Two pro-family heroes whom we hold in great esteem here at FIC are the subjects of new biographies. One of them, Fr. Michael J. McGivney, may become Connecticut’s first canonized saint:

In the 19th century, a young parish priest at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven anguished over the problems that threatened the lives and health of his immigrant parishioners. Early death, either from disease or industrial accident, was common in those days. The sudden death of a husband and father could mean disaster for a family.

Although the Rev. Michael J. McGivney could wind up becoming the first American priest to become a saint, he is not a household name, but the organization that he founded to provide financial support to families after a working man’s death is.

McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882, a fraternal Catholic men’s organization in New Haven that has grown into the largest lay Catholic organization in the world. Today, with 1.7 million members, the Knights of Columbus raise millions of dollars annually to support the Catholic Church and church activities…

In the era before Social Security, aid to families with dependent children or other safety nets, McGivney “was looking at what happened to families when the father died working in the foundries of the Connecticut Valley and the widow was left trying to raise five or 10 kids on no income,” [historian Douglas] Brinkley says. “He created a way through the Catholic Church to help working-class and poor people.”…

Born in Waterbury in 1852, McGivney worked as a parish priest in New Haven and later in Thomaston. He died of a respiratory illness in 1890 at age 38, and his remains are in a tomb at St. Mary’s.

The other noteworthy biography is of Dr. James Dobson, who founded Focus on the Family and is perhaps one of the two or three most influential evangelicals in the nation:

A new biography of Dobson, Family Man: The Biography of Dr. James Dobson by Dale Buss, presents an in-depth, personal voyage into Dobson’s life, ministry and future. Through personal interviews with Dobson’s wife, children, friends and associates, Buss offers a comprehensive account of Dobson’s immense impact on the evangelical movement…

Today, Dobson’s support is sought by any number of congressmen, senators, or any cause that wishes to succeed. His success rate isn’t always impressive. He probably loses as many battles as he wins. The opposition is formidable, well financed and controls the media. Yet for two reasons Dobson succeeds and continues to press forward. First, he understands that rejecting decades of decadence and turning the tide back toward godly families will take time, effort, and a long movement with a solid foundation. Second, he recognizes that God, not politics, changes hearts.

We urge our members to purchase both Family Man and Parish Priest, solid biographies on two great defenders of faith and family.

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