I finished Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism
, a biography of the founder of the Knights of Columbus
last night. It's a brief book, as any biography of this man must be given his brief life and the paucity of writings he left behind.
There were a few interesting details in the book, though. Most interesting to me was the fact that joining the priesthood back at the time (second half of the 19th century) was basically signing up to die young. Many parish priests died in their 30s or 40s at the time, usually due to exhaustion from overwork weakening their systems to allow disease to kill them. It speaks to the great faith they must have had to accept a virtual death sentence in order to serve God and His people.
Let me put in a plug for the Knights of Columbus at this time. If you're a Catholic male, why aren't you a member? As the book points out, it was originally developed for two purposes: to strengthen the faith of Catholic males, who even back then weren't attending Mass in the same numbers as Catholic females and to provide insurance for families who lost their breadwinners due to an early death. Their insurance program is one of the best in the country, offering great rates from a stable source and the faith of its membership speaks for itself. It's also gone beyond its original mission to be a leading charitable organization. It's official charitable wing Knights of Columbus Charities Inc. donated over $135 million in 2004. And that doesn't count all the good work done by its local Councils. If you're interested, visit the website
or me and I can help you find a Council to join.