On Wednesday, the Vatican announced that it was moving two towering Catholic figures from different corners of the world forward on the path toward sainthood, approving miracles for Venerable Father Michael McGivney, and Blessed Charles de Faucauld.

McGivney, founder of the colossal American charity organization the Knights of Columbus, will now become a “blessed,” meaning there is one more miracle required for his canonization to be green-lighted, whereas Faucauld, a French hermit, will formally be canonized as a saint.

Though they hail from different corners of the world, each is widely considered to have made mammoth contributions to the Catholic Church in terms of charity, Catholic-Muslim relations, evangelization, service to the poor.

Both are also timely spiritual aides as much of the world is reeling from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. McGivney himself is believed to have died as the result of a coronavirus, while Foucauld, whose canonization was approved as large portions of the global population are isolated in quarantine, is widely known for his writings on silence and solitude on one’s journey toward God.

Speaking to Crux, Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said the announcement of McGivney’s beatification is “an incredible moment” for the organization.

“The Church is affirming both Father McGivney’s heroic life and virtue and his miraculous intercession. Part of that heroic life and virtue, in fact, the most well-known part, was his founding of the Knights of Columbus,” he said, insisting that for those who have  been living out McGivney’s vision, “this moment had an incredible meaning and is a great affirmation of our work.”

Noting that McGivney’s beatification will happen as the world grapples with a modern coronavirus pandemic, Anderson said the man so often hailed as a model of the “Good Samaritan” could also be seen as “a pandemic patron.”

“He cared for the faith and wellbeing of those on the margins. He became a priest knowing that often meant an early death. Then he died of a pandemic similar to this one – possibly caused by a coronavirus. So I think the timing of his beatification is providential because his connection to the pandemic gives us someone to intercede for us, and because this connection also reminds us of the many other aspects of his life and ministry that remain important today,” Anderson said.

Read more at Crux

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