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Publisher's Summary

Is 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 inferno-like 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 and Julie M. Fenster re-create the life of Father McGivney, a fiercely dynamic yet tenderhearted man. Though he was only 38 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.

©2006 Douglas Brinkley and Julie M. Fenster (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A popular history that is accessible in style and respectful." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Phil
  • Hickory, NC, USA
  • 08-03-08

Excellent

I thoroughly enjoyed the historical content of Father McGivney. This book made him seem so much more real. As a member of the KofC I really have a passion for his vision and what he did and continues to do through our organization.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An Inspiring Story

A wonderfully inspiring story. Fairly well narrated. While it obviously has a Catholic bend to it, you certainly would not need to be Catholic to enjoy it.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

academic warning

be warned this is an extremely academic writing of the life of Father Michael McGivney and early American Catholicism. it is also read in an academic manner. if you are used to classroom lectures then this won't bother you. the story itself is thoroughly researched and, kudos go to Father Michael McGivney especially with the process in the creation of the Knights.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great appreciation of the times

Great story about the humble importance of a parish priest, the founding of an order to help others, and the appreciation of life in a changing post-civil war America. Well told and clearly researched thoroughly. Story does not boast or inflate Fr McGiveny, but has a great ability to emphasize with his life and times and clearly explains why he did his parish work to impact American Catholics. Definitely recommended. Vivat Jesus.