Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism
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Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism

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"Father McGivney's vision remains as relevant as ever in the changed circumstances of today's church and society."—Pope John Paul IIIs now the time for an American parish priest to be declared a Catholic saint?

In Father Michael McGivney (1852-1890), born and raised in a Connecticut factory town, the modern era's ideal of the priesthood hit its zenith. The son of Irish immigrants, he was a man to whom "family values" represented more than mere rhetoric. And he left a legacy of hope still celebrated around the world.

In the late 1800s, discrimination against American Catholics was widespread. Many Catholics struggled to find work and ended up in infernolike mills. An injury or the death of the wage earner would leave a family penniless. The grim threat of chronic homelessness and even starvation could fast become realities. Called to action in 1882 by his sympathy for these suffering people, Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus, an organization that has helped to save countless families from the indignity of destitution. From its uncertain beginnings, when Father McGivney was the only person willing to work toward its success, it has grown to an international membership of 1.7 million men.

At heart, though, Father McGivney was never anything more than an American parish priest, and nothing less than that, either—beloved by children, trusted by young adults, and regarded as a "positive saint" by the elderly in his New Haven parish.

In an incredible work of academic research, Douglas Brinkley (The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc, Tour of Duty) and Julie M. Fenster (Race of the Century, Ether Day) re-create the life of Father McGivney, a fiercely dynamic yet tenderhearted man. Though he was only thirty-eight when he died, Father McGivney has never been forgotten. He remains a true "people's priest," a genuinely holy man—and perhaps the most beloved parish priest in U.S. history. Moving and inspirational, Parish Priest chronicles the process of canonization that may well make Father McGivney the first American-born parish priest to be declared a saint by the Vatican.

Title:Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism
Edition Language:English
ISBN:0060776846
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:256 pages

    Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism Reviews

  • Fredrick Danysh
    Oct 07, 2014

    In the latter part of the 1800s, an anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant attitude prevailed in America. In the midst of this setting in Connecticut was a young, caring Catholic priest. His concern for wid...

  • David Cowhig
    Oct 13, 2012

    Brinkley draws on the historian's art including the techniques of group biography to create a convincing portrait of one of the Catholic Church's answers to Karl Marx. Brinkley discusses the suffering...

  • Ramon
    Feb 02, 2016

    Most of my books reviews will have this disclaimer. Most of the books in my library are audiobooks. I prefer audiobooks especially on long trips. I feel that if the book is that bad at least my time w...

  • Rebecca
    Dec 16, 2008

    Interesting enough, from the standpoint of learning a bit about the man who was responsible for founding the Knights of Columbus, but only moderately informative of the latter part of the title: Ameri...

  • Russ Louch
    Oct 11, 2011

    Parish Priest is a fascinating look into the life of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, best known as the founder of the Knights of Columbus, as well as the broader story of the Catholic Church in ...

  • Janet
    Mar 01, 2014

    I liked this book so much more than I expected to. Fr. McGivney is just the sort of priest we all want in our parishes. Hopefully, my immigrant ancestors were administered to by such a wonderful pries...

  • Mary Ellen
    Sep 18, 2014

    I'm an Irish Catholic living in New Haven, CT - and I work with immigrants. I must be the target audience for this book, a biography of Fr. Michael Joseph McGivney, son of Irish immigrants and founder...

  • Nitrorockets
    Jan 07, 2008

    I recommend that you read this if you are Catholic or are interested in social work. His social ideas have saved the lives of many Catholics in this country, as well as in others. Learning about this ...

  • Cynthia Egbert
    Apr 03, 2015

    I learned a great deal about the life of a parish priest in the late nineteenth century, as well as being Irish during that same time period. I wish that there had been more time spent on exploring wh...

  • Peter Calabrese
    Nov 30, 2012

    Great story about a catholic Priest, founder of the Knights of Columbus. Book great for anyone who wants to know about not only the Knights but what it was like to be a Catholic and a priest in the 19...

About Douglas Brinkley

Douglas Brinkley

Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. The Chicago Tribune has dubbed him “America’s new past master.” His most recent books are The Quiet World, The Wilderness Warrior, and The Great Deluge. Six of his books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He lives in Texas with his wife and three children.