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placeholder March 6, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
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Four men carry a 4-foot statue of Father Michael J. McGivney past an honor guard at St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Conn., in 2015 at a celebration of the 125th anniversary of his death.

A founding vision, a visionary founder
of Knights of Columbus

As the Connecticut winter drew to a close in March 1882, few could have imagined the new Catholic organization just approved by the General Assembly would amount to much.

Secret societies and fraternal organizations were abundant.

And besides, Catholics weren't well-liked or highly thought of. There was even some Catholic resistance to the idea of the Knights of Columbus. Local priests took issue with the concept. A similar Catholic group even refused to allow Father Michael J. McGivney to establish a branch of their organization in Connecticut.

It was seemingly inconceivable that an organization, begun in such unwelcoming circumstances, would go on to become one of the world's largest Catholic fraternal organizations.

It was baffling to think that a group of destitute Irish immigrants, fighting against unemployment, discrimination and diseases in New Haven, Conn. would cause a spark that would light up the world with more than 1.9 million members, in more than a dozen countries.

It was so improbable that a group of men dedicated to serving the needs of their Catholic community would go on to donate nearly $1.5 billion to charitable causes, and spend 673 million hours volunteering in just the last decade.

It seemed so unlikely that a Catholic priest, who spent nearly every waking minute attending to the spiritual and material needs of his parishioners, would be the founder of one of North America's largest life insurance companies.

Inconceivable? Baffling? Improbable? Unlikely? Perhaps — but not to Father McGivney. And, not to the 75 men who dared to answer his call to found the Knights of Columbus. It is his vision — and theirs — we celebrate each March as "Founder's Day."

Father McGivney did not just found a charitable society, but a society of mutual aid through which members would insure their own well-being, and that of their families, with the help of their brother knights.

Determined to provide financial protection for his parishioners and their families, McGivney, "had to delve into the subject of insurance and read all of the fine print, of which there was plenty."

Father McGivney was devoted to his mission, working tirelessly until his premature death at age 38.

This March, let's make Father McGivney's priority our own and continue his mission of protecting Catholic families from destitution and financial ruin with insurance from the Knights of Columbus.

(Provided by the Gutierrez Agency, Knights of Columbus Insurance, San Leandro; email GutierrezAgencyMail@kofc.org or dial 925-289-0064.)

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