Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney

You may be familiar with the inspirational life of Father Michael McGivney, in so many ways following the pattern of his beloved Savior, living just some 30 plus years but having more impact than many who live twice as long. He was the champion of hard-working families, recognizing they were the backbone of society. He saw suffering first hand and personally stood up for families broken by the loss of a wage earner. He knew that he could not personally help them all and made it his mission to establish a fraternal organization that could provide support for their fellow man and his family. But did you know that in addition to the vital protection against the financial impact of loss of life, he was a champion of benefits in the event of sickness and made vital decisions regarding the foundation of The Knights of Columbus based on this conviction?

In a circular letter published in 1882, Father McGivney outlined three grades of death benefits ($500,$1000, and $1500) as well as the "Sick Benefit Deposit" from which a member in good standing may draw a weekly $5 (maximum) benefit for thirteen weeks, with any amount thereafter, if sickness continues, being regulated by the member's local Council.  In fact, prior to resolving to create an original organization, Father McGivney examined the efficacy of simply opening a chapter of an existing organization. However, when examining the Catholic  Benefit League for example, Father McGivney objected to the fact  that they did not have sufficient sickness benefits. He knew the devastating impact of the loss of life as well as the loss of an ability to earn an income.  He knew it so well because the church was the only place for these souls to turn when such devastation visited them. And as Parish Priest, Father McGivney was on the "front lines" for the church.

The question Knights agents must ask members is "what would you do for income if you were sick or hurt and could not work?"  If the ready answer is not "I would rely on my income protection benefits" we actually know the alternate answer. We know what happens because as a country we have the statistics to prove what happens next. You will go bankrupt and your house will be foreclosed. Over half of foreclosures are due to medical problems and the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country is health-related issues.  What happens next is that your client will be forced to move in with a relative or friend. Ask them to think about who that is going to be. Ask them if their relative or friend knows they are coming and knows they are a part of the member's current financial plan. Next, humbly request that they make all of that "Plan B" and make some basic income protection "Plan A".

Sure, it's a sales pitch - but it's so much more. It's really a responsibility. 1 in 4 of those entering the workforce today will experience a medically-related absence from work lasting greater than three months during their working years. One in Four. In the end, it's your client's decision as to whether they will protect themselves and their family against this very real risk, but it is your obligation to make them aware that this valuable protection is available. Father McGivney worked tirelessly to make this protection a reality for Catholics in America. All you have to do is ask the question.  Thank you for your service to the organization.  We are all the beneficiaries of your hard work on "the front lines"

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