McGivney was a Roman Catholic priest and founder of the Knights of Columbus. He was the son of Irish immigrants to the United States. On March 29, 1882, while an assistant pastor at Saint Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut, McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus with a small group of parishioners, according to the Hartford Courant. McGivney died from pneumonia in 1890, when he was only 38 years old. The order now has over 1.8 million member families and 14,000 councils.
Knights of Columbus