Louisville’s young Catholics are considered by one of its members, Treasurer Guthrie Savage Friedman, to be the city’s best-kept secret.
Aimed at ages 21-40, the group meets several times a month to “bring Catholic intellectual and spiritual nourishment to young adults in community with one another,” according to its website, louisvilleyoungcatholics.org.
On August 10, young Catholics held a meeting of their monthly pub series, Distilled Doctrine. In the upstairs room of the Four Pegs gastropub, the group gathered for drinks, dinner and a chat with Daniel Schachle of the Knights of Columbus, who spoke about the miracle that led to the beatification of the founder of the Knights.
Schachle, a life insurance agent for the Knights of Columbus, lives with his wife and 13 children in Dixon, Tennessee. He leads a team of agents who serve Catholics in Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas.
Schachle’s youngest child, Michael McGivney Schachle, is seven years old. Michael, who has Down syndrome, is named after the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Blessed Michael McGivney. And he wasn’t expected to live to birth.
During an ultrasound in February 2015, he was found to have fetal hydrops, a life-threatening condition in which fluid builds up in the tissues around the lungs, heart or abdomen or under the skin .
The doctor told Schachle and his wife that the baby had a 0% chance of survival and suggested abortion.
Schachle recalled his own anger and his wife’s pain and despair one night after receiving the diagnosis. He went to their garden to pray.
“I said, ‘Lord, I can’t do this. Please let this cup pass from my hands,” Schachle told the group. He said he began praying and asking for the intercession of Father McGivney, with whom he had an affinity since joining the Knights of Columbus and reading the book “Parish Priest”, based on the life of the man.
The family began to pray, asking family members and friends to ask the late Father McGivney to pray on their behalf. Father McGivney, born in Connecticut in 1852, founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882 with a charitable mission. He died in 1890 at only 38 years old.
During a March 2015 trip to Rome and Fatima, Portugal, sponsored by the Knights, the family received several examples of “additional grace,” he told the group.
They attended Mass at the Vatican in a randomly chosen chapel, which happened to be a chapel sponsored and restored by the Knights of Columbus years before.
During a daily mass at a basilica in Fatima, the reading was from John 4. The reading read, “‘Lord, come help me, my son is going to die,'” Schachle said he remembers having understood. “Pretty overwhelming.”
The visit also coincided with the Pope’s announcement of the next Year of Mercy.
“With all of these things adding up, there was an irrational hope within us,” Schachle said.
When they returned to the United States and had another ultrasound, Schachle said the doctor began discussing different specialists the family should see. High-Risk Pregnancy Doctors, Genetic Disorders Specialists, etc.
His wife asked why, since the baby was not going to live.
The doctor – not the one who gave the initial diagnosis – told them, “Well, I know one thing, you’re going to have a baby.”
There was no evidence of fetal hydrops on any of the ultrasound images.
On May 15, 2015, the anniversary of the formation of the first council of the Knights of Columbus, their son, Michael McGivney Schachle, was born.
Schachle doesn’t know, “Why this child,” he says. “We have 13 (children) but we have lost three. Why did God choose this one? We prayed for them too. I do not know.”
Perhaps, Schachle said, “it was time for Blessed McGivney and God was lining things up.
For Father McGivney to become Blessed McGivney, possible miracles were submitted to the Vatican for consideration. Schachle said it took five years of various panels and courts to determine that the miracles submitted in McGivney’s name could not be explained by science.
In May 2020, Pope Francis approved the issuance of a decree recognizing Michael Schachle’s healing of a fatal case of fetal hydrops in utero as a miracle attributed to Father McGivney’s intercession. In October of the same year, Father McGivney was beatified and received the title of blessed.
“My son has been a powerful witness to God’s grace,” Schachle said.
After having this experience, Schachle said his default assumption is that God is always working on something.
“Having no knowledge of God, we have no right to wonder why bad things happen to us,” Schachle said.
Of the 17 young adults who attended Schachle’s Aug. 10 conference, six are Knights of Columbus, hailing from different parishes, including St. Margaret Mary and St. Louis Bertrand churches.
Schachle told them, “Masculinity is not so fashionable in our culture sometimes. The Knights of Columbus strengthen and strive to do things the right way.
The next Louisville Catholic Youth Meeting will be a Mass for Young Adults on Sept. 18 at 5:30 p.m. celebrated by Archbishop Shelton Fabre at Assumption Cathedral, 433 S. 5th St.
All Catholic young adults, ages 21 to 40, are welcome to attend.