Father Michael J. McGivney
In anticipation of its centennial anniversary in 1982, the Knights of Columbus sought to create a statue in memory of the organization’s founder, Father Michael J. McGivney.
A statuary group designed by Stanley Bleifield was selected and placed outside the front entrance of the Supreme Council headquarters. This statue was among the finalists.
Originally a plaster model created by famed Delaware sculptor Charles Parks, it was cast as a bronze in 2006. Father McGivney stands at the center with his hand on the shoulder of an orphaned child. On one side kneels a widow, praying the rosary, while on the other side sits a man with head bowed. The scene exemplifies Father McGivney’s idea of the Knights of Columbus as a defender of families, widows and orphans.
Born in Onancock, Virginia, and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, Charles Parks demonstrated a talent for art from an early age. After World War II, he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. By the 1960s he was a prolific sculptor creating works throughout the United States. During his more than 50 years of sculpting, he created 300 works with some of his favorite topics being common people or religious figures.