The saints are not really like you and me. But Father Michael McGivney comes very close, and for that reason, he will be an attractive patron for parish priests.
A clarification: There are no canonized saints who are like you and me. The vast majority of all those in heaven were very ordinary. But to be beatified or canonized, there has to be something sufficiently noteworthy to prompt someone to undertake the arduous canonization process. Thus, most candidates are martyrs, or founders or foundresses, or endured remarkable illnesses, or did something in life sufficiently extraordinary to get the attention of others — like starting an online catalogue of Eucharistic miracles and dying young, offering your sufferings for the pope. That is the story of the Church’s newest Blessed, Carlo Acutis.
Father Michael McGivney, the U.S. parish priest who will be beatified on Saturday, the vigil of All Saints, was more or less a typical parish priest. More, because he did nothing out of the ordinary for parish priests. Less, because he founded the Knights of Columbus, without which no one would have ever heard of him, let alone proposed him for beatification. He would have been like his two brothers who became priests; unknown to history, known to God.
“Father McGivney is a model of the day-to-day, blue-collar holiness to which every parish priest is called,” writesmy friend Father Roger Landry. “He wasn’t St. Augustine in the pulpit, St. Thomas in the classroom, St. Charles Borromeo in administration, or St. Pio in stigmatized prayer. He was Father Michael McGivney, but sought to respond to his priestly vocation and the work given him with the same wholehearted devotion as the others.”
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