Unified New Haven Parish Named for Blessed Michael McGivney
New Haven, the Connecticut city where Father Michael McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882, is now home to the first parish named in the priest’s honor.
In early June, the Archdiocese of Hartford announced that the eight Catholic churches in New Haven — including the Order’s birthplace, St. Mary’s Church — would merge July 1 to form Blessed Michael McGivney Parish.
“Blessed Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, was an exemplar of charity and steadfast devotion to Christ, still today inspiring millions of people to action for the common good, in the name of God,” said Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford, who selected the name from among several options proposed by a committee of New Haven parishioners. “I will continue to pray for this new parish community and invite all New Haven Catholics to do the same during this time of great Catholic revitalization in the Elm City.”
The eight churches comprising the new parish — which also include the churches of St. Joseph, Sts. Aedan and Brendan, St. Anthony, St. Martin de Porres, St. Michael, St. Francis and St. Stanislaus — will share finances and operate under a single administration based at St. Mary’s on Hillhouse Avenue.
Father Ryan Lerner, St. Mary’s pastor since December 2021, announced the decision to K of C leaders assembled for the Organizational Meeting of State Deputies after Mass on June 9. The news was then shared with New Haven parishioners during the weekend Masses and released more widely by the archdiocese in the days that followed.
Father Lerner is the parish’s first moderator, serving as the leader of three “pastors in solidum” with Father Sebastian Kos and Father Hector Rangel Guerrero.
“I feel profoundly moved, and so very excited, that our unified parish will be named for and entrusted to the patronal care of Blessed Michael McGivney,” Father Lerner said, adding that Father McGivney’s “intercessory prayers have helped to guide this local manifestation of the Body of Christ through a time of historic change, and will continue to inspire us as we journey forward together as one family of faith.”
Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly highlighted the historic ties between the Knights of Columbus and St. Mary’s, which is the oldest Catholic church in New Haven and the second oldest in Connecticut.
“In 1882, in the basement of St. Mary’s, Blessed Michael McGivney gathered young Catholic men seeking ways to unite in their faith and find a means of supporting their families amid a society that frowned upon Catholic immigrants,” the supreme knight said. “They formed a brotherhood that would allow Knights to work together with their pastors and strengthen their families, parishes and communities. The Knights of Columbus is honored that the new city-wide parish has adopted Blessed Michael McGivney’s name.”