NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CNS) — Here’s a timeline of the sainthood cause of Blessed Michael J. McGivney (1852-1890), who founded the Knights of Columbus at St. Mary’s Parish in New Haven in 1882:
— Dec. 18, 1997: Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin of Hartford, Connecticut, officially opens Father McGivney’s cause for sainthood. Father McGivney is given the title “Servant of God.” The Father McGivney Guild is established to promote the cause. (The initial work on his sainthood cause began in 1982 on the Knights’ centenary.)
— March 6, 2000: Closing of diocesan investigation into Father McGivney’s life, holiness and virtues.
— Summer 2002: A 1,000-page document — “positio” — laying out the case for Father McGivney’s cause is presented to the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes.
— October 2003: In a message to the Knights of Columbus, St. John Paul II praises the fraternal order and its founder: “In fidelity to the vision of Father McGivney, may you continue to seek new ways of being a leaven of the Gospel in the world and a spiritual force for the renewal of the church in holiness, unity and truth.”
— July 2006: William Morrow/Harper Collins publishes “Parish Priest: Father McGivney and American Catholicism” by historians Douglas Brinkley and Julie Fenster.
— March 15, 2008: Pope Benedict XVI confirms that “the theological virtues of faith, hope and love both toward God and neighbor … existed to a heroic degree” in Father McGivney and declares him “Venerable.”
— April 19, 2008: Pope Benedict, in his homily during a votive Mass “for the universal church” at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, cites the “remarkable accomplishment of that exemplary American priest, the Venerable Michael McGivney, whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus.”
— September 2017: Results of an investigation into a possible miracle attributed to the intercession of Father McGivney is sent to the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.
— February 12, 2020: Pope Francis tells the Knights of Columbus board of directors the order has been faithful to the vision of Father McGivney, “who was inspired by the principles of Christian charity and fraternity to assist those most in need.” Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, the Knights’ supreme chaplain, presents the pope with a copy of “Parish Priest” in Italian.
— May 27, 2020: After extensive medical and theological reviews, the Vatican announces Pope Francis authorized a decree regarding the miracle attributed to the intercession of Father McGivney, opening the way for his beatification.
— Oct. 31, 2020: Father McGivney is beatified during a Mass at Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, with Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, as the main celebrant and the pope’s representative. Blessed McGivney is the first U.S. parish priest to be beatified.