Votive Mass for Blessed Michael McGivney

The papal declaration of the beatification of the Order’s founder, now Blessed Michael McGivney (reported in the July 2021 edition of Signals), included the assignment of a memorial day, August 13 (the day between his birth on August 12 and his death on August 14). While this does not mean that August 13 is universally to be celebrated as our founder’s feast day, it is possible for the day to be marked by a votive mass in his honor with the permission of the local bishop.

The Church’s rules in this regard are summarized in an August 5, 2021, letter to all American bishops from the Most Reverend Leonard Blair, the chairman of the Committee of Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (and who just happens also to the Archbishop of Hartford, Fr. McGivney’s home diocese). “According to the law and custom of the Church, a Blessed may be venerated publicly and celebrated liturgically only where permitted by law.”

In a letter to our then Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments allowed that “it will be possible for gatherings of Knights to celebrate a votive Mass in honor of Fr. McGivney with the permission of the local ordinary and respecting the rules of precedence laid out in the Table of Liturgical Days.” (The votive mass may not displace any higher ranked celebration.)

The First New Jersey District took advantage of this permission by participating in such a mass celebrated by Father Ernie Rush at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 149 Copeland Avenue, Lyndhurst, New Jersey. (Due to the very short notice provided, members of our Assembly’s color corps were not able to participate.)

Further information and liturgical resources are available at the Supreme website, http://kofc.org/en/events/father-mcgivney-beatification/toolkit.html?1tab=1tab0.