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 1882, 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.
Moving and inspirational, Parish Priest re-creates the life of Father McGivney, a fiercely dynamic and yet tenderhearted man, and 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.
Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and a contributing editor to Vanity Fair. His most recent books are The Quiet World, The Wilderness Warrior, and The Great Deluge. Six of his books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He lives in Texas.