must not break down now.”

7. He was only 38 years old when he died.

And that’s actually not surprising — life expectancy was short for priests in Connecticut in the 19th century, when the Catholic population was growing, disease was common and the priests were overworked.

8. He’s on the path to sainthood.

His cause for canonization is open, and he was given the title “Venerable” by the Holy See in 2008. You can help promote devotion to this Servant of God — click here to join the Father McGivney Guild.

9. His belongings were burned when he died.

When Father McGivney died of tuberculosis, his personal items were burned to prevent the spreading of the disease. Only a small number of his writings and belongings survived.

10. He is known to intercede especially in four areas (from Columbia magazine):

Employment and finances. Just as parishioners looked to Father McGivney for help when “No Irish need apply” was often included in job postings, so today many receive help when they are laid off or seeking a better job.

Substance abuse. In Father McGivney’s day, alcoholism afflicted the immigrant population, and many now find relief from drug or alcohol abuse after praying to him.

Family reconciliation. Father McGivney helped immigrant families struggling to stay together and to make ends meet. Today, Father McGivney continues to respond to the prayers of families.

Return to the faith. Father McGivney founded the Order to keep men from joining anti-Catholic societies. Today, many Catholics receive favors when calling upon him to help their fallen-away children return to Mass.

St. Pius X Grand Knight’s Appreciation Dinner

St. Pius X Council #6917 held their annual celebration dinner Friday June 14. At that time the following awards and recognitions were presented.

St. Pius X Family of the Year

Grand Knight Dan Miller presented Harold and Marjorie Gallant with the St Pius X Family of the Year award.

St. Pius X Knight of the Year Award

Grand Knight Dan Miller presented District Deputy Jeff Sampson with the St Pius X Knight of the Year Award.

State Council Chaplain of the Year

Fr. Maurice Praught, Pastor of St Pius X Parish was presented the Prince Edward Island State Council Chaplain of the Year Award from Phyllis and Ralph Dunn accompanied by Grand Knight Dan Miller.

Kensington Knights Annual Banquet

Wednesday, June 19 the Knights of Columbus and their guests assembled at the Kensington Legion for their annual banquet and awards presentation.

A high light was the awarding of the “Principle of Charity Scholarship” to Keanna Reid.

Keanna a graduate of Kensington Intermediate High School Class of 2019 will use the $500.00 award to attend St. Francis Xavier University starting this September.

Here is a slide show of the recipients of various awards:

Thank you to Brother Knight Vic Negus for the photos in the slide show.

Winners of the 2019 Knights of Columbus PEI State Lottery

Following is the list of the PEI Knights of Columbus State Lottery 2019 winners –

1st –  $1,000 – Cornwall Knights of Columbus Council #10808

2nd – $750 –    Josh Green, St. Eleanor’s

3rd – $500 –     Darren O’Brien, St. Mary’s Road

4th – $250 –     Marilyn Yu, Charlottetown

Thank You to all who bought lottery tickets this year and to all of the Brother Knights who sold the tickets.

Kensington Knights of Columbus Basketball Free Throw Championship

Kensington area boys and girls ages 9 to 14 recently participated at the council level of the Knights of Columbus Basketball Free Throw Championship.

The competition was held during school lunch periods and involved nearly 50 participants at Queen Elizabeth Elementary School and Kensington Intermediate Senior High.

Each contestant attempted 15 free throws with excellent scores including players with 14 of 15 and 11 of 15 made free throws.


Winners of the Kensington council championship are as follows:

Age                 Girls Champion          

10                    Hannah Peters

11                    Sophie MacLeod

12                    Abby Peters

13                    Julia Folland                                      

14                    Bailey Butler                                      


Age                 Boys Champion         

9                      Dawson Cole

10                    Fulton Weeks

11                    Isaac Clark

12                    Tristan MacLeod

14                    Robert Baquiran                     


The Kensington Knights of Columbus congratulate all the participants who “stepped up to the line” and encourage them to continue working on their Free Throw shooting skills for next year’s championship.  

2019 Free Throw Champions at QEES

From left to right:, Vic Negus – K of C, Sophie MacLeod,  Hannah Peters, Isaac Clark, Dawson Cole, Fulton Weeks, Renata Wigmore – QEES Athletic Director

2019 Free Throw Champions at KISH

From left to right: Vic Negus – K of C, Julia Folland, Abby Peters, Tristan MacLeod, Robert Baquiran, Jonathon McAvinn – KISH Athletic Director

For more info, contact Shawn McCarvill, Council Free Throw Chairman – 836-5029

The Cornwall’s Council Summary Report for the 2019 PEI Convention

Grand Knight Paul Roberts shared his report that will be presented at the Knights of Columbus State Convention at the end of April.

It makes good reading and here is a link to the PDF version of the document.

Looks like things are very active in Cornwall.

Thanks to all the Brother Knights for their great work!

Free Throw Contest

The Kensington part of the annual Knights of Columbus Free Throw Competition was held in the third week of February.


Grand Knight Shawn McCarvill encourages the students.

Brother Knight Ed Doucette makes sure all rules are strictly observed.
Taking to the air!

Thanks to Brother Vic Negus for the photos!

Kensington Council Keep Christ

Sunday, February 3, St. Mary’s Holy Family Council #12465 presented certificates to the student winners of the annual Keep Christ in Christmas Poster Contest.

Keep Christ in Christmas 2018

Pictured with the students are: at the left Brother Darren Cash who organized the contest on behalf of the Knights of Columbus, and on the right Grand Knight Shawn McCarvill.

Thank you to all of the catechism classes who participated and to their teachers and parents for their support of the young artists.